How’s this for a surprise, it’s the Toyota Corolla Cross, a crossover version of the world’s most widely sold family car.
And no, the Toyota Corolla Cross is not cross – as in angry at the world for being a couple of higher off the ground than a regular Corolla. After all, that’s a good thing in the Leisure Wheels book, right!? More clearance means more adventure, and more adventure is what motoring needs right now in a Covid-19 world.
Why the Corolla Cross might be cross; however, is because of the battle it has in store against the established stalwarts of the mid-size crossover market: the Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Kuga, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Renault Koleos, Subaru Forester, Nissan X-Trail, you name it, the list is endless.
Hailing from Thailand, and set for launch in other selected markets in the near future, Toyota says the vehicle is developed on the concept of ‘Corolla meets SUV,’ and rides on the firm’s TNGA-C platform that currently underpins the C-HR, Yaris Cross and Corolla. Except it gets a tougher torsion beam rear suspension versus the others’ multi-link setups. Like the other vehicles mentioned it is front-wheel drive only.
The connection to something like the Rav4 is not just incidental, because despite the Corolla Cross name, the vehicle has precious little in common with the sedan it shares a name with. Instead, the Corolla Cross appears more like a downsized Rav4 with a similar downturned front grille, lower apron and slim headlamps. This rugged styling is complemented by front and rear skid plates, black wheel-arch cladding and a subtle roof-mounted spoiler.
Snug in the middle of C-HR and Rav4
As far as dimensions go, the Corolla Cross shares the same wheelbase as the C-HR, but occupies a larger footprint (4 460 mm), is 30 mm wider (at 1 825 mm) and 55 mm taller (at 1 620 mm) than the more fashionable crossover. However, by comparison, the Rav4, which is underpinned by the TNGA-K platform don’t forget, is quite a bit larger. And we’d argue too large if we’re being strictly honest with you.
On the inside, the Corolla Cross looks to be all Corolla though. Which is a good thing, because it’s one of the finest interiors for the money at the moment, and the dashboard, centre stack and centre console appear to be pretty much identical to its sedan sibling. Rear storage capacity is ample at 487 litres of boot space.
Features wise, it’s as you’d expect from a modern Toyota, there’s multi-info instrument cluster display, dual-zone climate control, drive mode selector, nine-inch touchscreen and powered tailgate with hands-free access. The Toyota Safety Sense suite will be available on higher-end variants, offering Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Automatic High Beam, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Where it is offered at the moment, the Toyota Corolla Cross comes in two engine variants: a naturally aspirated 1.8-litre Sport, and hybrid adopted directly from the Toyota family of hybrids running the Atikinson cycle, paired to an electric motor. The four-cylinder petrol Sport produces 103 kW and 173 Nm of torque just as it does in the run-out Corolla Sedan and is paired with a CVT only.
Will we see it in South Africa?
The official line from Toyota South Africa on whether it will be coming to SA is: ‘With Toyota’s vast product portfolio, we are currently investigating a number of different models for local introduction, however we cannot confirm specific details at this stage,’ says Riaan Esterhuysen, Manager Product Communications, Toyota South Africa.
Stranger things have happened but in light of everyone tightening their belts due to the Covid-19 crisis, we don’t expect it to come to local shores anytime soon. A shame really.