2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE (Manual)
2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE in Blue Flame

Consumer Guide Automotive2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE

Class: Compact Car

Miles Driven: 408

Fuel Used: 14.8

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB+
Power and PerformanceB
Fit and FinishB+
Fuel EconomyA-
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyB
Tall GuyB
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Engine Specs168-hp, 2.0L
Engine Type4-Cyl
Transmission 6-Speed Manual
Drive WheelsFront

Real-world fuel economy: 28.1

Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 28/37/31 (city/highway/combined)

Fuel type: Regular gasoline

Base price: $22,990 (not including $920 destination charge)

Options on test car: adaptive LED headlights ($415), coin holder/ashtray cup ($26), body-side molding ($239), carpet-mat package ($229) door-edge guard ($125), rear spoiler ($375), universal tablet holder ($99)

Price as tested: $25,418


Quick Hits

The great: Sporty driving personality

The good: Cooperative manual transmission

The not so good: Overall design prioritizes sporty looks over passenger and cargo space

More Corolla price and availability information


CG Says:

You know how tempting it is for some parents of tiny twins to dress them identically when going out in public. Of course, clothes don’t make the kid, and underneath the adorable matching rompers are two little beings who may already be distinct from one another in some important ways.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE (Manual)
The XSE’ s 18-inch wheels give it a sporty look, as does the bright Blue Flame paint color and optional rear-window spoiler (a $375 add-on) of our test vehicle.

This comes to mind after Consumer Guide tested a second 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback. Both were top-level XSEs and they even wore the same vivid Blue Flame paint. However, where the first car had an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) and light-gray seat, door, and dash surfaces, the second one was equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission and trimmed in black inside.

Test Drive: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE (Manual)
The redesigned-for-2019 Corolla Hatchback’s interior boasts a dynamic design and sturdy materials. The manual shifter’s throws are a bit long for some tastes, but the gearbox has a pleasant, precise feel overall.

The all-new Corolla Hatchback compact is the slightly lower, wider, and shorter replacement for the Corolla iM. It’s more powerful, too, with a switch to a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. With delivery, the 6-speed XSE starts at $23,910, which is $1100 less than the same car costs with the CVT.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE (Manual)
The Corolla’s swoopy stying carries over to its door panels. Small bins/bottle holders offer a bit of extra storage space.

CG had no problem with the performance of its first Corolla hatch. The CVT behaved itself better than some of its type have been known to do, and it delivered commendable gas mileage. The manual gearbox makes the car that much more fun to drive even if it comes at some sacrifice of fuel economy.

The stickshift Corolla comes with a cooperative, nicely balanced clutch that’s easy to operate. Shifter throws are a little long, but they’re pleasantly precise—there’s no rubberiness, and no odd reaches. Ratios seem well-spaced and play well with the 168-horsepower engine to take good advantage of its power in any gear. However, where the automatic XSE is EPA-rated for 30 mpg in city driving, 38 mpg on the highway, and 33 combined, the respective numbers with the manual are 28, 37, and 31. (One tester who cracked 35 mpg with the CVT car averaged 31.6 with the 6-speed—though with a little bit more city driving the second time.)

Responsive steering and well-managed corner roll add to the likable driving experience. As for ride, this is a small car that’s susceptible to cabin-jolting hits over various surface bumps and cracks. Tire noise was somewhat high in speedier expressway operation.

First Spin: 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan

The complete price of the manual-trans test car came to $25,418. That included seven stand-alone accessories and options. Standard equipment on all top-trim Corolla Hatchbacks includes 18-inch alloy wheels, heated power mirrors, LED headlights and taillights, leather-and-cloth upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel, 7-inch thin-film-transistor gauge display, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless access and starting, blind-spot monitoring, and the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of driving aids (though the version in the manual-transmission car lacks lane-tracing assist). The infotainment system is Toyota’s Entune 3.0 Plus with HD and satellite radio, a CD player, expanded remote-services capability, new Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility, 6-speaker AM/FM audio, auxiliary and USB ports, Bluetooth wireless capability, Scout GPS navigation link, and Wi-Fi. Safety Connect emergency-services telematics are standard on stickshift Corolla Hatchbacks.

First Spin: 2019 Mazda 3

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE (Manual)
The sloped rear roofline cuts into the available cargo space, and the load floor is a bit high, but the Corolla Hatchback still manages to offer 18 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up, and 23.3 cu. ft. with the rear seat backs folded.

Gray cloth covers the centers of the cushions and backs of the leather-rimmed seats. Soft, padded surfaces are found on the middle of the instrument panel, the top of the dash, and the front doors. Virtual driving controls show up well, and the audio system is easy to reach and use. There are convenient dials to set temperature, but the rest of the climate controls are buttons with function icons that can be difficult to read at a glance.

Front-seat passenger room is good for a compact. Rear-seat headroom is somewhat reduced. Most passengers in the second row should find passable find legroom, and there’s three-across space in the rear seat—under the right circumstances.

Interior storage is headed by an ample glove box. The covered console box is skimpy, and an open bin at the front of the console makes it difficult to reach a USB port. To the good are long pockets in the front doors and pouches on the backs of the front seats. The console, pull-down rear armrest, and each rear-door armrest incorporate open cup holders. Cargo loads onto a flat floor with space at the rear corners for bins to hold incidentals. There’s practical space with all seats in use, but for bigger loads the 60/40-split rear seats fold flush with the cargo floor to expand capacity.

It’s a relief we didn’t have both of these cars to test at the same time. We never would have been able to remember which one was Todd and which one was Ted.

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2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE (Manual)
Your fuel economy will likely take a bit of a hit, but choosing the Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE’s standard 6-speed manual transmission saves $1100 on the bottom line, and gives the car a sportier feel.

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