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2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback: iM No More

by Paul Strauss
2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback: iM No Morezoom in

What started life as the Scion iM, and then later rebadged as the Toyota Corolla iM is getting a well-deserved do-over as it bids adieu to its shaky start and becomes a proper Corolla hatchback for 2019.

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For 2019, the little 5-door received a dramatically improved new front end, which looks far more aggressive than the timid looking grille of its predecessor. A wide trapezoidal mouth sits below a pair of narrow, sculpted LED headlamps with triple “J” shaped accent lights, and just looks more sporty and modern in every way.

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But lest you think the Corolla hatch is simply a cosmetic upgrade to the Corolla iM, there are big changes throughout. For starters, the car is 1″ lower, 1.2″ wider, and 1.5″ longer in wheelbase and overall length than the Corolla iM. It’s built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA), too.

Gone is the 1.8-liter 4-banger, replaced with an all-new 2.0-liter DOHC model designed to improve efficiency, noise and vibration, performance, and reliability. With a preliminary output rating of 168 hp, it handily beats the 134 horses the prior engine made by more than 20%. There’s also a new CVT that simulates 10 sequential speeds and even has a launch gear for improved performance off the line, while the 6-speed manual is still an option. Toyota says the car also gets a new sport-tuned suspension.

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Inside, it’s basically a whole new car, with a clean, modern dashboard, packed with technology. There’s a new 8″ touchscreen which offers Entune 3.0, Wi-Fi, and integration with Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay.

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In addition, the Corolla Hatchback is the first Toyota in North America to get the upgraded Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 system, which includes pre-collision brake assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, and lane trace assist to help keep the car centered in the lane. That’s a ton of high-end tech packed into a value-priced starter car – and it’s all STANDARD equipment.

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I’m pretty excited about where Toyota is going with the new Corolla hatchback – it looks great, and is packed with upgrades and enhancements over the iM. Here’s hoping that it’s as fun to drive as it looks, and that maybe it will serve as the foundation for a proper hot hatch model down the road.

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