Car News

Toyota Opens All-New Corolla Hatchback

Toyota has just revealed an all-new Corolla Hatchback, just ahead of the New York International Auto Show next week. The new hatch is bigger, more connected, and has an all-new engine. Oh, and it has Apple CarPlay (but not Android Auto).

What was formerly the Corolla iM is now the Corolla Hatchback. The new car grows in most dimensions. It's now longer 40 mm longer at 4,370 mm. The extra length is between the wheels, but Toyota has taken 80 mm from the nose and moved it to the rear overhang. It's also 30 mm wider, at 1,790 mm. Toyota has dropped the hood by 50 mm to improve the view out the front and increase sportiness.

The hatch has sharp creases, deep curves, and a new plastic hatch that is significantly more raked to help add style to the car this year. Toyota calls the rear diffuser and front bumper styling "Under Priority Catamaran." We're not sure what that means, but it definitely gives the car a sharp look.

The LED head and taillights are now standard, with XSE trim getting more chrome on the nose and tail. The XSE CVT models get a new adaptive front lighting system that focuses the LED beam based on speed and steering angle.

The suspension gets revised geometry compared with the old model, with revised spring and shock rates. Toyota says it has reduced friction in the suspension to give the car better steering feel, ride comfort, and handling. Toyota calls it "an uncanny blend of balance, composure, and feel that’ll have its driver pining for windy roads." That's not something that has been said about a Corolla since they were rear-wheel drive.

The new engine is a 2.0L four that is smaller and lighter than the 1.8L engine it replaces. It uses direct and port fuel injection. The engine has a surprisingly high 13.1:1 compression ratio that helps improve efficiency and power. It has variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust cams, and piston-cooling oil squirters. It uses a resin cylinder head, and Toyota says it's quieter. What it doesn't have is a power figure, as Toyota isn't releasing that just yet.

Two transmissions will be available: a new CVT and a six-speed manual. The manual box offers downshift rev-matching. It's seven kilos lighter than the old car's, and Toyota says it is one of the world's smallest transmissions. The CVT has 10 simulated gears for shift-paddle use, and a sport mode. Toyota says it's the first passenger car with a launch gear in the CVT. That gear removes the sluggish feel of a CVT pulling away from a stop and allows for a wider (and more efficient) gear ratio spread once moving.

Toyota has added to its Safety Sense system, and this car gets version 2.0. That means pre-collision with pedestrian detection that now can detect pedestrians at night and cyclists in the day. It also has lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, and full-speed radar cruise control. New for this year is Lane Tracing Assist, which can follow lane markings or the vehicle in front to make driving easier in traffic.

Inside, a new Entune Audio system comes with an 8.0-inch screen, six speakers, and CarPlay as well as Amazon Alexa integration. Optionally, Entune 3.0 Audio Plus adds HD and satellite radio with Entune connected services. Navigation is available.

Toyota calls the new interior design sensuous minimalism. It includes a thinner instrument panel for better visibility and a centre console that's 43 mm wider to give occupants more space for themselves and things like their smartphone. 

The front door pockets can hold 750 mL bottles or letter-size paper. But we wouldn't recommend both at the same time. Back seat door pockets will hold 500 mL bottles. The seats have been redesigned for easier access and improved space and comfort.

The S trim has automatic climate control, push-button start, and a 4.2-inch info display. The SE adds 16-inch alloys, heated front seats, and paddle shifters. Heated steering wheel, 18-inch alloys, and blind spot monitoring are optional. Higher trim XSE adds dual-zone climate, leather and fabric seating, an eight-way power driver seat, unique stitching and a 7.0-inch info display.

The new Corolla Hatchback is expected this summer in S, SE, and XSE trims. Expect power levels and pricing closer to then.