by Ian Wright
Although Toyota already has strong representation in the crossover segment, the new Corolla Cross is set to strengthen this position even further. The Corolla Cross is an all-new model but, as the name suggests, it rides on the same architecture as the Corolla sedan and hatch. That means Toyota is introducing its new small crossover with plenty of name recognition, and it slips perfectly into the small gap left between the C-HR and the wildly popular RAV4. It shares the 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine from the Corolla sedan and the Direct-Shift CVT transmission used in sportier flavors of the Corolla. In size, the Corolla Cross has more space in the back than the cramped C-HR and, in a segment full of small crossovers, goes head to head with vehicles like the Nissan Rogue Sport and the Kia Seltos. For the more adventurous, the increase in ride height can be complemented by an optional all-wheel-drive system.
While the Corolla Cross is all-but-guaranteed to be a big seller for Toyota, the automaker hasn't gone out on a limb in any way here. The styling is vanilla, the powertrain, for now, a single gas-powered option known for fuel-sipping and reliability, and the standard feature set is strong enough to be competitive at the Corolla Cross's price points. While that can be seen as a downside, there's a lot to be said for a crossover that does exactly what's needed and nothing more. Sales figures will no doubt demonstrate that fact over coming years. A hybrid version is inevitable later down the line, as is an all-electric Corolla Cross if Toyota sticks to its electrification plan over the next couple of years.
Toyota currently offers six crossovers and SUVs in the USA, and the all-new 2022 Corolla Cross brings that number to seven. The Corolla Cross does not replace anything, but it slots in between the C-HR and RAV4. Why? The simple answer is to make the Corolla more appealing. As crossovers become the new norm, more people are moving away from traditional sedans like the Corolla. The Cross fills that small but significant gap between existing products by slightly lifting the Corolla and giving it a more rugged appearance.
See trim levels and configurations:
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
The current Toyota Corolla sedan is a stunning vehicle. Unfortunately, we can't say the same when it comes to the Corolla Cross. It hits the current major Toyota design cues, particularly with the grille, but it is on the bland sign of design. The designers tried to spice it up with accents on the front and rear wings, but these elements won't stop the Corolla Cross from disappearing in crowded parking lots. It's a generic take on the small crossover, which will still find favor with most customers. All models get LED headlights with automatic high beams, while XLE models get LED fog lights and DRLs additionally. The L trim comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels with silver covers, while the LE gets 17-inch alloys. The range-topping XLE rides on 18-inch alloys with a black-painted machined finish.
The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is wider and significantly taller than the Corolla sedan, but it isn't as long. It's 175.6 inches in length and is 71.9 inches wide without the mirrors, and 64.9 inches tall when measured to the tip of the antenna. The ground clearance is rated at an impressive 8.1 inches for the XLE and 8.2 inches for the lower two trims. All models ride on a 103.9-inch wheelbase.
The lightest Corolla Cross is the LE in front-wheel-drive guise. It weighs 3,115 pounds. The heaviest model is the XLE with all-wheel drive, weighing in at 3,325 lbs. Compared to the XLE sedan, the Corolla Cross weighs almost 300 lbs more. Given the current appeal of a crossover body, we think most people will be happy to carry that extra weight around.
The new Corolla Cross boasts a palette that's seven colors strong. Wind Chill Pearl is the only extra-cost color and carries a charge of $425. No-cost options include Sonic Silver, Celestite Gray Metallic, Jet Black, Barcelona Red Metallic, Cypress, and Blue Crush Metallic.
The Corolla Cross utilizes the same 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated inline-4 engine used in its sedan sibling, and it makes just 169 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. The sedan is already a bit of a slouch, and the additional weight doesn't help with acceleration. Toyota doesn't claim 0-60 or top speed figures, but there's hardly any reason to do so. Rivals like the Kia Seltos offer turbocharged power and significantly more torque, so there are better choices if you like your crossover to have a bit of poke. The Toyota's maximum towing capacity is also just 1,500 lbs.
All trim levels are available in FWD and AWD. The AWD models come with Dynamic Torque Control, meaning that 50% of the available power can be sent to the rear axle once the front loses traction. It's a basic system, but perfectly fine given the audience Toyota is targeting. The Cross can be ordered with several accessories aimed at adventurous types. You can strap a bicycle to the roof and head to the nearest adventure farm located on the other side of a well-groomed gravel road. In that scenario, a rudimentary AWD system is all you need. A hybrid model is expected shortly, and it will likely be the model to go for if you require more power. If you're a relatively relaxed driver, the standard Corolla Cross should be good enough.
The Corolla Cross is currently only available with a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It delivers 169 hp at 6,600 rpm and 150 lb-ft of torque from 4,400 rpm. It's mated to Toyota's Direct-Shift CVT transmission, as found on certain Corolla sedans.
As expected, it's not a racer off the line, although the Direct-Shift CVT transmission features a first gear for acceleration before it switches to the CVT part of the transmission. That gives the Corolla Cross a bit of zing around city streets, but joining fast-moving traffic requires a heavy right foot before the drivetrain becomes comfortable at around 60-70 mph.
The Corolla Cross takes full advantage of Toyota's still-new TNGA-C platform shared with the sedan and hatchback. The ride is smooth and compliant to the point of being faultless for its price point. The suspension isn't tuned to be sporty, but the Corolla Cross is willing to change direction quickly at lower speeds and has a tight turning circle that makes it ideal for city dwellers. The steering is light and breezy, which is, again, ideal for cities. FWD models make do with a rear torsion beam suspension setup, and at higher speeds, the Corolla Cross is less confident. The fully independent rear suspension setup on AWD models is more sure of itself, but we barely noticed the difference in ride comfort. Comfort and ease of driving day-to-day are definitely the main keywords in the design brief.
EPA gas mileage figures aren't available yet, but Toyota provides some claimed numbers that will please most customers. In FWD guise, the Corolla Cross should achieve 31/33/32 mpg city/highway/combined. These figures decrease to 29/32/30 mpg with an AWD system, which is still quite good. The Kia Seltos achieves best figures of 29/35/31 mpg, making it more efficient than the Toyota in highway driving but less efficient in the city.
FWD models are equipped with a 12.4-gallon tank, while AWD models get a larger 13.2-gallon tank. That gives the FWD model an estimated driving range of 397 miles, while the AWD can cover an almost identical 396 miles thanks to its larger tank.
The Corolla Cross shares its interior design with the Corolla sedan, and that's a good thing. It might not be the most striking interior in the automotive world, but it is screwed together properly and feels like it will last a lifetime. This is the kind of car your grandkids will still use 40 years from now to get to college and back, and every single piece of the interior will still operate perfectly.
The cabin is spacious and the seats are comfortable. The base models get a nifty 4.2-inch multi-information display screen in the instrument cluster, while high-end models get a seven-inch display. The dashboard-mounted touchscreen interface is iPad-like, and the system is easy enough to use and understand.
As a five-seater, the Corolla Cross is where you learn how it sits between the C-HR and RAV4. The back is roomier than the CH-R and offers enough legroom for adults, although taller adults will be comfier in the RAV4. For kids, though, the rear is perfectly measured for a young family. The extra body width (+1.2 inches) and length (+3 inches) over the C-HR is not a lot on paper, but it makes a meaningful difference to leg and elbow room. Adding to rear comfort are the rear-seat HVAC vents that Toyota is keen to point out are standard through the range.
You have all the comfort and convenience of a Toyota Corolla in the front but with a more upright seating position. Visibility is great until you look in the rearview mirror and see how small the rear window is, but we didn't find it problematic. Even in the basic trim model with manual adjusting seats, it's easy to find a comfortable driving position.
It's a rather basic affair at the bottom of the range but as mentioned, the build integrity of the Corolla Cross is not in question. The entry-level LE comes with a urethane-wrapped steering wheel and the same material covers the shift knob. At this level, you get fabric seats in Light Gray. The mid-range LE adds the additional option of black fabric seats and also gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Finally, the top-spec XLE gets a leather-wrapped shift knob as well as SofTex upholstery in either black or Macadamia/Mocha. This top trim has Satin finish interior door handles instead of the black handles on lower trims.
This is where the Corolla Cross starts making sense. The sedan's trunk offers 13.1 cubic feet, while the hatchback variant takes it up to 17.8 cubes. In the Corolla Cross, you get a much more generous 26.5 cubes behind the second row or 25.8 cubes when the moonroof is equipped. The AWD models have marginally less space with 25.2/24.6 cubes without/with the moonroof.
It's easily one of the most accommodating compact crossovers in existence, easily beating the funkier C-HR's 19.1 cube trunk. The rear seats can be folded down in a 60:40 split. Doing so will free up 66.8 cubes behind the front seats in FWD models and 65.5 cubes in AWD variants. With the moonroof equipped, those numbers drop by half a cube.
Interior storage is ample. The Corolla Cross has an overhead console, a storage tray under the center console, a total of four cupholders on the lower two trims, large door pockets, and another storage space underneath the center armrest. The top trim has a further two cupholders and a fold-down armrest at the back.
The L specification comes standard with manual air conditioning with rear-seat vents, a rearview camera, a 4.2-inch LCD display in the instrument cluster, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, and the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite. Moving up to the LE trim adds single-zone automatic air conditioning, wireless phone charging, and illuminated vanity mirrors. The XLE grade comes with dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera with dynamic gridlines, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support, heated front seats, a seven-inch multi-info display in the instrument cluster, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rear folding armrest, six cupholders, and a tonneau cover.
We're incredibly impressed with the standard safety systems. Even from the base L specification, all of the most essential features are included as standard. In addition to a generous helping of the usual safety kit, every single trim gets full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, a pre-collision system, lane trace assist, and lane departure alert. LE models add a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, while the XLE trim will automatically brake if you don't respond to the above-mentioned systems. It also gets front and rear parking assist with automatic braking.
The base L model comes with a seven-inch touchscreen, while the LE and XLE models have an eight-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard throughout the range, along with SiriusXM capability with a free three-month subscription. Wi-Fi capability is also standard along with Toyota's Safety Connect. The L model comes with two USB ports, one in the front dash and one in the center console box. Disappointingly, you have to step up to LE or XLE for rear passengers to get a USB charging port. However, both upper trims do come with QI wireless charging in the front.
Audio is channeled via six speakers on all derivatives. However, the top two trims can be optionally specced with a nine-speaker JBL sound system too.
As the Toyota Corolla Cross SUV is brand new, it's too early to accurately assess its reliability. Then again, it shares its engine and other components with the Corolla sedan so it's worth looking at that model's record. The sedan was last recalled in 2020, and the two faults were not mechanical. Toyota seems to have this particular engine and gearbox combination sorted, which bodes well for the Corolla Cross.
Each Corolla Cross is sold with a three-year/36,000-mile comprehensive warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. We're impressed to see that the Corolla Cross comes with a two-year/25,000-mile scheduled service plan at this price level.
Both the NHTSA and the IIHS have yet to conduct a Corolla Cross safety review. The sedan received good ratings from both parties, and the IIHS even gave the 2021 Corolla sedan a Top Safety Pick award.
While the new Corolla Cross is built on a solid foundation, the body styles are too different just to assume that it's equally as safe. We don't think it will be too long before the IIHS and NHTSA smash a few cars to provide complete safety ratings.
Toyota provides two safety systems as standard. The first is the Star Safety System, which consists of basic safety systems like stability and traction control, ABS, and EBD. In addition, it gets nine airbags, with protection including a driver's knee airbag, curtain airbags, and side airbags for all outboard seating positions. In addition, the Corolla Cross gets LATCH anchors, tire pressure monitoring, and a rearview camera.
All models also get the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 driver assistance suite, consisting of full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, a pre-collision system with pedestrian/cyclist detection, lane trace assist, lane departure alert, and road sign assist. LE trim adds a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, and the XLE gets braking assist linked to its blind-spot monitor/cross-traffic systems, plus front/rear parking sensors.
The Corolla Cross crossover is certainly a good car and we won't be surprised to see it become a best seller for Toyota. If you're looking for a small crossover that will cart around friends or family, it's sure to be as robust and useful as any other small Toyota. That sounds like we're damning it with faint praise, but there's a lot to be said for a dependable, comfortable, and feature-packed package that will serve its owner well for years to come. The 2.0-liter engine won't set your pants on fire and the same goes for the generic styling. For buyers craving more of an emotional connection with their vehicle, something like the turbocharged Kia Seltos proves to be a more appealing prospect. But for the purposes of getting from point A to point B without any fuss, the Corolla Cross will be tough to beat.
The price of the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross starts at $22,195 for the entry-level L in FWD guise, increasing to $24,545 for the mid-range LE and $26,325 for the top-spec XLE. In all cases, upgrading to AWD will add $1,300 to your bill. These prices exclude a destination charge of $1,215.
There are three trim levels in the Corolla Cross range: L, LE, and XLE. All models are powered by the same 2.0L four-cylinder engine producing 169 hp and 150 lb-ft, and mated to a CVT transmission. All trim levels are available in FWD and AWD.
The base L trim comes with only the most necessary features. It gets LED headlights, manual air conditioning, a 4.2-inch LCD instrument cluster display, a rearview camera, and Toyota's Safety Sense 2.0 suite. It also comes with a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and six speakers. This trim sticks with 17-inch steel wheels with covers.
In the middle of the range, the LE trim comes with single-zone climate control, wireless charging, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. At this grade, the larger eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard. It's simply a larger touchscreen and provides the same functionality as the smaller unit.
The top-spec XLE trim gets dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, a 10-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, a leather shifter, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a tonneau cover for the trunk, and a seven-inch display in the instrument cluster. The XLE is also the only model with six cupholders, thanks to a rear center seatback that folds down.
Toyota doesn't offer any comprehensive packages but there are a few standalone upgrades. The LE and XLE can be equipped with a nine-speaker JBL sound system but this setup retains the same eight-inch touchscreen interface. These top two trims can also be fitted with a power moonroof, while the XLE is available with a power tailgate and an adaptive front lighting system. At the time of writing, Toyota hadn't yet indicated the price of these optional extras.
As an entry-level model, the L trim has all the necessary features we would want in a car, barring, perhaps, a rear USB port. For $22,195, though, we wonder if it's worth the extra $1,380 over the standard Corolla hatch for most first-time buyers. Toyota thinks so but also knows the LE model will be the volume seller in the range - and rightly so. It has an excellent blend of added convenience features like wireless charging and an upgraded dash display for the extra money. The XLE starts questioning the value proposition, but not enough for us to tell anyone they shouldn't go for it if they want to splash out a little extra cash on a car that should last them many, many miles. We would spend some time considering going for the LE, though, and add the nine-speaker JBL sound system instead.
For nearly the same amount as a top-spec Corolla Cross, you can get into a base RAV4. Toyota is quite good at separating its crossovers and SUVs, with little overlap between them. The RAV4 seems like the obvious choice. It has a more potent 2.5-liter NA four-cylinder engine providing 203 hp and 184 lb-ft. The Corolla Cross only has 169 hp/150 lb-ft, and you can only have it with a CVT transmission. In the RAV4, you get a better eight-speed automatic transmission. The RAV4 also looks better, whereas the Corolla Cross is just 16 feet of generic SUV. The RAV4 even has a bigger trunk, providing over 37 cubes of space - over ten cubes more than you get in the Corolla Cross.
It seems like the RAV4 is the obvious choice, but we think the average Corolla Cross owner is looking for something simple, reliable, and unassuming. They don't know much about the automotive world, but they know the words "Toyota" and "Corolla" are bywords for reliability. Previous versions of the Corolla were also extremely dull, but Toyota sold millions to people who simply wanted a reliable set of wheels.
Mazda uses the same formula to ensure the continued existence of the 3. They took the 3, lifted it a bit, and added an "X" to the name to make it sound crossover-y. It also retails at an affordable price, and it has a reliable Mazda badge pasted to the front. The Corolla Cross has a trunk offering up to 26.5 cubes, while the CX-30 only offers 20.2 cubes.
In almost every other department, the CX-30 is in the lead. Its naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter engine provides 186 hp and 186 lb-ft and is mated to an old-school six-speed automatic transmission. It's so much better to drive, though not nearly as frugal as the Toyota. The Mazda also has a much nicer minimalist interior, not to mention an exterior that can be described as handsome. We'd happily sacrifice the additional trunk capacity for the Mazda's style and driving experience.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross: