The Toyota Corolla is one of the most popular cars in the world because it’s reliable, affordable, and great on gas. The 2020 model year also produced a hybrid edition, as well as interior and exterior improvements for the sedan model. The latest Toyota Corolla was a big hit for critics like Edmunds.
However, for the 2021 model year, not much has changed for the Corolla Hatchback. It has a slightly bigger cargo area, more airbags, and a few limited-edition models with special paint jobs on offer. Despite this, the Toyota Corolla barely has any complaints, so it doesn’t really need any big changes to stand out.
What critics love about the 2021 Toyota Corolla
Despite its small engine, Edmunds found that the Toyota Corolla exhibits an ample amount of power for daily driving. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 169 hp, which is 30 hp more than the sedan’s engine. It’s paired with either a six-speed manual or a CVT.
The bigger engine with the CVT gets the best mileage, up to 34 mpg combined city/highway. No matter which engine you choose, the Corolla has fine handling and a smooth drive. Edmunds also appreciated the visibility in the front seat, which is highly adjustable to accommodate drivers of all sizes.
The Toyota Corolla also comes equipped with a good amount of safety technology and a low base price. It has forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assistance, traffic sign recognition, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. The blind-spot monitors have also been made standard for the 2021 model year.
Each Corolla also has a nice 8-inch touchscreen that displays graphics clearly and functions well to user inputs. The infotainment system comes programmed with smartphone integration, voice recognition, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a few USB ports. For those who prefer not to take their eyes off the road, climate and audio controls have physical knobs.
Where the 2021 Toyota Corolla needs improvement
While the sedan has two roomy rows of seating, things can get a little cramped in the hatchback’s second row. Edmunds complained that there was barely any room for back passengers to stretch their legs. For this reason, it’s probably best suited for smaller passengers and children.
It’s a bit of a disappointment considering the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback has almost seven inches more legroom. Still, rear-seat drivers can be made more comfortable with either premium cloth or synthetic leather seating options. Also, the sacrifice of rear legroom gives riders more cargo space, up to 18 cubic feet.
However, many critics weren’t satisfied with this, noting that many rivals have more spacious trunks. Car and Driver reported that only two carry-on bags could fit behind the hatchback’s back seat. However, the hatchback also has an Enhanced Cargo Space feature which gives drivers 23 cubic feet by removing the spare tire.
Despite having less space, it’s still easier to fit a lot of luggage inside the sedan’s trunk. Both body styles don’t have many interior storage cubbies. Edmunds also noted that the center storage console is rather small.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”
Toyota is known for not making huge changes to its models, but maybe this isn’t a bad thing. Because its vehicles are already so reliable and efficient, Toyota has been able to use this strategy for many years. The automaker’s brand loyalty and increasing sales are proof of its success.
The Corolla’s rivals have more spacious interiors and exciting engines but may not provide the best value. The 2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is a great car overall, despite some minor annoyances.