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2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Review: Still Making a Good Case

2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Photo: D.Boshouwers
Too bad a hybrid model isn't one of its selling points Automotive expert , Updated:

•    Auto123 reviews the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback.

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback gets a series of updates designed to increase its appeal to drivers looking for a versatile ‘five-door’ compact. The competition in the segment may not be what it used to be, but it remains strong.

Corolla Hatchback: What's new for 2023?

The 2023 Corolla Hatchback features new front and rear bumpers, new headlights and taillights and new alloy wheel designs. Two new paint colours, Blue Crush Metallic and Inferno, are also introduced. In addition, the model still offers a two-tone paint option with a black metallic roof, which adds an extra touch of style.

Note that the Nightshade edition of the Corolla is not offered in 2023. Toyota has already confirmed, however, that it will be back in 2024.

See also: 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Details, Pricing Announced for Canada

See also: 2023 Toyota Lineup in Canada: Models and Changes

2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, front
2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, front
Photo: D.Boshouwers

Exterior design of the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Call it a refinement of the design of the Corolla Hatchback for 2023. LED headlamps, borrowed from the top-of-the-range GR Corolla, give the front end a more aggressive look. The grille has also been redesigned, and on XSE trim levels - the model we drove - the fog lamps are framed by chrome strips, adding a bit of spark.

At the rear, a new high-gloss black rear diffuser with chrome accents harmonizes with the front fascia elements. New 18-inch Gloss Graphite alloy wheels give the vehicle a touch more modernity and elegance look; in profile, the rising line of the rear doors gives this compact car a slightly more dynamic look. All of this is welcome for a model that doesn’t excite by its nature, let’s face it.

2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, interior
2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, interior
Photo: Toyota

Interior of the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

All in all, the Corolla hatchback's interior impresses with the quality of the materials used. With the exception of some piano-black plastic trim, the cabin offers a pleasant tactile experience thanks to soft-touch surfaces.

The front seats are comfortable and supportive, even on long journeys. In the rear, the outer seats are sculpted for better support, but the middle seat is less comfortable – blame the hump.

The infotainment system has been updated with a new 8.0-inch multimedia touchscreen developed by the folks at Toyota Connected Technologies. It supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wirelessly, but the native system is also user-friendly. The climate controls remain physical, which is convenient for everyday use. What's more, the Corolla Hatchback offers a well-placed wireless charging station for smartphones.

In terms of cargo space, the Corolla Hatchback offers 660 litres behind the rear seats. While legroom up front is satisfactory, space in the rear is slightly limited for adult passengers, making it a good choice for short trips, but something to think about if you plan to cover bigger distances with rear passengers.

Multimedia screen in the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE
Multimedia screen in the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE
Photo: Toyota

Technology and safety in the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

The 2023 Corolla Hatchback is equipped with the all-new multimedia system developed by the folks at Toyota Connected Technologies. Count voice commands, cloud navigation, destination assistance and online updates (OTA) among the innovations.

In terms of safety, the Corolla Hatchback is equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 suite, which includes many advanced features such as proactive driver assistance, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot monitoring, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and more. It has also received strong marks in crash tests, and is rated a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, profile
2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, profile
Photo: D.Boshouwers

Powertrain of the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

All versions of the 2023 Corolla Hatchback are equipped with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine producing 169 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque, combined with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive configuration. This engine, well suited to this compact model, delivers solid performance while maintaining good fuel economy.

However, it's important to note that the Corolla Hatchback doesn't offer any alternative powertrain options, so there's no hybrid version or the possibility of all-wheel drive. The latter is only available with the Corolla sedan version, alas.

2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback: Pricing and trims

Pricing for the 2023 Corolla Hatchback starts at S25,250 for the base version. However, most buyers are likely to opt for more fully equipped versions. The SE Plus version, available at $27,150, represents good value for money with its larger central screen, heated seats and blind spot monitoring. The top-of-the-range XSE version, priced at $31,650, offers a swollen package of comfort and technology features.

2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, three-quarters rear
2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, three-quarters rear
Photo: D.Boshouwers

Driving the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Without being a beast on the road, far from it, the 2023 Corolla Hatchback offers a pleasant driving experience thanks to its responsive engine and precise steering. The car's agile handling and well-tuned suspension allow it to negotiate corners well. The CVT transmission handles smoothly, and the paddle shifters add a touch of sportiness for drivers looking for a little more control.

We found ride comfort a little rough at times; you won't feel like you're in a Lexus here. But that's not enough to make driving uncomfortable, it must be said.

In terms of fuel consumption, the Corolla Hatchback posts very interesting figures, with a combined average of 6.8L/100 km. Our average for our week was 7.1/100 km, thus in the same ballpark, without really trying too hard. This makes it one of the most fuel-efficient options in its class.

2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, three-quarters front
2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, three-quarters front
Photo: D.Boshouwers

2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback competitors

The 2023 Corolla Hatchback faces strong competition in the compact market. Its main competitors are:

  • Mazda3 hatchback
  • Honda Civic hatchback
  • Kia Forte5

These models offer similar features, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The best cards in the Toyota's hand? The solid, relatively powerful engine, and the indestructibility of the Japanese brand's vehicles.

The final word
The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is a solid option in the compact class. With its aesthetic updates, quality interior, modern tech features and advanced safety, it deserves to be considered by those looking for a versatile, economical car.

Specfications sheets of the 2023 Toyota Corolla

2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, rear
2023 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, rear
Photo: D.Boshouwers

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From this author

Derek Boshouwers
Articles By
Derek Boshouwers
  • Over 5 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 50 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 30 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists