With over 50 million Corollas sold worldwide since the model’s introduction in 1966, Toyota has much to boast about. With rock solid reliability, strong resale and value per dollar, it is the perfect car for buyers around the globe. However, with consumers making the march towards sport utility vehicles, Toyota needed something that would slot between the slow selling C-HR and top selling RAV4. Enter the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross LE, a value proposition that shakes up the subcompact segment.
When the Toyota C-HR was introduced several years ago, it all but made a ripple in the segment. Yes, it was quirky with its overall design but that severely impacted its cargo capabilities that made it a hard sell to the average consumer. Toyota fell behind when other automakers capitalized on this opening in the segment. Mazda introduced the CX-30 and Hyundai brought the top selling Kona. This year, Toyota has decided to rectify this with a small crossover that’s, well, normal.
Looking at the exterior, the Corolla Cross looks like a typical Toyota. The design is inoffensive and rather bland, which is what the vast majority of buyers want. Zero chances were taken and the result is something that could be mistaken for any other Toyota sport utility vehicle. The only distinguishable feature would be the pug-like grille. Black cladding can be found all around the Corolla Cross for a more rugged look, also somewhat reminiscent of early 1990s models with unpainted bumpers.
Those familiar with the current Corolla sedan and hatchback will see plenty of similarity with the Cross, as they share the same platform and underpinnings. That’s not a bad thing as the regular Corolla is an extremely competent entry to its segment. There is a mix of soft and hard touch points throughout. Sadly, the gauge cluster does look quite dated when compared to fresher entries in the class. Our LE front-wheel-drive tester does come with heated seats and steering wheel, though it’s worth metnioning that only the sides of the wheel actually heat up.
With the LE, buyers get the upgraded infotainment touchscreen at eight inches. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard but not wireless, and the six-speaker sound system is sadly one of the Corolla Cross’s weak points. Sound quality is tinny and weak, worse than other players in the class. A higher-spec stereo is available, however buyers must step up to the XLE trim level for this. Thankfully, for most buyers this is a minor annoyance. Their priorities are value, cargo space and fuel economy.
Price wise, the 2022 Corolla Cross falls in the sweet spot for the Toyota faithful. Toyota prices the base L model in front-drive guise at $24,890. Stepping up to the LE tested here comes in at $27,090, and buyers wanting all-wheel-drive will need to spend $28,490, though LE models do come with smart key, 17-inch alloy wheels, Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, blind spot monitoring, and the eight-inch screen. The top range XLE has all-wheel-drive as standard and starts at $33,990.
Those needing to haul things around will appreciate the 722-liters of cargo space behind the rear seats. This is significant compared to the C-HR’s 538-liter capacity. With the typical crossover design, passenger and cargo space is both more and accessible. Head and legroom in the rear seats is adequate, and those with growing families will benefit from the added space over the C-HR.
Fuel economy figures from Toyota are rated at a combined 7.3L/100km, with ratings of 7.6L/100km city and 7.0L/100km on the highway. We achieved 8.4L/100km in combined driving, though the sub-zero temperatures and good mix of highway didn’t help. Obviously, as with everything else in this segment, the Cross is happy operating on 87-octane regular fuel.
The 2022 Corolla Cross LE we have here shares the same engine with all other trim levels, with no upgraded powertrain available. It’s a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated inline four-cylinder shared with the regular Corolla. Output here is 169 horsepower at 6,600 RPM and 151 lb-ft. of torque at 4,800RPM. It’s acceptable for the average subcompact driver, but there’s no oomph to speak of. The engine feels overworked in the Corolla Cross and makes unhappy sounds when asked to work hard. The CVT response is smooth but it feels lethargic overall.
On a positive note, the ride is comfortable and the suspension eats up bumps and potholes with little disruption to those inside. Those opting for the XLE AWD will see 18-inch wheels that definitely look much sharper, however the 17s tested here will exhibit better ride quality all day long. There is good steering feel and the Corolla Cross handles impressively for a crossover; body roll is evident yet controlled. As a daily commuter, the Toyota Corolla Cross does the job competently.
Those not needing the extra space and ride height of the Cross may want to look at the Corolla Hatchback, with its extra style, lower center of gravity and fun colour options. Those needing the additional practicality will appreciate the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross LE, especially with the availability of all-wheel-drive. This little crossover hits the sweet spot for those on a budget. Throw in Toyota’s high resale value and dependability for a package that will win over new customers and give the competition fits.