By on April 30, 2018

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Toyota’s Corolla iM was an orphan almost from birth. Conceived by Scion, the compact hatchback joined the Toyota clan after its youth-focused parent brand took an eternal dirt nap.

Despite styling that bordered on edgy, the iM failed to elevate drivers’ enthusiasm to a point where its sales numbers played much of a role in the Corolla nameplate’s popularity. Testing revealed a five-door hatch that, while versatile, severely lacked in both power and comfort.

Simply put, it wasn’t very special. At all.

That all changes for 2019, as Toyota’s making amends for its weak earlier effort. With its new Corolla hatch (the iM name disappears, erasing the last trace of Scion from the automotive landscape), the automaker hoped to create a car owners might actually want to toss around — and one they can drive without going nuts finding a proper driving position.

(Full disclosure: Toyota flew me to Del Mar, California to test both this model and the 2019 Avalon. Well balanced, high-fiber meals were served over the duration of the trip, and my hotel room had a view of the ocean. I covered my drinks at the hotel bar. Who knew Bulleit could be so pricey?)

It’s not just the sheetmetal that’s changed for 2019. Beneath the Corolla Hatchback, which wears the Auris name overseas, lies Toyota’s TNGA platform — a stiff piece of architecture that, along with a multi-link rear suspension, improves the car’s strength and handling. Torsional rigidity is up by 60 percent. You’ll find the same architecture under the Corolla sedan come 2020.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Whereas the iM was a sharp-edged wedge, Toyota designers figured a conventional, if sportier, silhouette with a trademark large grille would help lure millennials into the dealer. Headlights resembling axe blades complete the newly menacing front end. As for the rear, creases abound, and Toyota brass were quick to mention the sharply raked liftgate shuns metal for a plastic resin in order to make it happen.

The body’s strong enough to allow a composite hatch, said Corolla product specialist Adam Lovelady. That body, by the way, now boasts a 1.5 inch longer wheelbase, and the new platform sees ground clearance drop half an inch, with a roughly inch wider track, front and rear.

Expect two flavors when the Corolla hatch goes on sale this summer: SE and XSE, both decked out with plenty of standard kit and each containing the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Rated at 168 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque, the mill provides insurance against the kind of complaints that dogged the iM. (Mainly, that the 137 hp, 126 lb-ft 1.8-liter in that model caused narcolepsy.)

In both SE and uplevel XSE trim, the new Dynamic Force 2.0-liter moves the 3,060-pound hatch with greater gusto than its tepid predecessor. It’s no five-door Supra, but it’s no slouch, either. The engine makes its presence heard, especially in the SE, without coming across as too raucous. Spring for an XSE and the added sound deadening mutes it further.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

After learning the engine’s specs, I couldn’t help but think of the base powerplant in the Corolla hatch’s main competitor: the Hyundai Elantra GT. Also a 2.0-liter, the Hyundai’s mill generates 162 hp and 150 lb-ft. A slight edge for the Corolla, but there’s a turbocharged upgrade on offer with the Koreans. The Civic hatch dons a 1.5-liter turbo four of 174 hp and 167 lb-ft (in manual guise).

True, it isn’t in Toyota’s nature to give buyers everything they want, but you can’t say it ignored the cries of purists yearning for a little fun in their commute. Both the SE and XSE come with a choice of transmissions — a “intelligent” six-speed manual and a Dynamic Shift continuously variable automatic with a physical first gear for quicker launches. The iM CVT’s takeoffs are best described as sluggish, so it’s a welcome upgrade.

While the launch gear certainly moves the Corolla off the line with more authority (CVTs also gain a sport mode not found in manual trims), it’s hard to resist the pull of a stick. In general, that is. The Corolla hatch’s six-speed adds rev-matching for drama-free downshifts, though you’ll need to keep your shift speed somewhere between languid and wham-bam to see it in action. A brake hold function keeps the car stationary for uphill launches. It’s a great-looking setup on paper, but I’m sad to report that a light clutch pedal and long throws drained some of the joy from this row-your-own experience.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Toyota claims a wider ratio spread for the CVT, but doesn’t have the figures to back up its promise of improved fuel economy just yet. If you’re in the mood for a finger workout, 10 simulated gear ratios await those willing to work the flappy paddles.

The Corolla hatch proved nimble and well mannered on the less-than-challenging roads of Oceanside and Rancho Santa Fe. Steering is precise, though fairly light for a would-be sporty car. A touch of the “sport” button firms the wheel up nicely.

More power and precision is great, but it adds up to a lost sale if you can’t occupy the car without experiencing physical pain and mental anguish. What’s most impressive about this new model — especially for a writer who described the iM as one of the most uncomfortable cars he’s ever driven — is its vastly improved interior. “Sensuous minimalism,” Toyota calls it, and it’s nothing short of a revelation.

In the iM, finding a comfy seating position was impossible. Not hard — impossible. The ultra soft cushioning meant my butt sank halfway to China, and lower back support was missing like a Malaysian airliner. What’s worse, the door-mounted armrest was so low, you couldn’t rest your elbow on it and maintain a grip on the wheel. The new Corolla gets everything right — you’ll hear not one gripe about front seat comfort from this guy. It’s an improvement over the base Elantra GT, too.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

In two-tone guise, the cabin appears classy and airy. There’s no handbrake to clutter up the console in either model, visibility is good, and the materials look and feel appropriate for the car’s class. Infotainment comes via an 8-inch touchscreen mounted high on the dash, and with it comes Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa connectivity, plus Entune 3.0 audio.

Few compact cars offer up the kind of rear legroom my 6’4″ frame demands, so I wasn’t shocked to discover cramped quarters when I climbed back there (the below photo shows the driver’s seat in a rearward “Steph” position). Behind those seats lies 18.1 cubic feet of cargo area — roughly seven cubes less than the Elantra GT and Honda Civic hatch. Blame the car’s sportier profile for that.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

What’ll a Corolla Hatch set you back? Toyota’s not divulging details until closer to the on-sale date. Still, buyers of SE models aren’t exactly climbing into a bare-bones stripper. 16-inch wheels come standard, as does Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 — a suite of driving aids comprised of lane departure alert with steering assist, forward collision warning, brake assist, and automatic emergency braking. The pre-collision system now recognizes daytime bicyclists as well as pedestrians. Full-speed dynamic radar cruise control comes standard in all Corolla hatch models sold with a CVT, allowing feet-off cruising from 0 to 110 mph. Stick shift models make do with regular dynamic cruise.

There’s also automatic high beams and a lane-keeping system that mimics the preceding vehicle if painted markings disappear.

 

SE buyers receive single-zone automatic climate control, Smart Key entry with push-button ignition, heated mirrors, LED headlamps, and paddle shifters with 10 simulated gear ratios for the CVT. XSE models enjoy all of these features, plus 18-inch wheels, a grille outlined in chrome, LED fog lamps, leather seating, 7-inch multi-information display (up from 4.2 inches on SE), and adaptive lighting on CVT models.

Unfortunately, manual transmission models eschew blind spot monitoring — a safety feature high on many buyers’ must-have list.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Toyota could have easily eyed the North American car market and said “screw it,” relegating the Auris to the overseas crowd and letting its Corolla sedan do all the work in the compact car space. It deserves kudos for resisting the urge. The new Corolla hatch rights all the wrongs of the old iM, and looks good doing it.

It’s not a perfect execution, but it’s nice to see an automaker put time and effort into a versatile small car that encourages drivers to have a little fun.

[Images: Steph Willems/TTAC]

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83 Comments on “2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback First Drive – Doing It Right the Second Time...”


  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Sunroof standard or optional?

  • avatar
    IBx1

    “Conceived by Scion” = Imported the Auris with a different badge

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      Exactly! the Auris was the basis for the Toyota Matrix and the Pontiac Vibe. They debut in 2003. I know this because I owned a 2003 Matrix. Like most Toyotas it was well-made, versatile, and soldiered on for almost 200,000 miles. Toyota discontinued sales of the Matrix in the US shortly before Pontiac was swept into the trash bin of car-history but the Auris lived on.

      • 0 avatar
        scott25

        The Auris didn’t have much to do with the Matrix other than sharing a platform with the 2nd gen Matrix and Corolla of the time. The 1st gen Matrix predated the Auris by 3 years. They just happened to share a body style and were both marketed as a hatchback companion to the Corolla in their respective markets (Europe and Japan had a seperate Corolla hatch in the early 00’s that wasn’t sold here)

        The original Vibe was sold as the Toyota Voltz in Japan.

      • 0 avatar
        djsyndrome

        I owned an ’03 Matrix XRS – 8 years and 250k miles of almost trouble-free motoring. Great little car. This seems like the spiritual successor, but without a Yamaha engine :

        Not sure where you got your understandings of the Matrix’ history though.

        It wasn’t “based on” the Auris, which didn’t exist until 2006. Both G1 and G2 Matrixes were on the old MC platform; the G1 and G2 Auris was on the New MC platform (ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_MC_platform#New_MC). G3 Auris/Corolla hatch rides on TGNA.

        Also: Pontiac died in 2010 (and the short-lived G2 Vibe with it), but the Matrix lived on until MY 2014.

  • avatar
    incautious

    and with a face only a mother could love.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    It’s better than the iM, but I’ll keep my Golf thanks. That cargo area is darn near useless in that shape. One of the reasons to buy hatches/wagons is for versatility and that design severely reduces that. See also Cadillac CTS wagon and nearly anything in the form over function category.

    And a CVT? Noooope. And why can’t you get BSM with the stick shift cars?

  • avatar
    tonyola

    …”and lower back support was missing like a Malaysian airliner.”

    Trying for a Tom McCahill writing style? Needs a little work.

  • avatar
    threeer

    An improvement over the outgoing iM, but what’s with the current design cue to tick up the rear passenger area by the C-pillar? That’s become a thing with Toyota. While likely not as engaging as Golf, glad to see not everybody is running away from hatchbacks (that aren’t on stilts with gobs of plastic cladding). Would be fun to take a day to test drive this, the Golf and the Elantra GT, al with manual transmissions, of course…

  • avatar
    gasser

    Nice write up, but the photo of the back seat would be more useful to us if instead of having the front seat set for “Steph”, you adjusted it for the average 5’9” driver.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenn

      I thought the same: when taking interior photos (and discussing ergonomics), the front seat should be adjusted for an average-height adult, though it’s helpful that the reviewer gave his height at 6’4″. The rear legroom photo is kinda like seeing photos of a very tall individual reviewing a small motorcycle and describing it as feeling “cramped.”

  • avatar
    theBrandler

    How is less than 200hp on a 3000+lb car even remotely acceptable in 2018?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      If 15 pounds per horse is too many for you, roll the windows down.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      And, 3,060 lbs.? I remember when something like this would weigh 2,200.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Agreed. A Yaris hatch probably has as much cargo space and weighs something like 800lb less.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          And when hit by a CUV, crumples up like a wad of tissue paper, while sounding like a tin can full of marbles while driving down the road. No thanks. There is always the Mitsubishi Mirage if you really want a properly light small car.

          I appreciate light cars, but if I have to drive it every day I would like some peace and quiet. My Golf is just as quiet as my 3-series.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        I drive a modern car that weighs 2300lbs. It is…not quiet inside.

        Also, for what it’s worth, the outgoing iM had about the same interior volume as an ’88 Camry, which as per an old Car & Driver test, clocked in at about 2800lbs.

      • 0 avatar
        jbm0866

        Something like this that weighs 2200 lbs wouldn’t have 8 airbags, power everything, a handful of cameras for safety tech and would crush like a tin can in a rollover accident.

        Blame ever increasing safety regulations plus buyers these expecting all sorts of luxury/safety tech goodies in even a lower end hatchback. Everything added to a car increases weight..

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Ask the millions of folks buying 4 banger Camcords and pretty much any mainstream compact crossover.

      I had an Accord loaner a while back… the last body with the 2.4 & CVT. It had more than enough power to make satisfactory progress.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Well, considering that pretty much all compact cars start with base engines less than 200hp, I would say it’s highly acceptable.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        I just picked up a 2017 Impala LT that weighs 3700 LBS with the base 197 HP 2.5 and it has plenty of pickup for everyday driving. Sure it doesn’t have snap you in the seatback power like the V6 models but it moves right out with ease and loves to charge up to 85 MPH if i’m not paying attention. It wasn’t all that long ago when it took a large displacement V8 to get up to 200 HP but torque was always greater on the big V8’s.

    • 0 avatar
      HahnZahn

      Where you going with 200hp? Roads near any city are more crowded every day. This is a commuter car, and I dunno about you, but my commute sucks. I could have a Bugatti here in SoCal and still not get anywhere faster than this car.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      Up until this model year, a base GTI had 210 hp, had a curb weight that was within a couple of cats of 3,000 lbs, and did 0-60 in around 6 seconds flat. Is that car borderline “acceptable?” Come on.

      And I’m all for complaining about today’s cars’ heft until I think about crashing an old Yaris (or my old Mk2 Jetta) vs crashing something modern, and then I stop complaining. I currently drive a 19 year-old 2,300 lb car, and that has its benefits, but it sure has its drawbacks, too.

  • avatar
    ernest

    OK, I like it. Except for the “iPad glued to the dash” look that’s so popular lately.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      I hate the look too, in everything that it’s in. Which is getting to be, well, everything. At least Audi lets it drop into the dash, but it’s an Audi so that could go wrong…

      However, I had a Toyota Yaris iA (or whatever) as a rental and it worked well. Mazda’s whole MMI was very nice. Not as much eyes on screen time due to the placement and the MMI controller fell readily to hand and was rather intuitive.

      A shame the Entune system in our 40k+ Sienna SE is such crap.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Do you mean, you would rather have something like Q50?

  • avatar
    FOG

    What is with the Wayne’s World Pacer Blue? It hurt my eyes.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Speaking as an owner of a 2014 2.0L Elantra GT, rest assured that numbers on paper don’t always translate into real world performance.

    If that car has 173 horsepower, I sure as hell can’t find it. It can’t rev past 4000 RPM without running out of breath, making for a horribly narrow power band. If I push it hard and try to get to 5000 RPM it actually seems to recover a bit, but by then it sounds like I’m killing the car.

    I’ve driven it and my daughter’s 2012 Kia Soul 2.0L back to back and wish like hell my car had her engine in it. The Soul can rev higher with ease and accelerate better; the shift action seems identical in both cars so I guess it’s just a limitation of the Elantra’s engine.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Good to see that the Polestar Blue trend is still continuing. That shade looks really good on this car.

    Looks good from the front but don’t really like the rear, pretty much everything past the A-pillar is pure last two generations of Mazda 3. Which seems to be the in-car to copy nowadays. Except for the Elantra Sport, which mimicked the Golf.

    Might be worth a test drive if it rides as smooth and has seats as comfy as the C-HR, and has typical Toyota pricing (IE far cheaper than everyone else except GM, in Canada at least)

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I agree with our assessment on the exterior, both in that this is one of the best implementations of Toyota’s new styling on the front, and that the rear does remind me of Mazda’s hatchbacks, but perhaps more so something like an Opel Astra.

      I hope that the heavier curb weight pays off in a ride/NVH closer to a Golf than something Mazda/Scion. The small size of the hatch would keep me from ever considering it, unfortunately. Aside from that it looks like a solid bet for someone’s next commuter for 10-20 years that’s more interesting than a regular Corolla sedan. Damning with faint praise perhaps, but that’s how I see it, and it’s no bad thing necessarily.

      • 0 avatar
        scott25

        I forgot about the Astra and that this was most likely styled by Europeans. It ripped off the Astra which ripped off the Giulietta which probably ripped off something else, and all of these cars have steadily become more steeply raked at the rear. Eventually hatchbacks will all become liftbacks again.

        I’m not sure if the CVT will last 20 or even 10 years, but manual ones will for sure last that long, just like the thousands of cockroach Matrixes and Vibes plying the roads nowadays.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Yeah I’m really curious to see how Toyota’s mass use of the CVT in ’14+ Corollas will play out long term, Subaru as well for that matter. I haven’t heard of any real horror stories from Outbacks yet, and they’ve been using it since 2010 (8 years and counting).

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Yea, in Subaru camp horror belongs to engine. The disappointment on this car will felt by those who wants to drive MT. This light Toyota clutch is a killer.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I don’t get the complaints about a light clutch. You want a knee-buster like an old musclecar?

            Not seeing the downside, but of course I haven’t driven one of these.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    The back end of this car is packed with compromises. The sloping roofline takes away the cargo room that’s the main advantage of a hatch, rear seat legroom similarly is uselessly small, the plastic hatch will shatter rather than merely dent in a fender bender, and the reflectors all over the rear bumper will turn the slightest parking lot altercation into expensive repairs for more shattered plastic.

    Given this car’s continued void of fun, where’s the offsetting practicality? I guess it’s the fabled Toyota durability, which will give you more years to curse yourself for reflexively choosing a car by brand name.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      It’s tough to tell how much rear leg room there is or isn’t. Per Steph’s description, the driver’s seat is cranked way back in that photo. (Dear reviewers: Would it kill you to try multiple positions for the front seat and photograph or describe your findings? Everyone seems to overlook this.)

      I agree that a true two-box shape is more efficient, but that doesn’t mean other hatchbacks aren’t useful in an overall sense. The advantage of hatches is as much the size of the opening as it is the cubic feet. The largest thing I’ve hauled in the past 10 years, a new toilet in its shipping box, would have fit fine in this Corolla but would have been a struggle in any currently produced sedan. Yeah, a Golf would have had even more room to spare, but that doesn’t render a sloping hatch pointless.

      Nissan seems to have had success with plastic hatches on several models, so I expect it’ll be a non-issue on this Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        It’s tough to tell how much rear leg room there is or isn’t…

        Compounding it would be that each manufacturer seems to take a slightly different approach to measurement. I would hope that most of the auto-journos measure the same way instead of just parroting the company line.

        I appreciate that when C&D does its more comprehensive tests it post a little video of someone trying to get in and out of the back and front seats (while giving you some stats). I great measure of rear seat room would be to put a rear-facing car seat in the back passenger side and report how little legroom the front passenger has once installation is completed.

        (Says the Dad anticipating Child #2 in August ’18 and new vehicle purchase in Summer ’19.)

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Congratulations, but didn’t you already acquire a Highlander?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Which will have approximately 150,000 miles on it by then. I purchased it at 46,000 miles and it is boring me to death. I’ve never gotten sick and tired of a car before but putting 100,000 miles on a Highlander has done that to me.

            Nothing wrong with it, just bored. I’m not good at automotive monogamy if I’m racking up the miles.

            The big determinant on what I purchase will be whether we decide to “go for 3” or not. Honestly I’d rather not have a 3 row vehicle cause I get drafted to do things like haul people around when they visit.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Give in to the Dark Side: large sedan :D

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            That’s what I’m thinking…

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I’m trying to think of a 3-row vehicle that would be interesting. The E400 wagon has jump seats!

            Are three car/booster seats abreast possible in an LS460L? No carpool requests will be made and that’s got to be a more pleasant way to tick 100K miles by than a Highlander.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Durango R/T?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Are three car/booster seats abreast possible in an LS460L?”

            Yes, from what Dal explained (SWB or LWB).

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Feathers, valid point about the practicality of a hatch opening. The “success” of the Nissan plastic hatches depends on how you define “success” – I recall seeing a Rogue in a parking lot whose hatch had been successfully shattered in a previous accident that would have merely dented a metal one. It’s part of the reason I typed this post.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          Ah, I have a friend who had a plastic-hatched Murano for about 10 years without a problem, which doesn’t necessarily mean you’re wrong about the all-or-nothing nature of damage these could sustain. I recall seeing one or two Saturns with shattered body panels, but for the most part I think they held up better (at least in terms of cosmetic damage to fenders and doors) than most of their competitors. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I’d rather take the chance on it shattering in an accident than rusting in everyday use.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Reminds me of my mom’s old Corolla FX. Not necessarily in a good way.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        Chalk me up for Toyota boredom too. We’ve only put 12,000 on our Sienna SE and both the wife (who is only a car person by marriage) dislikes it so much that we’re ready to ditch it for another Odyssey even though we’re only a year into a three year lease. This is the most “exciting” minivan Toyota makes and we aren’t loving it.

        I love the style of the SE. But all the little things in this segment that make a difference, IMHO, Honda does better.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          gearhead test drive a a Pacifica. Yes this is me an unabashed Toyota partisan recommending an FCA product to someone with a Sienna. No guarantees on how it’ll hold up, but it is a fantastic driving vehicle IMO, and insane bang for the buck on the lightly used market (or new, for that matter).

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Been spending some time Googling about which vehicles will fit 3 across… interesting.

            Although investing in a Diono Radian I’d likely be able to get 3 across a much larger slice of vehicles.

            I do like the Durango but worry about reliability, HEMI would certainly keep things interesting. Given the miles I put on I’m probably going to turn into that guy who buys a car, pays it off, and because I can’t take it anymore… trades it in on the next one.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Our old friend Alex Dykes is quite fond of them for their driving manners and not necessarily just for the Hemi punch. The LX-based stuff does indeed ride and handle like more expensive goods (ML Merc bones for Grand Cherokee and Durango). I don’t have any sort of anecdotal evidence or anything as to how they might hold up. I inherently suspect that given the weight and historic precedent that various suspension bushings and balljoints won’t last as long as a Toyota, and maybe a smattering of infotainment related things, but nothing catastrophic or expensive with the engine or transmission.

  • avatar

    I like it….a lot. Something I thought I’d never say about a Corolla. It’s nice to see a small hatch in a world that is becoming CUV-crazed. There’s a hint of Opel in the design.

    My primary question is where is this built? The Mississippi plant building the regular Corollas that Toyota just increased the shifts at, or will it be made in Japan like the outgoing iM?

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      The outgoing Auris was made in the UK and Japan, and Euro market versions of the new one are continuing to come from the UK, so Japan seems like a fairly safe bet. Another thing it has going for it for a lot of people, since most of the rest of the compact segment is Mexican-built nowadays. Other than the Corolla, Civic and Cruze anyway. Of course the Civic hatch manages to come over from the UK so it’s not out of the question.

    • 0 avatar
      sutherland555

      No kidding. Toyota finally made something that I would actually consider buying were I in the market for a new car. I’d have to get seat time first obviously but I have literally never considered buying a Toyota ever before so that’s still saying something.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      The I am I was sitting in during car show was J-vin

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Two big things here: the 1.8 is finally gone, and a 6’4″ driver can be comfortable behind the wheel in a compact Toyota.

    Nonexistent rear seat room behind a 6’4″ driver isn’t informative, however.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      It was time for the 1.8 to shuffle off. Good reliable little engine (especially after they switched to a timing chain in the late 90s) but thrashy little [email protected] that had to be reved aggressively.

      The only issue my wife ever had with her old Vibe (regarding the 1.8) was that the dipstick tube broke off at the block. Had to be welded back on.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        “(especially after they switched to a timing chain in the late 90s) ”

        FWIW that was two different engine families, the belt driven 90s ones were A-family, twin cam 4AFE/4AGE (1.6L) and 7AFE (1.8L). Then with the AE-110 body Corolla came the ZZ engine family with a chain drive and more power. Both are pretty long lived, the caveat being they tend to start burning oil past 150k, and the 1ZZ is more inclined to do so than the earlier A. I think the issue in both cases stems from emissions driven efforts that made the engines run hotter, which caused oil to coke up in the piston oil drainage holes on the oil rings. The oil rings would end up freezing up and not scavenging oil off the cylinder walls as well, and the cars would acquire quite an appetite. Now, if you just keep up with the oil level the car can run in this steady state for a long time. But fairly often the owner would neglect to keep up and serious engine problems would result. The true fix is to take the top end apart, take the pistons out, drill out the holes and reassemble with new rings. Hardly anyone wants to do that on a $2000 Corolla/Prizm.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Hmmmmm my confusion stems from finding incorrect info on the internet (s/WHO KNEW) when researching the 120,000 mile tune up for the old Vibe. I wanted to make sure that everything got replaced that should get replaced. Some forum/website was swearing that the 1.8 had a belt at some point.

          I was always amazed she didn’t have issues because she was “forgetful” about oil changes (sometimes going 10K or more). I’m so glad to have an oil life monitor on her latest car.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            FWIW I think the ’03+ gen Corolla/Matrix with the 1ZZ 1.8L had sorted out that piston oil passage completely, I’m referring to the ’98-’02 gen Corollas as the worst offenders in that regard.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            What benefited her was that she almost never did short trips.

            Start car – not shut it down for 45 min. That generally is the sort of environment that oil likes. She also tended to shift before 4000 rpm.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “missing like a Malaysian airliner”

    Ouch, that hurt *me*.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I am curious, where is this model being built? The same place as Auris?

    “Behind those seats lies 18.1 cubic feet of cargo area — roughly seven cubes less than the Elantra GT and Honda Civic hatch. Blame the car’s sportier profile for that”

    How much did the previous platform offer?

    “manual transmission models eschew blind spot monitoring — a safety feature high on many buyers’ must-have list.”

    Just had to have more techy sh!t to break? Mirrors are too hard!

    Overall I am torn, the previous rendition was a nice value with the weakness of a lo-po motor and horribly shifting transaxle-ball-thingy. So now we corrected the drivetrain somewhat put you put a freaking Ipad on the dash which I instantly hate. Just can’t win sometimes. What sort of dashpod is it now, is that an LED screen which will crack when I look at it funny like all of these wonderful “phones” or is it the carryover one?

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      The iM I was sitting in was J-vin. For cargo I can say, “This is not station wagon, this is sport hatchback”. But believe me, you will lose love to this when you try the clutch/gear shifting action. Toyota just can’t get it right.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I put wide-angle aspherical(sp?) on both sides mirrors on my GTI and absolutely love them. MY 9-5 came with them courtesy of the PO and I like them on that too. Almost $1000 for a pair for my 3-series – don’t love them that much.

      No need for active crap to break when the old-fashioned way works.

      Agree, that center stack looks awful, but I can’t disagree with the added functionality of a high mounted screen if you must have a screen. And if it is going to be a touchscreen it has to be reachable, so it ends up on the front of the dash. You can’t do it BMW-style without something like an iDrive controller.

  • avatar
    syncro87

    Cargo bay looks small, compromised by overly sloped hatch.

  • avatar
    ArialATOMV8

    The other day I was at the Toyota Dealership waiting for my Highlander’s brakes to be serviced.

    I was talking with the salesman and they were shocked when I told them that I read Toyota would release in the US market another Corolla hatchback and best of all, there would be a option for a stick-shift aimed for the enthusiasts.

    I can’t wait to test-drive one (I’ll probably test-drive both the CVT and the Manual)to see what I think.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “A brake hold function keeps the car stationary for uphill launches. … I’m sad to report that a light clutch pedal and long throws drained some of the joy from this row-your-own experience.”

    Why they do this? The whole fun was/is to do uphill starts yourself! This is why I drive the manual! No? And yea, infamous toyota feather-light clutch. Its such a turnoff. This is why I still drive Mazda. Simply can’t find better steering/clutch/shifter/brake setup in the class.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Sure you can do better than Mazda. Volkswagon does it better. MUCH better in the case of a GTI with big brakes.

      I can handle hill starts just fine by myself, but why should I when the parts are there anyway due to the stability control? No need for the car to ever roll back unintentionally.

      I need to find one of these to see what you are on about with the clutch. I love manuals more than my luggage, but I have never once ever thought a clutch was too light.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        I don’t consider VW. My last ‘3 was $16K, My current ’17 ‘6 was $18.5K. Can I buy GTI for that? no. I don’t know how you love manuals, I on my side have 3 MT Mazdas parked outside as I write this.

  • avatar
    KevinC

    That dashboard is a non-starter. Worst implementation of the “iPad velcro’d to the dash” infotainment screen fad that I’ve seen yet. When is this horrible idea going to die?

    And why no active cruise control with the 6MT? My Golf R has it, as does our Mazda3. You can even upshift without killing it as you accelerate to your set speed. At least the 6MT is available in the top trim.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    KevinC: “When is this horrible idea going to die?”

    The moment the average human doesn’t insist on having his smartphone glued to his face every waking moment of every day. So, never.

    Cars are infotainment systems with wheels and an engine.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I soothed myself from this garish iPad dash by looking at a local ad for a ’97 Tercel Blackhawk Edition (spoiler and alloy package). Looking at that simple but handsome and ergonomic and well made dash, and handsome exterior was a sight for (very) sore eyes.


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