What do you get when you turn the world’s biggest selling car into an SUV?

In the case of the Toyota Corolla, you get the Corolla Cross and a whole lot more sales, at least that’s the plan.

But it’s not the Corolla’s first rodeo. Back in 1988 there was a 4WD version of the Corolla station wagon, but buyers weren’t so fixated on 4WDs 30 years ago — so you might not remember.

Sold from 1988 to 1992 the Corolla 4WD boasted a 1.6-litre four cylinder engine, manual or automatic transmission and full-time all-wheel drive, courtesy of a single-speed transfer-case and centre differential.

Car manufacturers are great at re-inventing the wheel, over and over again and the Corolla Cross is no exception.

Toyota has announced it goes on sale in October, priced from $33,000 plus onroads.

Customers will be offered a lineup of eight different variants with a choice of two-wheel drive or electric all-wheel drive, petrol or hybrid powertrains, and three grades – GX, GXL and flagship Atmos.

First dibs . . .  the 1988 Toyota Corolla 4WD station wagon.


The range kicks off with the 2WD GX, priced from for $33,000 for the 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol version or $35,500 for the 2WD hybrid.GX comes with 17-inch alloys, LED lights, daytime running lights, and heated and auto retractable door mirrors while inside, standard equipment includes climate air conditioning, fabric seats, and smart entry and start.

It also features the latest-generation Toyota multimedia system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and six-speaker audio, with DAB+ digital radio plus support for wireless Apple Carplay and wired Android Auto.

The latest Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assistance features will be standard across the range.

Lane change assist joins existing features that have been further enhanced including pre collision system with pedestrian and bicyclist detection, active cruise control with curve speed reduction, lane trace assist, and lane departure alert.

All grades also offer eight SRS airbags, automatic high beam, blind spot monitor with safe exit assist, rear cross traffic alert and a reversing camera.

Flagship Atmos tops out at $49,050 for the AWD hybrid — more than twice the price of the original Corolla 4WD.

It comes with larger 18-inch wheels, a panoramic sun roof and power operated tailgate with foot sensor opening.

Leather-accented seats with front seat heating and driver’s eight-way power adjustment add further comfort and convenience along with a heated steering wheel, wireless phone charger, automatic rain-sensing front wipers and 12.3-inch full digital instrument cluster display.

Atmos hybrid grades also gain Advanced Park Assist and a full function Panoramic View Monitor with see through moving view.

Toyota’s Sean Hanley believes Corolla Cross will appeal to a broad range of customers.

“Bringing the Corolla Cross to market shows Toyota’s commitment to offering customers the vehicle that best suits their lifestyle,” he said.

“With ample space for a variety of customers and lifestyles, new safety and connected features and fuel-efficient powertrains, the Corolla Cross gives customers what they want out of a small SUV.”

Oh, what a feeling!



About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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