When the first Corolla made landfall in Australia in 1966, few people would have predicted
half a century later the tiny vehicle, through sedan, hatch and wagon, becoming the
world’s most popular car.

Former Toyota Australia executive Rex Gilham, one of the men responsible for bringing
Corollas Down Under says just 15 cars were in the first shipment in November 1966, the
first vehicles to be exported from Japan.

These went on sale in 1967. A year later, first locally produced models left Australian
Motor Industries’ plant in Port Melbourne, which previously had built Standard Triumph
and Mercedes-Benz vehicles among others.

Now, along comes a Cross version, a family-friendly small SUV squatting alongside the C-
HR between the smaller Yaris Cross and family favourite RAV4. The all-new Corolla
Cross comes to market in three grades – GX, GXL, and Atmos – in petrol and petrol /
electric hybrid and two- or all-wheel drive.

Prices open at $33,000 for the GX petrol 2WD, with hybrid adding $2500. Then comes
three GLXs in petrol and hybrid in two- or all-wheel drive and on to range-topping
Atmos, again in petrol and hybrid, signing off at $49,050. All totals are without on-road

On test was the GX hybrid at $35,500, which like all Corolla Crosses, is the first Toyota
in Australia to feature the new-generation Toyota multimedia system.

The Corolla Cross is covered by Toyota Warranty Advantage, which offers up to five
years unlimited kilometre coverage extending to seven-years on engine and driveline,
with capped-price servicing for the first five years / 75,000 km and each 12-month /
15,000 km service costing $230.

The GX is distinguished on the outside by 17-inch alloy wheels, LED head and tail-
lights, automatic high beam, daytime running lights, heated and auto retractable door
mirrors and a shark fin antenna.

Character lines flow from the bonnet to the taillights. Black wheel arch and sill
mouldings denote the vehicle’s SUV intent with a hatch-top spoiler adding a sporty look.

The trapezoidal radiator grille is repeated at the rear with the taillight shape, while the
rear fenders present a flared and tapered look, not least to the narrowed roofline and
shape of the tailgate around the numberplate. A two-tone black-and-silver bumper
completes the rear end.

The Corolla Cross cabin mostly mirrors the Corolla hatch and sedan, with a roomier and
airier space that retains the sharp styling and convenient layout of its siblings.

The GX comes standard with automatic climate control, a 7-inch digital multi-information
display, electric park brake, smart entry and start, fabric seats, 60:40 split-folding rear
seats and a luggage cover.

The interior offers a wide, spacious feel, thanks to extra headroom and greater vision of
the Corolla Cross. Compared to the sedan, the eye level for drivers sits 130 mm higher,
allowing for excellent visibility all round.

An extra 43 mm of front headroom is available compared to the sedan, with an
additional 81 mm for rear passengers. Corolla Cross offers 436 litres of boot space with
the rear seat-backs in place in GX and GXL petrol models. For Atmos petrol, and GX
and GXL 2WD hybrid, rear boot space is slightly less at 425 litres.

The Corolla Cross is the first Toyota in Australia to feature the new-generation Toyota
multimedia system. This can be controlled via an 8-inch touchscreen display or steering
wheel controls, and offers wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, DAB+ digital
radio and quality sound reproduction from a six-speaker audio system.

Through the myToyota Connect app, owners can undertake such things as remotely
checking the status of the doors and lights, access information such as the vehicle’s last
known location and recent trips, or start the engine or climate control. The first 12
months are complimentary, thereafter a basic connection fee of $9.95 a month or
$12.50 including multi-media functions.

Hybrid 2WD versions of the Corolla Cross employ a 2-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine
teamed with an electric motor on the front axle for a combined maximum power output
of 146 kW.

The all-wheel drives add a second electric motor on the rear axle, with consumption,
according to Toyota, staying as low as 4.4 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined
cycle test.

The upgraded Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assistance features new technologies
including lane change assist and safe exit assist. Eight airbags and autonomous
emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection adaptive cruise control
including. curve speed reduction, auto high-beam, lane departure warning, lane keep
assist and lane trace assist (centring), speed sign assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-
traffic alert and reversing camera lead to a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Family friendly fits the bill here. As mentioned above, driving the Corolla Cross compared
to its sibling sedans and hatchbacks takes on a new level of comfort and convenience
through extra cabin dimensions and cabin glass. Ease of handling at low speeds adds to
the confidence of parking in small spaces. Pity about the absence of parking sensors and
360-degree camera.

On the road, the Corolla Cross gets under way under electric power, the petrol motor
cutting in to lend a hand with any load increase and to help charge the battery, the latter
continues under deceleration and braking. Revving hard the motor is noisy. Mated with a
CVT, there’s nothing spectacular, just a competent feel.

Fuel consumption of the test GX, with help from only one electric motor, returned values of
between 4.3 and 4.9 litres per 100 kilometres over a range of town-and country driving
conditions. Needless to say, the maker claims the lower value on the combined urban /
highway cycle.

The ride is comfortable and there is a lack of surprises in handling capability. The steering is
light but accurate in pointing the car in the right direction.

Issues such as the pandemic, semiconductor chip shortages, plus supply chain problems
have stopped manufacturers like Toyota keeping cars flowing into Australia. The Corolla
Cross is no exception, with wait times from six months for the 2WD petrol, extending to
two years for the range-topping Atmos AWD Hybrid. It’s a far cry from the smooth Toyota
terrain of the past, more’s the pity.

Looks: 8/10
Performance: 6/10
Safety: 8/10
Thirst: 7/10
Practicality: 7/10
Comfort: 6/10
Tech: 8/10
Value: 7/10


Corolla Cross GX Petrol: $33,000
Corolla Cross GX Hybrid 2WD: $35,500
Corolla Cross GXL Petrol: $36,750
Corolla Cross GXL Hybrid 2WD: $39,250
Corolla Cross GXL Hybrid AWD: $42,250
Corolla Cross Atmos Petrol: $43,550
Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid 2WD: $46,050
Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid AWD: $49,050
Premium paints $675
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota Corolla Cross GX 2.0L 4-cylinder petrol / hybrid, CVT, RWD

Capacity: 1.987 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders inline
Maximum Power: 112 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 190 Nm @ 4400-5200 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON

Type: Series / parallel, full hybrid
Output: 146 kW combined
Electric drive motor: Permanent magnet synchronous
Maximum power: 83 kW
Maximum torque: 206 Nm
Hybrid battery type: lithium-ion
Capacity: 4.08 Ahr
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 4.3 L/100km
Emissions CO2: 97 g/km

DRIVELINE: Continuously variable automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive

Length: 4460 mm
Wheelbase: 2640 mm
Width: 1825 mm
Height: 1620 mm
Turning Circle: 11.2 metres
Kerb Mass: 1380-1435 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 36 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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