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The only brand that can bring down Toyota RAV4 Hybrid might surprise you: Why Corolla Cross Hybrid promises plenty of bang for less bucks

The Corolla Cross Hybrid is coming soon.

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid remains the very top of the SUV pile in Australia, with the runaway sales success attracting huge orders despite a waiting list that can stretch into the months.

But competition is coming, and from an unexpected place, with the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid set to launch internationally in Q4 this year, pairing an electrified powertrain and an SUV body shape with one of the brand's most famous nameplates.

The brand insists the model won't cannibalise sales, neither from the C-HR nor the RAV4, but the similarities - especially to Toyota's mid-size SUV - can't be ignored.

Like the RAV4, the Corolla Cross will be hybrid, in this case fitted with a 1.8-litre petrol engine and electric motor producing a combined 90kW. It is also expected to share its electric all-wheel-drive system with vehicles like the Yaris Cross and RAV4.

Critically, though, it will offer a practicality step up from vehicles like the C-HR, with a 487-litre boot capacity - or less than a 100 litres smaller than the RAV4's 580-litre cargo space.

It's also not that much smaller. The RAV4 measures some 4600mm in length and 1855mm in width, while the Corolla Cross Hybrid measures 4460mm in length and 1825mm in width. Toyota also promises "a spacious cabin, easy access to the luggage space and large spacious door openings; this makes entering or exiting the vehicle easy even when carrying a child".

It will share its TNGA platform with the very good Corolla, which should mean sharp dynamics, too.

The only question, then, is when will we see it? Toyota had pointed to a launch as late as the end of 2022 for its newest SUV. But since then, the international roll-out has continued, with the vehicle launching in right-hand-drive Japan and Malaysia this year.