Versus the competition: There are more exciting competitors, better performing ones, some with nicer interiors, those with better ergonomics and ones with better multimedia systems — but the Corolla Cross’ combination of basic safety, value pricing and reputation for reliability will immediately make it a strong contender.
Until now, if you wanted a small SUV and you went to your local Toyota showroom, your choices were twofold: the RAV4 compact, which has grown to nearly mid-size proportions over the years, or the cramped and quirky C-HR, which features neither significant room inside nor optional all-wheel drive. Nothing hit that “sweet spot” between the two, nothing sized “just right” for people on a budget who still wanted the high seating, additional cargo space and all-weather capability of an SUV.
Well, Toyota has rectified that gap in its lineup with this, the new 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross. It uses the Corolla name because it uses a lot of Corolla parts: It sits on the same platform as the compact sedan, uses the same engine and transmission, and shares a lot of common interior bits. And while it’s easy to take shots at the Corolla sedan (its reputation is not one of excitement), that car is known instead as a safe, steady, reliable choice. Owning one won’t light your heart on fire, but it may set your mind at ease knowing that your car is very unlikely to ever let you down, drain your wallet or leave you stranded. Toyota is hoping that this same sentiment will transfer over to this new subcompact SUV — and there’s every reason to think that they’re right.
It’s Certainly Toyota-Shaped
From the outside, it’s not difficult to imagine the new Corolla Cross fitting into the Toyota lineup. The family resemblance is strong, with a front and rear end that look like a three-quarter-scale Highlander right down to the horseshoe grille and separated horizontal taillights. The only distinctive feature might be the more sculpted fenders along the sides, but Toyota’s efforts to make the Corolla Cross more mainstream-appealing than the quirky C-HR are clearly the styling priority. A high point: LED headlights are standard across the range of trim levels, something that’s starting to become more common. Overall, however, the styling previews the experience you’re going to have with a Corolla Cross: It’s safe and anonymous, none too exciting but pleasant enough.