First Drive: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Corolla 2019 Hatchback
My first experiences driving as a teenager started in a Toyota Corolla my parents bought from my grandparents. It was a green, 1998 Corolla and it was as basic as you could get. Crank windows, manual door locks and an old tape deck (remember those?). It wasn’t anything flashy, but it got me from A to B. From the beginning, I had always known Toyota was a reliable brand as that car lasted another 10 years before I bought my own car.

In 2014, Toyota released a Scion called the Scion iM which was basically a Corolla built into a hatchback form. In 2017 when Scion was discontinued, the iM was re-released as a Corolla iM. Now for the 2019 model year, it has been rebranded again as the Corolla Hatchback. Taking the reliability of a Toyota Corolla into a new model class, I took a look at what the new 2019 Corolla Hatchback is like.

First Impressions

I actually sat in the passenger seat before I sat in the driver’s seat and both seats were quite comfortable. The trim I drove had leather seats, but I’ve got to say that the seats were kind of odd. They were mostly leather, but the lower back and some of the seat were cloth. It didn’t make the seats any less comfortable, it was just an odd observation I noticed. The cabin was pretty spacious, having plenty of space for both myself and a passenger. The controls for the seat and radio are pretty easy to use so getting on the road was a breeze. I’ve also noticed an odd trend on newer vehicles where the infotainment system seems to be angled more towards the passenger. It wasn’t really a problem in a smaller car like this, but in a bigger vehicle like an SUV or van, it might be difficult for a shorter person to reach everything.

The Drive

Driving the Corolla Hatchback was exactly what I expected from a Corolla, smooth and intuitive. Surprisingly however, the Corolla had really good pickup. While the Hatchback has a Sport mode, even on its normal mode I was surprised at how much acceleration the vehicle had. When switching over to the Sport mode, it really picks up the pace. I took it onto the highway to really feel how fast it could go, and it was FAST. It’s not fully expected from a vehicle like a hatchback, and it caught me off guard.

Some of the features inside were pretty nice as well. It has a cool new lane-assist system that will detect when you’re drifting out of the lane and will automatically correct you to pull your vehicle back into the lane. I’d like to think that people wouldn’t drive while falling asleep, but this would definitely keep you from drifting into another lane. The car also has a Brake Assist System that will automatically keep the brake held when you’re at a stoplight. I’m not entirely sure what this accomplishes other than allowing you to relax a bit more while waiting for a green light.

For a suburban area like Markham is, you want something that is nimble and comfortable to drive. The Corolla Hatchback is an almost perfect driving companion for a town like Markham with its diversity and space. The hatchback is a great family vehicle that would definitely serve you well here.

The Negatives

As with every vehicle out there, the Corolla Hatchback isn’t perfect. It still has its flaws but they are pretty minor. First off, I’m not the biggest fan of the dashboard in the trim I had. It was very busy with colours and lines, making it difficult to really see what I was looking at when glancing. The vehicle has a Dynamic Cruise Control system which will match the speed of the person in front of you and keep a safe distance from them. The problem I found with this is that the vehicle takes a long time to accelerate up to speed. While that does keep things safer, it is a bit annoying. The built-in navigation has a bit of a learning curve behind it and isn’t as easy to learn as something like Google Maps is.

Final Thoughts

The Toyota Corolla has always been a reliable vehicle, and the new 2019 Hatchback version is no exception. I’m not normally a fan of hatchback models, but this one might be an exception for me. I’ve always been a big fan of Toyotas, and especially the Corolla which was really my first experience driving. This new Corolla drives very smoothly and handles exceptionally well. For such a little car, it’s really a lot of fun to drive. It has great pickup-and-go and you can feel how powerful it really is.