For a good many years, in the automotive community at least, Toyota was the butt of endless jokes that involved beige cars, most notably the rather utilitarian Camry and Corolla. Both were great cars, but had the emotional appeal of a refrigerator. The people who drove them tended to be equally mainstream.
The recent introduction of an all new Camry that is quite simply a sexy beast, shows that Toyota is ready to shed its conservative cloak and spice things up a bit.
The annual New York International Auto Show starts in a couple of days and ahead of the show, Toyota has dropped a bomb that is sure to ignite some fires in enthusiast circles.
For the 2019 model year, Toyota is bringing back the Corolla Hatchback and it is gorgeous! Even better for gearheads is the news that the Corolla Hatchback will be available with a six-speed manual transmission!
Built upon Toyota’s all new TNGA platform, Corolla Hatchback will be powered by a direct injected 2.0L four cylinder which can also be mated to a “Direct Shift” CVT unit for those who prefer a shiftless driving experience. Horsepower numbers for the powerplant have not been released yet.
This Direct Shift CVT is unique in that it combines gear driven technology with the belt driven system a CVT relies on. The most common complaint about CVT operation is that they tend to feel vague at best when leaving a stop. The system in the Corolla Hatchback uses a gear drive to leave a stop and then switches to belt drive once the car is under way. This should provide a more traditional “launch” while still offering the improved fuel economy a CVT delivers.
The front wheel drive platform features a sport tuned suspension which Toyota promises will “have its driver pining for windy roads – time and time again”. My fingers are crossed!
The manufacturer has been pushing their Toyota Safety Sense suite of active and passive driver safety aids heavily of late, so it is no surprise that the Corolla Hatchback will feature the second generation of the program, dubbed TSS 2.0.
Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist and Automatic High Beams are joined by a new technology called Lane Tracing Assist. This evolution of a lane departure warning system watches the vehicle ahead on highways and will trace that car’s path through the centre of the lane. When white or yellow lines no longer exist or are not visible it will provide steering assistance to keep the vehicle in its lane.
Today’s consumers want more than just a great car with a fun driving experience, they want a car that is an extension of their smartphone. The new Entune 3.0 audio system includes an 8.0 inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and too many related gadgets to list.
The 2019 Corolla Hatchback is set to be in dealerships this Summer.
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