The Toyota Corolla Cross is a new entry for 2022 in the lineup of SUVs offered by the biggest automaker in the world. Its mission is to fill the gap between the ultra-popular RAV4 and the smaller C-HR. As the name demonstrates, it is a Corolla in a different form and shares the same platform. Our test model had an MSRP of $33,990 and was the first vehicle built at a new joint plant with Mazda in Huntsville, AL.
The Toyota Corolla Cross takes design cues from the RAV4 in front and the Corolla in the back. The Barcelona Red Metallic gives the vehicle a little more punch. The 18-inch wheels are a nice touch and add more personality to the ensemble. In the back, once again playing it safe, the black cladding pulls the styling together and gives the Corolla Cross a more rugged appearance. Overall, people wanted a crossover, and Toyota delivered a decent package.
Inside, the Corolla Cross looks like a traditional Corolla with three inches more ground clearance. That said, you do feel a difference between the sedan version and this one. The Softex seats are comfortable, and we could adjust the lumbar support on our model. You feel like you're sitting unusually high; they've mounted the front seats slightly higher than expected. In front, you get heated seats and a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control and an 8-inch touchscreen in the middle with a JBL Clari-Fi 9-speakers sound system in the top trim, the XLE. Everything here is intuitive, and the stereo is excellent. The cluster is composed of 2 analog gauges and one digital. It displays all the essential information. Still, you will need help finding a full-screen map or what radio station you've tuned in to; it's a mixed bag on that aspect.
As for interior space, Toyota's engineers did a great job maximizing for the passengers so you can fit four adults. The rear seats would better suit teenagers or adults under 6 feet (1.83m). The downside here is less cargo than we hoped for, although still enough for one large luggage and another medium shaped. The ISOFIX ports are visible in the back, same for the rear anchor, so you can quickly fit two car seats.
As for the driving dynamics, the Toyota Corolla Cross is powered by a 4-cylinder 2.0L engine coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission that delivers 169 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. This combination needs to be optimized as it feels underpowered and sluggish compared to the Corolla four-door. An estimated 9.2 seconds is slow in today's world, and behind the wheel, the acceleration is so lethargic that it feels even longer on a highway ramp. On a day-to-day basis, the transmission shifts through the gear quickly, so that isn't much of a problem. Another disadvantage is the plunging feeling when you're braking; it impacts the comfort of the passengers since the vehicle doesn't manage its weight as nimbly as we'd hoped for this kind of vehicle. The culprit is the suspension which is too soft for any sporty driving. The upside is that it improves the cabin's comfort when cruising on the highway or running errands around town, which will mainly be the intended use of this vehicle by its buyers. In that aspect, it is acceptable. Finally, we were also disappointed by the fuel consumption as it was challenging to keep the average under 10L/100km in the city (8.1 official). Still, the highway average was believable (7.4 official - 8.0 observed). Our average at the end of the week was about 9.8L/100km which is okay for a 100% gasoline all-wheel drive vehicle.
The Toyota Corolla Cross is coming into a hot segment with an average vehicle. Space, design, power and fuel consumption are so-so, so we wonder if Toyota were afraid it would steal too many RAV4 sales. It is best to wait for the upcoming hybrid version, which will correct its biggest flaw, the fuel economy. The hybrid will be a much better proposition because the current version feels like an all-wheel drive version of one of the beige Corollas from the late 90s and early 2000s, which is okay but could be better too.
Toyota has lent us this vehicle as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with Toyota Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion.