Toyota Corolla Cross Restricted AWD evaluate: is Toyota’s new hybrid SUV on the cash? – Evaluations | Technoscoob

In a single sense the trendy New Zealand automobile market is kind of singular: all people appears to need SUVs (not less than the individuals who don’t need utes, however they’re identical to SUVs too). However in one other sense it’s extremely fragmented, with a number of variations on the SUV theme and a head-scratching array of specification choices.

Enter the Toyota Corolla Cross, which fills a distinct segment for consumers who need one thing very barely bigger than the C-HR and but very barely smaller than the RAV4. A fifth factor in Toyota NZ’s crossover catalogue, even earlier than you contemplate the extra heavy-duty off-road SUVs just like the Land Cruiser collection.

It is also the primary “Corolla” SUV ever offered in NZ, which brings the Japanese maker’s legendary family-car model proper updated with 2023 tastes.

All a bit complicated although, proper? We might say free your thoughts by placing apart the Corolla connection; it would not actually look or really feel like its hatch namesake and the badge represents extra of a advertising alternative than something. Certain, it is on the Corolla platform… however so is each different small-medium Toyota crossover.

Consider Cross as a smaller but still-supremely-practical different to the RAV4, which is now really fairly a big SUV. Toyota’s smaller SUVs, like Yaris Cross and C-HR, are constructed round model first and passenger area second (neither are very interesting should you’re sitting within the again). Corolla Cross is extra standard wanting, genuinely spacious inside for all and sporting a fairly first rate and simply accessible 436-litre boot.

Actually, the Cross is arguably good for a household stepping out of the previous-generation (2013-18) RAV4: the brand new automobile is 110mm shorter, however with the same wheelbase and higher packaging.

The vary is Toyota-comprehensive, with three specification ranges and two powertrains, priced from $41,990 to $51,990. Our Restricted AWD take a look at automobile is correct on the prime of the tree; a $50k-plus Corolla. However measurement, know-how and tools goal to hold that worth with confidence.

All Cross fashions have a brand new 2.0-litre engine with a hybrid system that is not conceptually totally different to the final twenty years of Prius-and-company, however steady enchancment has introduced lithium-ion battery know-how (it is underneath the rear seat, by the way in which) that’s smaller, lighter and higher at recovering that valuable regen-energy from braking and coasting. The entrance electrical motor can be downsized, but packs elevated punch (83kW).

The tools listing is complete, with Restricted-specific options together with computerized parking/360-degree digital camera, upgraded JBL audio, wi-fi telephone projection and charging pad, eight-way energy/heated entrance seats, heated steering wheel (that is luxurious!), panoramic glass roof, energy tailgate with “kick” opening and snazzier 18-inch alloys. The infotainment system is Toyota’s newest and the interface is a large step up from the model’s different fashions, with easy, vibrant graphics and first rate processing velocity. Anticipate to see it in different Toyotas as facelifts come round.

However the dynamic points of the Cross undermine the luxurious aspirations a bit of. As all the time, the Toyota hybrid system is astonishingly environment friendly in city driving, recapturing vitality so shortly that under 50km/h in heavy site visitors you are driving on electrical energy a lot of the time. So kudos to Toyota for one more actually inexperienced household SUV for the varsity run; that 4.9/100km official Clear Automobile determine is solely achievable in metropolis driving.

In quicker driving, the Cross is much less interesting. Undeniably easy on the motorway, however when additional acceleration is required or winding roads beckon there’s that acquainted CVT flaring; and naturally, the e-CVT for Toyota’s hybrids would not have the perkier fixed-gear begin perform. Actually, it is higher to drive on the torque of the hybrid system and go away the powertrain comparatively unstressed.

Neither is the cabin structure particularly luxurious. Loaded with tools, sure, and ergonomically sound with crisp and vibrant digital instrumentation, however it would not have the bespoke really feel of the C-HR or the chunkiness of the RAV4. There’s leather-accented upholstery and a few delicate stuff on the sprint, however a lot of the plastic trim is difficult and glossy, attracting mud and fingerprints.

No complaints about occupant area although, particularly within the again: the view out is nice and the legroom beneficiant. The seat is break up 60/40 and a straightforward fold for cargo-carrying, though the load-through from the boot is just not utterly flat: there’s a bit of step as much as the (folded) seatbacks. Toyota supplies a bit of flap to cowl the hole, so you do not catch your baggage. Appears tidy, too.

AWD is an choice you can solely have on this Restricted mannequin, for an additional $3000. Do you have to? It actually relies upon what you propose to do along with your Cross. Toyota’s E-4 stays a intelligent system, using a separate 30kW electrical motor on the rear axle (there is not any mechanical connection) to create fast-acting and exact AWD when required; it is particularly good on gravel or snow. The AWD additionally will get extra subtle double-wishbone rear suspension, in comparison with the torsion bar on the FWD variations. So it is all superb tech.

However the Cross is not any street warrior by way of efficiency or dealing with, so should you’re not planning to go off-tarmac often you are not going to get plenty of profit from the AWD. Whereas the trick rear suspension does make the Cross extra fluid over bumpy Kiwi roads at larger speeds, it is probably not a press-on type of automobile: it is constructed for consolation and steady-state driving, with protected understeer constructing as cornering speeds enhance. And the AWD mannequin would not have room for a spare wheel, as a substitute providing a “tyre restore package”.

Complicated it could be, however you may see how the Corolla Cross was a no brainer for Toyota NZ. It is a well-thought-out and executed bundle, if missing the aptitude of the Yaris Cross or C-HR, and presents the most recent evolution of Toyota’s confirmed hybrid know-how.

For our cash although, the Cross makes extra sense the decrease down the vary you go: the modest dynamics and humble inside design do not fairly rise to the problem of a flagship mannequin just like the Restricted, however stable engineering, ease of use and practicality make the GX/GXL seem to be plenty of crossover for the cash – particularly when you think about that Toyota’s full suite of security assists are commonplace throughout the vary. 

ENGINE: 2.0-litre petrol engine with hybrid lithium-ion battery and twin electrical motors
POWER: 146kW (mixed)/190Nm (petrol engine)
GEARBOX: Constantly variable transmission, AWD
CONSUMPTION: 4.9l/100km, CO2 112g/km (3P-WLTP)
PRICE: $51,990

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