Toyota’s compact RAV4 has been America’s best-selling non-pickup since 2016, but since then even smaller crossover SUVs have proliferated like cherry blossoms in spring. Toyota launched its own small C-HR crossover that year, but faced stiff competition from rivals like the Honda HR-V and Kia Seltos, the automaker adds a new small crossover: the Corolla Cross 2022.
The Corolla Cross, which debuted in Asia last year, will fit above the C-HR but below the RAV4. Although it is based on the same platform as the C-HR, its concept is significantly closer to its big brother.
Even though car buyers have been turning to SUVs for years, says Ed Kim, an analyst for industry research firm AutoPacific, that shift has come slowly for compact cars, which tend to be on the lower end. more sensitive to the price of the automotive market. “Now we’re seeing a lot more small entry-level crossovers overlapping with traditional compact sedans in terms of price. It is vital for Toyota to have something very strong in this space.
Toyota has offered the C-HR for years, Kim says, but it’s much more of a niche product. It offers distinctive coupe styling, but sacrifices the rear seat and cargo space for its looks. “It doesn’t offer all-wheel drive either, so it’s a bit out of step with the market leaders among small crossovers,” adds Kim. Tellingly, in 2020 Toyota sold ten RAV4s for every C-HR according to Motor Intelligence data.
The Corolla Cross takes a much more traditional approach. “It’s styled like a smaller RAV4, so it looks very familiar, and being straighter it’s likely to have the space and feel that people expect from an SUV,” Kim says. .
Corolle Plus Cross
In a way, the new SUV is a comeback for Toyota. The original 1996 RAV4, which shared some parts with the then current Corolla, was the very first modern crossover SUV. At 175.6 inches long, it’s almost a foot longer than the 1990s RAV4, but its proportions are similar, and it aims to bring the same kind of utility to the same kinds of value-conscious buyers. .
Among modern competitors, its size most closely approximates the Jeep Compass, Subaru XV Crosstrek, Kia Sportage and the all-new Volkswagen Taos 2022.
The Corolla Cross rides on the same platform as the C-HR, Lexus UX, and Corolla sedan and hatchback, but its straight body is about three inches taller and 2.1 inches higher above the ground than n any of her sisters. He is unlikely to ever surpass a Ford Bronco Sport on the track, but its 8.1-inch ground clearance gives it a light and plausible off-road capability.
It will be offered with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and all versions will be powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine developing 169 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). This same combination is shared with the sportier Corolla S-trim and the Lexus UX 200, both of which are a bit slower than some of their rivals but fine for everyday driving. The Corolla Cross gets a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds, which is just enough for a small kayak trailer.
It’s a thrifty combo too, and Toyota says the Corolla Cross will deliver good fuel mileage for the class. Front-wheel drive models are expected to achieve 32 mpg combined, with all-wheel-drive models rated at 30 mpg. It’s about on par with the Taos and slightly better than the Crosstrek, but way ahead of the Compass or Sportage. In Asia, the Corolla Cross is also offered as a hybrid, although Toyota has not announced an American version of this model.
The larger body also translates to extra space compared to its platform mates. Although Toyota has not released a figure for total cargo volume, the automaker says the front-wheel drive Corolla cross will have 25.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, the model’s additional mechanical parts. all-wheel drive reducing that to 24.3. That’s more than the Corolla hatchback or the UX, and only a tiny bit less than the Taos or the Compass, which suggests a lot of utility.
Rear seat legroom looks a bit tight on paper at 32 inches, compared to 36 to 38 inches for most of its rivals. The Corolla Cross still rides on the same 103.9-inch wheelbase as the C-HR, with its rear seat confined, but being taller and more airy, it will likely have a different feel in the real world. Front passengers have more room, at least on paper, than in the Compass, Sportage or Taos.
Like other Toyotas, the Corolla Cross will come with a host of active safety features, including forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts and parking assistance will be optional.
The power of the corolla name
Regardless of how it looks on paper, the Corolla Cross has one advantage that no other new SUV can boast, the power of name recognition. More than 46 million Corollas have been built since the 1966 original, and the addition of a crossover to the Corolla lineup is likely to appeal to existing customers as well as to new ones, Ed Kim says.
The name is closely associated with sustainability and value, and many buyers are loyal customers, Kim says. “Some are older, more traditional buyers,” Kim says. “They might find they like the better visibility and easier entry and exit of crossings.” When Toyota launched the Scion xB aimed at young people in 2003, Kim says, it was aimed at hipsters, but found just as much an audience with older, value-conscious customers because of its upright sitting position and tall. visibility. The same was true for the original RAV4.
In the meantime, the Corolla Cross lineup will be structured in a very similar fashion to the Corolla sedan and sedan, and will target the same broad swath of customers.
Toyota will offer three versions, L, LE and XLE in increasing equipment levels. The base models will be content with a 7-inch infotainment screen while the LE and XLE models will have an 8-inch unit. Apple Car Play and Android auto will be standard. 17-inch steel wheels are standard, while LE models are 17-inch alloy. XLE models benefit from niceties, including softex cloth seats, heated power seats, dual-zone climate control and 18-inch alloy wheels. A sunroof is optional.
Although Toyota hasn’t announced pricing for the Corolla Cross, prices are expected to range from around $ 24,000 to $ 30,000 depending on the trim level. “Toyota has to be competitively priced,” Kim says, “And anything called a Corolla has to be an inherently value-driven product. “
Toyota will build the Corolla Cross at its new facility in Huntsville, Ala., A joint venture with Mazda. (Mazda will also be building new CUVs at the plant). Due to supply chain issues, it’s unclear whether car buyers will see the Corolla Cross on dealership lots this fall or as the December holidays approach. However, if the RAV4 or regular Corolla’s past is a prologue, they’ll see them almost everywhere else soon after.