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Toyota Corolla Cross 2022 Review: An Impressive New Challenger

Image Source: AlivePhoto / Shutterstock

The 2022 Corolla Cross from Toyota showcases a blend of characteristics from its top-selling models as it minimizes its latest crossover-SUV technology. Being the latest compact Toyota crossover with optional all-wheel drive, the Corolla Cross is larger than the front-driven Toyota C-HR and taller than the Corolla sedan that it draws its name from. Additionally, the 2022 Corolla Cross borrows design influences from another Toyota, the more substantial and more prominent RAV4. Compare the Corolla Cross with rivals like the Honda HR-V, Subaru Crosstrek, and Hyundai Kona.

It presents itself as a downsized version of the RAV4, which is actually a good thing, considering its deliberate emulation of the RAV4’s silhouette. Utilizing this family resemblance effectively captures attention, and the design adapts well to its more compact frame. It stands out as a sleek, compact crossover with well-angled pillars and wheel arches. Unique touches include an upturned “mailbox” grille, more defined and curved fenders, and slimmer LED headlights; these elements elevate its appearance beyond the basic look of an economy car.

The Corolla Cross focuses on the first part of its name, rather than the second. It maintains a consistent level of quality, which is perfectly acceptable. It makes use of Toyota’s 169-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 engine sourced from its parts inventory. With 150 lb-ft of torque and a weight ranging between 3,125 lbs and 3,325 lbs, acceleration is modest. You may find it necessary to push the engine to its limits, but the noise output during acceleration and the CVT’s behavior in the midrange are notable. The CVT transmits power to either the front wheels or all four wheels and offers manual shifting at specific ratios, but it yearns for relief when tackling inclines with only the driver aboard.

Models with front-wheel drive feature a seemingly less sophisticated twist-beam rear suspension, while those with all-wheel drive sport a more advanced rear multi-link suspension. The front-wheel-drive variants provide a comfortable drive for daily commuting, whereas the heavier and more intricate setup exerts better control over wheel movement, especially when paired with the larger 18-inch wheels. On highways, the Corolla Cross offers a smooth ride, particularly with the smaller 17-inch wheels on the L and LE trims.

Equipped with electric power steering, the Corolla Cross lacks feedback and feels light at low speeds, but it gradually gains weight on highways to ensure stability. During tight cornering at higher speeds, it exhibits persistent understeer and lacks the power to counter it effectively. The Corolla Cross is capable of towing up to 1,500 lbs and boasts ground clearance of up to 8.2 inches, just half an inch less than the RAV4.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the Corolla Cross achieves good, though not exceptional, mileage ratings. Front-wheel-drive models are EPA-rated at 31 mpg city, 33 highway, 32 combined. With all-wheel drive, these figures drop to 29/32/30 mpg. It’s worth noting that these numbers are not significantly higher than larger vehicles like the RAV4 or Honda CR-V. Toyota plans to introduce a hybrid version of the Corolla Cross in 2023.

Strong crash-test results and a robust suite of standard safety features contribute positively to the Toyota Corolla Cross’s appeal. The Corolla Cross received top ratings from both the IIHS and NHTSA, earning a five-star safety rating overall. The IIHS went a step further by awarding it a Top Safety Pick+ designation for its standard automatic emergency braking system, which received a “Superior” rating in preventing collisions with vehicles and pedestrians. The vehicle’s standard LED headlights also performed well. In addition to these features, the Corolla Cross comes equipped with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic high beams. The LE models add blind-spot monitors, while the XLE trim includes parking sensors and rear cross-traffic braking.

The interior design mirrors that of the RAV4, with a familiar layout centered around a touchscreen positioned atop the dashboard. The cabin is neatly organized, featuring a compact gauge cluster and a prominent touchscreen, with only a pair of air vents breaking up the slim dashboard layout. The color scheme predominantly consists of gray and black, except for the XLE variant, which offers warm beige synthetic leather upholstery.

Comfortably accommodating four passengers along with cargo, the Corolla Cross measures 175.6 inches in length, making it half a foot shorter than the RAV4. The wheelbase measures 103.9 inches, which ensures ample space for front-seat occupants. The front seats, trimmed in cloth on L and LE trims, feature manual adjustments via delicate levers and lack adequate lumbar support. A tilt/telescoping steering column simplifies finding an optimal driving position, though improved lumbar support is only available on XLE models, along with power adjustments and synthetic leather upholstery.

The rear seat can accommodate two adults comfortably, with ample headroom but limited knee room compared to the larger RAV4. Rear legroom measures 32.0 inches, and rear shoulder room totals 52.5 inches, leaving little space for tall passengers or a third occupant. Behind the second row, the Corolla Cross offers at least 24.6 cubic feet of cargo space, which expands to at least 65.0 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down, depending on the presence of a sunroof and all-wheel drive.

Toyota focuses on providing essential features rather than extravagant options, equipping the 2022 Corolla Cross with a generous array of standard features and offering excellent value. The base Corolla Cross L starts at $23,410 and includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, cloth upholstery, 60/40-split folding rear seats, and LED headlights. Opting for all-wheel drive adds $1,300 to the price. These prices already include $1,215 in destination charges.

For a slightly enhanced experience, consider the Corolla Cross LE priced at $25,760, which adds an 8.0-inch touchscreen, roof rails, keyless start, and wireless smartphone charging. This trim can be further customized with a sunroof and a JBL 9-speaker audio system. The XLE trim, priced at $27,540, includes synthetic leather upholstery, a 10-way power driver’s seat, a center armrest, 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, and a tonneau cover. Optional features for the XLE trim include adaptive headlights, a power tailgate, and a JBL audio system. Toyota offers a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty that now includes 2 years/25,000 miles of complimentary maintenance.

In conclusion, the new 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross could be the ideal choice for many drivers. Its compact dimensions, advanced safety technologies, and excellent value combined with Toyota’s renowned reliability make it an outstanding small SUV option, especially for first-time buyers. With the Corolla Cross, Toyota has found the perfect balance in the competitive small SUV segment, offering refinement and dependability in a practical package.

Image Source: AlivePhoto / Shutterstock

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