As Toyota’s Corolla’s has been their popular selling compact sedan, the carmaker made a slick and smart move by transforming the Corolla into the Corolla Cross AWD crossover.
Realizing that sedans have been falling out of favor to crossovers and SUVs, this move gives car buyers what they want today.
Corolla Cross AWD (175.6 inches overall length) is positioned between their RAV4 (181) and C-HR (171) subcompact and is sure to be a top seller as was the Corolla sedan. And to spice up the Corolla Cross even further, it’s offered in hybrid form.
Trim wise it can be had in FWD or AWD and in base L, LE and XLE AWD that we tested.
Corolla Cross is snappy looking with its cladding on bumpers and around the wheel wells. It sits a bit higher than the sedan as has a respectable 8.1 inches of ground clearance that can negotiate measurable snow amounts, but only very mild off-road trails.
Despite the higher ground clearance, ingress/egress is a comfortably low 17.5 inches into a nicely functional interior with heated and supportive SoftTex seats up front.
An 8-inch infotainment display serves the XM radio and apps with connected services offering Apple CarPlay, Android Auto integration along with Amazon Alexa, Wi-Fi with subscription, rearview camera but navigation has to be linked with a smartphone app. The system can be set up with lock/unlock functions, roadside assistance, all with a phone or smartwatch. There’s also a wireless phone charger on the aft portion of the console.
The gauge cluster combines a digital speedometer with integrated driver information display for alerts, features and functions. It’s bright and colorful and grabs the eyes.
Rear seat leg and head room are marginal for two adults. Tall folks can be a bit cramped and the doors could open a little wider to ease ingress.
Back in the cargo area, that has a low 29-inch lift over to load items, is rated at 24.3 cubic feet with the seats up. It measures 32.5 inches deep, 43 wide and 28 high. Flip the 60/40 rear seatbacks and cargo depth extends to 64 inches.
Beneath the cargo floor is a space saver spare tire plus multiple small bins for hidden item storage.
Shod with 18-inch Goodyear tires, Corolla Cross rides smoothly and quietly. It parks easily with its tight 35.4 curb-curb turning radius and it’s really fun to drive. Harsh roadways and tar strips are nicely dampened and because of its heavier (3,325 pounds) than the sedan’s curb weight, it settles nicely into tight turns and recovers easily.
Powered by a 2,0-liter inline 4-cylinder that produces 169-hp and 150 lb/ft of torque, it gets impressive EPA mileage estimates of 29 city, 32-highway mpg with a CVT automatic transmission. Acceleration is a linear explosion of power that rates a tow rating of 1,500 pounds. This is sufficient for a small utility trailer or 14-foot aluminum boat.
As the XLE trim model, it came standard with a host of safety features such as Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 Pre-Collision w/pedestrian detection, full-speed radar cruise control, lane departure alert w/steering assist, lane trading assist, automatic high beams, blind spot monitor w/rear cross traffic alert and full braking assist.
Starting at a reasonable base price of $27,625, options included JBL audio, Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Sirius radio package ($1,465), tilt/slide moonroof and back hatch door ($1,250), auto leveling adaptive front lighting ($615), carpeted floor/cargo mats ($249), roof cross bars ($299), that took the bottom line to $32,718 with delivery.
Added to this, Corolla Cross was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and received a full five-star overall safety crash rating by the National Traffic Safety Administration also known as NHTSA.
Toyota’s Corolla Cross is a winner as it combines utility, economy and safety, all at a reasonable price. Toyota just needs to advertise these accolades more for it to be their new top seller.