Search
The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide
COROLLA iM REPLACEMENT HATCHBACK IS A WORTHY SUCCESSOR

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It is nothing like the 2018 Toyota Corolla iM. Its replacement, the 2019 Corolla hatchback, has a longer wheelbase of 1.5 inches and is lower by an inch, wider by 1.2, longer by 1.5, with a hood 2 inches lower than its predecessor.
The previous 1.8-liter power train has been replaced by a lighter 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder generating 168 horsepower @ 6600 rpm and 151 pounds-feet of torque @ 4800 rpm. It is mated to a continuous variable transmission or you can go for the 6-speed manual. Want to shift to sport mode? Just switch on a button by the leather-wrapped shifter knob. Either way, you are assured that this classy Corolla will get up to speed with urgency, and slow down as quickly and with self-assurance. The retuned MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension soak up obstacles with ease and maintain stability in all types of tricky situations. Though not as responsive as one would like, the electric power steering is precise and crisp.
Up front, the new design of the hatchback is sleek, sharp and eye-catching. Flanking the slim, J-shaped bi-beam LED headlights and fog lamps is a rounded nose with a trapezoidal under-grille decked in satin chrome. A rear chrome diffuser and spoiler enhance the aggressive outward appearance. The practical cabin is simply laid out with piano-black gloss and metallic accents on the dashboard. For those who like to be in control of the gears, try the steering-wheel paddle shifters for some spirited driving. Rear-seat passengers can stretch to take advantage of ample leg/shoulder room. Other standard amenities are a dual auto a/c, 8-inch touchscreen, 8-way power driver seat, 60/40 rear fold seat, two-tone color leather seats, 7-inch color TFT multimedia screen, and a manual tilt/telescopic steering column.
Dual front and side airbags, driver knee airbag, side curtain airbag, vehicle stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, three-point seatbelts for all, keyless entry, blind spot monitor, front/rear crumble zones, rearview camera, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system are standard. The no-cost Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 translates into a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians, lane departure assist and dynamic cruise control.
The fine-looking Corolla hatchback is incredibly agile with a peppy engine, which provides ample punch to maneuver in rush-hour traffic. It eked out an impressive average of nearly 33.2 mpg in city/highway driving, matching EPA estimates. Thrifty fuel consumption, reasonable price and more-than-adequate rear passenger room make this an attractive buy. Besides, the solid Toyota reputation for durability and dependability should help seal the deal.

COROLLA HATCH (XSE)
Tires: P225/40R18
Wheelbase: 103.9 inches
Length: 169.9 inches
Width: 69.9 inches
Height: 57.1 inches
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gallons
City: 30 mpg
Highway: 38 mpg
Weight: 3,060 pounds
Base price: $24,090
Price as tested: $27,025
Web site: www.toyota.com    

CALLING ALL TOYOTA DEALERS IN THE WEST CENTRAL AREA: if you would like to be listed here as one of the test-drive dealerships, e-mail us at motoringtampabay@gmail.com