By on August 5, 2021

Corolla Hatch 2022

It might surprise readers to learn that the writing staff at TTAC do not spend the majority of their time in gullwinged supercars or week-old BMWs. We do occasionally put down the jar of Grey Poupon and clamber aboard practical cars – y’know, the type which people actually buy.

The humble Corolla is likely at or near the top of the list made by shoppers who want simple transportation. Your author knows more than a couple of people for whom Corolla could actually be a parallel for the term ‘default car’. This series examined the Civic a couple of months ago, so it’s only right we do the same for the other popular machine in this segment.

We’ll return to six-figure hypercars next week.

Toyota is in a unique position – for now, until Honda shows up with the Civic Hatchback later this year – in that it has both four- and five-door options for those seeking a car with the word ‘Corolla’ on its rump. The sedan has a starting price of $20,075, branded as an L trim, and equipped with a 1.8L engine making 139 horsepower. That’s harnessed by the bane of all enthusiasts, a continuously variable transmission.

Corolla Hatch 2022

For just $450 more, dealers are likely to have the LE trim in stock, adding the likes of a better infotainment system and a fold-down armrest for rear seat urchins plus a USB port back there to limit complaining about not having anywhere to charge the all-important handheld device. The LE also includes 16-inch wheels (still steelies), automatic climate control, and – oddly – variable intermittent wipers compared to the single-speed intermittent motor on the L. Your author truly thought that latter feature went out in the ’90s.

Bumping up to the 2.0L four-banger with a much more acceptable 169 horsepower and the six-speed manual in sedan form means taking a walk to the SE trim which stickers at $23,225. If it is this type of powertrain you seek (and it should be), the smart money will look across the showroom to the Corolla Hatch. Its entry-level trim is the SE, equipped with a 2.0L and the all-important stickshift. Price? Just $20,815.

Corolla Hatch 2022

Other bonuses with the SE hatchback? Despite a sticker just $290 more than the LE sedan, it features – in addition to the better drivetrain – a boatload of equipment not found on the similarly priced four-door. Push-button start is part of the deal (and yes, that makes a difference for some drivers who hate digging for keys), as is a leather-trimmed steering wheel and extra USB charging ports. Other infotainment details are equal, so that’s a wash. In terms of driving aids, the manual transmission forces deletion of lane tracing assist but all other items like dynamic radar cruise control remain intact.

Plus, it’s a hatchback. While the sedan is about 10 inches longer than the hatch, the latter has equivalent headroom and front legroom, though rear seat occupants may feel the pinch with less hip and leg space thanks to platform differences. At least the cargo area is much more versatile, so judge your priorities accordingly.

Our priorities include a manual transmission and more horsepower, making our choice easy.

Please note the prices listed here are in United States dollars and currently accurate for base prices exclusive of any fees, taxes, or rebates. Your dealer may (and should) sell for less (obscene market conditions notwithstanding). Keep your foot down, bone up on available rebates, and bargain hard.

[Images: Toyota]

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59 Comments on “The Right Spec: 2022 Toyota Corolla...”


  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “It might surprise readers to learn that the writing staff at TTAC do not spend the majority of their time in gullwinged supercars”

    I got the impression that the writing staff spent the majority of their time fretting over mask mandates!

  • avatar
    ajla

    So the hatch is a good value and the shorter length is nice in parking situations. However, compared to the sedan it is a nontrivial amount louder, it feels more cramped inside and the hatch opening isn’t great. It comes off more like a “subcompact plus” size class. The lack of utility compared to the Matrix and iM is an issue. When my mother (a longtime Matrix XR owner) tried out both versions she came away preferring the sedan.

    That said, I am a big fan of the Corolla sedan. It was my “buy” recommendation to my mother (versus a GLI and Forte GT, she bought the Kia) and it wasn’t solely due to reliability reasons, it was a nice car.

    I’m tempted to go full teeth-rattle APEX edition but you can only get that in grayscale colors. So I’m saying SE with CVT in Barcelona Red with the premium package and JBL audio. With destination that’s $26,120. Which is a lot, but a lot is expensive these days.

    • 0 avatar
      toronado

      I would agree with that. This is the default choice for a solid, reliable sedan that will age well. The new Civic is better looking than the old one and the Sentra is fine but this would be my pick all day long. I would like an XSE sedan and love the red.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      My mom got a Forte too, though hers is the non-GT. I’d definitely take that over it’s Hyundai cousin, which has been uglified.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      I guess the hatchback is the sporty/impractical version – the more enlightened countries are rewarded with a practical wagon.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I gotta say, I much prefer this feature over the previous “Ace of Base”. Those articles read too much like Everyone’s a Winner! (And frequently there was plenty of mention of all the good-value features it was missing that you wondered what *didn’t* qualify as an Ace of Base, especially since it was unlikely that many (if any) of the base spec for some of those were even made.)

  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    “Your author truly thought that latter feature went out in the ’90s.”

    Nope! The NC1 Miata (06-08) also does not have variable speed intermittment wipers. Although you can swap in a stalk from similar year Mazda3 or Mazda6 (I can’t recall which, maybe both) and get it. Five minute swapover that even my wife could do by herself. Which kind of begs the question, why didn’t Mazda just do this in the first place?

    • 0 avatar
      MGS1995

      The 2021 Rav4 LE Hybrid that I rented last week was also missing the variable intermittent feature. It also had only 1, count ’em, 1 USB port. That was occupied by Apple CarPlay so the kids were out of luck.

      • 0 avatar
        FerrariLaFerrariFace

        Meanwhile, I found out yesterday that my 1970 Triumph has variable speed wipers. Although I will leave open the possibility that this is actually a sign of failing Lucas electrics and not an actual factory feature. :)

        • 0 avatar
          theflyersfan

          Weren’t the wipers’ speed based on if you had such necessary things on such as lights, turn signals, or the vehicle? Run ’em until you smell smoke… :-)

          • 0 avatar
            FerrariLaFerrariFace

            That definitely factors in, yes.
            I added USB ports that have a digital voltmeter on it, just for fun ya know. With the engine running at idle, it shows a solid 14V. Turn on the headlights and it drops to 11.5V. Turn the wipers on full speed and you get 10.5… 10.4… 10.3… 10.2…

            Luckily it goes back to 14 when you hit the gas and start moving again. But sitting at a stoplight in the rain is a little nervewracking.

          • 0 avatar
            theflyersfan

            @Ferrari – and that’s why the old British cars are the best. New cars might be well built and reliable, but they can be sterile. What new car basically has a built-in stopwatch timer on how long your car is functional due to drain? I believe the British would call that “charm.”

            There’s that great joke mentioned in the “Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaag” Grand Tour episode. Hammond is broken down on the side of the road with his Jag doing an Old Faithful impersonation. A guy pulls over in his truck asking if he needs help (and has to be curious about the camera crew filming a steaming Jag) and asks “Do you know why the British like warm beer? Because Lucas makes refrigerators as well.” Very, very true.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I remember strolling into a Honda dealership right after the 7th-Gen Accords came out (2003-2007), and they had a full-boat EXL-NAVI (EX with Leather and Navigation) sitting on the showroom floor. But only one speed on the delay wipers! Factory goof!

      I didn’t say anything to anyone about it; I hope whoever bought that vehicle realized the error, and had the dealer make it right.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I own the predecessor to this car (Toyota Auris, aka Scion IM, aka Corolla IM), and it has been an incredible value as my first and only new car purchase. From a feature standpoint, mine checks several boxes this iteration lacks but assuming one can still get it for the quoted MSRP its likely still a great value (previous MSRP was something like 20,500, and it did not have trims everything was standard). Oh and it still being available in a manual is awesome.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The right spec for pretty much anything from Toyota is the Hybrid version, but especially so with the Corolla. Not only do you get a 50% bump in average daily driving MPG you get lower maintenance costs, better reliability, durability and resale value.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree but when I purchased the cost difference for a Prius was about 5K (no incentives IIRC) and after incentives on the IM $7.5K. Because it is the JDM Auris I don’t think the Corolla Hatchback has an non fulltime AWD option but the Corolla does now and I believe also a hybrid model. I think for 25K, a non fulltime AWD, hybrid, Corolla hatch is a serious buy for what “it is”.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Tough to beat this car for basic transportation. I do wish they’d do a GTI/Civic Si competitor, though – the performance spec apparently has a very good chassis but is stuck with the same basic engine.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    Nice car, if perhaps a little down on power by todays standards. I wonder if it will be one of the cars our government overlords will allow to run on gas after 2030.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Oh, for God’s sake. That 139HP gets you to 60 in 8 seconds.

    Let’s not pretend that’s Intolerably Slow, especially in a *base economy car*.

    (The 2.0 would be nicer, sure, though evidently rather louder, which is not great in a car already not thoroughly soundproofed, no?

    But then I also don’t want a manual transmission, because I live in the 21st century.)

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The 2.0L also gives slightly better MPG (might save you $50-$100 a year) and comes with a much better version of the CVT.

      I think it really should be the standard setup in all the nonhybrid Corollas.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        That 1.8 may be the older one which came on the MY18 and earlier Corolla. if it is, it has one distinct advantage which may be overlooked: multiport fuel injection/normal fuel system.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      “But then I also don’t want a manual transmission, because I live in the 21st century.”

      I suspect the real reason – whether you realize it or not – is that you are not a driving enthusiast. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not flaming you. You should buy the kind of car you like and I will defend your right to do so.

      But there are quite a few people on this site who, if you press them a bit, will reveal they aren’t big driving fans. And, because most people are not, the options for those who do love driving are becoming noticeably rarer with each passing year.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        So why are we on the site? It definitely is not for the cheery personalities.

        “if you press them a bit”

        What would that “pressing” even look like?

        • 0 avatar
          Steve Biro

          “So why are we on the site? It definitely is not for the cheery personalities.”

          Agreed about the personalities. Because many here like cars… or have been in the auto business. While liking cars and being a driving enthusiast often go together, they are not the same thing.

          “What would that ‘pressing’ even look like?”

          Simply engaging them in conversation. This has come out in the comments section of many a post – directly or indirectly.

          It doesn’t make them bad people. But it explains quite a bit.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Seems like splitting hairs to me. Or just some esoteric checklist you keep in your mind.

            Maybe if you said “performance driving enthusiast” instead I could see the distinction.

      • 0 avatar
        northeaster

        It’s getting harder to deal with the manual question.

        My previous new car (a B5 Passat wagon with AWD and 5 speed manual) would have been my next choice. Only problem is you can’t find a manual wagon with AWD at this point in time.

        The current A4 allroad with a DSG was as close as I could get.

        Does settling mean I don’t care? No.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          For my part, I’m not coordinated enough to handle a manual transmission in traffic!

          I can start up from a stop with nary a complaint from a clutch, and even on an upslope! Make me have to coordinate my left foot and right hand in traffic?! Fuhgettaboutit! (And I tried many times on my brother’s Integra GS! If you can’t figure it out in a Honda product from the 1990s, stick to slushboxes!)

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Where are you getting that 8 second figure from? I have rented several of these with the base 1.8/CVT in the sedans and with two aboard and the A/C on it felt closer to 10 seconds. It was definitely one of the slower cars I have driven in years.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Our daily driver is a 2013 Ford Focus SE 5-speed hatchback. Fortunately, it’s still going strong at 100k miles because I don’t know what I would buy to replace it. I’d prefer another Focus but Ford no longer makes cars. (Mustang excepted at least for now.) Since we have a local Toyota dealer, the Corolla, with the 2-liter engine and 6-speed manual, sounds like a viable alternative.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Good move skipping the automatic. I’m looking for a car for my kid, and manual Focuses are in the running. Anything I should be on the lookout for?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Freed, I think in this market for your kid you’d be better off sticking to a manual from Toyonda. I would only consider a low trim manual Focus/Fiesta at a *steep* discount to the similar Toyonda, which is pretty much what happened in the World of 2019 B.C.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @28

          The prices on the Toyondas are NUTS. In re: the Focus I was also shopping the 2008-11 model. Those seem to be cockroaches. And they are definitely cheaper than comparable Corollas or Civics.

          This one wasn’t bad at all – I’d need them to come down quite a bit, but it looks to be in nice shape.

          https://tinyurl.com/2tmjwuzc

          Any thoughts on Subarus with repaired head gaskets/water pumps?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’ve always considered the Subaru’s to have an exotic drivetrain and even with a HG repair I wouldn’t buy one. If you had receipts for every service that they are *supposed* to have, and a HG, risk goes down a bit but depending on use case I’m looking at something else. If you could procure the above and a decent entry price, it would probably be worth your time.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Thanks. Budget here is five or six grand. That buys a high-mileage Corolla or Civic (and in this price range, a lot of the Civics I’ve seen have CVTs, which I don’t want to f**k with on a high-mileage car). If you have any pro tips, I’m all ears.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Additional:

            On the Focus:, note this

            All prices include Dealer Handling fee of $599.

            So its really 7,600 + TTL and has 82K. Since used vehicle appreciation has apparently been introduced, my circuits are a little scrambled.

            The autotrader link is way to long to copy but go on Autotrader, McDonald Mazda West has an MY18 IM exactly like mine for… well an obscene amount IMO… BUT 18K on the clock. The wholesale on my IM is like 18K -more than I paid new- but say its $20,5 out the door if depreciation ever occurs again under 100K miles its not dropping below 12 in the next five years. So:

            MY18 Corolla IM 20,5 -> projected resale 2026 12K+

            Maint costs over the next five years: tires, at least one set of brakes/rotors, fluid changes if you feel like it.

            MY08 Ford Focus manual -> projected resale 2026 3K or less and hard sell bc of manual

            Maint costs over the next five years: tires, probably two sets of brakes/rotors, water pump, timing belt/chain if applicable, plugs/wires, O2 sensor/other emissions BS, other unknowns.

            I would take the $7,600 to put down on the Corolla IM and float the 13K @ 2.x% from my credit union. My refi payment which started around 13K last summer is $250/mo. So $250/mo, and little to no other expense for at least the next year/12K miles. The Ford could run that much with one pricey maintenance item plus wearables for inspection in 2022, and Ford + manual + not a Mustang = limited resale audience. Not even to mention crash testing from Focus Gen II vs newish Corolla. Days of the $500 beater which costs nothing but gas @ $1.20/gal are over.

          • 0 avatar
            spookiness

            I have ’10 Focus. Bought used @58k and I now have 135k. It has far exceeded my expectations. Lots of old people bought them, so be patient and you can find a sweet one. Get SES or SEL trim if you can, not much more than a base or SE. I was never a “wrencher” really, but they seem easy to work on, and there is a YouTube video for everything. Common issues: valve cover gasket, front sway bar end links, and engine mounts. I did end links, struts, and shocks myself and it was easy peasy. Same with engine mounts. Always buy OEM mounts. Change ATX fluid and filter per spec- I drive a lot of city driving so it gets a workout. Has an ATX cooler built into the AC condenser assembly. My lifetime MPG avg is about 30. City driving and heavy AC use dips it down to 26/27, highway is usually around 32-34. I had planned on a new car last year, then delayed to this year, now with the market I’m just going to keep waiting. I might just keep this another 2 years. Its relatively cheap to own, so getting rid of it seems foolish. I think I’ve owned it longer than any other car. I been saying to many people that it’s the best crappy used car I’ve ever owned. I take care of it, but it still looks good, and newbies riding in it are always surprised its now a 12 yo car.

      • 0 avatar
        Kendahl

        Outside of normal maintenance (tires and battery), the only things that have broken on our Focus are the door switch for the front passenger window and the motor for the driver’s window.

        • 0 avatar
          eng_alvarado90

          Agreed, there’s little to go wrong on a 5spd Focus. I have a 2012 Fiesta SE 5 spd with 140K miles and runs like a champ.
          Yes it needs a window regulator and an AC blend door under the glovebox but that’s pretty much it. Oh and the timing belt/water pump will need replacement in the next 10K miles but this is not an issue with the Focus (timing chain). It’s a solid car with good handling and power, not to mention being thousands cheaper than a comparable Toyoa/Honda/Mazda.
          I can’t find a scenario where “an expensive fix” could bring the car’s ownership cost to Toyota/Honda levels. Maybe in more than 5 years…

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Is that blend door a dashboard-out repair? I’ve heard that if the heater core goes on any recent Ford, the entire interior from the center console forward has to come out to do replace it! Probably a $100 part and $4k in labor!

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Let’s do a 2022 Corolla Hatchback XSE (I like the design a lot better than the sedan) with 6-speed manual. Finish Line Red w/ Black Roof. Only option available before dealer accessories is Adaptive Front Lighting for $415, so add that. $1,025 in delivery/processing/handling and a total price is $26,130.

    That’s Civic and mid-level Mazda3 money, but it looks like you get a lot. The Mazda3 can be a couple of thousand more.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      This is the part where I remind you what a basic GLI manual goes for… s

      (Yes, I know…)

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        Mine cost less with the DSG and optional paint. 60 more HP but infinite more trips to the service bay. And I wish there was a stick shift GLI or even GTI to be had within several hundred miles when I was looking.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    … dynamic radar cruise control remain intact…

    How does this work in a manual transmission car?

    If you’re rolling along at highway speed and traffic slows down to the point of requiring a downshift, will cruise control hold the speed until a stall, or does it reach a point where it will disengage?

    If you’re using dynamic cruise control and you upshift or downshift, does the system fully disengage when the clutch is pressed? Or does it just disengage at the shift and then reengage after the clutch pedal is lifted again?

    Truly curious.

    Second question, has Toyota improved on this system?

    I had a 2017 or 2018 Corolla and found it useless in Puget Sound traffic. It was very conservative on the safety gap, so cars would keep pulling in front, cause the Corolla to slow down more to make a new gap, causing more cars to pass. I concluded the system was only viable in light or moderate traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d imagine it works like regular cruise control on a manual – it disengages when you depress the clutch. Probably not very useful unless you’re on a long Interstate slog.

      Rented a similar-aged Corolla and agree with you on the system criticisms. I ended up shutting it off. I don’t go in for most of the driver assistance aids out there anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Did it not have the ability to adjust the gap? My 2015 Lincoln does and I find that it does work good in our Puget Sound area traffic. Yes you need to put it on the closest setting when in traffic to avoid people slipping into the space in front of you.

      It certainly would be interesting to try the Toyota with the manual trans to see how it handles situations where the speeds drop so low that you really need a downshift.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        It did – and I set it as tight as possible, it didn’t matter, it left a pretty massive gap.

        On my 2017 Lacrosse, I can set the follow distance also, and on the tightest setting, it is very aggressive. In heavy traffic I use that setting. In moderate or light traffic I use the middle setting.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I guess it goes without saying that blue flame is the colour to get?

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      manual focuses and fiestas are going to be the only ones NOT in the junkyard. the AT really was that bad.

      didnt really care for that smurf blue either when ford was using those colors a decade or so ago./

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    What? Nothing telling us what paint colors are available on each trim line? You must be slipping!

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    As Yoda would say, “Thin on the ground these are!”

    Looking within 100 miles of my zip code, there are 334 Corollas, 326 sedans and 8 hatches. Of the hatches, there are four with a clutch pedal, one of which is the SE. There are also four sedans with manuals.

    If you want a non-sporty compact and you live in the USA, I’d get that soon, I don’t know how much longer they’ll be around.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I saw a Corolla hatch yesterday in traffic, it’s a darn attractive car, maybe the only good-looking Toyota.

  • avatar
    jf2669

    Just bought one of these 2 weeks ago. 2021 SE hatchback with few options (no spare/increased cargo area plus floor mats). It is a CVT. I am planning to use it to commute to work and back in a metropolitan area and really wanted the ease of an automatic. I also like the extra mpg the cvt and the 16″ wheels provide. Driving it on a 100 mile 2 lane highway trip produced indicated 47 mpg. It is a high value for the $ car. Happy with my purchase. Looks just like the photo in the story but is black.

  • avatar
    Polka King

    Angry, ugly, hostile face. But what else is new.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Why not a column on a vehicle that will actually sell more than a ‘handful’ of models, the Toyota Corolla Cross? I am eagerly awaiting TTAC’s comments on that vehicle.

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