You could in all likelihood be looking at the successor to the evergreen Corolla hatch
and sedan as the market continues its move away from traditional styles.

Corolla Cross joins the Yaris Cross, C-HR, RAV4, Kluger, Fortuner, Land Cruiser Prado
and Land Cruiser 300 Series in Toyota’s ever-growing line-up of SUVs.

And, like many of the aforementioned models, it is available with a fuel saving hybrid
petrol-electric powertrain — one that importantly recharges itself.

It’s the right-size and the timing couldn’t be better, but it’s going to cost you almost
$5000 more to get into one and there’s sure to be a long wait.
But hey?

Looking much like a smaller version of the RAV4, there’s three versions from which to
choose: GX, GXL and Atmos.

There’s also petrol or hybrid powertrains, and front- or all-wheel drive, with pricing
starting from $33,000 plus on-roads for the front-drive, petrol-powered GX. For $2500
more you can have the same car with a fuel-saving hybrid. AWD is another $3000, but
available only with GXL and Atmos.

GX comes with 17-inch alloys, LED head and tail lights, automatic high beam, daytime
running lights as well as heated auto folding door mirrors.

Inside, you’ll find cloth trim, single-zone climate air, smart entry and start, an electric
park brake and a 7.0-inch driver information display.

GXL, priced from $36,750, adds combination leather and fabric upholstery, dual-zone
climate, leather-accented shift knob and steering wheel, auto dimming rear view mirror,
better LED headlights, front fog lights, roof rails and rear privacy glass.

To this Atmos, priced from $46,050, adds 18-inch alloys, panoramic sunroof and a
power-operated tailgate.

There’s also leather-accented upholstery, heated seats and steering wheel, eight-way
power-adjust driver seat, fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster, Nanoe X air filtering,
illuminated entry and a wireless phone charger.

Corolla Cross is covered by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, extending to
seven-years on engine and driveline, with capped-price servicing for the first five years
or 75,000km.

Each 12-month/15,000km service is pegged at $230.

Infotainment consists of an 8.0-inch touchscreen, with voice control, Bluetooth,
AM/FM/DAB+ digital radio, wireless Apple CarPlay but wired Android Auto and six-
speaker audio — but alas no navigation.

For that you need to fork out for one of the more expensive models.

Voice activation is enabled with the words “Hey, Toyota!” and you can use the new
multimedia system as a web browser.

There’s a 12-volt outlet in the console box and single USB-A port at the front of the
centre console, while GXL and Atmos grow two extra USB-C ports in the back.
Cross also comes with a 12-month subscription to Toyota Connected Services,
accessible via the myToyota Connect app.

After this you’ll need to pay $9.95 for Toyota Connect+ and $12.50 for Connected
Multimedia monthly. This lets you remotely check the status of the doors and lights,
access the vehicle’s last known location and recent trips, or start the engine or climate
control. But we wonder how often you would actually use these features once the
novelty has worn off?

GXL and Atmos get a larger 10.5-inch touchscreen with built-in navigation, while Atmos
also adds premium 9-speaker JBL sound.

Atmos is also fitted with a fully digital instrument cluster, with three different display
modes and a number of options.

While the 1.8-litre setup in the hatch puts out 103kW, the Cross with a larger 2.0-litre
Atkinson cycle engine and an electric motor for the front axle, delivers a combined
146kW of power at 6600 revs.

Torque? Toyota never puts a figure on combined torque for its hybrids. Never really
been quite sure why.

The petrol engine alone however produces 190Nm between 4400 and 5200 revs. The
electric motor — another 206Nm.

A second electric motor is added to the rear axle in all-wheel drive versions, helping
among other things to correct any oversteer or understeer.

Drive is through a CVT-style continuously variable style transmission.

Corolla Cross gets a full five stars for safety.

With eight airbags and a reversing camera, Autonomous emergency braking (Car-to-
Car, Vulnerable Road User, Junction Assist and Backover), a lane support system with
lane keep assist (LKA), lane departure warning (LDW) and emergency lane keeping
(ELK) and an advanced speed assistance system (SAS) are standard on all versions.
GXL and Atmos add a 360-degree camera.

Automatic Collision Notification can notify emergency services in the event of a collision
triggering an airbag, who can attempt to speak with vehicle occupants to determine the
seriousness of the situation.

Having driven hundreds of Toyotas over the years breeds a certain familiarity.
Getting into the Corolla Cross for the first time, it all feels, looks and even smells the
same – at once familiar but different.

The cabin looks like Marie Kondo has paid a visit. The fit out is not quite spartan, but
the emphasis is clearly on functionality and practicality. It’s all there – but with nothing
to spare. In fact, it reminds me of the old joke that if Toyota could find a way to charge
for the air in tyres – it would do so (apologies).

There’s also a certain sameness to the way the Cross drives. The feel and sound of the
hybrid powertrain is straight out of the Prius playbook.

Cross sits on the same platform as the Corolla hatch, along with the C-HR and Lexus
UX, but gets a larger, more powerful hybrid in recognition of the extra size and weight
that it carries – 120kg more than the petrol version.

At 4460mm in length, Cross is 85mm longer than the hatch, but 170mm shorter than
the sedan.

The cabin is a roomy and pleasant environment, but rear legroom is limited, at least
sitting behind my 183cm frame.

Headroom getting in and out of the back is also challenging, thanks to a receding
roofline and raised seat height.

The cargo area is a good size though, with 414 litres of space behind the rear seat in
front drive models – 380 litres in the all-wheel drive.

The space saver in the all-wheel drive is replaced by a tyre repair kit to make room for
the second electric motor.

The CVT in the hybrid misses out on a sequential or manual change mode in petrol
versions, but comes with three drive modes: Normal, Eco and Power. They alter throttle
response, engine load and transmission response.

The dash from 0 to 100km/h takes a brisk 7.7 seconds in the front-drive version.
In power mode, performance is surprisingly sharp, but you still need to wind it up in
preparation for overtaking.

But why, one might ask, do you have to keep switching to power mode to access
satisfying performance. Why isn’t this simply the default mode?
If you answered economy, why then is there an Eco mode?

Steering is accurate and well weighted and the ride is firm without becoming
uncomfortable, but it does become a bit bouncy at speed.

Handling is confident for an SUV, up to the point where the higher centre of gravity
starts to generate some body roll, but the average driver is unlikely to find that point.

The brakes are excellent, consistently pulling the car up quickly after repeated hard

Fuel consumption from the 36-litre fuel tank in the front is a claimed 4.3L/100km, or
4.4l/100km for the all-wheel drive — and it takes standard unleaded.

We were getting 5.2L after more than 300km. This is a little higher than expected when
a Camry hybrid will return 4.6 without any effort.

Interestingly, the 2.0-litre petrol Cross is good for a not unattractive 6.0L/100km.
Cross produces 97g/km of CO2.

It feels a bit underdone, but we like it.

Corolla sells on price and value. The Corolla Cross ticks one of those boxes.

A top of the range hybrid hatch is $37,620. Our top of the range, two-wheel drive Atmos
is $46,050 – a whopping $8430 more. Atmos is the pick. We wouldn’t worry about all-
wheel drive which doesn’t warrant the extra $3000.

The real breaker however is that you can get into a larger front-drive RAV4 Hybrid XSE
for $46,375 – yes, just $325 more?

Looks: 7.5
Performance: 6
Safety: 8
Thirst: 8
Practicality: 8
Comfort: 7
Tech: 7
Value: 7.5
Overall: 7.4


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.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos FWD 2.0-litre hybrid, CVT automatic, five-door SUV

Capacity: 2.0 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line, mild hybrid
Maximum Power: 146kW of power at 6600 rpm
Maximum Torque: Not stated
Fuel Type: Standard unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 4.3 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 97 g/km

DRIVELINE: CVT automatic, front-wheel drive

Length: 4460 mm
Wheelbase: 2640 mm
Width: 1825 mm
Height: 1550 mm
Turning Circle: 10.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1480 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 36 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

Five years / Unlimited kilometres


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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