The hatch is back, and packed with tech. Meet Toyota’s 2019 Corolla Hatchback

The next-generation RAV4 isn’t the only new Toyota we saw at the New York Auto Show. The company also introduced the 2019 Corolla Hatch, a four-door model developed in Europe to replace the Corolla iM (formerly known as a Scion). It’s aimed at well-known compacts like the Chevrolet Cruze, the Volkswagen Golf, and the Honda Civic.

We first saw the Corolla Hatch as a Euro-spec model a few weeks ago at the Geneva auto show; it hasn’t changed much during its trip across the pond. Designers drew inspiration from bigger models like the Camry and the Avalon as they penned a front end with extra-long lights and an extra-wide grille embedded into the lower bumper. The rear end receives a similar treatment. The Corolla Hatch reflects Toyota’s ongoing efforts to make more emotional cars, especially when you compare it to the Corolla iM it replaces. The sheet metal hides the modular TNGA platform that underpins a growing number of Toyota models, including the Prius.

The big news inside is contained in the eight-inch touch screen on the dashboard. The Corolla Hatch stands proud as one of the first Toyota models offered with Apple CarPlay. Toyota finally caved after resisting to offer the software out of privacy and security concerns. It sounds like Android users are out of luck, though. The Corolla also gains Amazon Alexa integration, iPod connectivity, voice recognition, Bluetooth audio streaming, and Wi-Fi — even on the base model.

Toyota will offer only one engine at launch. It’s a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, though the firm won’t release power and torque specifications for the time being. It spins the front wheels through either a six-speed manual transmission or a fairly advanced continuously variable transmission (CVT) designed to improve fuel economy and attenuate the droning, rubber band-like acceleration often associated with this type of gearbox.

Toyota achieved this by replacing the first gear ratio with an actual gear. The Corolla shifts into its first, last, and only gear after coming to a full stop. It switches to the standard belt-drive system used by a normal CVT when you’d expect it to shift into second gear. Drivers can change gears (or virtual gears) manually by using the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles to select one of 10 pre-programmed ratios, and they can even turn on a sport mode that holds each gear for longer. The six-speed manual is comparatively super-simple. Clutch in, next gear in, clutch out.

The Corolla comes standard with tech that was reserved for large, expensive sedans just a few years ago. Every model, regardless of trim level, boasts Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) 2.0, a suite of driving aids that encompasses a a technology called pre-collision system with pedestrian detection that, according to Toyota, sees vehicles and pedestrians even at night and applies the brakes if it senses an imminent crash. TSS also includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, and a new function named lane tracing assist that keeps the car in its lane even if there are no lane markers. That’s a lot of kit for such a small car.

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch will reach showrooms this summer. The lineup will include two trim levels named SE and XSE, respectively. Pricing information hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s already shaping up to be one of the segment’s most competitive models.

Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.
Cars

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Cars

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.
Cars

Shift it yourself: How to drive stick in a manual transmission car

Driving a manual transmission car might seem intimidating at first, but it's not as difficult as you might think. Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will serve you well. Here's everything you need to know to learn how to drive…
Cars

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.
Cars

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.
Cars

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.
Cars

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.
Cars

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe teased way ahead of its November debut

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is coming to the United States, eventually. The new compact BMW won't be unveiled until the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The Gran Coupe will be based on a front-wheel drive platform.
Cars

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.
Cars

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.
Cars

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.