Auto review by Veeno Dewan

The Toyota Corolla hatchback is a five-door version of the trusty Corolla sedan and an interesting addition to the range. sitting  taller, and boxier than the Corolla sedan. It a cool, neat looking car that is extremely attractive with the black roof option- especially on our red “Finish Line” painted tester. Smart gloss black painted18-inch wheels finished off the sporty, cheeky styled car. Interior wise, there is more room and versatility than the Corolla sedan The cabin design is smart, modern, and  nicely finished. Entry, exit  and good visibility is also a plus for families with kids and older buyers.

The Corolla HB  is powered  by a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine delivering 169 hp in conjunction with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

In terms of models and pricing, the 2023 Corolla HB has a starting price of $23,490 for the base model, which includes the Toyota Safety Sense suite of safety systems. The range continues with: LE, LE Premium and XLE trims. The entry-level L trim has heated front seats, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, power windows and locks, air conditioning, and heated door mirrors among others standard features.

The  LE adds alloy wheels, tinted windows, automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, an eight-inch touchscreen, and two USB ports on the rear of the centre console. The top XLE Option pack as fitted to our tester included:  XSE – Premium Colour with Black Roof $7,195. wireless Charging, Heated Steering Wheel, Heated Front Seats, Blind Spot Monitor with RCTA, Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel, Heated Exterior Mirrors, 8-way Power Adjustable Drivers Seat, Dual Zone Automatic Climate Control, 8 Speaker JBL Audio System, Mixed Fabric and SofTex Seats, Fog Lamps, 7-in. Colour TFT Multi Information Display  plus  Toyota Roadside Assistance Included 3 Years or 60,000 km

The interior features a neat cabin with well-designed ergonomics  and controls. The driver’s seat is supportive, and its a typically  comfortable, high- quality Toyota interior. Front seats are beautifully finished in a mix of fabric and leather and  heated, but no heated rear seats are available. There’s less rear legroom than the Corolla sedan, but the back seat is roomier. Rear  cargo space with all seats up is 722 L and reduces to 688 L in the AWD version. However, one nice touch is the 60/40 rear seats fold flat with the load floor,  with  1,900 L of total space with the rear seats down.

As with all Toyota’s safety features are good, with forward collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection, as well as automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and following assistance, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control that works in stop-and-go traffic. The XLE trim also adds low-speed reverse automatic braking.

On the road, with 169 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque, the Corolla will not win the stoplight Grand Prix! with the  CVT’s  somewhat sluggish acceleration on hard starts as the engine exerts itself moving the weight of the AWD system and mass of this crossover. More power would not go amiss here! The continuously variable transmission (CVT) is not the quickest transmission , a common issue with the CVT format. Despite the underwhelming acceleration, the Corolla  HB  is a capable, comfortable cruiser once it gets going and performs well on the highway. Overall ride quality is good, and the Toyota  Corolla HB has  excellent handling, comfort, and composure. Actually, the sprightly handling is very enjoyable and the light point and shoot steering had me hankering back to the hot hatches of my youth! Fuel economy, is also good, with the AWD variant delivering a combined rating of 7.8L/100 km

To sum up, highlights include the good looks, impressive passenger and cargo space,  versatile practicality, and fairly good  fuel economy figures. Finally,  and of course, there are  the  tried and trusted Corolla bones. A good buy all around and recommended.

2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback: Priced from –  $24,890 – $33,990. Price as tested: $32,573 including options, freight and PDI.  

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