2020 Toyota Corolla Hatchback 6MT

I’ll just come right out and say it: this is a fun car. It has a 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine and 6-speed manual transmission. It has a lot of pep for a tiny motor and the six-speed gearbox has the perfect feel. Older versions of this car with the 1.8 L did nothing for me, but, somehow the 2.0 L feels much more alive and spunky.

The clutch is smooth. It’s not so hard that you have to stand on it. Instead, it is silky smooth without being numb. Sometimes a clutch is so flimsy that you can barely feel it, not in this car.

Instruments

The displays and gauges are, for the most part, pretty standard. There’s a nice tachometer next to a large speedometer. The vehicle information system gives me the typical Toyota readouts, such as average MPG, my speed in digits, safety features (like lane-keep assist and collision warning). This screen is off to the right, which is a little odd because this is usually in the center.

The steering wheel has the usual buttons and controls. There is the volume up and down control, calling controls, screen navigation controls, collision warning, track change, and cruise control options. There is also a rather large vent to the left for heat and air.

Infotainment

The center touchscreen is pretty massive. It’s effortless to see and use. It does come with Apple CarPlay, which I love. Also, on the sides of the large screen are two analog control knobs. These knobs feel solid. That’s also an excellent detail. It doesn’t feel cheap.

iMT

This car has a button for iMT. As you may know, iMT stands for “Intelligent Manual Transmission.” If you’re not familiar with this, allow me to explain. Usually, when you switch from a higher gear (say third gear) to a lower gear, such as second gear, you need to hit the gas a little bit to try to match the speed or “rev” of the engine. With iMT, the car will perform auto-rev matching. So, you do not need to worry as you down-shift. The vehicle will automatically adjust to the proper revs and make the shift as smooth as butter.

Many high-powered cars have this rev-matching feature, but this little Corolla has it too. To me, that was a great decision on Toyota’s part and made this car so much fun to drive.

Seating and Storage

The seats are alright, but nothing to brag about. The rear seating is okay for the average passenger. There is decent headroom and acceptable legroom. However, it’s just a little cramped for someone who might be taller than average. Overall, not too bad.

The hatchback opens to a relatively good amount of storage space.  There are four built-in tie-downs for strapping in your cargo.

Looks

The look of the 2020 Toyota Corolla 6MT Hatchback is slick. Very sporty. You can, of course, get different trim levels like the XSE, but the base is pretty sweet.

Final Thoughts

For me, this is one of the best new manual cars you can buy for the price. The sticker price is about $21,000, which is an excellent deal for a vehicle that is this much fun.

 

Written by Gary Pradel