In case you weren't aware, the folks at Toyota are up to some major new car announcements this week — leading up, of course, to the all-new 300-Series Land Cruiser. First up is an all-new affordable SUV: the Corolla Cross. And as the straightforward name indicates, it's a crossover version of Toyota's popular Corolla compact car, running on the same TNGA-C platform.
Why did Toyota turn the Corolla into a crossover? Well, buyers prefer crossovers, and Toyota — like nearly every manufacturer — is pivoting its lineup to offer those buyers more options. Last year, the brand launched the all-new Venza, which slots above the RAV4 and below the Highlander. The Corolla Cross will slot between the C-HR and the RAV4. It will compete in the burgeoning smaller compact crossover segment with vehicles like the Kia Seltos, Subaru Crosstrek and Volkswagen Taos.
The Corolla Cross, at least to start, only packs one engine. Toyota is debuting it with the sportier 2.0-liter inline-four from the Corolla, which puts out 169 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. It will shift via a CVT, though like with the Corolla, Toyota designed it with a "physical first gear" that helps it off the line with a more appealing kick...before settling into typical CVT humdrum operation once you get going.
Toyota is making the Corolla Cross available in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive. The AWD version gets an independent rear suspension and Toyota's Dynamic Torque Control system, which can send up to 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels when needed. Toyota estimates the EPA will rate the Corolla Cross for 32 mpg combined in FWD and 30 mpg in AWD form. The Corolla Cross will also have a 1,500-pound tow rating and 8.1 inches of ground clearance. Toyota says it will be spacious, though potential cargo space with the rear seats folded is TBD.
The Corolla Cross will begin as a 2022 model year vehicle. Toyota did not reveal pricing, but splitting the difference between the RAV4 and the C-HR would put the base MSRP for the Corolla Cross around $24,000.