Feb 16, 2021 - Economy

What we're driving: Toyota Corolla hatchback

Image of 2021 Toyota Corolla hatchback

2021 Toyota Corolla hatchback. Photo: Toyota

Let's be honest: the Toyota Corolla has never excited me much. But the 2021 Corolla hatchback was a surprise.

The big picture: Corollas are practical and efficient, and always reliable, but you don't really aspire to own one. Then a guy driving a Cadillac Escalade stopped to tell me, "I really like your car — a lot," and I knew I wasn't alone. When it's a sporty and stylish five-door hatchback, you can't help but look twice.

Details: And with a 169-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and optional six-speed manual transmission, it's fun to drive, too.

  • But it's up against some tough competition in the Honda Civic and Mazda 3.

Of note: Every Corolla has a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a subscription-based WiFi hotspot.

A bundle of driver-assist technologies is standard on all Corollas, including:

  • forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking
  • adaptive cruise control (on automatic transmissions only)
  • lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist

My Corolla hatchback test vehicle was priced at $23,415, and had an EPA-rated 31 mpg in combined city and highway driving.

The bottom line: Don't overlook the Corolla hatchback if you're looking for a small, fun car.

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