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2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Adds Safety, Style, Special Edition (But Not Speed)

toyota-corolla-hatchback-2021-special-edition-OEM-01.jpg 2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Special Edition | Manufacturer image

Toyota announced today the addition of a 1,500-unit-limited Special Edition version of its 2021 Corolla Hatchback, featuring a unique paint color and bodywork to distinguish it from the regular Corolla Hatchback masses. Also new for the Corolla Hatch for 2021 are additional standard airbags, wider availability of optional safety features and the return of the blacked-out Nightshade Edition.

Related: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback First Drive: The Changes It Needed

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On the Surface, Under the Hood

The 1,500 Corolla Hatchback Special Editions will all be painted in a new Supersonic Red exterior paint color and feature a body kit with a new front splitter, side skirts, rear roof spoiler and “rear bumper garnish” along with unique badging and black 18-inch wheels. The Special Edition is based on the SE trim with the continuously variable automatic transmission and gets no performance enhancements for its 168-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. While other Corolla Hatchbacks are available with a manual transmission, all Special Edition models get the CVT.

This Isn’t the Special Edition You’re Looking For

If you’ve been following Toyota news at all lately you may have seen the GR Yaris making the rounds — a 268-hp, three-cylinder-powered hot hatch with a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. When revealed, there was an outcry to bring it to the U.S., and Toyota has seemingly confirmed that a different Gazoo Racing-tweaked hot hatch would be coming to our shores. The Special Edition Corolla Hatchback, available late in the summer … is not it.

Nightshade Dawns Once More

Returning for 2021 is the SE Nightshade version of the Corolla Hatch, available in black and silver, with black wheels and black exterior accents. The CVT is standard equipment on the Nightshade. Interestingly, the Enhanced Cargo Space option, which lowers the cargo floor and replaces the spare tire with a tire repair kit, is a no-cost option on all trim levels but the Nightshade, where it is entirely unavailable.

More Available Safety Tech, More Airbags

A blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert is now standard on XSE trims and available on SE models as part of the SE Preferred Package. Toyota also added two rear-seat-mounted side airbags to the Corolla Hatchback, giving it 10 airbags in total.

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