How’s this as a recipe for cooking up a successful motor vehicle?
Start with the base of Australia’s top-selling brand for the past 25 years, add a badge
that’s been around since 1967 and accumulated more than 1.5-million sales here. Then
bulk it up to get into the booming compact SUV market, and top it off with the latest in fuel-
saving hybrid technology.
What you get is the brand-new Toyota Corolla Cross, a compact SUV that is likely to scare
the pants of every other competitor in its highly-competitive market segment.
After a long period when Toyota’s smallest SUV, the RAV4, grew into a mid-sized model
leaving the compact field open to numerous competitors from other brands, it now has
three vehicles in contention, Yaris Cross, C-HR and now the Corolla Cross.
There are three Corolla Cross three variants, GX, GXL and a new name, Atmos. As is the
norm with Toyota each comes with a hybrid option which adds between $2500 and $3000
to the price while GXL and Atmos are also available with all-wheel drive.
Prices, prior to on-road costs, range from $33,000 for the entry level 2WD GX petrol
through to $49,050 for our test vehicle, the Atmos AWD hybrid.
Although it sits on the same platform as the Corolla hatch, the Cross has a totally different
body as befitting an SUV. The styling is quite conservative but that’s unlikely to deter the
typical Toyota buyer who prefers function over fashion.
While it shares much with the Corolla its outer appearance is more mini-RAV4 than maxi-
Corolla with a snub-nosed grille featuring the Toyota logo, with blue highlights in the
centre. GXL and Atmos add front foglights, enhanced LED headlights and roof rails.
The Atmos gets a two-piece panoramic moonroof.
Anyone stepping up from the latest Corolla hatch or sedan will have no problem adapting
to the dashboard layout of the Cross because, apart from the new touchscreen (more
later), they are all-but identical.
That’s not a criticism because we’ve always loved the stylish yet functional Corolla design.
What they will appreciate is the extra interior space that the SUV conversion has brought
to the Cross with more headroom throughout and plenty of leg and footroom in the rear
seats for all but the tallest of occupants.
Only the Atmos comes with a folding centre armrest complete with twin cupholders.
Boot space varies according to driven wheels and powertrain, ranging from 380 litres in
the Atmos AWD hybrid up to 436 litres in the 2WD non-hybrid GX and GXL. Atmos comes
with a powered rear hatch and kick opening feature.
Power for the Corolla Cross petrol variants comes the well-established Toyota four-
cylinder 2.0-litre inline engine that generates 126 kW and 202 Nm from 4400 rpm.
Hybrid versions employ a 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine teamed to an electric motor
on the front axle for a combined maximum power output of 146 kW. The GXL and Atmos
hybrids add a second electric drive motor on the rear axle.
Fuel consumption in the petrol 2WD Corolla Cross is a claimed 6.0 litre per 100 kilometres
and 4.4 L/100 km from the AWD Hybrid.
Power is linked to either two or four wheels via a sequential ten-speed continuously
variable transmission (CVT).
In addition to the usual mandatory safety features all Corolla Cross variants come with
eight airbags, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert ; and ISOFIX child seat anchors.
Also standard in all models is the latest Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 package which adds a
pre-collision safety system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, active cruise control, lane
trace and departure alert with steering assist, lane change assist with deceleration assist,
road sign assist, door exit warning and automatic high beam.
In addition, GSX gets parking support brake with vehicle and object detection and a
panoramic view monitor. Atmos adds pedestrian detection to the parking support brake
feature as well as advanced park assist.
Corolla Cross has yet to receive an ANCAP rating but the maximum five points would
Corolla Cross is the first Toyota in Australia to get the brand’s new multimedia system. The
entry-level GX uses an 8.0-inch touchscreen, GXL and Atmos get a 10.5-inch screen. The
resolution is sharp and fast to respond with the option of using voice activation.
Satellite navigation is standard in the GXL and Atmos.
There’s wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto along with a single Type-C USB
port in the front console of the GX and two in the centre console of the GXL and Atmos.
Behind the steering wheel there’s a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster in the GX and GXL,
with a much larger (12.3 inch) one in the Atmos.
Corolla Cross also gets the latest version of the Toyota Connected Services
communications system that uses the myToyota Connect smartphone app to allow owners
to do such things as remotely check 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
The taller body of the Corolla Cross assist with access while the higher driving position,
large windscreen, side windows and mirrors together with a relatively narrow A-pillar
combine to provide excellent visibility to the front and side, only let down a bit by a fairly
skinny rear window.
There’s a reassuringly solid feel to the Cross and it’s easy to drive and park around the
urban environment which is most likely to be its home with steering which is relatively light
but direct and intuitive.
Apart from the battery-only start and silent running the Atmos hybrid that we tested had
that sharp acceleration that we enjoy in all vehicles with an electric component.
Suspension is well-balanced although we did get knocked around when maneuvering
through a badly-cratered section of our drive courtesy of some recent flooding.
Toyota is playing a waiting game in adopting pure electric and plug-in hybrid technology
relying – very successfully – on the hybrid variants that feature across the range with sub-
5.0 L/100 km fuel consumption relatively easily achieved.
It’s quite rare for road testers to be able to match or beat the optimistic fuel consumption
numbers that car company’s publish but we were able to average 4.3 litres per 100
kilometres during our week in the Corolla Cross AWD Hybrid, just under the listed 4.4
L/100 km. In one 40-kilometre rural run we got down to 3.6.
Helping these impressive results, Corolla Cross is the first local model to get the 5th
generation Toyota hybrid powertrain which combines a lighter lithium-ion battery with a
more powerful main electric drive motor.
Everything about the new Corolla Cross points to it being a major success for Toyota.
The Corolla name brings decades of credibility while the SUV body adds the family-friendly
practicality that is so popular at this time. Add it’s neat styling, comparatively spacious
interior, capable performance and excellent fuel economy and we expect it to overtake its
compact SUV rivals within the next 12 months.
All Toyotas now come with a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. This can be extended
to seven years on the engine and driveline, and 10 years on the hybrid battery, subject to
all scheduled servicing being done at Toyota dealerships.
There is also five-year capped price servicing due every 12 months or 15,000 kilometres at
just $230 per visit.
AT A GLANCE
GX Petrol 2WD: $33,000
GX Hybrid 2WD: $35,500
GXL Petrol 2WD: $36,750
GXL Hybrid 2WD: $39,250
GXL Hybrid AWD: $42,250
Atmos Petrol 2WD: $43,550
Atmos Hybrid 2WD: $46,050
Atmos Hybrid AWD: $49,050
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota Corolla Cross 2.0-litre petrol / electric hybrid five-door wagon
Capacity: 1.987 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 112 kW at 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 190 Nm at 4400 rpm
Fuel Type: Standard unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 4.4 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 101 g/km
DRIVELINE: Ten-speed continuously variable transmission
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4460 mm
Wheelbase: 2640 mm
Width: 1825 mm
Height: 1550 mm
Turning Circle: 10.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1550 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 43 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc
Five years / Unlimited kilometres