After the Aygo and Yaris, it’s the turn of the Corolla to receive its “Cross” version, understand SUV. As in the case of the raised variant of the Japanese city car, there is no need to look for a relationship between the look of the SUV and the classic Corolla. Both do not share any exterior design elements. Where the lines of the compact are dynamic and desirable, the bodywork of this Cross version is much more versatile… In the end, all they have in common is their position in the C segment. With its 4, 46 m long, 1.83 m wide and 1.62 m high, the new Japanese SUV is indeed between the RAV4 and C-HR, but also between the Corolla station wagon and 5-door.
We have known better…
It’s once inside that you can see the similarities between all the Corollas. The top of the dashboard is even identical on all models. It incorporates the new 10.5-inch central screen as well as the fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster. Both are standard on all trim levels. The first is large and easy to use. Too bad the navigation is not always very easy to read when there are many branches. Fortunately, Apple CarPlay (wireless) and Android Auto (wired connection) are there if needed. The real disappointment comes from the materials used in the cabin. Let’s say we’ve seen better… The plastics on the bottom of the dashboard, but also on the center console as well as the rear and front doors will be scratched (very) quickly.
It should also be noted that second-row passengers do not have storage compartments. And that’s not the only downside to this SUV claiming family use… With a wheelbase of 2.64 m, rear seat space is limited. No problem for children and teenagers, but adults over 1.8 m may have their knees in the front seats… And for good reason, its wheelbase is identical to that of its little brother, the C- HR! As for its trunk evolving from 433 to 1,337 liters, it is not either the most generous of the segment.
Flexibility above all
This Corolla Cross houses a choice of two 4-cylinder self-charging hybrid engines. The entry-level is a 1.8 l which sends its 140 hp only to the front axle while the 2 l, that of our test car, reaches 197 hp. As an option, the latter can drive the 4 wheels. But despite this power of around 200 hp, the Japanese SUV does not claim the slightest dynamic claim. And for good reason, its very linear engine is above all oriented towards flexibility and economy. Toyota announces an average consumption of around 5 l/100 km with both the 1.8 l and the 2 l. Count 5.5 l/100 km in all-wheel drive. Hat ! The box also has an efficient regenerative mode.
The city, his playground!
Pair any of these blocks with soft, comfortable cushioning, and this Corolla Cross shines in urban settings. First of all, it’s not too big. And then, it easily gets rid of curbs, cobblestones and other speed bumps. Often propelled only by its small battery, its engine could not be quieter. The transitions between electric and thermal are practically imperceptible. And despite the incessant restarts, consumption does not explode! In short, this SUV excels in behavior, at least as long as we do not claim too much power.
Easy on the accelerator…
As is often the case with continuously variable gearboxes, as soon as you press the accelerator a little too much, the engine literally starts to howl! And this Corolla Cross is no exception to the rule… But the fine soundproofing between the engine compartment and the passenger compartment makes this high-speed cacophony even more impressive! What’s more, the arrival of power is so linear that this hubbub does not result in an instantaneous speed gain. To wonder where are the 197 ch of our test car… Worse: the speed does not increase, but the consumption explodes! At the wheel, it is therefore better to be gentle with the accelerator. And that’s a bit of a shame. Because even with a steering devoid of feeling, this Corolla Cross can count on an efficient chassis with very little understeer tendency. And despite the comfort and flexibility of its suspensions, it takes little body roll when cornering. Finally, once the speed has stabilized on the highway, everything is back to normal. The e-CVT gearbox calms the engine, which becomes more discreet again as fuel consumption drops to an acceptable level.
How much does it cost ?
Initially, only the 2 l is available in Belgium. It is displayed from €35,410 in front-wheel drive and €39,590 in 4-wheel drive. The list of standard equipment is well provided. Nothing is missing even in the entry-level “Dynamic” finish. The 1.8 l will arrive soon and should save a few thousand euros, without going below the 30,000 € mark. In other words, this Corolla Cross is not cheap. Fortunately, it has a warranty that can extend over 10 years.
The Corolla Cross is an SUV that is not lacking in quality, but it also has some flaws, especially for a family vehicle! We appreciate its soft suspension, its sparrow consumption and its generous warranty. On the other hand, we appreciate less its poor quality plastics, its lack of habitability and its noisy engine under load. And once you put everything in the balance, its starting price of more than €35,000 for the 2-litre engine remains high… Especially since in this segment and at this price, competition is fierce!