Reports of the demise of the stick shift are – maybe – a bit premature

 
Toyota offers manual gearbox option in 2019 Corolla Hatchback

The new Toyota 2019 Corolla Hatch offers performance and value plus some innovative features in their nifty and fun-to-drive, sporty compact hatchback.  It comes in two trims powered by the same power train with each trim offering either a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) or a six-speed manual gearbox.

While most customers will go with the CVT, Toyota believes there are still drivers out there who relish a ‘stick-shifter’ drive experience at an affordable price who will appreciate the Corolla Hatch manual gearbox version.

We have driven the top trim XSE with the CVT several times this year, but had only limited time in the ‘stick’.  We recently were able to spend a full week in a Corolla XSE Hatch in and around both city and rural environs of Central Texas.  The manual gearbox did not disappoint us.

2019 Corolla Hatchback
2019 Corolla Hatch XSE iMT as tested

Our test 2019 Toyota Hatch XSE was very much complete with the exception of an available rear spoiler and optional Adaptive Front Light System.  We would have included both were we making the purchase of this Corolla Hatch XSE iMT. The spoiler mostly for the aesthetics with the adaptive lighting for the additional safety and convenience when driving at dusk or in the night.  

The delivered price for our 2019 Corolla Hatch XSE iMT as tested was $23,910. Adding those two items would have changed the delivered price to just $24,720. 

2019 Corolla Hatch

Engineered within the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) framework, the Corolla Hatch features an all-new 2.0L Dynamic Force direct injection, inline four-cylinder engine producing 168 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque.

Our Corolla Hatch was fitted with the new 6-speed iMT (Intelligent Manual Transmission) with downshift rev-matching. It features a drive mode of sorts – the iMT system is a driver selectable function.  Push the ‘iMT’ button on the console and the engine will adjust engine revolutions (rev-match) automatically when shifting gears – even if the driver is not quite in optimal clutch-to-throttle synch.   Simply, for those not comfortable with a stick shift, it mitigates that dreaded ‘throttle/clutch shudder and/or stall’ experience. 

2019 Corolla Hatch

We are proficient in operating a manual gear box and clutch, so normally do not feel the need to give an electronic assist in order to match revs when shifting.

Driving without the iMT engaged, we found the manual gearbox to be nicely tuned for this engine with crisp clutch/throttle engagement for easy shifting up and down and getting good vehicle response. We did use the ‘iMT’ several times during our week behind the wheel and found – more spirited driving situations – the downshift rev-matching added to the drive performance of the Hatch.

Fuel economy ratings for the 2019 Corolla XSE Hatch with manual gearbox is 28/37 mpg city/highway and 31 mpg combined.  Of course, with a manual gearbox, a driver’s proficiency with a stick shift will impact that number up or down.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch

Mechanical and Running Gear

Underneath, Corolla Hatch uses the all-new TNGA platform’s stronger and lighter – yet more rigid – frame. Coupled with a revised and updated front MacPherson strut suspension and similarly enhanced rear Multi-link suspension, it delivered a more balanced and planted ride.  With electric power-assisted rack and pinion steering, Active Cornering Assist and fitted with power ventilated disc brakes front and solid disc rear, the Hatch turned, cornered and braked nicely for its size.  

Our Corolla Hatch XSE ran on 18-inch Aluminum machine-finished wheels with dark gray metallic paint mounted with 225/40 R18 all-season tires.  In every drive situation during the week, this Corolla XSE iM Hatch rolled smoothly and solidly on the local roads and highways.

 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch
2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch
 
Exterior

Our test Corolla XSE Hatch iMT came in their bold signature Blue Flame color.  Exterior features included a Satin Chrome Lower Grille Surround, Dual Rear Chrome Diffusers Bi-LED Headlights, LED Fog Lamps and Heated Power Mirrors.

 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch
2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch
 
Interior

Inside, we found a nicely styled and very quiet cabin with plentiful functional and convenience features.  The simplicity of layout and accessibility of controls makes driving easy with necessary driver information provided through a 7-inch color Multi-information display.  

 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch
2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch

 

The 8-inch multi-media touchscreen (standard) at the top of the center stack is a highlight – clear, bright and easy to read. The XSE features two color Leather Trimmed Sport seating that is nicely cushioned, bolstered and contoured for comfortable driving.  Other features include Smart Key with Push-Button Start, 8-way power driver seat, 60/40-folddown rear seating, leather-wrapped steering wheel, front seat heaters and dual-zone climate control.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch
Technology and Infotainment

Corolla Hatch XSE is equipped with Toyota’s Entune 3.0 Audio Plus with App Suite Connect.  It features the 8-inch touchscreen, 6-speakers, Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay compatibility, Amazon Alexa enablement, Weather and Traffic via Entune, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth Hands-free with voice recognition and music streaming, Wi-Fi Connect from Verizon, USB auxiliary and USB charging outlets, and more.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch

Cargo space under the wide hatch – behind the second row – was a decent 18 cubic feet. Rated to seat five, we found the front seating very accommodating.  Rear seating is a bit tighter, but serviceable for most folks in most situations.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch
Safety

The Corolla Hatch comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 system. It includes Pre-Collision with Pedestrian (Daytime, Low-light and Bicycle) Detection and Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Full Stop Technology, Automatic High Beams and Road Sign Assist. 

Also, standard is the Toyota Star Safety System that includes Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, 4-wheel Anti-Lock Brakes, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist and Smart Stop Technology; plus, Blind Spot Alert, Tire Pressure Monitor System with Direct Tire Readout and Safety Connect.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch
Safety

The Corolla Hatch comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 system. It includes Pre-Collision with Pedestrian (Daytime, Low-light and Bicycle) Detection and Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Full Stop Technology, Automatic High Beams and Road Sign Assist. 

Also, standard is the Toyota Star Safety System that includes Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, 4-wheel Anti-Lock Brakes, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist and Smart Stop Technology; plus, Blind Spot Alert, Tire Pressure Monitor System with Direct Tire Readout and Safety Connect.

2019 Corolla Hatchback
2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch Lineup

The 2019 Corolla Hatch comes just two ways.  The two trim levels and two transmissions plus only a couple of packages and options makes your choices easy.

  • SE Manual     MSRP $19,990
  • SE CVT     MSRP $21,090
  • XSE Manual      MSRP $22,990
  • XSE CVT     MSRP $24,090

Options/Packages Pricing

  • Preferred SE CVT (only) – Includes Entune 3.0 Audio Plus w/App Suite, Toyota Connected Services and Blind Spot Monitor -$1,400
  • Preferred XSE CVT (only) – Includes Entune 3.0 Premium Audio w/JBL 8-speaker 800-watt system, Toyota Connected Services, Dynamic Navigation and QI Wireless Charging -$1,600
  • Rear Spoiler: $395
  • Adaptive Front Lighting System XSE grades only: $415
  • Blizzard Pearl Premium Paint on all grades: $395

See the rest of the 2019 Corolla Hatch story here: https://www.toyota.com/corollahatchback/

Corolla Sedan

Corolla for 2019 also comes in the traditional sedan starting at $18,700.  More information can be found here: https://www.toyota.com/corolla/