It is a no-brainer that any model with ‘Corolla’ in its name will be a solid investment and a dependable machine – the Toyota Corolla has been a massive seller for the Japanese brand with tens of millions sold around the world. The Corolla Cross hybrid is a global model that has recently arrived in Ireland. It mixes SUV styling with compact car technology to good affect and will meet the continuing demand for SUV-like compact cars here.
The Corolla Cross sits below the RAV4 – that is quite a bit longer, and above the more compact C-HR. The exterior is handsome and solid looking without being as striking as the C-HR. The Cross features a prominent grille and has a sturdy presence with a nod to the range topping Highlander seven-seater and its US and Asian market aspirations. There are some interesting design and styling details in the body, but nothing overly exciting that would spook conservative buyers. The current Corolla range caters for most drivers with the station wagon/estate/touring model being our personal favourite. The Cross delivers a middle ground for Corolla buyers wanting that higher driving position that SUVs offer but without the expense of going up a car size to a RAV4.
Inside, the five-seat is perfectly adequate as a family car and it is reasonably well appointed with an instant familiarity Toyota owners will appreciate. There is sufficient tech to keep most happy and the dash layout will not intimidate drivers. The Cross is ‘connected’ but not in an overly intrusive way. “MyT” connected services feature, a rear view camera, road sign assist, and there is wireless phone technology and the essential Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Dual-zone climate control is standard as is a pre-collision system with ‘front to front oncoming car / motorbike detection (day)’. The top grade ‘Sport’ model gets nice 18 inch dark alloys, cloud navigation (although does anybody use an in-car nav systems anymore instead of their phone’s nav apps). Blind spot monitoring features too on the Sport. The top grade also gets ‘Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) (front, for objects)’, LED rear brake lights, ‘Pre-Collision System with Intersection Collision Avoidance support’.
There is a single powertrain for Ireland – a 2 litre petrol hybrid. In keeping with Toyota’s ability to make low emission petrol engines it is no surprise that Cross’s emissions are 114/115g/km (grade dependent). Average fuel consumption is almost diesel-like at 5.1 l/100km and we achieved this figure during testing. On the road the Corolla Cross delivers a good level of ride quality and goes where you point it without any vices. The car is in no way a dynamic “Take the Power is sufficient and the automatic hybrid’s e-CVT gearbox is not overly whiny. The only real downside with the Corolla Cross is its noisy cabin. At cruising speeds the cabin lacks sufficient sound deadening and this is particularly noticeable on long journeys. In the urban environment this is not really an issue – maybe I have been testing too many EVs and premium models recently!
Pricing starts from €38,910 for the Luna grade (17 inch alloys), rising to €41,210 for the Sport grade (18 inch alloys). The larger RAV4 starts from €43,015 (Luna), while the C-HR starts at €34,065 (Luna). The Corolla Cross plays its safe and predictable and in the current Toyota line up is perhaps one of the more conservative models you can buy. It is a good car – just not overly exciting.