2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback will start under $20,000

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback brings some mojo back to Toyota’s mass-market nameplate, and it appears that injecting fun into its cars doesn’t result in a gnarly price tag.

When it goes on sale this summer, the 2019 Corolla Hatchback SE will start at $19,990, not counting $920 for destination and handling. No matter the trim, the engine is a 2.0-liter I4 putting out 168 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque.

The SE’s standard equipment includes an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system and multiple driver-assist systems including adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. There’s an optional $1,400 package that adds blind spot monitoring, the new Entune 3.0 infotainment system and Toyota’s connected-car services.

You can replace the six-speed manual with a CVT, which brings the price up to $22,090, a bump of $2,100. The primary benefit there is fuel economy — the CVT-equipped SE trim is estimated to return 32 mpg city and 42 mpg highway, compared to 31 mpg city and 40 mpg highway for six-speed manual variants.

If you want your Corolla Hatchback to look a bit sharper with appearance upgrades and larger wheels, the higher XSE trim will be the one you want. That trim will set you back $22,990 with a six-speed manual, or $24,090 with a CVT (again, before $920 destination). An optional $1,600 package adds connected-car services, wireless phone charging, navigation and an 800-watt audio system.

However, the flashier looks of the XSE trim will have a negative effect on fuel economy. Toyota estimates that the XSE CVT will return 30 mpg city and 38 mpg highway, a couple emm-pee-gees under the SE trim. Life is full of trade-offs.