Passing the torch to a new generation

Three-pedal transmission options are few and far between these days, but luckily, Toyota is keeping the hope alive with its new 2019 Corolla Hatchback. Not only does this five-door bring the sporting hotness thanks to its sharp styling and nippy handling, but its six-speed gearbox is extremely forgiving to those new to ways of the stick shift.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback's Manual Gearbox Is Extremely Newbie Friendly Interior
- image 778845
Three pedals is just better when it comes to that all-important driver-car connection.

Ask anyone familiar with driving a manual transmission, and the answer is always the same - three pedals is just better when it comes to that all-important driver-car connection. Automatics and (god forbid) CVT’s tend to put the driver to one side, effectively taking up the slack when accelerating hard or diving into a corner under braking.

While easier to drive, the disconnect can leave you guessing as to what will happen when you put your foot back down - where will the engine be in the powerband? Will it need to reshuffle to a lower gear? How many rpm are you losing before it short shifts on the straight?

While better suited to the street, automatics can falter there as well - for example, during passing maneuvers on the highway.

The manual transmission takes all the guesswork out of “tricking” your transmission to do what you want, placing all cog swap responsibilities into the hands of the pilot behind the wheel. Not only that, but it’s just satisfying as hell to row your own with a snickety tight manual gearbox.

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback's Manual Gearbox Is Extremely Newbie Friendly Exterior
- image 778775
It’s just satisfying as hell to row your own with a snickety tight manual gearbox.

And it’s for all those reasons that we were very exited to learn that Toyota was blessing its new 2019 Corolla Hatchback with a manual transmission. I got the opportunity to try it out in person, and I’m happy to report that it works well - especially if you happen to be brand new to those three-pedal dance moves.

For starters, the clutch pedal is extremely light. Even if you’ve skipped leg day for your entire existence, you won’t have any problem pressing that leftmost pedal to the floor. The engagement point it also very forgiving, which makes it very easy to get underway.

Hill starts are no problem either, as the car will brake itself on an incline, giving you plenty of time to gas it a bit before slipping the clutch. All told, stalling shouldn’t be a problem, even for beginners.

The throws between the gears slot in smoothly and easily, and while we would have liked a little more crispness and a slightly shorter throw, it’s a set-up that’s well-suited to inexperienced rowers. Plus, once you get used to it, you could always toss in a short-throw shifter mod, something the aftermarket will inevitably offer for a model like this. And who knows - maybe TRD will give it to buyers as an available option?

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback's Manual Gearbox Is Extremely Newbie Friendly Interior
- image 778843
Beyond the basics, the biggest news for the six-speed has to be the “intelligent Manual Transmission” feature.

Beyond the basics, the biggest news for the six-speed has to be the iMT (“intelligent Manual Transmission”) feature, which will automatically blip the throttle on downshifts, rev matching for smooth shifts that keep the drivetrain from jerking around.

Racing drivers do this via a technique known as “heel-toe,” applying a quick jab of the throttle with the side of the right foot while pressing the brake pedal, all while the left foot is in the clutch. This is especially important when exploring the limits of grip on a race track, as any jerk in the drivetrain could upset the delicate balance of threshold braking.

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback's Manual Gearbox Is Extremely Newbie Friendly Interior
- image 778841
Unfortunately, the Corolla Hatchback’s pedal arrangement makes it very difficult to perform any heel-toe action of your own.

Unfortunately, the Corolla Hatchback’s pedal arrangement makes it very difficult to perform any heel-toe action of your own, but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue with the intelligent manual’s auto-blip feature. Of course, it bears mentioning that we didn’t get a chance to try the feature in any kind of high-performance situation, and although we’re eager to see what it can do on a track or autocross course, it seems to work just fine around town.

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback's Manual Gearbox Is Extremely Newbie Friendly Exterior
- image 778769
For those sportier drivers looking for a taste of the clutch life, the new Corolla makes for a very tempting proposition.

Indeed, for those sport-oriented drivers out there looking for a taste of the clutch life, the 2019 Corolla Hatchback makes for a very tempting proposition, especially when you consider it comes with complementary sport-tuned suspension components and a lighter, stiffer Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform under the skin.

Look for our full driven review soon. Pricing will slot in around the $20,000 mark, with sales commencing this July.

References

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback's Manual Gearbox Is Extremely Newbie Friendly Exterior
- image 778775

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Actually Looks Great With A Huge Grille

Watch Out Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf Fans - Toyota has a New Corolla Hatchback Heading to the New York Auto Show Exterior
- image 775063

Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback.

2019 Toyota Avalon Exterior
- image 778152

Read our full driven review on the 2019 Toyota Avalon.

no article
- image 741755

Read more Toyota news.

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: