Monthly Archives: July 2018

Why the 2019 ‘Rolla Hatch Kicks the iM’s Ass.

The long awaited (by me) 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is finally available for sale, and it’s easy to see why this new model far out-preforms, out-techs, out-safeties, and out-looks the “old” 2018 iM. Ever since spy shots of testing mules for the new 12th gen Corolla Hatch were leaked late last year, Toyota enthusiasts like myself have anxiously been waiting for this release.

While the Corolla iM 1.8L i4 produced only 137 horsepower and 126 ft-lbs of torque, the new 2.0L motor makes 31 more horsepower and 25 more ft-lbs of torque. The new Corolla is also lighter, shaving 1.2 seconds off the old car’s 9.1 second 0-60. The addition of a real 1st gear in the CVT not only helps with acceleration but also with fuel economy, adding three more mpg in both city and highway driving. Toyota also claims its all-new suspension system reduces body roll, offers a more engaging drive, while also smoothing out bumps better than the iM’s.

The new Corolla’s new interior is gorgeous, and it’s all new infotainment system is the second Toyota ever to feature Apple’s CarPlay. Unfortunately us Android users still are stuck with regular Bluetooth. The optional leather interiors on XSE trims are WAY nicer (and easier to clean) than the iM’s, but the high load floor chokes trunk usability. Amazon’s Alexa is also integrated in the headunit.

All new Toyotas sold have their suite of safety features, called Toyota Safety Sense (TSS for short). While the iM had the more basic package, including automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams and lane departure alert (withOUT steering assistance), the 2019 Hatch has Toyota’s brand new TSS 2.0, featuring automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, radar guided cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist and road edge detection, automatic high beams, road sign assist and lane tracing assist, all included standard. Also included are a blind spot monitor, backup camera, LED headlights and running lights, seven airbags, whiplash protecting seats and hill start assist.

Finally, this car is beautiful. Its lower, longer, wider and more aggressive than the outgoing iM, has bigger wheels, stickier rubber, and an amazing new blue color.

So it’s obvious the 2019 Corolla Hatchback is a better car, but is it a better buy?

This question will arouse when considering the two, and the answer is still a little blurry. iMs MSRP for about $19,000, and with the $1500 Toyota is giving back on the old 2018’s plus dealer rebates, you could get into a new iM for $17000 and some change. For a nicely equipped Corolla hatch, you’re looking at $25,000, and because it’s a spanking new model, it’s unlikely to get the same discounts.

But in the end, it’s simple. Get the new 2019 Corolla. It’s much more nicer, safer, and in the long run cheaper, both to insure (because of all the safety features) and to sell (it’ll be a generation newer than an iM, and it’ll depreciate less).

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The Best 5 Cheap Sleepers

In the automotive world, a sleeper is a car that looks unassuming, unpretentious, slow or modest, but sports car quick when you put your foot down. Some cars meet this criteria straight out of the factory, but they’re too expensive for most -think BMW X5M. Some cars were fast and unpretentious from the factory, but are so old, or were canceled so early in their production run that they are now very rare. Sure, these cars are sleepers, but they’re not available enough to take advantage of –most people already know they’re fast. Many of these sleepers are souped up factory spec mundane cars, which is perfect for the sleeper image –they look like every other car.

BMW X5M ($111,295) If you have the money, go for it!


Most people in this market for affordable sleepers have around $10k to spend, and for that price there’s plenty to go around. Many of the cars in this list are hatchbacks and wagons. Why you ask? Nobody expects a station wagon or a dinky little hatchback to outrun a Camaro or Porsche, but many of these sleepers have a fighting chance.

#5 Toyota Corolla XRS

Produced from 2005-2006 and then again from 2009 to 2010, these souped up corollas give even pony cars a run for their money. All XRS’s came with 6-speed manual transmissions, lowered ride heights, sporty wheels and ground effects. While it’s 127 ft-lbs of torque and 170 horsepower may not seem impressive, it’s low weight, understated look, decent performance(7.0 second 0-60), and inexpensive price (around $5k) makes this pocket rocket one of the ultimate sleepers.

#4 Volvo V70R

More appealing for families, this Swedish family hauler hauls!! The unassuming station wagon body hides this car’s great performance. Its 2.5T i5 makes 300+ horsepower and rockets this puppy to 60mph in about 6 seconds -flat. The v70R was also AWD, making this tank the perfect winter car too. Now, you can pick up a super clean v70R for about $12,000.


#3 Saab 9-3 Aero Sportcombi v6

Once again, another Swedish Wagon. These things are steals, especially when you weigh the performance and price. With 280 horsepower and 295 ft-lbs of torque, this turbocharged famiymobile gets to 60mph in just about 6 seconds, which may seem like less of a deal than the previous Volvo, but not once you consider that these Saabs are way less expensive, usually selling for less than $9000.

#2 Buick LaCrosse Super

If straight line performance is what you’re after, look no further than the 2009 Buick LaCrosse Super. With a 5.3L v8 producing 300 horsepower, this ol’ boat roars to 60mph in a brisk 5.7 seconds. With clean examples selling for no more than $7,000, this M3-beater is a no brainer for those looking for cheap speed.

#1 Lexus GS450H

With 342 horsepower and the extra uumph added from the hybrid battery pack and motor, this $10,000 road trip machine scoots! Quicker than the V8, the V6 hybrid offers many modern amenities like Bluetooth and a backup camera, plus also gettting better MPG! It’s a win-win.



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