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Toyota Corolla Hatchback: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/4/2018 Motor Trend Staff

WE LIKE Driving dynamics, the upscale interior

WE DON'T LIKE Small rear seats, tiny cargo area

Most judges agreed on one thing: This is the best-driving Corolla in a long time.

a car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff

When pushing the Corolla Hatchback on the winding track, the responsive and solid chassis kept asking for more. Rhetorically, we ask when was the last time you could drift a Corolla? Ed Loh attributed the Corolla's improved dynamics to "the Akio effect," in tribute to the automaker's CEO. "The chassis is solid, and you can chuck it into corners," Christian Seabaugh noted. But is it the equal of the Hyundai Veloster? Alisa Priddle thinks not.

The interior's upscale feel also stood out—uncommon at this price point. One judge described it as a "mini-Lexus." Another called it "Avalon-like." The digital instrument panel screen is large and sharp, and plenty of soft-touch materials cover the dashboard and door panels. Front-seat comfort was so impressive (on the SE model) that Jonny Lieberman said, "The seats are soft to the point that I believe they are part of the suspension."

As much as we liked the front cabin, everything behind it is a bust. Chris Theodore noted that Toyota put the most money between the A- and B-pillars, thus leaving the rear seats small and barren. Adults won't enjoy being crammed back there. The cargo area expands to 23.3 cubic feet with the rear seats down, about half of what the Veloster offers. More sound dampening also would be appreciated, as the coarse-sounding engine roars in the cabin.

Regardless, many will like the hatchback's sporty styling. It's an improvement over the Corolla iM it replaces. Furthermore, it's worlds better than the current and dated Corolla sedan—unless, of course, you need a back seat.


• 2019 Car of the Year introduction
• Buick Regal
• Ford Mustang
• Ford Transit Connect
• Honda Clarity
• Hyundai Accent
• Hyundai Elantra
• Kia Forte
• Lexus ES
• Lexus LS
• Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
• Nissan Altima
• Toyota Avalon
• Toyota Corolla Hatchback
• Volkswagen Jetta

a close up of a car© Motor Trend Staff
2019 Toyota CorollaSEXSE
Base Price/As tested $20,910/$21,958$25,010/$27,823
Power (SAE net) 168 hp @ 6,600 rpm168 hp @ 6,600 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 151 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm151 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
Accel, 0-60 mph 7.4 sec8.6 sec
Quarter-mile 15.8 sec @ 88.4 mph16.5 sec @ 85.9 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 135 ft129 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.80 g (avg)0.80 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 27.9 sec @ 0.60 g (avg)28.1 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb 28/37/31 mpg30/38/33 mpg
Vehicle Layout Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchbackFront-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback
Engine/Transmission 2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4/6-speed manual2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4/Cont variable auto
Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 2,961 lb (60/40%)3,106 lb (61/39%)
Wheelbase 103.9 in103.9 in
Length x Width x Height 169.9 x 69.9 x 57.1 in169.9 x 69.9 x 57.1 in
Energy Cons, City/Hwy 120/91 kW-hrs/100 miles112/89 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.62 lb/mile0.59 lb/mile

2019 Toyota Corolla SE front three quarter in motion© Motor Trend Staff 2019 Toyota Corolla SE front three quarter in motion

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