2022 Toyota Corolla Cross First Look Review: Family Expansion

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Toyota is guaranteed to have a sales hit on its hands.

The Toyota Corolla has been around for half a century and continues to be the world's best-selling passenger vehicle. Currently sold in the US in either sedan or hatchback body style, Toyota decided it was time to expand the family as crossover popularity shows no signs of slowing down.

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is a new subcompact crossover that shares its general underpinnings, powertrain, and many design elements with its two siblings. To clear up any confusion, no existing Toyota crossover is being discontinued because of the Corolla Cross. Instead, the new model will slot in between the C-HR and Rav4.

The decision to turn the Corolla into a crossover stems from market demand. Sales of sedans and hatchbacks have gradually been decreasing in recent years, and though the regular Corolla is in no danger of dropped, Toyota wants to make sure it has all of its bases covered.

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Familiar Exterior Styling

Toyota has typically gone with more traditional exterior styling for its lineup and the Corolla Cross is no exception. The design will offend no one and still manages to have a little bit of attitude. The front and rear fenders have a muscular look along with black plastic trim directly above the wheel wells. At the front there's a black grille with LED headlights at each side. We also like the integrated roof spoiler and LED taillights.

Three trim levels will be available: L, LE, and XLE. The base L comes with 17-inch wheels, and 18-inch alloys are optional on the LE and standard on the XLE. The Corolla Cross is not a serious off-roader but it can be used for some adventures thanks to optional accessories such as a roof rack with crossbars, and an activity mount for things like bicycles.

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Smartly Designed Interior

If you're happy with the dashboard layout of the Corolla sedan and hatch, then you'll be thrilled by what you see here. The five-seater Corolla Cross has a nearly identical design, meaning a 7-inch infotainment display and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An 8-inch screen is optional. LE and XLE trims further receive a nine-speaker JBL audio system, wireless charging, and a couple of rear seat USB charging ports.

Additional options include a power moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, SofTex-trimmed seats, and a 10-way power driver's seat with heat and lumbar support.

The 60/40-split folding rear seats come standard on all trims, though the XLE does have a handy center armrest with two cupholders. Many buyers will opt for the power liftgate with height adjustability for easier rear cargo access. There are two rows of seats with 25.5 cu. ft. of storage space behind them. This slightly drops to 24.3 cu. ft. with the optional all-wheel drive. Toyota hasn't announced a total measurement with the rear seats folded flat.

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Power And Safety

For now, only one engine is offered: a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 169 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed to the front or all four wheels through a continuously variable transmission. A hybrid version is expected in the near future. With FWD and AWD, Toyota estimates a combined 32 mpg and 30 mpg, respectively. All Corolla Cross models can tow up to 1,500 pounds. We'll note that AWD versions feature a torque control system that sends up to 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels when needed.

Toyota knows the subject of safety will be on most buyers' minds and it delivers on this front too. All trims come standard with the Toyota Safety Sense suite of active safety systems such as lane departure alert, automatic high beams, and radar-based cruise control. Additional standard safety includes traction control, stability control, and smart stop technology. A blind-spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on LE and XLE. Front and rear parking assist with automatic braking also comes at no cost on XLE.

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Pricing And Competition

Official pricing has not been revealed but the Corolla Cross is likely to cost a little more than the $20,000 base price of the sedan and hatchback. Figure around a $23k-$24k price of entry. A fully-loaded AWD model will likely top off at about $30,000.

Competition in the subcompact crossover segment remains strong, but Toyota has done its homework well as its new entry will face off against the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Venue, and the Kia Seltos, to name a few of the most recent reveals. All are currently on sale except for this 2022 Corolla Cross, which should arrive in dealerships nationwide by the end of this year.

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