After driving the 2019 Corolla Hatch, I quickly withdraw my opinion about it’s far superiority over the 2018 Corolla iM, and here are a few reasons why, ignoring the hideous SE rims and crazy ugly fake exhausts.
- The loading floor is way too high, designed this way to accommodate for a space saver spare tire, but the iM has a spare too, and it’s loading floor is significantly lower.
- The hatch’s slant is really quite significant, which then reduces the usable trunk space over a the iM’s more abrupt shape.
- The newly designed dashboard and screen are very distracting and unergonomic. Imagine having a phone screen in your line of sight, but having to reach basically to the windshield to use it. The iM uses this space for climate vents and puts the touchscreen lower down, near the gear selector.
- No dual-zone climate control on the base SE? What’s up, Toyota? The mono-spec iM came with dual-zone climate control, but the nearly $5k more expensive more modern Corolla Hatchback doesn’t? Yep, this feature is only available on the XSE trim.
- That’s just it; for a Corolla Hatchback that has all the features of the iM, you’re looking at a fully loaded XSE, which’ll run you just about $26,000; $5000 more than a comparable iM.
These changes are justifiable for Toyota’s sake, but they don’t make real world sense. The changes to the load floor and trunk slant have obviously been applied for stylistic purposes. Auto manufacturers love to say that their new cars are longer, wider, lower and sleeker than their predecessors, but how much does that really matter when you’re loading up at IKEA just can’t squeeze in that billy bookshelf or ektorp sofa. Toyota has made these changes to draw SUV buyers into hatchbacks, but for what purpose? They’re not going to lose a sale if a perspective Corolla buyer decides to buy an SUV instead; Toyota’s best sellers are just those: SUVs.
These reasons still don’t explain the $5000 increase over the iM, but this just might. Just today (10/2/18), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released crash results for the new Corolla, and the results don’t lie: it passed every crash test with flying colors. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard on all 2019 Hatches, part of the reason it passes so easily.
So if the new car is $5000 more expensive, and it passes all these safety tests, then it must be much more safe than the iM, right?
Well, no; the EuroNcap (think IIHS for Europe, where the iM is much more popular) has also passed the iM with five stars, and although it’s not the most modern version of Toyota Safety sense, every Corolla iM comes standard with automatic high beams, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure alert.
So, that’s it. There are still quite a few new iMs on dealer lots, and you should really take a long hard look at the iM before you buy a 2019 Corolla hatch.