The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is priced from $24,890 in Canada, $22,195 in the US.
The Corolla nameplate ads a version that will soon eclipse the sedan and hatchback.
And just wait until the hybrid version arrives.
I’m not ashamed to admit it: I think the new 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is brilliant. Well, the thing I’m not ashamed of in reality is that I’ve driven the Corolla Cross three times in less than five months.
I’m not obsessed with the SUV; I’m just drawn to it. It’s almost as though I wished I had had the idea to slap “Corolla” across a small Toyota SUV’s butt because the concept, the idea, is a complete no-brainer. And I know a thing or two about no brains… I’m sure it’s been said before and that I wasn’t the first person come up with the following: The Toyota Corolla is the car for those that hate cars and only buy because they need one. It’s much more than that but I think you get my point.
Toyota styling approach
With conventional sedans going the way of the Tasmanian tiger, Toyota had to prepare for the near future. As cool as the Hatchback is, it’s not meant for the average Corolla buyer. The average Corolla owner probably loves their 26-year sedan however they might be inclined to replace it with something a little more spacious, so long as it wears the Corolla name.
The Corolla Cross ticks all the necessary boxes starting with the design. Frankly, the Cross’ “bold” front end is comically exaggerated and overcompensating. The trick is to convince SUV shoppers that this is an actual utility vehicle. The same thinking goes for the plastic fender garnishing and the larger front and rear bumpers. In true Toyota fashion, the Corolla Cross does without pizzazz, brightwork, and other flashy bits. Fun fact though, there are exactly 24 hidden Easter Eggs throughout the vehicle.
Spacious, down-to-business cabin
Much like the exterior, this CUV’s interior is exclusively about the business at hand. There’s nothing inspiring about the layout other than functionality. Today, too much emphasis is put on screens, technology, and in most cases (this is my old man moment) are annoying distractions that take away from simply commuting.
Even so, the base Corolla Cross includes a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, along with plenty of other features. My excitement for this review comes from this mid-trim LE model with AWD. For $28,490, it is delivered with an 8-inch screen, keyless entry and start, a heated steering wheel, and so on. For most, this level of equipment is spot-on.
The same applies to interior volume. The trunk’s generous thanks to its 700+ litres of available volume. This figure rises slightly for FWD models vs. AWD. The second will satisfy two adults or a pair of baby seats. Legroom is fair for most. Up front, there’s plenty of space and storage space to go around.
The power is fine
Adequate would be the term to use to describe the small CUV’s powertrain. The naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine provides a sufficient 169 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque. But, this is where my opinion of the standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) matters little. The bottom line is that it works and is only a partial nuisance under heavy acceleration.
This Toyota’s Dynamic Torque Control AWD system, like all of its non-hybrid FWD-biased layouts, is reactive. For the application, it delivers the exact amount of extra traction required to get around in winter or in tougher driving situations. With its included 8.2 inches of ground clearance, which is more or on par with the likes of the Jeep Compass and Subaru Forester, it could clear obstacles… Maybe I should book it again and take it off-roading next fall.
When staying on paved surfaces, the Corolla Cross handles nicely for the most part. Steering is fairly vague but otherwise, the fully independent (with AWD) suspension manages to keep the shiny side up, however, prefer not to be pushed too hard. Like me, if you “test” out the Toyota, you’ll miss out on averaging just under 8L/100km in mixed driving. Don’t be like me.
The competition is tough
The new 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross faces stiff competition from countless competitors. The Korean automakers, Hyundai and Kia alone have the Venue, Kona, Soul, and Seltos. Then there are the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Jeep Compass, Volkswagen Taos, Nissan Qashqai and Kicks, Mazda CX-30, Mitsubishi RVR, and so on.
While I do like most of the vehicles above, the Corolla Cross is the one that any consumer could select without considering any of the abovementioned and be immediately forgiven for having done so.