This “Boyfriend Car” might just make your list, too.
Here’s the thing about your boyfriend’s car: it’s not always right for you. It’s likely more driver focused and less passenger focused, more sportster than fashionista. The longer roof line allows things like surfboards and kayaks to be easily transported, and they can be lower to the ground than you like—boys love a lower center of gravity while girls generally prefer to sit up higher for a better view of the road.
But of course, there are exceptions. The Toyota Corolla Hatchback makes the list because of its truly cutting-edge technology including Toyota’s next-gen safety systems, great interior space and an anticipated affordable price and fuel economy.
Who This Car is For
- Singles, couples or (very) small families
- First time car buyers
- Teen drivers who can benefit from all the safety technology
- Drivers who love a fun drive experience
- Drivers who want a stick shift (!)
- Buyers who want a lot of value in an inexpensive car
- Buyers who need flexible cargo space
What This Car Costs
While Toyota hasn’t released pricing yet and might not until close to the Corolla Hatchback’s release date in July, the company did say that pricing should be on par with prior models, which is the trend: Keep the price steady and increase the number of amenities. So, based on the 2018 model, here’s how pricing shakes out:
- Base price, $18,850
- Fully loaded, about $22,000
Boy Cars and Action Movies: Does the World Really Need Another One?
You think not. And, then you go see Black Panther and you’re exhilarated. You want to feel like that all the time. That is the Corolla Hatchback’s goal. Toyota’s designers call it a ‘Hot Hatch,’ the segment of the market that includes other small, fast and agile cars.
The Corolla has some features that send the sport message, including the rear spoiler and the performance-style sport-bolstered front seats, which are designed to hug you through a road’s curves, a leather covered steering wheel and of course, paddle shifters and sport mode.
Built to Take on the Road, and Keep You From Being Car Sick
We took a test drive of the 2019 Corolla Hatchback recently, testing out both the manual transmission and the automatic CVT, or continuously variable transmission, which also has optional paddle shifters. It was fun to drive both on city streets and on curvy country roads. The car has good pickup and with 168 horsepower—31 more than the last model year—and ample power with two of us in the car. When my drive partner Harvey stepped it up, driving a bit faster and testing out how it handled the curves, I found that the sport bolstered seats kept me from feeling so tossed around the car. And from feeling car sick.
I loved driving the manual transmission, though it has fewer available features than the automatic. As is typical with Toyota, the manual was super easy to drive with a soft, springy clutch and a gear shift that is easy to push from gear to gear. This is a good car for manual transmission beginners.
All About That Tech–TSS 2.0 and More
This may be the top reason this car should be on your shopping list: The safety tech. Toyota introduces the most advanced version of Toyota Safety Sense, or TSS, in the Corolla Hatchback. And it’s pretty good. It includes:
- Pre-collision system designed to avoid a crash by slowing the car to a full stop if necessary
- Better pedestrian detection including in low light
- Cyclist detection
- Hands off warning that gives an audio and visual warning if you take your hands off the wheel for more than a few seconds
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane keep assist
- Steer assist—which helps to keep you in your lane
- Lane tracing assist, which watches the lane markings to help keep you in your lane
- Road sign assist, which reads the road signs and displays them in the driver information cluster
And that is just the start. Other tech options include:
- Blind spot monitors
- Automatic high beams—leave them on and the lights will automatically lower when another reflective surface is detected, such as an oncoming car, a pedestrian, street lights or reflective sign
- Apple Car Play—plug in your iPhone and it’s mirrored on the touch screen giving you navigation, Spotify, Pandora, texts and more
- Amazon Alexa is integrated into the Entune system so you can order dog food when you think of it, ask Alexa to turn on the heat at home, play your favorite playlist or find out when high tide is.
- Qi wireless phone charger—just put your wireless charging phone on the pad and it charges
- Smart key with push button starter
All this technology isn’t really supposed to replace the driver or let you stop doing your job behind the wheel. It’s really about making your drive time fun and relaxed, so you can relax your hands on the road and don’t have to constantly be poised to hit the brakes.
Steer Assist and Lane Tracing: Another Safety Feature I Didn’t Know I Needed!
I found the steer assist and lane tracing features to be really smart and responsive. As I drove I let go of the wheel and not only did the Corolla follow the lines of the road nicely keeping me in my lane, lights flashed and a warning beeped at me to put my hands back on the wheel. If I hadn’t the car would have slowed and eventually, stopped. Great for drivers who may need a bit of extra help in an emergency situation.
The Toyota Corolla Hatchback won’t be in dealerships until July, so you’ll have to wait for all this goodness until then. But when it hits the road expect the Corolla Hatchback to be a contender for drivers in their 20’s, or those who just want to feel like they are again.
What We Listened to in the Toyota Corolla Hatchback
The Corolla Hatchback features a premium JBL sound system, so of course, some good tunes are in order! This playlist samples some of the sounds that resonate best in the Corolla for living that Hot Hatch life.
Disclosure: I was Toyota’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.