The Toyota Corolla Cross Isn’t Pointless
A little dull maybe, but a solid entry.
Do we really need another crossover in the market? Yes. Stop asking! Ok, now that that dumbass question is out of the way, Toyota’s finally let folks drive its new compact-ish crossover; the Corolla Cross. Clearly, riding on the coattails of the Corolla nameplate, the Corolla Cross is a new entry in the small SUV class. It’s not as pointless as you might think.
Riding on Toyota’s new TNGA modular platform (like every modern FWD-based Toyota), the Corolla Cross is a small SUV that’s slotted between the Subcompact C-HR, and larger RAV4. Styling is a bit middling, maybe a bit attractive to my eyes. The front reminds me of a Toyotized version of Marvel’s Apocalypse in the fascia. The side and rear are tidy enough, sort of a diet RAV4.
Technically, the Corolla Cross isn’t actually that new; this model has been on sale for a little over a year in ASEAN markets like Thailand and the Philippines. In those markets, the Corolla cross gets power from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder, or a 1.8-liter Hybrid; similar to the hybrid setup in the Prius. For the United States, power comes from the same 2.0 Liter, CVT combo that is in the Corolla hatchback, and the upper trims of the Corolla sedan. Also, unlike the C-HR, AWD is available as an option on the Corolla Cross.
Now, I’m not going to lie to you and say the Corolla Cross is exciting. It’s not. Reviews thus far have agreed, the Corolla Cross isn’t very exciting to drive. But, the Corolla Cross fills an important role in Toyota’s lineup. The C-HR’s lack of AWD and quirky styling isn’t to everyone’s tastes. The RAV4 is kind of big, and expensive for some buyers. The Corolla Cross will likely hit a sweet spot for buyers who want AWD (or at least think they do), but don’t want to pay so much. Base model to Base model, the Corolla Cross is about $4,000 cheaper than a RAV4.
Why would anyone buy this boring-ass car? Shouldn’t you just get a Corolla Hatchback?
The Corolla hatch is fine, but this one has appeal in an important area: space, actually. I’m not sure about the packaging limitations on Toyota’s TNGA chassis, but some of the smaller models are decidedly lacking in passenger and cargo room. The Corolla hatchback is the worst offender, with rear legroom rivaling that of the Ford Fiesta, and a small 17.4 cubic foot trunk. Toyota is mum if that measurement is done sans rear spare tire, which is optional and completely consumes the Corolla’s cargo underfloor storage. By comparison, the Corolla Cross offers 26.5 cubic feet of space in the trunk, with the seats up. It’s unknown if that number is generated via similar means, but at least visually, the Corolla Cross’s rear cargo hold looks to be worlds more accommodating than the Corolla hatchback’s.
The Corolla Cross’s rear legroom, rear trunk space, and overall interior volume is much greater than the Corolla hatchback. Some have complained that the rear seat is a bit limited on legroom, but it should still be a much more workable space than the Corolla Hatch or Sedan’s arrangements. Loading cargo, kids, child seats, all should be a much easier affair in a Corolla Cross.
In short, the Corolla Cross isn’t the most exciting crossover in the segment, but it never made any pretension towards being interesting or exciting. If you’re looking for a not-so-expensive, practical small family car with an AWD option, the Corolla Cross is going to be worth looking at. Getting more utility out of a compact car can be a good way to get the most out of a modest budget.