The faces of two of Toyota’s most familiar cars are getting dramatic new updates for 2019. The Corolla Hatchback and the Avalon are new from the ground up.

Both are longer, wider and lower than previous models, both are highly-styled with dynamic body lines, both have terrific new LED headlight packages, and both offer buyers a wide range of choices when it comes to powertrains and trims.

Toyota invited auto journalists from around the country to get a first look at the Avalon and the Corolla Hatchback. I had a chance to drive both at the west coast event.

The two vehicles are aimed at different audiences, but both have dynamite styling and should offer familiar Toyota dependability. And that's something that never goes out of style.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

“Our designers pulled out all the stops with the new Corolla Hatch,” said Toyota Vice President Lisa Materazzo. “It epitomizes the hot hatch persona,” she said. “Everything about this hatchback is new.”

The Corolla Hatchback will be powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 168 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine will be mated either to a 6-speed rev-matching manual transmission or a CVT with paddle shifters. Horsepower and torque are both significantly increased in the new hatch, and Toyota also expects an increase in fuel economy.

The Corolla Hatch will be offered in SE and XSE trims. Pricing and mileage figures have not yet been announced.

Standard connectivity is by Entune 3.0 Audio, and the XSE gets Entune 3.0 Audio Plus with connected services. The 8-inch touchscreen display sits high on the center stack and has intuitive screen functions. The multi-information display is either 4.2 inches or 7 inches, depending on the trim.

All Corolla Hatchbacks will get Toyota’s Safety Sense system, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and enhanced speed reduction capabilities. The Corolla Hatch also gets seven standard airbags, an available blind spot monitoring system, hill start assist and an electric parking brake.

I enjoyed my half-day in the Corolla, particularly the one outfitted with the 6-speed manual. It had short throws and a smooth clutch. The rev-matching feature is a nice upgrade for 2019.

The CVT transmission has a new feature that uses a fixed first gear, then switches to the belt of the CVT. It provides a litter more oomph for acceleration from a standstill.

The 2019 Corolla Hatchback will hit dealer showrooms this summer.

2019 Toyota Avalon

The Avalon, Toyota’s 5th Generation Flagship, arrives for 2019 with its upper and lower grilles merged, giving the premium mid-size sedan a bolder and more aggressive look for 2019.

The Avalon will be offered in four gasoline grades and three hybrid trims, with 17-, 18- or 19-inch wheels.

Like the Corolla Hatch, the Avalon gets a significant power boost. It is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that develops 301 horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s 33 more horses than the 2018 model.

“The Avalon is bringing some serious clout to this segment” Materazzo said.

The gasoline Avalon will be offered in XLE, XSE Limited and Touring trims, while the hybrid will come in XLE, XSE and Limited trims.

The hybrid powertrain will consist of a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine for 215 horsepower.

Gasoline Avalons will be paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrids will get a CVT.

Standard features will include a 9-inch touchscreen and a 7-inch multi-information driver’s display, 4-window automatic up/down buttons, five USB ports, dual-zone air, 10 airbags, blind spot monitoring and an electric parking brake.

Both of these new vehicles are important for Toyota. The Corolla is among the best-selling vehicles of all time. And Toyota is hoping the Avalon will help boost sedan sales, which have been stagnant across the industry in the past 12 months.

Safety testing for both vehicles is not yet complete.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback


2.0-liter 4-cylinder




CVT or 6-speed manual



EPA mileage estimates:


2019 Toyota Avalon


3.5-liter V6 or Hybrid


301/267 lb.-ft. or 215 net hp/163 lb.-ft.


8-speed automatic or CVT

Base price:

$35,500 (gas) $36,500 (hybrid)

EPA mileage estimates:

22 mpg city/32 mpg highway/26 mpg combined (gas)

43 mpg city/44 mpg highway/44 mpg combined (hybrid)