The compact car segment got a good boost this summer when Toyota’s brand new 2019 Corolla Hatchback went on sale.
Pleasingly styled, fun to drive, priced within reach, bedecked with standard features and able to travel far on modest amounts of fuel, the Corolla Hatchback seems destined to sell very well.
There are two trim levels: SE and XSE. Both models have front-wheel drive, are powered by a 168-horsepower four-cylinder engine and are available with a six-speed manual transmission or continuously variable automatic (CVT).
The CVT includes a launch gear, the first ever for a passenger vehicle CVT. It uses gear drive when starting from a full stop, increasing transmission efficiency and creating powerful but smooth acceleration.
Fuel economy ratings for the SE model’s CVT are 32 mpg city, 42 mpg highway and 36 mpg combined. For the XSE model’s CVT, the numbers are 30/38/33 mpg. The lower numbers are due to having larger wheels (18-inchers rather than 16-inchers).
Pricing, including a $920 destination charge, starts at $20,910 for an SE with manual transmission.
My tester was the top-of-the-line XSE model with an automatic transmission, but it should be noted that even the beginning-of-the-line SE with a manual transmission is abundantly blessed with standard features.
Toyota’s excellent Star Safety System and Safety Sense 2.0 are standard on all models.
As mentioned above, the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is fun to drive, a description largely if not exclusively earned by a car handling well on twisty roads. This small car gets bonus points for also being easy to like on highways and freeways.
Optional equipment on the tester included adaptive LED headlights, a rear window spoiler and an upgrade to the Entune 3.0 premium infotainment system with all the features you could want. More bonus points because it’s a sensible, easy-to-use system with tremendously good sound.
The driver and front seat passenger have plenty of room inside the Corolla Hatchback. Rear seat passengers get a pretty good deal too, unless the driver or front passenger is tall, in which case rear seat leg room comes close to vanishing.
One of my favorite things about this car’s interior was a feature not often found in vehicles, never included on equipment lists, and almost never mentioned in car reviews: an extender on the visors. In the Corolla Hatchback, when you move the visor to the side window, you can pull out the extender to block the sunlight from beating down in the space regular visors don’t block. And that’s the space where the sun loves to beat down the most, right?
2019 TOYOTA COROLLA HATCHBACK XSE
Base price, including destination charge: $25,010
Price as driven: $27,823
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.