Cheap doesn't have to mean boring.
A couple of months ago, Toyota revealed the Corolla Cross, a new family crossover with handsome looks and a simple approach to motoring. It's an affordable thing that forgoes the latest gizmos in favor of fitting every trim with advanced safety features. That's all well and good, but the Corolla Cross doesn't exactly come across as an exciting machine. Fortunately, Toyota has a department dedicated to making its cars more fun in the form of Gazoo Racing. The in-house tuner doesn't really have any rules and will fiddle with just about any Toyota product, and that now includes the new Corolla Cross.
It's immediately worth pointing out that this is a GR Sport model, not a full-fat GR like the upcoming Corolla hot hatch. The new offering was just unveiled in Taiwan and boasts a host of changes both to its design and under the skin. The front bumper has been redesigned and now gets a new grille similar to that seen on the Hilux pickup. With black chrome accents and larger intakes, the Corolla Cross looks a lot sportier. Add the front skid plate accents and it looks ready for a bit of off-roading too. Those silver accents are replicated down the sides of the car as well as the rear, where a GR badge also resides. Gloss black mirror caps and a floating roof design are employed too.
Inside, a few GR touches remind you what you're in. These include embossed seats and a GR start/stop button, but what about the bones of the vehicle? Well, new springs and dampers improve handling, as does a chassis reinforcement bracket that is said to increase rigidity. Under the hood, gasoline and gasoline-hybrid powertrains are on offer. The 1.8-liter four-pot generates 138 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque, all of which goes to the front wheels via Toyota's Super CVT-i transmission. The hybrid model also uses a 1.8-liter motor but with an electric motor. However, this model only produces 121 hp. Both variants are on sale in Taiwan now for the equivalent of $31,600 and $34,100 respectively.