The last time I got to experience a fun, enthusiast minded hatchback with a six-speed and Toyota reliability was the Scion tC. It was a fun car to drive with a lot of torque for a four-cylinder without a turbocharger. Considering the engine was used in the base Camry, it had to be powerful to pull a much larger car. It also had a lot of practicality with its rear lift gate to load equipment in with decent gas mileage for longer trips.
I loved driving that car because it was simple and I was in control at all times. You could also modify it with TRD and aftermarket parts on the engine, body, lights, and interior to make it yours. It was the whole motto of Scion, to make it yours. With that, the new Corolla Hatchback has a lot to live up to.
The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, to me, is like Scion being back without it actually being back. Toyota still needs to make fun cars that are reliable. It really says something that they've decided to bring back the Corolla Hatchback as something that looks amazing, with just the right amount of sportiness to separate it from the rest of the cars in its class.
It also says a lot that they are bringing the six-speed manual transmission with this car and caters to enthusiasts rather than just the general driving public. I think this will create a new generation of tunable cars for driving fanatics. While it doesn’t have it, there could be a turbocharged version of this car in the future, but for now it’s a good base for enthusiasts to work with besides the 86. It also allows those devotees to have a car that is more practical than the 86, but still a delight to drive.
The driving characteristics felt amazing. For being an compact economy car, it was able to handle some of my 'spirit'. While I didn’t get to drive the Scion iM when it debuted, many of my peers that I talked to during my time with the 2019 Corolla all agreed this was the superior car.
For me, I feel like the styling has improved over the iM. They really put in a lot of effort into making it look good on and off the showroom. There is some torque missing from the engine, but that’s hard to make up when you go from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder to a 2.0-liter in the 2019 Corolla. While it's not exactly the Scion TC, but it makes up for it with better mileage without the loss of driving fun and rowing your own gears.
The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback has a lot to live up to, but it’s off to a great start. You get a proper six-speed gearbox and a great canvas to create your own automotive art. Scion may be gone, but its spirit lives on in the Corolla.