Toyota Proclaims the ‘Hatch is Back’

Toyota brought its new Corolla Hatchback to the New York International Auto Show this week. The vehicle features a revised sport-tuned suspension and the new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform.

The Design

Corolla Hatchback is 1-inch lower, 1.2-inches wider and 1.5-inches longer than its predecessor, Corolla iM. It also has wider front and rear tracks, and a longer wheelbase.

Its hood sits two inches lower than before, affording passengers excellent forward visibility, according to Toyota. The new frontal styling with a rounded nose and trapezoidal-shaped under grille both emphasize Corolla Hatchback’s increased width.

Slim, J-shaped Bi-Beam LED headlamps wrap deep into the front fenders and accent the front. Front overhang has been cut by 0.8 inches; at the rear, it’s 0.8 inches longer. Wheel sizes range from 16-to 18-inches in diameter.

Corolla Hatchback’s color range includes the new-for-2019 color Rival Blue, as well as Blizzard Pearl, Silver Metallic, Midnight Black, Galactic Aqua Mica, Scarlet, and Oxide Bronze.


On-road feel and fuel efficiency is further refined through the extensive use of aluminum and high- and ultra-high tensile steel in the lighter-weight chassis and body, according to Toyota. In fact, torsional rigidity is improved 60 percent compared to its predecessor.

Affixed to this musculature are revised front and rear suspensions. Its front MacPherson strut setup’s geometry is changed and incorporates other key augmentations, like revised coil spring rate and damping force, and reduced friction in sliding parts.

The Corolla Hatchback’s rear multi-link suspension with stabilizer bar provides sharper responsiveness thanks to updated shock absorbers and springs. Lower arm locations have moved for improved toe-in angle during higher-speed maneuvering, as has shock absorber placement for better cargo capacity and reduced longitudinal low frequency input.

Overall, front and rear suspension friction has been reduced by 40 percent, and its center of gravity is cut by a 0.8 inches, according to Toyota.


An all-new TNGA-based powertrain is the heart of the Corolla Hatchback. Its 2-liter Dynamic-Force direct-injection inline four-cylinder engine (M20A-FKS) adopts the latest in Toyota technology and structural efficacies for gains in power, fuel efficiency, and cleaner emissions, according to Toyota.

Physically, the engine is smaller and lighter than its 1.8-liter four-cylinder predecessor, which helps to lower Corolla Hatchback’s center of gravity and benefits its overall balance. The 2-liter is also quieter for improved Noise Vibration Harshness (NVH) with additions like a more rigid crank case with integrated stiffener; a lighter resin cylinder head; and a ribbed oil pan.

The M20A-FKS is equipped with Toyota’s latest D-4S fuel-injection that uses high-pressure direct-injection and low-pressure Port Fuel Injection. The setup adapts its injection method based on driving conditions so that ideal combustion is executed.

The engine also features Dual Variable Valve Timing-Intelligence, with Variable Valve Timing-Intelligence by Electric motor on the intake side and VVT-i on the exhaust. VVT-iE uses one electric motor instead of oil pressure to control the variable valve timing. Together, the valve timing systems enhance power output and fuel mileage, and cut harmful emissions, according to Toyota.

Transmission and Launch Gear

Available transmission systems include the Dynamic-Shift CVT (K120), or a six-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission gearbox (EG60). The Dynamic-Shift CVT has simulated 10-speed Sequential Shiftmatic steps, Sport Mode, and paddle shifters.

It also features a launch gear. Launch gear provides improved transmission efficiency in lower gear ratios where belt efficiency is typically poor. The transmission system utilizes gear drive when starting from a full stop, resulting in powerful acceleration, while at the same time, resolving the momentary sluggish feeling that was previously present during accelerator operation, according to Toyota.

With its launch gear in place, the belt has been tuned for higher gear ratios. This new setup improves the efficiency of belt operation, but it also enables the adoption of wider gear ranges, thereby realizing a class-leading gear ratio range of 7.5 for the 2-liter class.

Another benefit of the launch gear is a reduced input load. This enables the size of both belt and pulley components to be reduced. Furthermore, the belt angle has been narrowed and pulley diameters reduced, resulting in shifting speeds that are 20 percent faster, according to Toyota.

More involved drivers will be engaged by the new six-speed iMT with downshift rev-matching control, according to Toyota.

Compared to the existing manual transmission, the new gearbox is lighter by 15 pounds and shorter by 0.94 inches, making it one of the world’s smallest transmissions, according to Toyota.

About That Hatch

The new rear style articulates Corolla Hatchback’s emphasis on athletic presence, according to Toyota. Its hatch-”now made from Toyota Super Olefin Polymer (TSOP) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)-”is lightweight to aid fuel efficiency and set at a steeper angle at 14-degrees forward.

The rear LED taillamps feature a diffusing inner lens designed to highlight the hatchback’s stout stance, according to Toyota.


Differentiation between SE and XSE is distinct. Both grades receive LED headlamps and taillights, chrome rear diffuser, and alloy wheels. XSE ups the ante with 18-inch wheels, LED fog lights, chrome front grille surround, and an available Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS). AFS allows for the focused distribution of light in an area that matches the vehicle’s speed and steering angle, according to Toyota. The Bi-Beam LED units move vertically and horizontally to provide optimal light output by analyzing steering angle, vehicle speed, and the vehicle’s longitudinal axes angle to adjust lamps.

The SE grade is equipped with single-zone automatic climate control, leather shift knob, and paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel. An electronic parking brake, three-door SmartKey system, automatic up/down windows, and two front USB outlets are standard as well.

XSE grade builds on SE’s amenity palette by including dual-zone climate control, combination leather seating, heated front seats, and eight-way power driver’s seat. XSE’s instrument panel and doors receive unique stitching, and behind the multifunction steering wheel, a 7-inch TFT Multi-Information Display (MID) shows vehicle information, turn-by-turn navigation, and various vehicle settings (including those pertaining to Lane Departure Alert, Lane Tracing Assist, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Blind Spot Monitor).

On The Inside

From their supportive sport seats, front passengers are faced with a neat instrument panel that lends an open, harmonious feeling thanks to its 0.9-inch thinner upper surface and 1.7-inch wider center console dividing passengers, according to Toyota.

At the center of the instrument panel resides a standard high-resolution 8-inch multimedia touchscreen. The center stack screen provides access to vehicle settings, audio controls, navigation, smartphone, and Entune 3.0 apps. Climate controls, located below the multimedia portal, are fashioned in a bright, highly visible digitized configuration.

In addition to being wider, the center console is also longer to accommodate a larger variety of passenger physiques and comfort preferences. It incorporates a center tray ahead of the gearshift that can hold small items such as a smartphone or wallet, or if outfitted, serves as the Qi wireless device charging area. A 5.5-inch smartphone can easily fit inside the center console box, according to Toyota.

High-gloss materials are paired with matte elements-”silver accents with Piano Black and available contrasting stitching-”to best accentuate a premium look and feel.

Front passengers’ hip points are lowerd to 10.82 inches, and cushioning has been revised, which provides a more natural body posture and position for ideal access to the multifunction steering wheel, pedals, and gearshift, according to Toyota.

Front door storage solutions include cup holders capable of accommodating 24-ounce bottles and A4-sized documents.

Rear seats utilize updated cushioning to improve comfort and minimize fatigue, with upper door cup holders that accommodate 16-ounce bottles.

Electrified Media 

For SE trim level, standard Entune 3.0 Audio includes 8-inch touchscreen, six speakers, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa integration, Entune 3.0 App Suite Connect, Safety Connect, Wi-Fi Connect, Scout GPS Link Compatible, Siri Eyes Free, auxiliary audio jack and USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control. Other features include AM/FM, MP3/WMA playback capability, Voice Recognition training and tutorials, Hands-free phone capability, voice recognition and music streaming via Bluetooth, customizable home screen, and weather/traffic info via Entune 3.0 App Suite.

Entune 3.0 Audio Plus, which is standard on XSE and optional on SE CVT, adds HD Radio and weather/traffic info, SiriusXM with Cache Radio, Entune 3.0 Connected Services, Service Connect, and Remote Connect.

Topping the range is Entune 3.0 Audio Premium that’s optional on XSE CVT. The system includes a JBL 8-speaker 800-watt system with Clari-Fi, Dynamic Voice Recognition, Dynamic Navigation, Dynamic POI Search, and Destination Assist Connect.

Rounding off Corolla Hatchback’s connectivity are two USB terminals (located inside the center console and instrument panel) and one auxiliary port located on the instrument panel.

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