Toyota Corolla Hatchback 2021 – Review, Specs, Photos

After receiving a full-fledged remodel for the 2021 model year, Toyota is taking an, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” approach for the 2021 Corolla sedan. The popular four-door carries over largely unchanged, adding only a $225 price hike to the window sticker. A Corolla Hatchback variant is also available, but for this overview, we’ll focus on the sedan. Full review and all information about the car – 2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback.

New Toyota Corolla Hatchback 2021

The much-improved 2021 Toyota Corolla compact sedan has moved to a new global platform and has most of the underpinnings, amped-up tech and nicer trim that was previewed on the 2021 Corolla Hatchback — but it adds a legitimate backseat and trunk. A couple of sedan versions even get the hatchback’s added zip under the hood. The Corolla also comes in a high-mileage hybrid model that uses the Prius powertrain; that version is not covered in this review. When asked about this product overlap, Toyota pointed to the Prius’ superior liftback cargo space and the recent addition of all-wheel drive as its chief USPs versus the Corolla Hybrid. But we’re not so sure the choice really boils down to sedan versus hatchback, FWD versus available AWD. So we spent a day in Greensboro, North Carolina earlier this fall driving both a 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid and a front-wheel drive 2021 Toyota Prius Limited to determine which has the winning approach to thrifty consumption. Some necessary setup: The Corolla Hybrid is only available in one trim with pretty much no options, the $24,000 LE. The Prius Limited we had starts at over $32,000, but the only things separating it from the $25,000 entry-level Prius L Eco are creature comforts that aren’t germane to the comparison at hand. We’re here to see which one offers the best combination of fuel economy, driving dynamics, and everyday practicality. Toyota Corolla Hatchback 2021 – photos colors and price in this article!


The Corolla is a roomy and practical small car. My test vehicle had cloth seats with manual adjustments that were comfortable over the course of a day behind the wheel. Big windows provide good sightlines, except, of course, when the little sedan is surrounded by SUVs. An 8.0-inch touch screen rises above the center stack in the middle of the dashboard. The display is clear, though Toyota’s touchscreen and voice recognition system are unintuitive and slower than the best competitors. Adding a “back” button wouldn’t hurt, either. The USB port to connect smartphones is very difficult to find, a black opening in stretch of black plastic near the front passenger’s left knee. It’s harder to reach than the more central USBs most competitors design, and lacks a nearby spot to hold your phone. Toyota Corolla Hatchback 2021 – see the photo in the gallery on our website.


The Corolla Hatchback’s design aesthetic is very easy-on-the-eyes, it’s a little sporty with more of a sophisticated overtone, which marks a massive improvement over Corollas of old. The ES is equipped with 16-inch silver-metallic twin-spoke alloy wheels and XSE with 18-inch dark gray alloy wheels with bright machined finish, both are fitted with color-keyed exterior trimmings that are blacked-out on the SE Nightshade Edition. Completing the look on the Nightshade Edition are 18-inch black metallic alloy wheels. All models are fitted with LED automatic high-beam headlights with integrated LED daytime running lamps, only the XSE is fitted with LED fog lights.


The current generation Corolla Hatchback is still a relatively new vehicle – having made its debut for the 2021 model year – and has subsequently undergone minimal enhancements and alterations for the 2021 model year. There is an all-new Nightshade Edition which is a completely blacked-out version of the base SE model, bearing black exterior badges, door handles, mirrors, rear spoiler, and wheels. Every Corolla Hatchback’s infotainment system now comes standard with Android Auto compatibility, completing the connectivity trifecta and expanding listening choices to the already standard Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa connectivity. SiriusXM Radio is also now standard in every model with an all-access three-month trial.

Fuel economy

The 2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is a dynamite package. It’s a compact hatchback based on the latest Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), promising to deliver a more engaging drive complemented by Toyota’s renowned durability, reliability, and value. The Corolla Hatchback is not only a fun-to-drive daily, but also an affordable, practical, and safe family commuter. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder mill with peak outputs of 168 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque, all of which are driven to the hatch’s front-wheels via either a six-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable automatic transmission. With core class rivals such as the Honda Civic, VW Golf, and even the Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback, the new Toyota Corolla Hatchback may not be the most driver-centric hatch out there or the most utilitarian, but it does deliver an appreciable balance of perks overall, making it an option worth taking a closer look at.


Unfortunately, the Special Edition chooses paddles over pedals and only comes with the continuously variable transmission (CVT). A six-speed manual is available on the standard SE and XSE models. Like those models, though, the Special Edition is powered by a 169-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder. During Car and Driver testing, the 2021 Corolla SE Hatchback reached 60 mph in 8.2 seconds and ran the quarter mile in 16.3 seconds at 88 mph.

Technical specifications

Toyota is still trying to prove that the Corolla can be fun driver’s car. And with a new body-kitted special edition Corolla Hatchback on the way, and the soon-to-be-announced 257-hp turbocharged GR Corolla coming, the Japanese automaker might just be able to pull that off. The Special Edition hatchback is essentially an appearance package for the 2021 Corolla SE Hatchback. It’s finished in an eye-catching Supersonic Red with black 18-inch wheels and a ton of black accents because, well, that just screams “sporty”. The Special Edition is fitted with black bodykit pieces including a front splitter, side skirts, rear roof spoiler, and a “Special Edition” badge on the back.


The Toyota Corolla’s base MRSP is $22,950. Our as-tested price was $24,303. The extra money went only to a body protection package and carpet mats. Since I tested the car in January’s sloppy weather, these were smart additions on Toyota’s part.


The National Highway Safety Traffic Association gave the Corolla Hybrid an overall rating of five out of five stars, with perfect scores in front and side crash tests and four out of five stars in the rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Corolla a Top Safety Pick, as it earned the top rating of Good in every test. The Honda Insight was named a Top Safety Pick+ for its excellent crash test ratings and headlight illumination. The Hyundai Ioniq hasn’t yet been tested by the NHTSA, but it did receive top scores in all IIHS tests. The Corolla Hatchback has a 3-year/36,000-mile comprehensive warranty, and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. It also has an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty for hybrid-related components.


The 2021 Toyota Corolla hatchback doesn’t see many updates for the new model year, but it does get a spiffy new limited edition with the unimaginative “Special Edition” moniker. Despite the name, the car is rather bold looking, gaining a unique front spoiler, side skirts and rear bumper. And we’re pleased to report the rear bumper does away with the silly fake chrome tailpipes. Besides the lower body additions, all painted black, it gets a black rear spoiler and black 18-inch wheels. The Special Edition goes on sale later this summer, and only 1,500 examples will be built, all of which come in Supersonic Red. Bizarrely, this very sporty looking Corolla is only available in the SE trim level with a CVT. You’ll have to stick with a regular SE or XSE if you want to pair the 2.0-liter 168-horsepower four-cylinder with a manual transmission.


Too many manufacturers continue to skip their compact sedans when it comes to offering owners the latest technology. Toyota has broken this trend with the 2021 Corolla Hybrid. Naturally, all available 2021 Corolla Hybrid trims will come with a comprehensive list of standard technology features like USB ports for streaming media and device charging. The native infotainment system will also feature hands-free phone capability and voice recognition. All of those features are both outstanding and important, but Toyota wasn’t done. Future owners of the 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid will be able to use the Apple CarPlay® suite of applications regardless of which of the sedan’s trim grades they take home. The 2021 Corolla Hybrid will make a high-speed 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot available across the board. The signal will be able to support several Wi-Fi-enabled devices at once. Additionally, since the Wi-Fi connection is provided by Verizon Wireless, some people might be able to combine the mobile data bucket with their existing phone plan. Contact Verizon for more information.


The Special Edition Corollas, including the SE, come standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, six speakers, Wi-Fi connectivity, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth hands-free, and Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa capability. Also standard are single-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped shift knob, and paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. In addition to the Special Edition, which arrives late this summer, the blacked-out Nightshade Edition will continue to be available on the 2021 Corolla. Pricing for the Special Edition has yet to be announced, but we expect it to be under $25,000.

Release date

The 2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback may not be the benchmark in its class for any one specific aspect, but it is a well-rounded and highly-appealing package nonetheless. It delivers a prized balance in casual performance and appropriate ride quality; it’s not particularly adept when it comes to performance and handling, but it’s relatively impressive for the class, and without any compromise in ride quality. This means while the driver is allowed some level of driving enjoyment, passengers are also taken care of and kept suitably comfortable. The Corolla Hatchback is better than ever before, thanks to the inclusion of Android Auto for the new year, in addition to Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa – all displayed via an industry-leading, user-friendly infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen display. In comparison with some rivals, the Corolla really lacks in rear cabin room and cargo space. Ultimately, the Toyota Corolla Hatchback is a value-rich economy car, packaging a little bit of everything from performance, safety, and features to everything in between for an affordable, well-rounded entry-level car. Toyota presents the base-spec Corolla Hatchback SE with a starting MSRP of $20,290 while the new-for-2021 SE Nightshade Edition follows as a mid-spec model with an MSRP of $22,290. The top-spec model, the XSE has a sticker price of $23,240. Those are all excluding Toyota’s delivery, processing, and handling fee of $955 as well as any tax, registration, or licensing fees. It’ll cost an extra $1,100 to option on the CVT automatic to either the SE and the XSE.


Toyota will offer 1500 2021 Corolla Hatchbacks in a Supersonic Red-painted Special Edition. The limited edition cars are fitted with a black-accented bodykit and black 18-inch wheels. The Special Edition cars will arrive late this summer and should cost just under $25,000.

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