The Toyota Corolla has been around since 1966, earning a reputation for fun, reliability and restraint for the price-savvy driver. Over the years the Corolla has changed and the 12th generation 2021 Toyota Corolla hatchback will surprise you with its stylish looks and appealing driving performance. What is even better, these qualities don’t diminish comfort or utility.
Changes for the 2021 model are few, but the addition of more safety equipment and the new Special Edition trim level are certainly welcome. Compared to the Corolla sedan, the hatchback has more cargo space and makes it easier to load bulky items. Underneath everything is Toyota’s TNGA platform. Overall, the Corolla hatchback is a solid pick for a small hatchback alongside other top rivals such as the Honda Civic hatchback, Hyundai Elantra GT and Mazda 3 hatchback.
The 2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback has an available six-speed manual transmission and is only offered with the Corolla’s naturally aspirated 2.0-liter I-4 producing 168 hp (arriving at 6,600 rpm) and 151 lb-ft of torque (4,800 rpm). This helps scoot the hatchback from 0 to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. What does this mean you may ask, well in most situations, this Corolla feels quick enough and is genuinely fun to drive.
Inside the shifter is more elevated and that has the benefit of superb ergonomics. It’s on the same plane as the nicely padded, leather-lined center armrest, placing it exactly where your hand naturally falls. For bonus points, it’s also a quick six-inch reach from your right hand’s position on the steering wheel.
The shift action feels great, too. The Corolla’s auto rev-matching feature can be turned on and off thanks to a physical button just behind the shifter.
When it comes to efficiency even with our spirited driving we saw numbers close to the EPA-estimated 28/37/31 mpg city/highway/combined.
For 2021 the Hatchback has an increase in cargo capacity in the rear (60/40 split) to 23.0 cubic feet from 17.8 cubes with the removal of the full size spare. Rear legroom measures just 29.9 inches, 4.9 inches fewer than the Corolla sedan, but I had no issues fitting in the back, there is even plenty of headroom.
Up front, Corolla Hatchbacks are fitted with nicely bolstered sport seats wrapped in rad two-tone fabric and leatherette upholstery with contrast stitching. The 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is relatively responsive despite some dated-looking graphics, and it is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Pricing starts from an affordable $20,565 (plus $995 destination), though my XSE trim review car pushed that to $23,415. For that you get 18-inch machined-finish alloy wheels, fog lamps, leather-trimmed sport seats with heating up front, and Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. The suite of active assistance tech includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure alerts with steering assistance, pre-collision auto-braking, cyclist detection, and low-light pedestrian detection – is standard in the 2021 car, as are blind-spot warnings and rear cross-traffic alerts.
The 2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback excels as an accessible entry point to driving enthusiasm that just so happens to be a comfortable, versatile daily commuter. The cabin feels sturdy and long-lasting, and its looks add up to a car with personality. For what it is, this little Corolla is awesome!