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Toyota Corolla Hybrid 2023 Inaugural Test Report: Greater Fuel Efficiency And More Horsepower

The compact SUV category keeps getting more crowded as car manufacturers target potential compact sedan purchasers. Almost every mainstream carmaker provides one, but now Toyota has introduced the standout of the category – the 2023 Corolla Cross hybrid. The Corolla Cross hybrid is the singular small hybrid SUV accessible at the moment. With a combined rating of 42 mpg and higher power than the regular Corolla Cross hybrid, this petite SUV is challenging to surpass.

The 2023 Corolla Cross hybrid is primarily rooted in the regular Corolla Cross, which we are only moderately enthusiastic about, mainly due to its disappointing powertrain. The good news is that the Corolla Cross hybrid not only conserves more fuel but is also mightier compared to the standard version.

The Corolla Cross hybrid is equipped with Toyota’s fifth-generation hybrid powertrain, also featured in the 2023 Prius. The hybrid is fueled by a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder and two electric motors at the front, while a third motor propels the rear wheels. The powertrain produces a collective 196 horsepower, an appealing improvement over the 169 hp in the regular version.

The added power propels the Corolla Cross hybrid to 60 mph in eight seconds, positioning it as one of the fastest models in the category. While the 0-60 mph time may not appear extremely impressive, it certainly delivers greater acceleration compared to the Honda HR-V, a main competitor. The inclusion of the electric motors also results in quicker acceleration from a standstill, compared to the nonhybrid version. Joining a highway is also less daunting than it is in the standard version. If a more powerful option is desired, the Kia Seltos or Mazda CX-30 are available, but the additional power will necessitate more frequent stops at the gas station.

The standard Corolla Cross suffers in the noise aspect when the engine is pushed hard, and this seems to be a comparable issue with the hybrid. Disregarding the noise concerns, the Corolla Cross hybrid is a zippy small SUV that offers a far more enjoyable driving experience compared to the regular version. The inclusion of a sport-tuned suspension comes as standard; however, the term “sport” should be used loosely here since the suspension does not make it as enjoyable to drive as the CX-30. The steering is somewhat imprecise too, only improving slightly in sport mode. Fortunately, most buyers in this category will prioritize fuel efficiency over a sporty SUV.

It is rated at 45 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 42 mpg combined, representing a notable improvement over the regular Corolla Cross AWD model with its 29/32/30 mpg rating.

Externally, the hybrid closely resembles the regular version, but some minor variances exist. The Corolla Cross hybrid features a distinct grille and a revised lower front fascia to impart a sportier aesthetic. Black badging also contributes to making it marginally more conspicuous. Internally, the interior is essentially akin to the regular version, except for the distinct upholstery. Unfortunately, the interior leans towards being dull, in contrast to the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-30, both of which present a more luxurious cabin.

Internal space is sufficient, but like the standard version, taller passengers at the back will experience contact between their knees and the front seats. The 32 inches of rear legroom pales in comparison to the 37 inches of legroom provided in the HR-V. At the back, there are 21.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up, which increases to

On the technological aspect, the Corolla Cross hybrid comes as standard with an eight-inch touchscreen utilizing Toyota’s latest infotainment system. The top XSE trim level is equipped with a digital gauge cluster, while the S and SE trims feature a less contemporary-looking analog gauge. On the safety front, the Corolla Cross hybrid comes as standard with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, incorporating automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, and traffic sign detection. The SE and XSE trims add blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert.

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid will be available for purchase in June, with prices commencing at $29,305, including the destination charge. It is accessible in three trim levels: S, SE, and XSE. The SE trim level begins at $30,625, and the XSE is listed at $32,400. This implies that the Corolla Cross hybrid commands an approximately $4,000 premium over the regular version. This price may appear steep if only considering fuel savings, yet the additional horsepower must also be factored in, making it somewhat more enjoyable to drive compared to the regular version.

The S and SE trim levels feature 17-inch Alloy wheels, an 8-inch touchscreen, a sport-tuned suspension, LED headlamps, and smart key access as standard. The SE trim level introduces privacy glass, roof rails and paddle shifters, a blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert. The XSE grade adds 18-inch alloy wheels, premium LED headlamps, taillights, and fog lamps, as well as Softex-trimmed seats, heated front seats, and a power driver’s seat.

Ultimately, since a hybrid is presently uncommon in the small SUV category, the Corolla Cross hybrid is assuredly set to attract buyers effortlessly. It also emerges as the premier version in the Corolla Cross lineup. A more fuel-efficient powertrain, sportier styling, and a somewhat more engaging driving experience make the Corolla Cross a notable choice.

Image Source: otomobil / Shutterstock

 

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