The Toyota Corolla isn't the sort of car we typically write about here at Road & Track, but this one promises to be different. For starters, it's a hatchback, and Toyota promises that it'll be fun to drive.
The Corolla Hatchback is actually a replacement for the outgoing Toyota Corolla iM, which originally started life as a Scion before the brand was killed in early 2016. Like its predecessor, the 2019 Corolla Hatchback is based on the European-market Auris, which made its debut earlier this month at the Geneva Motor Show.
Underpinning the Corolla Hatchback is Toyota's New Global Architecture (TGNA), which makes the basis for the CH-R, and the new (and genuinely impressive) Camry. Toyota worked hard to make sure TGNA was stiff, and the company says the Corolla Hatchback has 60-percent more torsional rigidity than its predecessor. That should help with handling.
An all-new 2.0-liter 168-hp four-cylinder debuts with the Corolla Hatchback too and it sounds like a neat motor. It uses both direct- and port-injection and runs a fairly high 13.0:1 compression ratio. It also has variable valve timing that uses an electric motor to move intake valves, rather than oil. There's variable valve timing on the exhaust side too, but it's a more traditional system.
But the pest part about this new motor? It comes standard with an all-new six-speed manual transmission, which offers automatic rev-matching for smooth shifts. You can get a CVT too—the first of its kind to offer a launch gear—but we'll stick with the manual.
Toyota promises good handling from the Corolla Hatchback too, thanks to a lower center of gravity than its predecessor, and revised suspension, among other things. There's also lots of new safety tech, and for the first time in a Toyota product, Apple CarPlay.
Pricing hasn't yet been announced, but we'll get our first in-person look at the Corolla Hatchback at the New York Auto Show next week. It'll be on sale this summer, and we genuinely can't wait to drive it.