Now in its 12th generation, the Toyota Corolla is about to enter a new phase with the launch of an SUV version of the world’s most popular car.

Corolla Cross will sit between the C-HR and RAV4, offering a more practical package than C-HR and no doubt a cheaper alternative to the rapidly growing RAV.

Although based on the Corolla, it also shares a platform with the C-HR and the recently released Lexus UX.

Unveiled a few days ago in Thailand, the car will go on sale here in late 2022.

Corolla Cross benefits from Toyota’s experience as a pioneer in recreational SUVs 25 years ago with the original RAV4 — a vehicle that is now the world’s best-selling SUV.

It measures 4460mm in length and has a wheelbase of 2640mm.

RAV is 4620mm, while the Yaris Cross is 4180mm long.

Toyota says the new Corolla variant will slot between the upcoming Yaris Cross and Toyota’s popular RAV4.

The new member of the Corolla family has a design philosophy of “Corolla meets SUV”, blending the best aspects of both worlds.

It balances a dynamic, powerful, sleek and sophisticated design with high levels of SUV practicality.

Corolla Cross shares the GA-C platform of the Corolla hatch and sedan, ensuring a high level of body rigidity and a well-balanced chassis for responsive and agile driving, a comfortable ride and outstanding quietness.

Other features include a spacious cabin, easy entry into and exit from the car and excellent luggage space, as well as a high level of safety equipment inherited from Corolla hatch and sedan.

Like the Corolla hatch, the Cross will be available with either a petrol engine or a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain.

Toyota’s Sean Hanley said Corolla Cross will be an important addition to the local range, with SUV sales accelerating to an unprecedented 48 per cent of the market so far this year.

“Corolla Cross is not only stylish and versatile, it delivers the superior practicality demanded by customers in this segment including the high driving position, great visibility, spacious interior and ample head clearance,” he said.

No mention of C-HR in Toyota’s plans which means its days are probably numbered.

The lineup will be Yaris Cross, Corolla Cross and RAV4 — maybe they’ll rename it RAV Cross for the sake of consistency?

In Australia, Toyota leads the local industry in SUV sales with a 2020 market share of 19.6 per cent, up from 16.5 per cent at the same stage last year.

Led by RAV4 petrol and hybrid variants, Toyota has increased its SUV sales this year by 2.3 per cent.

Since its launch in Japan in 1966, the Corolla nameplate has sold a cumulative total of more than 48 million units globally.

It is Toyota’s best-selling car.

Production source and other details for Australia will be announced closer to its launch in 2022.

 

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 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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