Since 1965, Toyota Corolla has been a top seller for the company, frequently topping the top ten Australian best seller list too.
Built on a new platform, Toyota promises the updated Corolla delivers better performance, better handling, better economy, as well as a sexier look and feel.
The new face of the Toyota Corolla hatch is stunning.
All models have a handsome set of LED headlights. The fresh modern look is best viewed from the 3/4 view either from the front or back.
Toyota design can be quite complex with lines, cuts, and sculpturing everywhere. Corolla manages to make sense of the language.
Headlights have an auto-on function with smart high beams as standard and look a million dollars.
From the back, Corolla looks like a concept drawing has come to life. Deep folds cross the tail lights and bumper emphasise bright LEDs outlining the clusters.
It is quite beautiful.
Indicators and reversing lights are equally bright, while integrated exhaust outlets and a smooth bumper with blackened lower section make the rump look positively petite.
Beneath the doors, a body kit flares slightly adding an extra nod to sporty aspirations.
The rear hatch is made of a composite material and feels very light to lift open.
A lot of time and effort has gone in to making the cabin comfortable without losing function.
We like a soft feel to interior surfaces, and the top of the dashboard looks hard, but is deeply cushioned.
The middle dash has a large floating 8” tablet and top models get upgraded JBL speakers.
There is no Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, however, mirroring function for Android phones provides some of the Android Auto functionality.
Stitching detail on dash and doors looks classy on the material which simulates leather.
Even on base models, the seating feels comfortable and supportive. ZR gains leather with all models having deep side bolsters.
I’d like to have seen a digital instrument readout for all driver information, but the part digital dash does a decent job of displaying most of what is needed without having to scroll through menus.
A digital speedo can be displayed, and since all Corollas have active lane assist, lane markings can also be shown.
Boot space on cars with spare tyres is a trifle limited, but you could still carry a few decent sized bags.
Rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split.
ZR has a slightly deeper boot as it doesn’t have a spare tyre.
All in all, the cabin looks sensational
- Radar cruise control
- Dual climate control air conditioning
- Lane control with steering function
- Lane change assist
- Hybrid drivetrain option
- Manual in base model (with rev matching)
- CVT with launch feature (torque converter for first gear) with sport mode
- Reversing camera
- “safety sense” safety suite including AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking)
- Privacy glass
While the ZR grade of the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch gains things like 18” alloys, JBL audio with 8 speakers and a Head up display.
Two drivetrains can be had in all grades, with a six-speed manual with rev matching available on the base model.
A new CVT has a 10-speed sequential shift function with a mechanical launch gear and this is intended to give the CVT more of a sporty feel, but that might be a claim too far.
Non-hybrid Corollas have an all-new 125kW/200Nm 2.0 litre engine.
It has 15% more torque than the old model.
While the hybrids have had the once-over too. Improvements in battery and electric motor technologies mean the batteries charge 28% faster.
They provide longer output too.
90kW is the somewhat modest combined output, but uses a mere 4.2L/100k of 95ron petrol.
Petrol quality has been an issue in Australia for many decades which Toyota says is the main reason for premium unleaded being needed.
All of this matters little if the on-road experience doesn’t live up to claims.
As we know the Corolla enjoys a high level of customer loyalty, and those buyers know what they like, and what they don’t like – they’ll be impressed though by the new suspension.
The ride is almost luxurious.
Handling is much improved too.
There is no local tuning for steering and suspension, but steering no longer has a dead feeling to it.
On the open road, Corolla buzzes along happily and with the cruise control engaged, the driver only has to worry about keeping an eye on things.
Corolla will watch the speed for you, and will do its best to keep you centred in the lane.
Steep climbs found the gap between 2nd and 3rd in the manual to be too large. The engine worked hard in 2nd but didn’t have quite enough oomph in 3rd.
None the less, the drive was perfectly fine for most buyers. Corolla is quiet and the cabin feels well insulated.
- AEB– all models
- ABS– all models
- Active cruise control with speed sign recognition – all models
- Active Lane control– all models
- Reversing camera– all models
- Sway detection with driver fatigue warning– all models
- Blind spot monitoring
- Auto high beam
- 2 isofix points
As yet, Corolla has not been assessed for ANCAP, but Toyota anticipates a five-star rating
- Smooth comfortable ride
- Quality interior
- Active cruise/speed recognition all models
Not So Good Bits
- No spare tyres on some models
- 3 year warranty only
Better looking, better to drive and with added gear the updated Toyota Corolla Hatch has brought its A game back to the competition in the small hatch market.
The lack of Apple CarPlay though is a frustration, although watch for possible availability in the Corolla in the near future.
Regardless, I come away from my first experience in the new Corolla very impressed.
Facts and Figures: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch
- Engine: 2.0L four-cylinder petrol producing 125kW/200Nm or 1.8 four-cylinder hybrid producing 90kW
- Transmission: 6-speed manual or ten-speed CVT with launch gear
- Warranty: 3 years/ 100,000km
- Safety: Not tested
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $22,890