MPBBkqDI 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross GX 3
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross GX 3

Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid: The highs and lows

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross GX 4

What is it?

When the first Corolla made landfall in Australia in 1966, few people would have predicted half a century later that the tiny vehicle, through sedan, hatch and wagon, would go on to become the world’s most popular car.

Former Toyota Australia executive Rex Gilham, one of the men responsible for bringing Corolla Down Under says just 15 cars were in the first shipment in November 1966 — the first vehicles to be exported from Japan.

These went on sale in 1967 and a year later, the first locally produced models left Australian Motor Industries’ plant in Port Melbourne, which previously had built Standard Triumph and Mercedes-Benz vehicles among others.    

Now, along comes a Cross version, a family-friendly small SUV squatting alongside the C-HR, between the smaller Yaris Cross and family favourite RAV4.

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross GX 5

What’s it cost?

All-new Corolla Cross comes to market in three grades – GX, GXL, and Atmos – in petrol and petrol-electric hybrid and two- or all-wheel drive.

Prices open at $33,000 for the GX petrol 2WD, with hybrid adding $2500. Then comes three GLXs in petrol and hybrid in two- or all-wheel drive and on to range-topping  Atmos, again in petrol and hybrid, signing off at $49,050. All totals are without on-road costs.

On test is  the GX hybrid at $35,500, which like all Corolla Crosses, is the first Toyota in Australia to feature the new-generation Toyota multimedia system. 

GX is distinguished on the outside by 17-inch alloy wheels, LED head and tail lights, automatic high beam, daytime running lights, heated and auto retractable door mirrors and a shark fin antenna.

Character lines flow from the bonnet to the tail lights. Black wheel arch and sill mouldings denote the vehicle’s SUV intent with a hatch-top spoiler adding a sporty look.

The trapezoidal radiator grille is repeated at the rear with the tail light shape, while the rear fenders present a flared and tapered look, not least to the narrowed roofline and shape of the tailgate around the number plate.

A two-tone black-and-silver bumper completes the rear end. 

The new-generation Toyota multimedia system is controlled via an 8.0-inch touchscreen display or steering wheel controls, and offers wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, DAB+ digital radio and quality sound reproduction from a six-speaker audio system.

Through the myToyota Connect app, owners can undertake such things as remotely checking the status of the doors and lights, access information such as the vehicle’s last known location and recent trips, or start the engine or climate control.

The first 12 months are complimentary, thereafter a basic connection fee of $9.95 a month or $12.50 including multi-media functions.

The upgraded Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assistance features new technologies including lane change assist and safe exit assist.

Eight airbags and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection adaptive cruise control including, curve speed reduction, auto high-beam, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and lane trace assist (centring), speed sign assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and reversing camera lead to a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Corolla Cross is covered by Toyota Warranty Advantage, which offers up to five years unlimited kilometre coverage extending to seven-years on engine and driveline, with capped-price servicing for the first five years 75,000 km and each 12-month/15,000 km service costing $230.

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross GX 6


What’s it go like?

The Corolla Cross cabin mostly mirrors the Corolla hatch and sedan, with a roomier and airier space that retains the sharp styling and convenient layout of its siblings.

GX comes standard with automatic climate control, a 7.0-inch digital multi-information display, electric park brake, smart entry and start, fabric seats, 60:40 split-folding rear seats and a luggage cover.

The interior offers a wide, spacious feel, thanks to extra headroom and greater vision of the Corolla Cross.

Compared to the sedan, the eye level for drivers sits 130mm higher, allowing for excellent visibility all round.

An extra 43mm of front headroom is available compared to the sedan, with an additional 81mm for rear passengers.

Corolla Cross offers 436 litres of boot space with the rear seat-backs in place in GX and GXL petrol models.

For Atmos petrol, and GX and GXL 2WD hybrid, rear boot space is slightly less at 425 litres. 

Hybrid 2WD versions of the Corolla Cross employ a 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine teamed with an electric motor on the front axle for a combined maximum power output of 146kW.

The all-wheel drive adds a second electric motor on the rear axle, with consumption, according to Toyota, staying as low as 4.4L/100km on the combined cycle test. 

Family friendly fits the bill here.

As mentioned above, driving the Corolla Cross compared to its sibling sedans and hatchbacks takes on a new level of comfort and convenience through extra cabin dimensions and cabin glass.

Ease of handling at low speeds adds to the confidence of parking in small spaces.

Pity about the absence of parking sensors and 360-degree camera.

On the road, the Corolla Cross gets under way under electric power, the petrol motor cutting in to lend a hand with any load increase and to help charge the battery, the latter continues under deceleration and braking.

Revving hard the motor is noisy.

Mated with a CVT, there’s nothing spectacular, just a competent feel. 

The ride is comfortable and there is a lack of surprises in handling capability.

The steering is light but accurate in pointing the car in the right direction. 

Fuel consumption of the test GX, with help from only one electric motor, returned values of between 4.3 and 4.9 litres per 100 kilometres over a range of town-and country driving conditions.

Needless to say, the maker claims the lower value on the combined urban/highway cycle.

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross GX 9

What we like?

  • Sporty look
  • Wide, spacious feel
  • Five-star safety rating
  • Low fuel consumption
  • New-generation multimedia
  • Lane change assist and safe exit assist added

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross 4

What we don’t like?

  • No parking sensors
  • No 360-degree camera
  • Noisy when revved hard

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross GX 7

The bottom line?

Issues such as the pandemic, semiconductor chip shortages, plus supply chain problems have stopped manufacturers like Toyota keeping cars flowing into Australia.

The Corolla Cross is no exception, with wait times from six months for the 2WD petrol, extending to two years for the range-topping Atmos AWD Hybrid.

It’s a far cry from the smooth Toyota terrain of the past, more’s the pity.

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross GX 2


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Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid GX 2WD, priced from $35,500
  • Looks - 8/10
  • Performance - 6/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 7/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
  • Comfort - 6/10
  • Tech - 8/10
  • Value - 7/10

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