2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback: Tech is the Star in this Value Hatchback

Toyota Corolla Value Hatchback

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.

Toyota Corolla Value Hatchback

My drive partner Harvey and me in the Toyota Corolla Hatchback. The car was comfortable and quiet making it easy to chat on our drive. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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

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Toyota Corolla Value Hatchback

Toyota Corolla Hatchback in “Rival Bue.” Photo: Scotty Reiss

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
Corolla Hatchback Value Hatchback

The Corolla Hatchback is available in a stick shift. Yesssss!!!! Photo: Scotty Reiss

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.

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Interior Of The Toyota Corolla Value Hatchback

Front seats in the Toyota Corolla Hatchback include sport bolstered seats, designed to hug you and keep you from being jostled on a curvy road. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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.

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Tech Features Toyota Corolla Value Hatchback

Among the tech features in this car are lane departure assist with steer assist and road sign reading, making time behind the wheel more relaxing and less stressful. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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.

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Front Cabin Of The Toyota Corolla Value Hatchback

The front cabin of the Toyota Corolla Hatchback features a streamlined center console with two cup holders, two USB ports and easy to reach touch screen. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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.

Toyota Corolla Hatchback Wireless Charging Pad Value Hatchback

The center console in the Toyota Corolla Hatchback includes a Qi wireless charging pad that not only fit my iPhone 6+ but it charged with its case on, too. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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.

Midnight Black Corolla Value Hatchback

The metallic Midnight Black paint on the Toyota Corolla Hatchback is even more fun when you catch a glimpse of the multi colored flecks in the paint. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Disclosure: I was Toyota’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss