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2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Test Drives, Toyota

2022 toyota corolla hatchback xse

Often enough, there are things in life that just work as intended without any surprises, thrills, or failures. In the automotive world vehicles like the Toyota Corolla fall into such a category of being a trusted transportation appliance with just the right amount of equipment and performance to appease buyers seeking “ordinary” and reliable transportation that’s affordable. Toyota knows this and the remarkable sales figures of the Corolla remain consistent, which is part of the reasons for Toyota bringing us a hatchback form of the Corolla for the 2019 model year. Since then, the Corolla Hatchback has continued with only minor changes by adding new equipment and appearance trim levels up through the 2022 model year that I have a chance to check out for a week.

Performance and Driving Character

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback makes do with a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine with 168 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. The engine is normally mated to a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) or you can opt for a 6-speed manual transmission in the SE and XSE trim levels. The initial sporty looks of the Corolla Hatchback can be a bit deceptive as the powertrain fails to live up to the sporty looks delivering only a mediocre experience. That’s not to say the Corolla Hatchback in the top XSE trim is uninspiring and slow, it’s just not “fast.” My Corolla Hatchback XSE test vehicle, surprisingly equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, is the better performer and inspires a little fun when rowing your own gears and often spinning the front wheels momentarily before traction control steps in, which can only be disabled temporarily before the system reenables when it wants.

2022 toyota corolla hatchback xse side

The 6-speed manual transmission has an iMT (intelligent Manual Transmission) downshift rev match program that can be enabled. The system seems to be a bit slow in blipping the throttle to match a downshift but proves to be effective at keeping things smooth for a downshift transition lessening deceleration shock to the drivetrain. The downfall is that the system is deactivated by default upon restarting the vehicle.

2022 toyota corolla hatchback xse rear

Overall, the Corolla Hatchback XSE with the manual transmission feels zippy and adequate around town but will involve a bit of gearshift planning for overtaking vehicles on the highway. The suspension is somewhat soft and spongy feeling in the curves exhibiting body lean that saps you feeling confident of carving back twisty roads. However, the Corolla Hatchback XSE doesn’t get to the point of feeling overly heavy or sloppy, it’s just not going to be as lively as competition like the Mazda3 or Honda Civic Hatchbacks in any trim level. Zero to 60 mph takes about 8 seconds, again, downplaying the sporty looks once you get in and drive. There’s a respected platform and chassis in the Corolla Hatchback, which gives me high hopes in the forthcoming 2023 Toyota GR Corolla that will tout 300 horsepower but use the fundamentals of the Hatchback that you see here. At least Toyota’s trying to be exciting before things get serious in the Electric Vehicle movement.

2022 toyota corolla hatchback xse front

Fuel Economy

Gas mileage for the Toyota Corolla Hatchback is decent in the lower trim levels equipped with the CVT at 32 mpg city and 41 mpg highway. My Corolla Hatchback XSE with the manual transmission gets slightly worst mileage at the EPA estimates of 28 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, and 31 mpg combined. The mileage discrepancy is mostly due to the 6-speed manual’s gearing and added weight of the XSE’s additional equipment, which tips the curb weight to just over 3,000 pounds. Still, if you manage to drive the Corolla Hatchback XSE 6-speed manual with the intent of short shifting and coasting, you can easily better the fuel EPA consumption estimates.

2022 toyota corolla hatchback xse rear

Interior and Tech

The Corolla Hatchback’s interior is a replicated setup from its Corolla sedan sibling. There’s a good mix of soft-touch surfaces on the dashboard with a nice contrast of colors giving it a perceived premium look. Interior space is respectable up front with a good amount of seat travel of the front heated seats that have a combination of cloth and leather trim. The driver’s seat has an 8-way power adjustment and power two-way lumbar adjustment. Where things get interesting is in the back seats where space is limited, even smaller in areas like legroom than the Corolla sedan. Where the Corolla Hatchback attempts to make up for the short rear seat space is the cargo area having 17.8 cubic feet of storage and opens to even more space when you fold down the 60/40-split rear seatbacks. Some of that space is taken up by the spare tire option, which gets you a higher load floor. If you opt for just the flat tire repair kit instead of the spare tire, you’ll get 23 cubic feet of cargo space, which is about one cubic foot less than something like the new Honda Civic Hatchback, which has just over 24 cubic feet of cargo space.

2022 toyota corolla hatchback xse dashboard

In the area of tech, the new Corolla Hatchback in the top XSE trim gets a gauge cluster with a center digital screen that displays vehicle information menus and a simulated analog speedometer. Surprisingly, the digital portion of the cluster doesn’t have the option of a digital speedometer.

2022 toyota corolla hatchback xse front seats

The infotainment system in the XSE trim is the latest 8-inch unit with simplistic menus and the integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through a USB connection. There’s a straightforward automatic dual-zone climate control and a separate display below the vents just under the screen.

2022 toyota corolla hatchback xse rear seats

There’s a suite of active safety features included on the new Corolla Hatchback via the latest Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes pre-collision warning and emergency braking, pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, road sign assist, and automatic highbeams (automatic LED headlights with LED foglights).

2022 toyota corolla hatchback xse cargo

At the end of the day, the Toyota Corolla Hatchback is a decent cargo-adding package with all that you get out of the normal Corolla sedan. The added sporty looks of the Hatchback and cargo room could be the ticket for those who want something a little different or stand out in a crowd when you opt for an eye-popping color like my test vehicle’s Blue Flame paint and sporty 18-inch machined alloy wheels.

2022 toyota corolla hatchback xse 6-speed manual shifter

Pricing for the new 2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE starts at $20,915 before any fees. Moving through the $22,915 SE Nightshade trim up to the top XSE trim the as-tested price comes to $25,954, including a $1,025 destination charge and the few options of adaptive front headlights, blook roof-spoiler-side mirrors, and carpet mats.

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