Toyota Corolla Hatchback & Sedan
by Ric Green

The Corolla has been a popular vehicle since it first hit Toyota Show Rooms in 1966. The Corolla sedan, which was first introduced in 1966, was the best-selling car worldwide by 1974. It has been one of the best-selling cars in the world since then. In 1997, the Corolla became the best-selling nameplate in the world, surpassing the Volkswagen Beetle. Toyota reached the milestone of 50 million Corollas sold over twelve generations in 2021 which included the Hatchback variation.

For 2024, the Sedan gets several updates, including redesigned headlights and bumpers and improved in-car tech, plus its front slant nose that gave the 2023 models a sporty look.

In 2024, the Corolla will get a new infotainment system for the 8-inch center touchscreen. Changes start with a quicker processor and sharper-looking graphics. You’ll now get wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and an improved voice control system that allows you to do more things, such as adjust the stereo volume and cabin temperature. The Corolla Hatchback also gets the latest version of Toyota’s safety suite called Toyota Safety Sense 3.0. Toyota says that many of the included systems, such as forward collision warning and lane keeping assistance, have been improved to provide better detection and functionality.

Both Corollas use a 169-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder that sends power to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The Toyota twins were quite prudent around town and steady on the highway. Unfortunately, hard acceleration produced coarse engine sounds that diminished their refinement. The all-wheel drive hybrid model hits 60 mph in a rather leisurely 9.0 seconds, while the front wheel drive Hatchback did it in 8.3 seconds.

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is available in two trim levels: SE and XSE. Last year’s Nightshade appearance package has been dropped from the lineup, though some of its features are available as options.  The Manual transmission is no longer available, meaning Corollas now use a 168-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder CVT driving the front wheels, except for the all-wheel drive electrified hybrid edition.

Looking for real excitement, the GR Corolla makes driving fun again with an intelligent 6-speed manual transmission and 1.6L turbo 3-cylinder engine with 300 hp.

Inside, the Corolla hatchback and sedan share a streamlined dashboard and soft-touch materials. Most models have passive entry and push-button start. Others can also be upgraded with ambient interior lighting, dual-zone climate control, and heated front seats. Those who regularly have back-seat passengers should consider the sedan over the hatchback since it has considerably more legroom behind the front seats. The 2023 Hatchback has 18 cubic feet of cargo space behind its back seat, but it seems only two carry-on bags fit back there.

However, the new no-cost Enhanced Cargo Space option expands that area by 6 cubic feet (23 total) by replacing the spare tire with a tire-repair kit. While the sedan only has 13 cubes of trunk volume, we squeezed eight bags inside. Both body styles had inferior interior cubby storage compared with some more capacious rivals. Thankfully, there’s a convenient tray at the front of their center console and a useful bin below the armrest.

Both Corollas are good looking, well-constructed vehicles. I prefer the GR Hatchback for its sportier looks and racy enhancements.

Prices start at $21,700 for the Sedan and $23,155 for the Hatchback. The GR Hatchback with its sports package, including bigger brakes and 300hp, rolls out starting at $35,900.