Toyota has something special in store for sport hatchback fans who like their cars with expressive styling and bold colors. Dressed out with an exclusive body kit and striking Supersonic Red paint, the 2021 Corolla Hatchback Special Edition looks like it just rolled out of a Southern California custom shop. And, because enthusiasts who buy factory customs don't like to see themselves coming and going on the road, Toyota will offer just 1,500 of these red-hot hatches for the 2021 model year.
The Special Edition, which arrives in late summer, makes a powerful style statement while adding the safety and convenience upgrades common to the rest of the 2021 Corolla Hatchback line. All 2021 Corolla Hatchback models add rear seat mounted side airbags, bringing the car's total airbag count to 10. In addition, the 2021 Corolla Hatchback makes Rear Cross Traffic Alert with Blind Spot Monitor standard on the XSE grade and optional for the SE grade with the SE Preferred package.
As on the 2020 versions, all 2021 Corolla Hatchback models come standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of driver-assist technologies:
Pre-Collision System with Daytime/Low-Light Vehicle and Pedestrian Detection, plus Daytime Bicyclist Detection
Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (CVT only)
Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
Automatic High Beams
Lane Tracing Assist (CVT only)
Road Sign Assist
Hatchbacks are about versatility, of course, and the 2021 Corolla Hatchback offers more of it with the Enhanced Cargo Space option, available at no extra cost for all models excluding SE Nightshade. The new feature lowers the cargo floor, adding 6 cu. ft. of total capacity (to 23 cu. ft.) behind the rear seats. This option replaces the spare tire with a tire repair kit.
A bold design deserves bold, expressive colors, and the 2021 Corolla Hatchback adds two new ones: Magnetic Gray Metallic and Wind Chill Pearl. Both are available with the Black Roof option, as well. The rest of the color roster for 2021 includes Classic Silver Metallic, Midnight Black Metallic, Galactic Aqua Mica and Blue Flame.
2021 Corolla Hatchback Special Edition Really is Special
For the 2021 model year, Toyota puts the spotlight on fun in the Corolla family, with special models in both hatchback and sedan body styles. On the hatchback side, the new Special Edition, based on the SE CVT grade, grabs attention with its Supersonic Red paint job, black-painted 18-in. alloy wheels and a bold body kit that beats the aftermarket in style and value. The body kit adds a sporty front splitter, side skirts, black rear roof spoiler, a rear bumper garnish and a unique Special Edition badge.
The aggressive body kit styling is well matched to the Corolla Hatchback's design, which is anchored by a curvy, muscular physique accented by chiseled character lines and simple, condensed three-dimensional highlights. The Special Edition pushes the style meter to 11 and is not for people who want to blend into the crowd.
Slim, J-shaped Bi-Beam LED headlamps wrap deeply into the front fenders and give Corolla Hatchback a distinct expression. It's functional, of course, with precise illumination. The all-LED taillamps feature a diffusing inner lens designed to highlight the Corolla Hatchback's stout stance.
The 2021 Hatchback Special Edition foreshadows even more excitement still to come in the hatchback segment …
The Nightshade Returns
The Special Edition isn't the only style-enhanced Corolla Hatchback for 2021. The SE Nightshade Edition returns, adding blackout trim and blacked-out 18-inch alloy wheels to the customer's choice of Classic Silver Metallic, Midnight Black Metallic or Super White exterior color. The blackout look covers the lower rocker panels, front valance, door handles, mirror caps, shark fin antenna, rear roof spoiler and headlight inner frames. The SE Nightshade Edition comes with the CVT as standard.
Like all Corolla Hatchbacks, the Special Edition combines the athleticism of the robust TNGA-C platform, responsive multi-link rear suspension, and the 168-horsepower 2.0-liter Dynamic Force Engine. Combining high-revving energy with high efficiency, the 2.0-liter derives its gutsy personality and fuel-sipping behavior from a combination of a high compression ratio (13:1); Toyota D4-S fuel injection combining direct injection and secondary port injectors; high-speed combustion; VVT-iE intelligent variable valve-timing on the intake side, and VVT-i on the exhaust. VVT-iE uses an electric motor instead of oil pressure to control the variable valve timing.
A two-discharge port oil pump and a variable cooling system with electric water pump help maximize engine performance and efficiency. The more efficient cooling system also ensures quicker cabin heating on cold days and quicker cool-down when the air conditioner is used. All of these technologies, along with ultra-low internal friction, give the Dynamic Force 2.0-liter engine a maximum thermal efficiency of 40 percent.
The Dynamic Shift CVT (continuously variable transmission) that is standard on the SE Special Edition includes simulated 10-speed Sequential Shiftmatic steps, Sport Mode, and paddle shifters. Unique among transmissions of this type, the key to the Dynamic Shift CVT's distinct performance feel is a gearset used as a launch gear for start-off acceleration, before seamlessly handing off to the CVT's pulley system.
And the Beat Drops
The standard multimedia continues to impress in Corolla Hatchback. For SE, including the Special Edition, standard Toyota Audio includes the 8-in. touchscreen; six speakers; Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa compatibility; Safety Connect trial; Wi-Fi Connect; Siri Eyes Free; Auxiliary audio jack and USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control; AM/FM; MP3/WMA playback capability; SiriusXM All Access satellite radio with three-month trial; hands-free phone capability; voice recognition and music streaming via Bluetooth.
Toyota Audio Plus, standard on XSE and optional on SE (with CVT), adds HD Radio and Weather/Traffic info; Connected Services; Service Connect and Remote Connect trials.
Topping the range, available Premium Audio for the XSE grade (with CVT) delivers a sonic knockout punch. The JBL 8-speaker, 800-watt system includes Clari-FiTM which analyzes and restores audio signals that were degraded by digital compression, making these formats sound more "open." This system also includes JBL Dynamic Voice Recognition, Dynamic Navigation trial, Dynamic POI Search and Destination Assist Connect trial.
Highlights of the 8-speaker array include free-standing horn tweeters in the A-pillars, 6.7-in. door subwoofers and sealed inner door panels to promote cleaner, more powerful bass response. Rounding off connectivity are two USB ports (located inside the center console and instrument panel) and one AUX port (located on the instrument panel).
The Corolla Hatchback upholds the brand's penchant for high value. The Corolla Hatchback SE grade comes standard with single-zone automatic climate control, leather-wrapped shift knob and, with the optional CVT, paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel. An electronic parking brake, three-door SmartKey system, automatic up/down windows and two front USB ports are standard as well.
The XSE grade builds on the SE with dual-zone climate control, combination leather-trimmed seating, unique stitching on the instrument panel and doors, heated front seats, and an eight-way power driver's seat.
Limited Warranty and ToyotaCare
Toyota's 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation. The Corolla Hatchback also comes standard with ToyotaCare, a no additional cost plan that covers normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years, unlimited mileage.