The Toyota Corolla iM is a 5-door hatchback that Toyota absorbed with the discontinuation of its other brand, Scion. First and foremost, the iM is a practical car, but it was also designed to be fun, with a responsive engine and great handling. The suspension design is borrowed from outgoing Scion TC, meaning it's a double wishbone independent setup in the back, aiding handling without impinging on interior space.
The engine displaces 1.8 liters and makes 137 horsepower. That power is sent to the front wheels via either a 6-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that functions like an automatic. The 6-speed is more fun, but the CVT is the mpg champion, boasting a rating of 32 mpg in combined city and highway driving (the 6-speed is still rated at 31 mpg in combined driving.)
The list of standard features on the iM is long, and highlights include a 6-speaker Pioneer sound system with iPod integration, a 7-inch display in the dashboard, a rear backup camera, a 4.2-inch multi-information display in the instrument cluster, dual-zone air conditioning, power windows, heated folding exterior mirrors, 60/40 folding rear seats, automatic headlights, an acoustic layer windshield, a Hill Start Assist system and 17-inch wheels.
Options on the Corolla iM include a navigation system and a range of customization accessories, such as a performance air intake system, sway bars, lowering springs, enhanced interior lighting and body graphics.
Safety features on the Corolla iM include traction control, stability control and anti-lock brakes, along with a hill start feature and a rear backup camera. Eight airbags come standard, including one for the driver's knees as well as one nestled away in the front passenger seat cushion.
I only ever used to recommend the Toyota Corolla to people who didn't care about cars. If they wanted a car that was the equivalent of elevator music -- something that just kind of... exists in the background -- the Corolla was always my number one suggestion. It's not that the car was bad by any measure, it just lacked excitement in literally every way.
It's not exactly ready for Initial D, but the new Corolla Hatchback proves Toyota's designers are capable of making a good-looking car now and then. The automaker's corporate nose is much more subtle than it is on the current-generation Corolla sedan, the headlights and taillights are the right kind of thin and there's a heapin' helpin' of character on the sides. My XSE tester, the sportier trim of the two, has upsized 18-inch alloy wheels a surprisingly large (but not annoying) wing atop the hatch.
The Good The Corolla Hatchback tackles bad roads with ease, it looks pretty slick and safety tech comes standard.
The Bad It’s a little tight in the back, any sporty semblance is in looks alone and Android Auto is nowhere to be seen.
The Bottom Line If you’re not looking for a “driver’s car,” but rather a sensible car with a dash of style, the Corolla Hatchback is mighty appealing.
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