Some things get better with age, as the saying goes, and the fully-revised 2019 Toyota Corolla is case in point. The Corolla is one of the world’s most popular cars, with a remarkable production run that stretches over half a century. The twelfth generation Corolla steps it up with a switch to Toyota’s TNGA-C platform, which also underpins the Prius and C-HR.
Toyota offers the Corolla Hatchback in just two models for 2019: the base SE and the XSE. The SE starts around $20,000 and the XSE around $23,000. The extra $3,000 buys a slew of cool stuff, including LED fog lamps, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, a TFT digital dashboard display, an eight-inch flat-screen infotainment system, and leather-trimmed heated front buckets. A revised Corolla Sedan is due in the 2020 model year.
The 168 horsepower 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine uses dual injection and dual variable valve timing. A six-speed manual transmission with intelligent-shift is standard. I have not had the opportunity to test the manual, yet. My Blue Flame XSE tester was equipped with the dynamic shift CVT, which features a “physical-launch” first gear and paddle shifters. It feels more like a conventional automatic, with simulated gear changes – as you’ll see in the 0-60 tests at the tail of this review.
The engine is willing, the car handles well, and the standard safety features seal the deal. Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa support are icing on the cake. This one’s a winner.
2019 Toyota Corolla Safety Features
The Corolla XSE’s Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS-P) package includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, and Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Other manufacturers charge big bucks for these features.
2019 Toyota Corolla Gas Mileage
The EPA lists two estimates for the CVT Corolla Hatch: 32 city / 42 highway / 36 combined MPG and 30 city / 38 highway / 33 combined MPG. The six-speed manual carries a lower rating of 28 city / 37 highway / 31 combined MPG. I had no problem beating those numbers. A week of testing in varied conditions – as shown by our video test drive – indicate that the CVT Corolla is conservatively rated. I’m aiming to get a manual-equipped Corolla onto the test schedule in the coming months.
Fun to Drive, Capable, and Thrifty
I’ll lay it on the line. I’ve never seriously thought about owning a Toyota Corolla … until now. The five-door 2019 Corolla Hatchback is a solid little car and quite the looker. It’s fun to drive, capable, and thrifty. The departure of the Ford Focus, is a fortunate turn of events, for Toyota.