Toyota to Intro Corolla Hatch in New York

Compared with the outgoing iM hatch, the Corolla 5-door is longer and wider, plus has a lighter, smaller engine and a so-called unified interior.

March 23, 2018

4 Min Read
Corolla hatchback on sale in US in summer
Corolla hatchback on sale in U.S. in summer.

Toyota will bring a new Corolla hatchback to its 2018 New York International Auto Show stage next week, today revealing details of the model replacing the Corolla iM – formerly a Scion – in its U.S. lineup.

The iM and new Corolla hatch both are based on Toyota’s successful Auris model from Europe. A new Auris hatchback was unveiled at the recent Geneva auto show.

The new ’19 Corolla hatchback is being billed by the automaker as its “most technologically advanced small car.” It rides on the compact version of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform and introduces to North America Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite of advanced safety systems.

Compared with the outgoing iM hatch, the new Corolla hatch gains 1.5 ins. (38 mm) in overall length and wheelbase. It is wider but lower in height than its predecessor, with bigger front and rear tracks.

The increased width allows for a more spacious interior, Toyota says, noting the center console is wider and longer to better separate passengers and accommodate differing physiques.

Front seats have lower hip points, and cushioning is updated to allow for better posture for both occupants and give the driver better access to the steering wheel and pedals.

Thanks to adhesives, spot welding and bracing on the TNGA platform, Toyota says the Corolla hatch is a “seamless unification of comfort and sporty controllability.” Also lending good handling characteristics is a 60% increase in torsional rigidity from the iM hatchback, the automaker says.

An updated bound stopper and stabilizer location are changes made to the car’s MacPherson-strut front suspension, while the rear multi-link suspension has shifted lower arm locations for improved toe-in angle and moved forward shock absorbers for increased cargo capacity and a reduction in longitudinal low-frequency input.

Friction is reduced in both front and rear suspensions by 40%, Toyota claims, with the car’s center of gravity lowered 0.8 ins. (20 mm).

The ’19 Corolla hatchback gets the automaker’s new 2.0L Dynamic Force 4-cyl., replacing the 1.8L in the Corolla iM.

Compared with that engine, the 2.0L is smaller and lighter. Toyota also claims a reduction in noise, vibration and harshness is due to a more rigid crankcase with an integrated stiffener as well as a ribbed oil pan.

The engine features Toyota’s D-4S direct and port fuel injection technology, dual variable valve timing with intelligence on the exhaust side and variable valve timing with intelligence by electric motor on the intake side. The motor is used in lieu of oil pressure to control the valve timing, Toyota says.

Either Toyota’s Dynamic Shift CVT, with 10 simulated step gears, or a 6-speed manual can be mated to the 2.0L.

Toyota says the CVT is unique for having a world-first launch gear in a passenger-vehicle CVT, using gear drive rather than belt drive during start from a full stop, bringing about “powerful acceleration (and) resolving the momentary sluggish feeling that was previously present during accelerator operation.”

The CVT’s belt is tuned for higher gear ratios and its angle is narrowed for 20% faster shift speeds.

In addition to pre-collision with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning with steering and automatic high beams, Safety Sense adds lane-tracing assist for its second version.

For use on highways, LTA can recognize yellow or white lines, or absent their detection, the path of the preceding vehicle. The system, able to be turned off, helps drivers stay centered in their lane.

Styling is called a mix of “emotive lines, creases and surfaces,” Toyota says, noting the car’s hood is lower than the iM’s for better forward visibility.

The Corolla hatch has a trapezoidal-shaped under grille, thin, J-shaped LED headlamps and a more steeply angled hatch for a sportier look. Toyota says the hatch is made of its super olefin polymer material and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene to lighten its weight.

Interior styling elements include matte silver and glossy piano black materials, as well as a reduction in “unnecessary lettering on switchgear” and “minimized gaps” between buttons and switches. Toyota also says it worked to unify shape, grains, gloss and colors throughout the car’s interior.

The Corolla hatch is the second Toyota, after the new Avalon large sedan, to have Apple CarPlay, a feature the automaker was a longtime holdout on. The car also has Amazon Alexa connectivity and Toyota’s Entune app system.

For the “most perceptive audiophile,” a 8-speaker, 800-watt JBL audio system is available in the car.

The new ’19 Corolla hatchback is due at Toyota’s U.S. dealers this summer.

Corolla iM sales through February fell 10.7% to 2,882, Wards Intelligence data shows, slightly more than the 9.9% decline in the Upper Small segment where the compact 5-door resides.

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