2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

IIHS image

With top scores in seven out of eight crashworthiness tests, the new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback nabbed a 2018 Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In the offending category — headlight effectiveness — Toyota’s new hatchback scored one rung below IIHS’ highest accolade, Top Safety Pick Plus, but its status as a Top Safety Pick (sans Plus) should still appeal to safety-conscious shoppers.

Related: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Is Easy on the Eyes and on the Gas

Good ratings (out of good, acceptable, marginal or poor) came in six dynamic safety evaluations: two small overlap front tests — one for the driver’s side and one introduced more recently for the passenger side — plus IIHS’ moderate overlap front, side-impact, and roof-strength tests as well as evaluation of head restraint and seating effectiveness. The Corolla Hatchback also aced IIHS’ evaluation of its forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems, earning a superior grade (out of superior, advanced, basic or not available) on that front.

In the agency’s evaluation of headlight effectiveness, however, the hatchback’s standard LED units garnered only a marginal score. Optional curve-adaptive headlights on the Corolla Hatchback XSE, the higher of two available trim levels, earned an acceptable score to land such variants in the Top Safety Pick ring. (For Top Safety Pick Plus, IIHS requires a good headlight rating.)

Although the Corolla Hatchback is new for the 2019 model year, its safety distinction comes with IIHS’ awards for the 2018 calendar year. The agency often ratchets up award criteria with each new calendar year, so stay tuned to find out if the 2019 Corolla Hatchback earns a 2019 award. Another important caveat: The hatchback’s results don’t apply to the Corolla sedan, which hails from a separate, older platform. The 2018 Corolla sedan — the latest model year rated — is nevertheless also an IIHS Top Safety Pick, though it lacks the hatchback’s rating for passenger-side small overlap front. That test isn’t required for the agency’s lesser award, but for safety-conscious shoppers, the presence of the passenger-side result should bolster the Corolla Hatchback’s case.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.