Toyota introduced the Corolla to the world in 1966. Since that time more than 44 million vehicles have been sold. Definitely an icon for the brand.

The new Hatchback has been the most dramatic change in the Corolla culture. It replaces the Corolla iM, known in the United States as the Scion iM and proclaimed in Europe as the Auris.

This Corolla has a sporty new exterior that synergizes with a high-quality interior. It champions over all width-to-height ratios for a more appealing stance. Wheel flares are emphasized to create a striking presence with a low center of gravity presence.

The shorter and lower hatchback dimensions produce an athletic form. The upper grille and headlamps are connected in a thin linear shape for a sporty look. The assertive honeycomb mesh grille, in an inverted trapezoid shape, flows forward.

The Hatchback will be offered in two trim levels: SE and XSE, both available with either six-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) or Dynamic Shift CVT. The power comes from a 2.0 L four-cylinder engine producing 168 hp and 151 lb.-ft. of torque. That power is good enough for a 0–60 dash in 8.7 seconds.

On the SE model, gloss gun-metallic paint lower-grille surround is the focal point of the front fascia, while the car sits on 16-inch aluminum, silver-metallic painted wheels. The XSE model steps up the game with a classy satin chrome-plated front-grille surround and 18-inch wheels that are aluminum bright, machine-finished with dark gray metallic paint.

The available exterior colors include Blizzard Pearl, Silver Metallic, Midnight Black, Galactic Aqua Mica, Scarlet, Oxide Bronze, and Blue Flame.

The compact instrument panel gives a more open feeling with a tall and wide console to achieve a high-quality impression. The design of the center display pad connects the flow from the dash to the door trim, producing a dynamic yet relaxing atmosphere. The console and instrument panel don’t actually connect, which makes for the more open feeling.

The interior of the 2019 Corolla Hatchback. (Courtesy of Toyota Newsroom)

For me, the most intriguing feature was the comfortable redesigned seats. The front seat’s hip point has been lowered and the cushioning has been improved to let the driver achieve a good driving posture—so simple, yet so ingenious.

The front occupants in the SE enjoy six-way adjustable seats, while the XSE model has combination leather-heated front seats with an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support.

The rear 60/40 split fold-down seating adds flexibility, providing lots of room not only for the passengers but also the cargo. In fact, the trunk has a large 18 cubic feet of cargo space.

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback received longer armrests, adding to the passenger’s comfort on long trips. Like the front seats, the rear seat cushion has also been revised for a more supportive feel and optimal pressure distribution, enhancing comfort that accompanies excellent leg room.

Even the base SE model is equipped with a three-door SmartKey system and auto up/down windows, continuing the trend for convenience and comfort.

Behind the steering wheel of the XSE, the new 7-inch multi-information display relays important data like mileage, fuel economy, navigation, audio system, and warning messages.

The Standard Entune 3.0 Audio lives behind an 8-inch touchscreen that commands key functions such as music, communication, location, and safety features. The infotainment system supports Apple CarPlay, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free phone capability, plus voice recognition. Music is produced through six speakers. These are wonderful features.

For safety, standard on Toyota vehicles is the Toyota Star Safety System, which includes stability control, traction control, brake-force distribution, ABS, and Smart Stop.

The new Corolla Hatchback goes one step further with standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. Dynamic Cruise Control, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, and lane-departure alert with steering assist, among some of the numerous features available.

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback should hit the showrooms this July, with an estimated price of $19,000 to $21,000.

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this publication or at