First Drive: 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Review
With the Corolla Cross, Toyota proves once again that it understands precisely what the middle class needs. Canada Drives puts the new subcompact SUV to the test.
- Proven drivetrain
- Largest cargo space in the segment
- Class-leading build quality
- Mazda CX-30
- Kia Seltos
- Volkswagen Taos
The Corolla nameplate has been a consistent member of North American families for over half a century. It’s the combination of appealing attributes like an attainable price tag, low running costs and stellar reliability that have allowed the Corolla to become the world’s best-selling automobile.
Toyota understands the power of this nameplate, which is why when it was ready to market its all-new subcompact crossover, it figured slapping the Corolla nameplate on its trunk would allow it to enter the segment with a bang. Say hello to the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross.
2022 Corolla Cross pricing and rivals
Toyota needed a vehicle like this one. Afterall, the subcompact crossover segment is booming here in Canada, to a point where it’s slowly rendering the compact car obsolete.
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE | Photo: Toyota
But the Corolla Cross was also engineered to take on new players that sit halfway between subcompacts and compacts, things like the Mazda CX-30, the Kia Seltos, the Chevrolet Trailblazer and the all-new Volkswagen Taos. It’s therefore squeezed between a C-HR and a RAV4 within Toyota’s lineup, both in terms of pricing and dimensions.
It’s obvious from the way the Corolla Cross was priced that Toyota understands the competition. It kicks off at $24,890 (before freight and delivery) for a base front-wheel drive L. Add $1,400 for all-wheel drive (LE Premium and XLE come standard with all-wheel drive). The subcompact SUV tops out at $33,990 for a fully loaded XLE AWD. That’s a few thousand dollars less than a Volkswagen Taos Highline or a Mazda CX-30 Turbo.
The sweet spot lies in the LE AWD due to its long list of standard equipment; like adaptive cruise control, emergency automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, heated seats and a heated steering wheel, all for $28,490.
Below, a summary of the 2022 Corolla Cross available trims and starting MSRPs (before destination charge, fees & taxes):
- 2022 Corolla Cross L (FWD): $24,890
- 2022 Corolla Cross L (AWD): $26,290
- 2022 Corolla Cross LE (FWD): 27,090
- 2022 Corolla Cross LE (AWD): $28,490
- 2022 Corolla Cross LE Premium: $30,590
- 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE: $33,990
2022 Corolla Cross interior
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross L Interior | Photo: Toyota
To come up with a Corolla Cross, Toyota literally took a Corolla, lifted its suspension, shortened its wheelbase and overall length, widened its track and gave it a higher body. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Corolla Cross’ cabin is a carbon copy of the sedan on which it’s based, albeit with slightly different cabin materials and color combinations.
But that’s not exactly a bad thing. The Corolla already exhibits fantastic build quality and straight forward ergonomics.
The Corolla Cross’ lifted ride height and higher roof line yields easier cabin ingress and egress, fantastic all-around visibility, and plenty of head room, even for taller drivers. The infotainment system’s initial presentation can prove confusing due to unclear main menus (Home isn’t exactly a home menu), but you quickly get your head around it.
Overall operating speed is above average, redundant physical buttons are a welcome touch, and the system connects quickly to your smartphone.
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross | Photo: Toyota
The Corolla Cross boasts above average rear leg and headroom. Cargo space is class-leading, with a claimed 1,891 liters of total cargo room when the rear seatbacks are folded flat. That number however drops to 1,855 when opting for all-wheel drive.
Performance and driving impressions
Only one engine powers the entire Corolla Cross lineup, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Unfortunately, there are no extra engine choices like what Mazda offers in the CX-30 Turbo.
There’s also no hybrid. At least not yet. But Toyota tells us it’s coming sometime next year, with no definite date. The reason being that the Corolla Cross is built in a new Alabama plant shared with Mazda. Toyota wants to make sure the Corolla Cross is off to a good start from a quality standpoint before integrating a second drivetrain.
There’s a missed opportunity here. Toyota could have been the first carmaker to release a hybrid subcompact crossover. Next year, Honda could beat it at its own game with the upcoming HR-V hybrid.
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE | Photo: Toyota
On the road, Toyota’s lifted Corolla drives like just that: a Corolla on stilts. This means that the TNGA-C platform’s efforts of lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity are immediately noticed when attacking corners too quickly. The Corolla Cross’ suspension is also impressively compliant over beaten roads and well damped for unexpected speedbumps.
Power from the four-cylinder engine is good, but never great. It is a peppy unit however, one that loves to be thrown up there in the higher regions of the rev range. It gets the job done.
The CVT has a lovely behavior during takeoffs due to a physical first gear. Toyota calls this setup Direct Shift. It does a bang-up job of quelling a large chunk of a CVT’s expected elastic feel. From the driver’s seat, one could be fooled it’s a conventional automatic.
Verdict: is the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross worth it?
With the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross, Toyota proves once again that it masters the art of building vehicles that appeal to the masses. Just like the Corolla on which it’s based, this is an immensely rational crossover due to its appealing price tag, proven drivetrain, massive cargo capacity and long list of standard equipment.
Add to these qualities Toyota’s reputation for low running costs and higher than average resale value, and it’s fair to say the Corolla Cross is a direct homerun for Toyota.
Shopping for a crossover or SUV? Check out our current inventory here.
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