We're 99% sure.
Toyota went wild on Wednesday, revealing no less than five new or upgraded models at an event at its HQ in Texas. As enthusiasts, we liked the new GR 86, the new Supra variant and the next-generation Tacoma TRD pickup, but we can accept that the most important vehicle of them all is the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross. It's one of the company's best-selling vehicle names, now with a body that falls into one of the most important segments. Toyota will probably sell a million or two.
We learned that the new Corolla Cross would come in front- and all-wheel drive configurations, featuring a 169-hp, 2.0-liter four, good for 32 mpg combined in front drivers and 30 mpg combined with power going to all four wheels. What we were surprised about was that there was nothing official about a hybrid version.
Nothing official, but Toyota did show a glimpse of its blue hybrid badge, which led us to think that there will eventually be a Corolla Cross hybrid, like the RAV4 and others before it. It makes perfect sense, we're just wondering why Toyota didn't go official with it today. We asked about a hybrid, Toyota said, "not yet."
If we were speculating on the powertrain, the Prius AWD-e setup would seem to work. It gets a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine and two motor/generators through an electronically controlled planetary-type continuously variable transmission. It has no driveshaft, which saves weight and complexity, and the rears only kick in when necessary.
In that Prius application, owners were treated to 50 mpg combined, though with the bigger weight and broader stance of the Corolla Cross, we'd expect a little bit less. It makes 121 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque there, but we could also imagine a little improvement for the subcompact SUV.
Toyota started making hybrids early, and it makes some of the best and most popular today. We love the speedy little RAV4 Hybrid and as much as we make fun of the Prius, we get its efficient appeal. And as we learned a few weeks ago, if a Prius can be turned into a fun hybrid, there's no reason a Corolla Cross can't.