Toyota Corolla Cross: A recipe for success

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross 8

What is it?

How is this as a recipe for cooking up a successful motor vehicle?

Start with Australia’s top-selling brand for the past 25 years.

Add a badge that’s been around since 1967, boasting more than 1.5-million sales here.

Then bulk it up to get into the booming compact SUV market – and top it off with the latest in fuel-saving hybrid technology.

What you get is the brand-new Toyota Corolla Cross, a compact SUV that is likely to scare the pants of every other competitor in the highly-competitive segment.

After a long period during which Toyota’s smallest SUV, the RAV4, grew into a mid-sized model, leaving the compact field open to numerous competitors, it now has three vehicles in contention – Yaris Cross, C-HR and now Corolla Cross.

There are three Corolla Cross grades, GX, GXL and a new name, Atmos.

As is the norm with Toyota, each comes with a hybrid option which adds between $2500 and $3000 to the price.

GXL and Atmos are also available with all-wheel drive.

Prices, prior to on-road costs, range from $33,000 for the entry level 2WD GX petrol through to $49,050 for our test vehicle, the Atmos AWD hybrid.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross 7

What’s it cost?

Although it sits on the same platform as the Corolla hatch, Cross has a totally different body befitting its role as an SUV.

The styling is quite conservative but that’s unlikely to deter the typical Toyota buyer who prefers function over fashion.

While it shares much with the Corolla, its appearance is more mini-RAV than maxi-Corolla, with a snub-nosed grille featuring the Toyota logo, with blue highlights in the centre.

GXL and Atmos add front fog lights, enhanced LED headlights and roof rails.

Atmos gets a two-piece panoramic moonroof.

Corolla Cross is the first Toyota in Australia to get the brand’s new multimedia system.

The entry-level GX uses an 8.0-inch touchscreen, GXL and Atmos get a 10.5-inch screen.

The resolution is sharp and fast to respond with the option of voice activation.

Satellite navigation is standard in GXL and Atmos.

There’s wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto along with a single Type-C USB port in the front console of GX and two in the centre console of GXL and Atmos.

Behind the steering wheel there’s a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster in the GX and GXL, with a much larger 12.3 inch one in Atmos.

Corolla Cross also gets the latest version of the Toyota Connected Services communications system that uses the myToyota Connect smartphone app to allow owners to do such things as remotely check the status of doors and lights, access information such as last known location and recent trips, or start the engine or climate control.

In addition to the usual mandatory safety features, all Corolla Cross variants come with eight airbags, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and ISOFIX child seat anchors.

Also standard is the latest Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 package which adds a pre-collision safety system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, active cruise control, lane trace and departure alert with steering assist, lane change assist with deceleration assistance, road sign assist, door exit warning and automatic high beam.

In addition, GSX gets parking support brake with vehicle and object detection and a panoramic view monitor.

Atmos adds pedestrian detection to the parking support brake feature as well as advanced park assist.

Corolla Cross has yet to receive an ANCAP rating but the maximum five stars would seem certain.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross 6

What’s it go like?

Anyone stepping up from the latest Corolla hatch or sedan will have no problem adapting to the dashboard layout of the Cross.

Apart from the new touchscreen (more later), they are all-but identical.

That’s not a criticism because we’ve always loved the stylish yet functional Corolla design.

What buyers will appreciate is the extra interior space that the SUV conversion has brought to Cross, with more headroom and plenty of leg and foot room in the rear for all but the tallest of occupants.

Only the Atmos comes with a folding centre armrest, together with twin cupholders.

Boot space varies according to driven wheels and powertrain, ranging from 380 litres in the Atmos AWD hybrid up to 436 litres in the 2WD non-hybrid GX and GXL.

Atmos comes with a powered, hands-free foot-operated rear hatch.

The taller body of the Corolla Cross assists with access.

While the higher driving position, large windscreen, side windows and mirrors – together with a relatively narrow A-pillar – combine to provide excellent visibility to the front and side.

It’s only let down a bit by a fairly skinny rear window.

There’s a reassuringly solid feel to the Cross and it’s easy to drive and park in the urban environment which is most likely to be its home, with steering which is relatively light but direct and intuitive.

Apart from battery-only start and silent running, the Atmos hybrid that we tested had the sharp acceleration that we enjoy in all vehicles with an electric component.

Suspension is well-balanced, although we did get knocked around when maneuvering through a badly-cratered section of our drive courtesy of some recent flooding.

Toyota is playing a waiting game in adopting pure electric and plug-in hybrid technology.

It has been relying, very successfully, on hybrid variants across the range, with sub-5.0L/100km fuel consumption that can be achieved relatively easily.

Corolla Cross is the first local model to get the 5th generation Toyota hybrid powertrain which combines a lighter lithium-ion battery with a more powerful main electric drive motor.

We actually managed 3.8 L/100km during one 30km drive.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross 3

What we like?

  • Stylish yet functional design
  • Sharp acceleration
  • New generation multimedia system
  • Sharp and fast to respond
  • Taller body assists with access
  • Excellent visibility to front and side
  • Sub-5.0L/100km can be achieved relatively easily

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross 4

What we don’t like?

  • Styling quite conservative
  • Yet to receive an ANCAP rating
  • Let down a bit by a fairly skinny rear window

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross 9

The bottom line?

Everything about the new Corolla Cross points to it being a major success.

The Corolla name brings decades of credibility while the SUV body adds the family-friendly practicality that is so popular at this time.

Add it’s neat styling, comparatively spacious interior, capable performance and excellentfuel economy and we expect Cross to overtake its compact SUV rivals within the next 12 months.

All Toyotas now come with a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.

This can be extended to seven years on the engine and driveline, and 10 years on the hybrid battery, subject to all scheduled servicing being done at Toyota dealerships.

There is also five-year capped price servicing due every 12 months or 15,000 km at just $230 per visit.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross 5


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Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid AWD, priced from $49,050
  • Looks - 8/10
  • Performance - 8/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 9/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 7/10
  • Value - 7/10

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