By on October 24, 2018

“No one wants small cars!” is the battle cry from a couple of American OEMs, primarily the one with a blue oval for its logo and a person sitting at the head table whose surname is on the building.

Toyota would like to have a word about that. Actually, so would Hyundai and a few other carmakers who seem to be doing just fine cranking out gee-whiz examples of small cars.

Like this Corolla Hatchback, for instance.

The Corolla Hatch doesn’t shy away from its workaday premise as a practical entry-level car that’ll probably get pressed into duty as someone’s first set of wheels. Sure, they’ve even placed the word hatch right in its name, a term that was once considered poison to marketers in America.

Weighing just north of 3,000 lbs and powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four (like just about everything else in its class these days) making 168 horsepower, the Corolla Hatch isn’t going to win any drag races. It is, however, a damn sight more sprightly than any of the entry-level penalty boxes of yore.

Two transmissions are available, the cheaper of which is the six-speed manual included in the car’s $19,990 sticker price. Marketers at the Big T are calling it an iMT, not because the prefix of i makes it sound cooler but because it is imbued with programming allowing it to rev-match a downshift. This will make your friends think you are Lewis Hamilton, or at least a better driver than you actually are. This goes a long way in certain age groups, mostly yoots. Up in the Great White North, Toyota Canada is using this exact model to put on driving clinics in Toronto with the goal of teaching kids how to drive a stick. We approve.

Air conditioning is standard, as it should be, deploying some noteworthy technology called S-Flow. Despite sounding like the title of an awkward 90’s boy band, this feature works to save a bit of fuel while figuring out some information about your passengers they may be embarrassed to tell you. By sensing the amount of weight in each of the front seats, S-Flow directs air only to the chairs which register an occupant, reducing the load on the HVAC system and saving a few drops of fuel.

An oddity on the Toyota build-n-price tool is the description of this car’s brakes. They are shown as discs at all four corners, which is stellar, but are listed as 15 inches in diameter. Hmm. The wheels on this SE are only 16 inches across. Rotors on the mighty Porsche 911 GT3 are 380mm on the round, which equals 15 inches. It is highly suspect to think the Corolla Hatch has brake the same size as the GT3. We’ve sent an email to Toyota for clarity.

The color shown above appeals to your extroverted author (a human who, by the way, just painted his garage floor bright red speckled with white and blue flakes – yes, I’m insufferable) and is called Blue Flame, a title once held by Ford for its F-150. Other, more subdued hues are available; mysteriously, white is extra cost. Snazzy LED lamps adorn both the front and rear.

Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a brace of USB ports … back in my day we had to make do with a single 12V cigarette lighter that should’ve been classified as a dangerous fire hazard. Even the side mirrors are heated.

Thanks to the Ford Motor Company and those of similar ilk, we’ll soon have fewer small cars costing less than $20,000 available on dealer lots. If the Toyota Corolla Hatch is any indication, though, those that remain will be worth the cash.

[Images: Toyota]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make our automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you’d like to see in our series? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars. As always, your dealer will probably sell for less.

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79 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE...”


  • avatar
    Zackman

    Interestingly, this car seems to speak to me – that is I can almost see myself owning one. I do like the Cruze hatchback as well.

    Who knows? If I ever get another car assuming my vision holds out, one of these will may on the list.

    Time will tell.

  • avatar
    RSF

    Charging extra for white paint? Toyota should be paying us for taking their oxidizing white paint. Seriously, no other manufacturer has white paint that oxidizes so fast.

  • avatar
    threeer

    My wife saw this out on the road and is very interested. We own a 2016 Chevy Cruze Hatch that should have qualified as a true Lemon (had we not bought it used). When I return from deployment next spring, there is a very, very good chance that the Corolla HATCHback (thank you, Toyota for not shying away from this) will find its way into our garage as a replacement for the Chevy. And yes, she’s entertaining allowing it to be a manual. Sure, the Corolla likely isn’t (okay, for sure isn’t) the most sporting of today’s hatches, but for daily back and forth, it should be fine…and a darn-bit more reliable than said Cruze occupying the space in our garage now.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    I had a 1987 Dodge Shadow 5-speed with a 2.2 turbo back in the day that probably weighed 200 pounds more than this car, and even after mild mods (K&N filter, exhaust, Mopar Performance computer) it only had ballpark 170 HP. I bet this Corolla is every bit as fun with a 6MT!

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I almost bought one two years ago when it was called Scion. Test drove it as well, but I wanted a manual. The dealer blew me off and wasn’t interested in ordering a manual. The automatic/CVT wasn’t that great. The car seemed very well put together but lots of blind spots and poor vision in the back. That and the lack of manual pushed me to the sedan.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Mark my words, somebody will install a loud fart can muffler and then loudly drag the clutch while downshifting the iMT.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I’ve heard plenty of opinions on what Hackett is doing to FoMoCo, I hope it works out. I’ve been told you can’t cut your way to prosperity…

    While I like the basic design of this car, I don’t care much for the “tacked on tablet” look of the infotainment system. I don’t know how those things pass crash tests, I would think something that big, propped up like that would be a hazard. Maybe the airbags cover it…

    I got a good chuckle out of the 15″ brakes with 16″ wheels and tires. Those tires must have the world’s shortest sidewalls…

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Cutting money-losing product is not a good idea? So, losing money is the way to prosperity. Nice to know that…………..

      Toyota and Hyundai and who ever else can have all the “words” they want about cars, the fact is the overwhelming majority of cars have had their sales in a free-fall for a while now. They’re doing “just fine” so long as rental fleet sales and heavy incentives prop up their numbers (the Corolla in particular is extremely dependent on rental fleets). Back away from the rental and incentive buffet, and watch the sales fall even faster. Even retail-king Honda is watching the Accord and Civic slip while the CR-V and Pilot take their places.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        You may disagree with what I wrote, but READ what I wrote: I’ve been TOLD you can’t cut your way to prosperity.

        Maybe it will work. Maybe I’d have more confidence that it would if weren’t for the current leadership. I live in the backyard of Steelcase (office furniture) and there’s not a lot of positive opinion on this guy. Which is why I also said that I hope it works out. I don’t want to see another US carmaker leave the scene.

        I’d love to see Ford do cars that would take on all comers. They don’t have to micro-slice the market, but meet the competition. Not everyone wants a SUV (well maybe they do, it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong… today) and ceding a whole market segment seems like throwing out the baby with the bath water.

        OTOH, I don’t get to see what they see and I understand that. I’m just a guy on the sidelines sharing my opinion…

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        The real question is why Ford can’t make money with cars.

  • avatar
    scathma

    “Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a brace of USB ports …”

    I’m not seeing Android Auto on the equipment list on Toyota’s website. Are you sure it’s available on this model?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      It isn’t. Toyota Motor Corporation recently relented and began offering Apple CarPlay on its cars, starting with the 2018 Camry, but cited privacy and security concerns as its reason for eschewing Android Auto.

      BMW Group (BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce) is the other company that offers Apple CarPlay but not Android Auto. And I believe BMW has Apple CarPlay connectivity as an a la carte option on most of its cars, whereas most other brands bundle it with the premium or even base infotainment systems.

  • avatar
    NutellaBC

    The new Jetta with a 6 years bumper to bumper warranty and a stick is a cheaper and so much nicer to drive. As usual with small Japanese cars, the seats are too small, the engine has zero torque, sounds busy and the suspension lacks enough wheel travel.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      A Mexican built “decontented for USA” fleet special (now that it isn’t even on sale in Europe)?

      I do hope that Ford and VW merge so you guys can see some of the better VW group cars, perhaps badged as Ford. Leons, Superbs etc.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I’ll bet the Toyota with a stick is a good bit more fun to drive aggressively. The VW 1.4TSI seems best fit for hassle free commuting paired with an automatic, there’s just not much fun to be had revving it much beyond 4k rpm. And I agree I bet the Jetta rides better and is quieter and better on the highway in general.

      As for the warranty, I’d pick a J-VIN Toyota with a naturally aspirated 2.0L engine 7 days out of the week for longevity over a Mexican-built tiny-turbo VW product.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I drove the new Jetta. I’m a big fan of VW (still, even after the TDI nonsense), but I wouldn’t call the Jetta exciting to drive at all. It’s a well-screwed-together appliance with plenty of features at a competitive price point…which is exactly what it needs to be in order to sell well.

      I haven’t yet driven the Corolla Hatch, but I bet that it drives better. The rear seats do look cramped, though, and the upcoming (TNGA-based) Corolla sedan will probably have a longer wheelbase.

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        My last experience with a Jetta was a 2011 with the 2.5 5MT. My friend had it and since everything he owns is by default better than everything somebody else owns his car was nicer than the 2013 Focus SE 5MT.

        Even though it had more power and torque than my Focus, at least on paper, I was always scared of it in traffic. It hid any power it had with its 2 or 3 overdrive gears.

      • 0 avatar
        NutellaBC

        I drove both with auto. Unfortunately, the Corolla has a lifeless steering, so it’s no Mazda 3. I suspect the 2019 Mazda 3 with a stick would be the one to get for sheer fun but the Jetta is a pleasant commuter that fills the role of a budget Camry better than the Corolla

      • 0 avatar
        NutellaBC

        I drove both with auto. Unfortunately, the Corolla has a lifeless steering, so it’s no Mazda 3. I suspect the 2019 Mazda 3 with a stick would be the one to get for sheer fun but the Jetta is a pleasant commuter that fills the role of a budget Camry better than the Corolla

  • avatar
    earthwateruser

    Thanks for another great installment of Ace of Base! I love these articles.

    Is is just me or do others also find the preponderance of rev-matching manual transmissions to be a bit…lame. I think anybody that owns a manual transmission car (or motorcycle) quickly figures out how to match revs on downshifts w/o need of software. So why has it become so widespread? Am I missing out on something? I enjoy making sure my downshifts are smooth and accurate.

    • 0 avatar
      King of Eldorado

      It would be useful in the common situation where you need to brake and downshift at the same time. Yes, I know there’s the heel-and-toe technique, but I’m guessing very few people know how to perform this awkward maneuver, much less use it routinely. They (and I) just rely on the synchronizers and tolerate the slight jolt.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        “They (and I) just rely on the synchronizers and tolerate the slight jolt.”

        Are you talking about heel-and-toe to match revs when you release the clutch pedal (once you’ve engaged the next lowest gear) or are you talking about heel-and-toe double-clutching (momentarily releasing the clutch in neutral to do the work of the synchronizers for them)?

        I don’t think there’s been a road car sold in many decades, with such lousy synchronizers that it truly needed double clutching, or one when you’d actually realize quicker downshifts by double clutching. Worn out, used, and abused manual transmissions, sure, but not new ones.

        I always use heel-and-toe for the former- matching revs so that I can smoothly and quickly release the clutch pedal as soon as I’ve engaged the next lowest gear with the gear selector. Heavy braking or light braking, doesn’t matter, there’s rarely a good reason *not* to keep the car in gear.

        • 0 avatar
          King of Eldorado

          I was referring to the former situation, when you want to blip the throttle just before sliding the lever into a lower gear, as when you’re braking just before a turn and want to be in a lower gear to accelerate after completing the turn. You really need 3 feet: one for the brake, one for the clutch, and one to blip the throttle to rev match. Heel-and-toe lets you get by with just 2 feet, but most people don’t do that; they just let off the gas and shift without rev-matching. As you say, all modern MT cars have all-synchro gears, so you can shift without rev-matching and not grind the gears, although there will be a slight jolt when you let off the clutch in the lower gear.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    Front on has the Toyota bottom-fish-feeder grille.

    From the rear it looks like an old European SEAT Leon.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Nice looking “Son of Matrix”

    The local Toyota dealer is doing a good business in these and the Mazda 2 (oops) I mean Yaris iA sedan. They are selling to the folks who HAVE TO HAVE a new car and also have very little budget.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Before talking about this positively, I would like to see how clutch/gear shifting operate. In 2011 Model it was horrible experience.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    re: Threer…

    I thought of the Cruze Hatch as I read this article. I think it looks much better, for one thing.

    I seriously considered a Cruze Hatch 2 years ago, but in the end bought a certified used Buick Regal, partly because it was hard to find an manual trans.

    From your comments, perhaps I did the right thing. It’s unfortunate yours has been a lemon–what kind of issues have you had?

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Tom,

      I bought the Cruze a few months ago used, with just at 26k. It immediately spent 6 weeks (four of which were consecutive) in the shop for various electrical issues. Chevrolet wound up replacing numerous components, including the BCM that was doing funky things to subsystems like the lights and door locks. Had I bought the car new, the state Lemon Laws would have likely kicked in, and I would have been able to dump it (and would have). Neither Chevrolet or the dealer were willing to take it back and I had very shaky legal ground to push it.

      We liked the style of the hatchback (I prefer it tremendously over the new sedan), but the build quality is truly abysmal. Trim pieces are ill-fitting (the rub strip between the windshield and dashboard was applied so carelessly that it literally sticks out from between the glass and dash), it already has several noticeable squeaks, panels on the exterior don’t align…our old 2013 Cruze was a much better vehicle overall.

      When I get back next spring, we’ll see how the Cruze did over the winter and decide. I just don’t trust it after the electrical issues that were present and (for whatever reasons) nearly impossible for the dealership to troubleshoot properly the first (or second, or third) time. A one-year old car (even with 25K on it already) should not have major operational issues…nor should it take nearly two months to repair.

      • 0 avatar
        tomLU86

        Threer, that is BAD! The dealer must have known about these issues–or got really lucky and had a ‘lull’.

        It’s unfortunate that GM won’t work with you–doubly so as I think this a car that probably is more appealing to TTAC readers than other GM cars.

        Good luck with your deployment–and the car

      • 0 avatar
        MrKiwi

        Our 2015 Buick Enclave has been similarly unreliable. And, like you, Buick/GM will not stand behind their car. My wife was a GM loyal customer for 34 years until this, as in she refused to even test drive something that wasn’t a GM brand.

        We’re currently shopping used Acura MDX. She started off wanting a replacement Enclave; Buick’s customer relations team drove her to the point of wanting nothing to do with GM ever again.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        I think I’ve chimed in regarding threeer’s Cruze before, but I’ll do it again. This really is too bad. I had the first-gen Cruze four or so times as a rental in the ’12-’14 timeframe, and I quite liked them overall. It’s a shame GM seems to have dropped the ball with the second-gen (and that threeer got a particularly bad one). Rare chance for the General to seize some positive momentum, and they blew it.

        I haven’t driven or ridden in the second-gen, but I’m kind of perversely hoping to get one as a rental at some point so I can compare for myself.

        • 0 avatar
          tomLU86

          I had a similar experience as Featherston–I had at least 3 Gen I Cruze rentals, and I liked the way they drove, the leather seat (got lucky with 1!), and thought they were good-looking cars.

        • 0 avatar
          threeer

          Ironically, the 2013 Cruze we owned is still in the family. We “sold” it at a great discount to my son’s GF (we suspect soon-to-be fiancé). I’d take the 2013 back in a heartbeat over the 2017.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        It sounds like you’ve got a bad dealership service department in addition to a car that needs to be sorted out. I’ve had similar issues with a couple of different cars (and brands) over time, and once I got to the right dealership (for dealer only issues) it was smooth sailing.

        Good luck, I hope that these folks are competent enough to figure it out without replacing a million dollars worth of parts…

  • avatar
    stingray65

    About the same HP and 1 extra gear compared to a 30 years old BMW 325i (e30), which sold for mid-$20s in the late 1980s with less standard equipment.

    • 0 avatar
      Zipster

      Stingray:

      As a belated reply to your correspondence of yesterday which initially featured the proposed German incentives relating to the Nissan Leaf, the issues are not whether Hitler and your man did or did not have children, were vegetarians or whether I watch CNN (I read, I don’t watch much) its the advocacy of violence against dissenters, scape goating of minorities and never ending lies to consolidate and retain power that are the most obvious examples. You appear to have read a lot of superficial materials about Nazi Germany, but failed to grasp how they gained power and brought ruin to their country. There are those of us, and I include former Republican leaning commentators in that group who are alarmed by the parallels that we see.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Zipster – contrary to the woke leftists on US campuses, I don’t believe words are violence. Hitler didn’t just talk, he killed his political enemies and other “undesirables”, and shut down unfriendly media. In contrast Trump sometimes talks and tweets inflammatory words, but his words more often get taken out of context by the unfriendly media to make him look evil, stupid, or corrupt. The reality is Trump policies on border control (i.e. enforcing immigration laws), tax and regulatory relief, and better trade deals are helping the low and middle income citizens of the US with near record employment and wage growth, but I’ll be right with you manning the “resistance” barricades if Trump forcibly shuts down CNN (they currently seem to be failing pretty well on their own), arrests “troublesome” members of the courts or Democrat party, or starts sending illegals to gas chambers. In the meantime, I love how Trump tweets are driving the left insane – great entertainment which will get even better with the coming red wave in November.

        • 0 avatar
          Zipster

          Stingray:

          Your interpretation of ongoing events is rather delusional. Your understanding of history, despite being able to cite some facts is abysmal I would suggest you seek to extricate yourself from the Fox News bubble. Perhaps if you read some of the current writings of George Will, Max Boot,or Charlie Sykes, all former pro-Republican commentators, you might learn why people like yourself, who enjoy and encourage the present chaos, are pushing this country ever closer to fascism.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            Zipster – I read all the drivel from the NYT, WP, but also Nat Rev. Am.Spec., Economist, and only very rarely look at Fox, but all the people you cite are still very angry about the 2016 election results and they are the ones that are delusional. Trump’s deeds are in no way shape or form similar to Hitler, Stalin or any other left-wing “hero”, so any comparisons with them are simply signs of irrational rage and/or lack of knowledge about economics and history. The only people that are showing similarities to Hitler are on the left, where they are violently trying to shut down the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 12th, and 14th amendments of the US Constitution.

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    The first question I want answered on this kind of car: What is the real world fuel economy? The second question is: What’s it feel like after four hours on the road?

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I’d like to see this compared with the Elantra GT. The Hyundai stickers for $650 less, but there’s often tons of cash on the hood. They seem like almost the exact same car.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      A buddy of mine bought a 2018 Elantra GT a few weeks ago for $14K OTD. It was a manual-transmission model, but that was exactly what he wanted.

      I drove it and was thoroughly impressed. Hyundai/Kia’s N/A 4-cylinders are noisy, but shifting the gears yourself makes it a lot more tolerable. And it had more sound insulation than I remember from earlier iterations of their small cars.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Sunroof standard? Nope. Sunroof optional. Nope.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      That was going to be my point. I could almost get used to the blobby shape, small storage and hideous front……but why no sunroof? This and the lack of android auto makes me wonder about toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        Johnster

        Lots of people don’t care about sunroofs, and if you do, there’s always the aftermarket. After a few years the seals dry out, they inevitably leak, and you can’t always fix the problem with replacement seals.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    Does it rev match for you because you can’t press the brake and accelerator at the same time?

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    Wow did GM steal the front end for the Camaro? LOL @ GM stealing Lexus design garbage.

    GM. What a joke!

  • avatar
    Verbal

    “Blue Flame” is something that frat boys do with a cigarette lighter.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “By sensing the amount of weight in each of the front seats, S-Flow directs air only to the chairs which register an occupant, reducing the load on the HVAC system and saving a few drops of fuel.”

    Way to leverage the airbag deployment sensor!

    (I note that the weight and power are the same as the sedan.

    Which confirms my belief that the sedan is no Slow-Ass Penalty Box,either, having driven the Essentially Similar 2005.

    [30 hp less, 500 pounds less. Thus, a worse power/weight ratio than the 2019.

    Plenty zippy enough, indeed rather jumpy on the throttle.])

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      I’m not too worried about the few drops of fuel (although they are probably quantifiable on a hot day when the car has been sitting out in the sunshine), but the added comfort has got to be very noticeable.

      When I’m driving alone in hot weather, I usually adjust the vents in most of my cars so that the left window vent and both center vents are blowing on my face and the right window vent is blowing where the front seat passenger’s face would be (gotta eventually cool down the airmass inside the car, not just my face and body). When I have a passenger, I aim one of those center vents at my passenger- not sense hogging 3/4 of the cold air. But I feel a difference for the first few minutes. When I’m alone again, if I forget to point that extra center vent back at myself for the first minute or so, once I remember it then I feel the diferenence.

      Pretty smart that somebody decided to get the automatic climate control to do all this by using the in-seat airbag sensors. Kinda surprising that nobody thought of it twenty years ago…

  • avatar
    Zipster

    Stingray:

    Got any citations to support your contentions that the left is trying to shut down most of the Bill of Rights? While it would appear that you support Trump’s daily attacks on the news media that criticizes him (First Amendment?) I am surprised that you also apparently support peoples “rights” to possess firearms with high-capacity magazine (Second Amendment). Certainly you were not among the 540 who were slain or wounded by the 1100 rounds the shooter got off in 12 minutes a year ago in Las Vegas. Obviously, the recurrent mass shootings bothers you not.

    Your mention of other constitutional amendments indicate that you probably do not know what they relate to. Is it merely coincidental that the people who claim they do not watch Fox News are so adept at parroting its propaganda?

  • avatar
    Johnster

    “No one wants small cars!”

    Mostly true, but lots of people can’t afford to buy or run anything else or they don’t want to pay to drive a larger car. If you need a small car this seems like one of the better choices. (I still wish Toyota offered us the handsome Corolla station wagon offered in Europe.)

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I just had a 2018 Corolla as a rental. It was fine, it was what I expect from Toyota, nothing great and nothing really bad either. The LED headlamps were nice and the one thing I wish my Golf had (and that I miss from our Mazda)

  • avatar
    bobmaxed

    The Corolla XSE has got my attention. Not a Hot Hatch. But after living with a FiST for going on two years I think I’ll be willing to tone things down about the time that the FiST is ready to go.

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