The new Corolla Hatchback has a new engine and new styling.
When Toyota decided to shut down the Scion brand a few years ago, its naming scheme for a few models became a little confusing. For example, the Scion iA became the Toyota Yaris iA (now just the Yaris) and the Scion iM became the Toyota Corolla iM. The Corolla iM is now gone and has been replaced with the Corolla Hatchback.
The two cars might look similar in passing since they’re both compact hatchbacks from the same brand, but when you take a second look, they actually look pretty different. Both cars have sharp, angular styling, but the 2019 model’s body is a little curvier. The Corolla Hatchback also has a bigger grille and more stylized headlights than the outgoing Corolla iM.
The exterior dimensions of these two cars are very similar with the Corolla Hatchback being a little taller, which means more headroom for all occupants. It’s on the smaller end of its segment, especially in length being notably smaller than the hatchback variants of competitors like the Honda Civic and the Chevrolet Cruze. This is an advantage for easy parking and agile handling, but a disadvantage for interior space.
The interior of both the Corolla iM and the Corolla Hatchback are fairly simple and straightforward, but the execution is a little better in the 2019 Hatchback model. Power-adjustable front seats are standard on the 2019 model and not available at all on the 2018 car. As for interior design, the 2019 model uses nicer materials and has a layout that’s a little more techy and ergonomically friendly to the driver.
Front seat occupants have a decent amount of space in both cars, but both also have very cramped back seats. Since it’s one of the smallest cars in its segment, it’s at the bottom of its class for rear seat legroom making the back seat almost unusable for adults.
What these cars lack in back seat space, they make up for in cargo space, which is quite generous thanks to their boxy shapes. The space is still limited by the small size of these Corollas, but they offer ample cargo room in line with their competitors, especially with the back seats folded down.
One of the biggest differences between the 2018 Corolla iM and the 2019 Corolla Hatchback is under the hood.
2018 Toyota Corolla iM Engine
1.8-liter inline four; 137 horsepower, 126 lb-ft of torque; 28 miles per gallon in the city and 36 miles per gallon on the highway
2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Engine
2.0-liter inline four; 168 hp, 155 lb-ft of torque; 32 mpg city/42 mpg hwy
The engine in the new 2019 model has a fairly significant advantage in both performance and fuel economy over the outgoing 2018 model. Both cars are available with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) or a 6-speed manual.
If you go with the manual option, you’ll be taking a hit in fuel economy in both cars. The figures listed above are for the CVT, but the manual in the Corolla iM returns 27 mpg city/35 mpg hwy and the manual in the Corolla Hatchback gets 28 mpg city/37 mpg hwy.
In terms of performance and fuel economy, the 2019 Corolla Hatchback is a clear winner over the 2018 Corolla iM.
The Corolla iM and the Corolla Hatchback come standard with different versions of the Toyota Safety Sense technology suite. The iM model has the previous-generation Toyota Safety Sense-C (TSS-C) system which includes forward-collision warning, automatic high beams, front automated emergency braking and lane-departure warning. The Hatchback model has TSS 2.0 which has everything that TSS-C has with the addition of adaptive cruise control, road-sign assist, which can actually read signs and display them on the screen in the car, and lane-keeping assist.
The 2019 Corolla Hatchback comes standard with a nice 8-in touchscreen with the Entune 3.0 infotainment system built in. It comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa and is upgradable with a JBL premium sound system. The infotainment system in the Corolla iM is a 7-in screen with an older Entune system which does not support Apple CarPlay or even SiriusXM satellite radio, which is surprising. Unfortunately, Android Auto isn’t available in either car.
The 2019 Corolla Hatchback is a pretty big jump over the iM model in safety and connectivity features.
The new name and various upgrades of the 2019 model bring with it a price hike, but they’re both still very affordable cars. The starting MSRP of the 2018 Corolla iM is $18,850 and the 2019 Corolla Hatchback starts at $19,990. The iM only has one trim with a list of options and the Hatchback is upgradable from the base SE to the higher-end XSE which starts at $22,990. Upgrading to the XSE model gives you leather seats, which are heated in the front, and 18-in alloy wheels.
Pricing for the Corolla hatchback is in line with other compact hatchbacks, but remember, it’s also smaller. In terms of size, you could get more car for about the same amount of money from other manufacturers. That said the Corolla Hatchback is still a strong value thanks to its good engine and generous standard features.
The upgrade from the Corolla iM to the Corolla Hatchback might not seem significant on the surface, but when you dig into the finer details, the new 2019 model is actually a much better car. With more advanced technology like driver-assistance features, a better-performing and more fuel-efficient engine and a nicer interior, it adds up to be a nice update to the humble compact hatch. We think the price difference is well worth it.