June 27, 2022

2022 Toyota Corolla CrossJeremy Sinek/The Globe and Mail

It might not be strictly true that Toyota’s authentic RAV4 invented the car-based compact crossover (strive Googling “Matra Rancho,” and even “Toyota Tercel Wagon”). However the auto maker’s mid-’90s interpretation of the idea had the endurance.

Now in its fifth technology, the RAV is presently the top-selling nameplate within the section it arguably invented, which in flip is the only greatest section of the Canadian market.

However as crossovers have developed, they’ve additionally spawned a burgeoning subcompact subsegment, and right here, Toyota’s method has been surprisingly diffident. There’s been no direct Toyota equal to, say, the Hyundai Kona or the Honda HR-V. The closest it will get is the cute-alien C-HR, which lacks both the utility or an all-wheel-drive choice to be a convincing crossover (although it sells very nicely).

Now there’s this. First launched in Asia final yr and in manufacturing at a brand new Toyota-Mazda joint-venture plant in Alabama, the Corolla Cross slots between the smaller C-HR and the bigger RAV4 and it’s accessible with all-wheel drive. It correctly matches the subcompact-crossover template.

The Cross retains the shorter wheelbase of the C-HR (about 6 cm. lower than the Corolla sedan and the RAV4) however its boxier form and longer rear overhang considerably increase cargo capability. In general size it’s on the high finish of its class, nearly an identical to the Subaru Crosstrek at a bit of beneath 4.5 metres.

Propulsion is supplied by a 2.0-litre, 169-hp engine and constantly variable transmission driving both the entrance wheels or all 4 through a system that may robotically switch as much as 50 per cent of energy to the rear. The AWD mannequin additionally consists of unbiased rear suspension instead of the FWD’s semi-independent torsion-beam setup.

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The Cross begins at $24,890 and it’s provided in L, LE, LE Premium and XLE trims, with AWD a $1,400 choice on the primary two and customary on the others. A hybrid choice might be becoming a member of the line-up subsequent yr, however even the conventionally powered fashions provide class-leading gas consumption at 7.3 L/100 km (mixed) FWD and seven.8 AWD.

In keeping with the automobile’s chief engineer, Daizo Kameyama, the purpose was to ship “an inexpensive SUV for the value of a sedan.” With a Corolla L automated beginning at $21,250 that won’t have been achieved, however the Cross is priced within the ballpark with its section friends.

Some customers would possibly favor to avoid wasting a couple of thousand {dollars} and drive an precise automobile, however in the event you’re becoming a member of the stampede into crossovers, that is an choice that has the reliable familiarity of the Corolla nameplate and engineering. The Cross’s rear-seat house is disappointing, and the engine unrefined when pushed with vigour, nevertheless it appears to be like the half, its cargo house and gas financial system are among the many section’s greatest, it combines participating dealing with with a compliant experience, and it’s loaded with customary security tech.

In a section bursting with decisions, making a brief record might have change into tougher. Then again, in the event you’ve simply been ready for Toyota to get within the sport, do you even want a brief record?

In the event you’re becoming a member of the stampede into crossovers, the Corolla Cross is an choice that has the reliable familiarity of the Corolla nameplate and engineering.Jeremy Sinek/The Globe and Mail

Tech Specs

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross

Value: $24,890 – $33,990

Engine: 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder

Transmission/drive: Constantly-variable automated/FWD or AWD

Gasoline consumption (L/100 km): FWD, 7.6 metropolis/7.0 hwy | AWD, 8.1 metropolis/7.4 hwy

Options: Buick Encore and Encore GX, Chevrolet Trax and TrailBlazer, Fiat 500X, Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Jeep Renegade and Compass, Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-3 and Mazda CX-30, Mitsubishi RVR and Eclipse Cross, Nissan Qashqai, Subaru Crosstrek, Volkswagen Taos

Seems

The wide-mouth grille, and flared fenders that mix into body-side scallops, add some visible curiosity to what would in any other case be a non-descript, sensible-shoes utilitarian form.

Inside

A seven- or eight-inch touchscreen stands proud, high-and-centre on the sprint.Jeremy Sinek/The Globe and Mail

Solely the highest XLE trim has an eight-way energy driver’s seat, so the six-way handbook chair on the remainder might require at-the-wheel consolation compromises for some. The seating place will not be particularly tall-in-the-saddle however visibility is okay, secondary controls are nicely positioned, and there are conventional knobs and buttons for the issues that matter.

A seven- or eight-inch touchscreen stands proud, high-and-centre on the sprint. Instrumentation is evident and readable (together with the digital cluster on the XLE) however there’s not a lot stowage on the centre console. Within the rear there’s ample foot-room even when the entrance seat is ready low, which helps mitigate the tight knee-room.

The rear bench additionally lacks thigh assist for grown-ups, however that could be a plus for his or her youngsters. And Toyota made some extent of easy-access LATCH hooks for youngster restraints.

Efficiency

In a section of below-average efficiency ranges, the CC’s comparatively giant and highly effective engine ought to give it an edge – say 9 to 9.5 seconds for the 0-100-km/h dash. Most-effort driving is a considerably shrill and gritty affair, however the engine dials again the fuss in routine driving, which helps disguise the random waxing and waning of engine pace orchestrated by the constantly variable transmission. (In Auto, typically it pretends to be a stepped transmission, different occasions it doesn’t, or it may be a manually shifted 10-speed if you put the lever in Shiftmatic mode.)

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Spirited driving will get extra gratifying when the street turns twisty. There’s not loads of grip, however inside its modest limits the vigorous steering and flat, balanced cornering stance trace at an unexpectedly playful chassis restricted by couch-potato footwear. The experience is agency (extra so on the FWD) however cushioned and managed, although occasional lateral head-toss motions attest to stiff stabilizer bars.

Know-how

Infotainment property past the norms embrace accessible wi-fi telephone charging, and varied smartphone-based linked providers.Jeremy Sinek/The Globe and Mail

Normal driver-assist tech on all trims consists of adaptive cruise with cease and go, ahead emergency braking with pedestrian and bike owner detection, lane-keeping and lane-tracing help, and automated excessive beam. Increased trims add blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross-traffic braking, and parking help with automated braking.

Infotainment property past the norms embrace accessible wi-fi telephone charging, and varied smartphone-based linked providers. Not on the menu, nonetheless, is navigation or a Wi-Fi sizzling spot.

Cargo

Toyota cites larger cargo volumes which might be above common for the section.Jeremy Sinek/The Globe and Mail

Toyota cites larger cargo volumes for the FWD (750 L seats up, 1,891 L seats down) than the AWD (713 and 1,855) because the latter’s rear axle mandates a better flooring. Both means, the figures are above common for the section. There’s no under-floor storage, and the FWD’s decrease deck creates an enormous step as much as the folded backrests, however these backrests do fold commendably flat, and there are wells on the facet to retailer a snow brush and jug of display screen wash. Each FWD and AWD fashions are rated to tow 1,500 lbs. (680 kg).

The author was a visitor of the automaker. Content material was not topic to approval.

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