The Toyota Corolla Cross is an entry-level crossover utility vehicle.
Toyota has a new crossover utility vehicle rolling out in October 2021 and we could not be more excited about it. Yes, it is true: we are chiefly car fans, but when a new model hits the market and checks off all the right boxes, then we will sing its praises. And that is exactly what we are doing when we discuss the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross.
Right off the bat, the Corolla name is front and center for this new subcompact utility vehicle. Toyota calls it an “entry-level model” but identifying it as a subcompact brings in some important context. Particularly, this model sits between the Toyota C-HR and the Toyota RAV4 in the brand’s utility vehicle pecking order. Some may see it as “white space” between two sizes, but Toyota has identified competitors that are also subcompacts. These include the Hyundai Kona and Subaru Crosstrek, as well as the Chevrolet Trax, Jeep Renegade, and the Ford EcoSport. Others include the Fiat 500X, Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Rogue Sport, Honda HR-V, and the Mazda CX-3.
Without further adieu, we will take a closer look at the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross and what this vehicle has to offer car-shopping consumers.
The Corolla Name
Perhaps the chief matter about the new Toyota model is that the company assigned it with its popular Corolla name. The Corolla line launched in 1966 and has included various body styles such as sedans, hatchbacks, and wagons. For 2022, the line expands to include the Corolla Cross, its first utility vehicle. This makes sense as car sales are down, but the Corolla name has much strength to it. Indeed, since its launch, more than 50 million Corollas have sold worldwide. That cache is not something easily dismissed.
The Corolla Cross is based on the Toyota New Global Architecture platform. This vehicle architecture undergirds several Toyota models, including the RAV4, the Corolla sedan and hatchback, the Camry and Avalon sedans, the Sienna minivan, and the Prius hybrid. This platform permits uniformity across model lines, such as seat height, airbags, steering systems, shifters, and pedals. Several Lexus models are included too. In all, the TNGA platform in its five variations provides for stiffer bodies, improved handling, and better visibility.
We all know the importance of vehicle size, including concerning other models in a manufacturer’s lineup. As mentioned, the Corolla Cross sits between the C-HR and the RAV4, but just how much of a difference is not always understood. We recommend customers try out similar models to find out for themselves. In any event, the C-HR is three inches shorter from bumper to bumper than the Corolla Cross, while the RAV4 is 5.3 inches longer. The C-HR is 1.2 inches narrower, while the RAV4 is 1.1 inches wider. In the height department, the C-HR sits 3.2 inches lower, while the RAV4 rides 2.2 inches higher. These are the exterior dimensions that set the three vehicles apart.
As for cargo capacity, there is 26.5 cubic feet of storage space (25.2 cubic feet, FWD) behind the second-row seat. Further, fold down the rear seat and a maximum of 66.8 cubic feet can be had.
For the passengers, this model seats five on paper, but it is ideal for four. Tall passengers sitting in the rear may find the legroom tight. Therefore, if you are considering this model as a family vehicle, two adults and two youngsters is ideal.
Three Trims for the Choosing
Toyota is keeping things simple with the Corolla Cross. Instead of the L, LE, SE, XSE, and XLE trims found with the sedan, the new model comes in L, LE, and XLE trims only. Moreover, this model has standard all-wheel drive and, for the first time, allows a Corolla to boast available all-wheel drive. Notably, all-wheel drive is available across all three trims, adding $1,300 to the price. However, the prices listed below do not include the $1,215 freight charge.
Highlights of the Corolla Cross L ($22,195 FWD; $23,495 AWD)
The base model comes with LED headlights, LED taillights, and 17-inch steel wheels with silver wheel covers. Cloth seats, full power accessories, and air conditioning are all standard equipment. On the tech front, this model has a 7-inch multi-media display, a 4.2-inch multi-information display, and two USB ports. Toyota also includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, and trial satellite radio. We will break down the standard TSS 2.0 safety package later. Oh, yes, the rear compartment features two HVAC vents, a first for the segment.
Highlights of the Corolla Cross LE ($25,845 FWD; $27,145 AWD)
Building on the L trim, the LE offers substantial changes. These include 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, and keyless entry with push-button start. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and automatic climate control elevate the interior. On the tech front, this model features an 8-inch touch-screen display, Qi-wireless charging, and three USB ports. The LE also adds blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Among the options are a moonroof ($940) and a 9-speaker JBL audio system ($1,465).
Highlights of the Corolla Cross XLE ($26,700 FWD; $28,000 AWD)
The XLE pulls out all the stops for the Corolla Cross range. This model comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, and fog lights. Imitation leather seats, a 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, heated front seats, a leather shift knob, dual-zone climate control, and a tonneau cover. This trim includes a 7-inch multi-information display, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic braking, and front and rear parking assist with braking assist. Toyota also includes a rear folding armrest with two cup holders. Among the upgrades are a moonroof and power rear liftgate package ($1,250) and the JBL audio system ($1,465). Further, an adaptive front-lighting system with automatic leveling ($615) can be had.
Key Safety Features
Toyota offers its Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of driver-assist technologies as standard equipment on the Corolla Cross. This bundle includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian and cyclist detection along with lane departure alert with steering assist. Adaptive cruise control with full stop and go, lane tracing assist, and road sign assist are also featured.
Under the hood of every Corolla Cross is a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. This one develops 169 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. Toyota pairs the engine with a continuously variable transmission. Notably, this CVT has a fixed or planetary gear to kick things off before it moves into its gearless phase. Thus, the SUV moves faster from a dead stop.
In our four drives with each trim (we drove the XLE twice), we noticed the engine supplies only average kick. This means it is not impressive off the start nor does it throw down a lot of power for passing. On the other hand, it is no sluggard. The ride is comfortable, the steering is nicely weighted, and it handles well with a tight turning radius present. We found the brakes firm and as for wind noise, it was average – we detected some noise seeping in from the top of the windows as well as from the liftgate.
Toyota says the Corolla Cross has a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds when properly equipped. Also, the front-wheel-drive model earns a combined 32 mpg to the 30 mpg for all-wheel drive. These are stellar numbers for a small utility vehicle.
Corolla Cross Parting Thoughts
With production ramping at the end of September, the first Corolla Cross models will appear in Toyota showrooms the following month. The new model is manufactured in Huntsville, Alabama, at the joint Mazda-Toyota manufacturing plant. Within three years, the automaker expects the Corolla Cross to reach its 150,000-build capacity.
Certainly, based on our findings, we do not think Toyota will have any problem reaching its goals for the all-new Corolla Cross. Lastly, if you are looking for a hybrid model, we fully expect one will be added to the lineup for 2023.
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