Now along with a hatch, a sedan, and a special edition, the Corolla will be sold as a crossover as well.
It was only a matter of time I suppose before Toyota decided it needed something with a bit more mass appeal compared to the CH-R. While a very youthful take on the compact crossover space, the CH-R doesn’t translate very well as a family crossover. Plus, being front-wheel drive only doesn’t help its case either.
So enter the crossover version of the best-selling car in the world since cars were invented, the Toyota Corolla. Dubbed the Toyota Corolla Cross, the new compact crossover attempts to plug the gap between the RAV4 and the CH-R and rectify some of CH-R’s shortcomings in the process.
We were fortunate enough to get some hands-on experience with the upcoming compact crossover thanks to an invitation by Toyota Canada for a special preview at their headquarters. Though we didn’t get any seat time, we did get a good feel of what the Corolla Cross will bring to the table. It is based on the same TNGA platform that also underpins the CH-R and also shares the same wheelbase as well. But that’s where the similarities end.
For starters, it looks bigger in person than it does in pictures. Also, it looks a lot more like the RAV4 rather than the Corolla sedan with which it shares its name. The sizeable front grille and sleek headlamps are inspired by the RAV4. The tail lamps however are reminiscent of the hydrogen-powered Mirai. In profile it looks like a traditional two-box SUV, it’s not until you get into the cabin do you notice its similarity with the Corolla.
The cabin is almost identical to the one you would find on the Corolla, a higher seating being the only apparent difference at first. You will recognize the steering, gear lever, and infotainment system are all directly lifted from the Corolla. But there are subtle differences. A digital speedometer takes center stage in the instrument cluster while the tacho is an analog unit. The USB slot too is no longer in a cave but easily accessible. View from the driver’s perch is rather good and it feels spacious for its size. Corolla has always had great front seats, something that carries over to the Cross as well. They are comfortable and supportive. Even the side bolstering holds you quite well. Taller passengers could feel the need for longer squabs at the front.
At the rear, though it is almost two inches (51 mm) down compared to 34.8 inches (884 mm) of legroom in the Corolla, it doesn’t feel as tight as I expected it to. The higher roofline adds to the feeling of space and since you sit a lot higher off the ground, you don’t feel the pinch as much. Having said that, more legroom is certainly more desirable and it will prove to be a handicap when it is invariably compared to the Kia Seltos. The rear bench itself offers good back support and recline angle, but seating three will be a bit of a stretch. The trunk on the other hand is quite large and with 25.5 cu-ft (721 liters) in the FWD versions and 24.3 cu-ft (688 liters) in the AWD versions, is ample for a small family’s luggage.
When launched the Corolla Cross will be available in three trims, L, LE, and XLE. The one you see here is the top XLE trim equipped with the moonroof, rear USB charging ports, and the premium JBL sound system. Toyota will offer rear AC vents as standard along with a backup camera and the Safety Sense 2.0 driver assistance system.
It is powered by the same 2.0-liter engine from the Corolla and makes 169 hp and 152 lb-ft of peak torque. It pairs with a CVT gearbox which comes with a launch gear that acts as the first gear of the transmission. Toyota remains tight-lipped regarding the pricing but the Corolla Cross will begin arriving at dealerships later in the year.
Discuss this story at our Toyota Corolla Cross forum.
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