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Toyota Corolla Cross 2023 review

EXPERT RATING
8.1
An SUV version of the most popular car on the planet? That's right - an SUV Toyota Corolla. Well, it's called the Corolla Cross and we've driven it, tested it, climbed all over it to find out if this new small SUV is the perfect car for you. Particularly if a C-HR or Yaris Cross is too small, and a RAV4 is too big.

An SUV version of the Toyota Corolla - how did this not get built sooner? Well, the Corolla Cross is here now and while I don’t know the answer to why it took Toyota so long to invent it, I’ve just been to its Australian media launch and this review should cover off all the questions you might have.

Things like how spacious the Corolla Cross is and if the boot is big enough, what the maintenance costs will look like, what it’s like to drive and of course the prices - depending on which type you buy. There’s also a hybrid version and I’ll tell you what I discovered about its fuel economy and what it's like to drive, too.

There’s a lot to cover, but I’ll keep it simple with just the stuff you need to know. Particularly if a Toyota C-HR or Yaris Cross SUV is too small, and a RAV4 is too big.

Toyota Corolla Cross 2023: Atmos AWD Hybrid
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L
Fuel TypeHybrid with Regular Unleaded
Fuel Efficiency4.4L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$58,740

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

We can talk about looks later, so let’s see much it costs to buy a Corolla Cross.

First thing to know is there are three grades in the Corolla Cross range. 

The most affordable versions of the Corolla Cross are those with just the petrol engine, not the petrol-electric hybrid options further up the range. The non-hybrid GX lists at $33,000, the GXL is $36,750 and the top-of-the-range Atmos is $43,550.

It’s a good time to point out that if you want a Corolla Cross with a non-hybrid drivetrain then you’ll only be able to get it as a front-wheel drive, not all-wheel drive..

The Corolla Cross range kicks off at $33,000 for the GX and tops out at $49,050 for the Atmos Hybrid AWD. The Corolla Cross range kicks off at $33,000 for the GX and tops out at $49,050 for the Atmos Hybrid AWD.

The hybrid variants are available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. 

So the GX Hybrid front-wheel drive is $35,500. The GXL Hybrid is $39,250 for the front-wheel drive and $42,250 for the all-wheel drive. The Atmos Hybrid is $46,050 for the front-wheel drive and $49,050 for the all-wheel drive.

Got it? You may have noticed the GX Hybrid doesn’t come in all-wheel drive, so yes, you’ll have to step up to the GXL if you’d like it.

Do you need all-wheel drive? It’s not at all vital, but if you’re travelling regularly on gravel roads or snow then all-wheel drive tends to provide much better traction than front-wheel drive.    

  • All grades score LED headlights. (GXL Hybrid variant pictured) All grades score LED headlights. (GXL Hybrid variant pictured)
  • The GXL wears 17-inch alloy wheels. (GXL Hybrid variant pictured) The GXL wears 17-inch alloy wheels. (GXL Hybrid variant pictured)
  • The Atmos steps up to 18-inch alloys. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured) The Atmos steps up to 18-inch alloys. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured)
  • The Atmos features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured) The Atmos features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured)

Coming standard on the GX are LED headlights and 17-inch alloy wheels, fabric seats, climate control, proximity keys, an 8.0-inch touch screen, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, a six-speaker stereo and digital radio, a reversing camera plus advanced safety tech covered in detail in the Safety section of this review.

The GXL gets all that and adds roof rails and rear privacy glass, leather upholstered seats and steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, a 10.5-inch display with built-in sat nav.

Now the Atmos, which sounds like a bathroom cleaner but it’s the very fanciest Corolla Cross with its panoramic moon roof and 18-inch alloys, a power tailgate and power driver's seat. Those front seats are heated, and so is the steering wheel. There's a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and wireless phone charging.

The Corolla Cross is well-priced compared to its rivals.The Haval Jolion has almost identical pricing across its range but the Corolla Cross goes one better for value by offering a hybrid variant in every grade, not just the top-of the-range as the Haval does. The Honda HR-V is another rival and while it's pricing is close to the Corolla Cross its two-grade line-up doesn't offer much choice. 

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

The Corolla Cross looks nothing like a Corolla hatchback or sedan from the outside. Although, if I look at the rear of the Corolla Cross and squint I can convince myself it has a similar taillight design to the Corolla sedan.

Personally I’m a bit disappointed in the exterior design of Corolla Cross. The styling already appears dated even though this is a new SUV which was only unveiled to the world for the first time in 2021.

That’s not to say the Corolla Cross is not good looking, it is. I like its tough face and boxy wheel arches - in many ways it’s like a mini RAV4. The problem for me is that like the RAV4 it feels as though the Corolla Cross has already been with us for years and years.

  • The Corolla Cross looks nothing like a Corolla hatchback/sedan. (GX variant pictured) The Corolla Cross looks nothing like a Corolla hatchback/sedan. (GX variant pictured)
  • If you squint, the taillight design is similar to those found on the Corolla sedan. (GX variant pictured) If you squint, the taillight design is similar to those found on the Corolla sedan. (GX variant pictured)
  • The styling already appears dated despite only being revealed in 2021. (GXL Hybrid variant pictured) The styling already appears dated despite only being revealed in 2021. (GXL Hybrid variant pictured)
  • The Corolla Cross is a lot like a mini RAV4. (GXL Hybrid variant pictured) The Corolla Cross is a lot like a mini RAV4. (GXL Hybrid variant pictured)
  • The Corolla Cross has a tough face and boxy wheel arches. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured) The Corolla Cross has a tough face and boxy wheel arches. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured)
  • The Cross shares most of its similarities with the Corolla under the skin. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured) The Cross shares most of its similarities with the Corolla under the skin. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured)

Inside, there are far more similarities to the regular Corolla. The Corolla Cross’ dashboard, steering wheel and centre console are almost identical to those in the sedan and hatch.

This isn’t the plushest cabin you’ll find among the rivals. Even the top-of-the-line Atmos which costs 50 grand doesn’t look very premium or special inside, but like all Toyotas the materials feel high quality and superbly put together.

The real similarities between the Corolla Cross and the Corolla are the mechanical underpinnings with both the SUV and the car versions sharing the same platform.

The Corolla Cross is a small SUV at 4460mm long and that means it nicely in the Toyota family tree above the C-HR which is 4395mm end-to-end and below the RAV4 which is 4615mm bumper-to-bumper.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

The Corolla Cross is a more practical version of the Corolla sedan and hatchback

The Corolla Cross’s boot is a lot larger than the hatch’s and while the cargo capacity is smaller than the sedan’s, the wide, tall tailgate opening will mean you’ll be able to fit in bulkier objects.

Boot size depends on which Corolla Cross you choose. The GX and GXL non-hybrid versions have the biggest boots at 436 litres (VDA), while the Atmos non-hybrid is 425 litres.

As for the hybrids, the GX and GXL front-wheel drives also have 425 litre boots, while the GXL and Atmos all-wheel drives have 390-litre and 380-litre luggage capacity respectively.

Boot space ranges from 380-436 litres. (GXL Hybrid variant pictured) Boot space ranges from 380-436 litres. (GXL Hybrid variant pictured)

The reasons for the big difference in capacities between non-hybrid and hybrid Corolla Cross variants are the hybrid batteries which are located under the rear seat and eat into the boot area, while those with all-wheel drive have a second motor at the rear which takes up space.

Room inside is good for a small SUV. Headroom in the second row is excellent, while legroom was just passable for me to sit behind my driving position. I am 191cm tall though, so that’s almost a worst case scenario.

It's fair to say an SUV of this width won't fit three child seats across the back seat, but there are three top tether points across so you can choose which two positions to use. There's also two of the sturdier ISOFIX points in the outboard positions for appropriate baby seats.

  • The GX comes standard with fabric seats, climate control and an 8.0-inch touchscreen. (GX variant pictured) The GX comes standard with fabric seats, climate control and an 8.0-inch touchscreen. (GX variant pictured)
  • The GXl adds a larger 10.5-inch display. (GXL Hybrid variant pictured) The GXl adds a larger 10.5-inch display. (GXL Hybrid variant pictured)
  • Inside, the Atmos has heated front seats and steering wheel. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured) Inside, the Atmos has heated front seats and steering wheel. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured)

Cabin storage could be better, with cupholders in the second-row door armrests, but no actual door pockets and only the Atmos comes with a fold-down centre armrest with two cup holders. There are the usual two cupholders in the front centre console as well, but it's surprising there's no dedicated bottle holders in the doors like most new cars these days.

Up front there are door pockets, a hideyhole under the dash for a phone and a small centre console storage area under the centre armrest.

I do like that the seats are large and accommodating even for me, and the positions of the controls and switches are spot on. 

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

How would you like your Corolla Cross to be powered? By petrol-alone or with a combination of petrol and electricity as per the hybrid variants?

The non-hybrid Corolla Cross has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine which makes 126kW and 202Nm. Remember, too, it only comes in front-wheel drive.

The hybrid variant combines a 112kW/190Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with an 83kW206Nm electric motor. And if you choose the AWD then there’s a second motor at the rear axle making 30kW.

The hybrid combines a 112kW/190Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with an 83kW/206Nm electric motor. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured) The hybrid combines a 112kW/190Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with an 83kW/206Nm electric motor. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured)

Both the non-hybrid Corolla Cross and the hybrid have a CVT automatic transmission. Nope, no manual gearboxes here.  

The braked towing capacity for the range is 750kg. Interestingly, without trailer brakes, most of the range is rated even lower, with the non-hybrid GX and GXL rated at 725kg, the non-hybrid Atmos at 735kg, and the hybrid GX at 745kg. The hybrid GXL and Atmos get the full 750kg, regardless of trailer braking.

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

If you want to save fuel the hybrid is absolutely the way to go with the front-wheel drive using 4.3L/100km and the all-wheel drive consuming 4.4L/100km according to official combined figures.

I drove the GXL all-wheel drive hybrid from Sydney’s CBD to the city’s northern beaches during horrendous peak hour traffic and the trip computer reported an average of 5.3L/100km being used. That’s not bad at all.

The Corolla Cross Hybrid doesn’t require plugging in to an external power source to charge the batteries. Instead the batteries are charged through regenerative braking. That is, you step on the brake pedal and the deceleration energy is converted into electricity and sent into the battery.   

The petrol variant doesn't quite have double the thirst of the hybrid at 6.0L/100km, which is still fairly efficient. 

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   9/10

The Corolla Cross hasn’t been given an ANCAP crash test rating yet, but the advanced safety tech every grade comes with is impressive.

All Corolla Crosses come with AEB that can detect pedestrians and cyclists, and impressively can function between 5-180km/h. There’s also lane keeping assistance, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and adaptive cruise control.

The Atmos can park itself. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured) The Atmos can park itself. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured)

If you step up to the GXL you’ll get auto braking which works while you’re parking and the Atmos gets auto parking.

The impressive airbag tally is the same across the Corolla Cross range, with a total of eight. These include a front centre airbag and driver's knee bag, but there's no side airbags for back seat occupants.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   9/10

The Corolla Cross is covered by Toyota’s five-year/unlimited km warranty, which is currently average across the industry. The battery is also covered by that five-year/unlimited km warranty. 

Extended coverage of up to seven years/unlimited kilometres is available if the owner services the vehicle according to the warranty and service book.

The hybrid battery coverage can also be extended to 10 years with an annual health check inspection.

Services are a convenient 12months/15,000km and pricing is capped for five years at $230. That’s outstanding.

What's it like to drive?   9/10

Toyota has a reputation for reliability and value, but one admirable attribute which should be added to this is also driveability. Nearly every new Toyota SUV I’ve driven in the past three years including the Kluger, C-HR and RAV4 has been an impressive all-rounder on the road.

The Corolla Cross feels a lot like the C-HR and RAV4 to drive in that it handles well, but has a comfortable ride with a secure planted feel on the road.

Both petrol and hybrid versions are easy to drive. (GX variant pictured) Both petrol and hybrid versions are easy to drive. (GX variant pictured)

I drove both the all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive hybrid versions and the petrol variant at the launch and found that while both felt much the same there were two stand-out differences.

The first being the acceleration difference. The hybrid is far quicker off the mark than the petrol version. According to Toyota's claims, the actual 0-100km/h time for the hybrid is 7.5 seconds while the petrol variant can do it 9.0 seconds.

The hybrid is far quicker off the mark than the petrol version. (GXL Hybrid variant pictured) The hybrid is far quicker off the mark than the petrol version. (GXL Hybrid variant pictured)

The other way these two Corolla Crosses differ is the smoothness of the hybrid powertrain and the way it moves silently at lower speeds in traffic in EV mode.

Both petrol and hybrid Corollas are easy to drive with steering that’s accurate and light. 

The Corolla Cross feels a lot like the C-HR and RAV4 to drive. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured) The Corolla Cross feels a lot like the C-HR and RAV4 to drive. (Atmos Hybrid variant pictured)

Are there any bad points to the driving? The small back window means rear visibility is restricted although the reversing camera is good. The wing mirrors also appear to be overly large and also obstruct vision slightly, too. 

Other not-so-good points are the relatively noisy petrol engine in all Corolla Cross variants, and the CVT transmission in both also causes the engine to drone.

Verdict

The Corolla Cross is the SUV that was so obvious it’s a wonder Toyota didn’t do it sooner. Sure, it might not look much like a Corolla but this SUV has the same appeal of being a small, safe good-value for money car but with even more practicality than the hatch and sedan that shares its name. 

The Corolla Cross is also great to drive - better than most of its rivals such as the Mitsubishi ASX, Nissan Qashqai, Honda HR-V or Haval Jolion.

The sweet spot of the range would have to be the GXL Hybrid with 2WD, it's the best value and the most fuel efficient in the line-up.

Pricing guides

$49,990
Based on 111 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$36,895
Highest Price
$64,970

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GXL 2WD Hybrid 2.0L, Hyb/ULP, CVT AUTO $45,650 – 53,020 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross 2023 GXL 2WD Hybrid Pricing and Specs
GX 2WD Hybrid 2.0L, Hyb/ULP, CVT AUTO $39,820 – 46,860 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross 2023 GX 2WD Hybrid Pricing and Specs
GX 2WD 2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO $38,940 – 45,870 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross 2023 GX 2WD Pricing and Specs
Atmos AWD Hybrid 2.0L, Hyb/ULP, CVT AUTO $58,740 – 67,540 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross 2023 Atmos AWD Hybrid Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8.1
Price and features8
Design7
Practicality8
Under the bonnet7
Efficiency8
Safety9
Ownership9
Driving9
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.