Toyota Corolla Cross Could Plug Gap Between C-HR, RAV4
Toyota and Mazda are building a joint-venture factory in Alabama, and Automotive News reports that when the assembly line starts humming later this year, it’s a good bet that a 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross will roll off of it.
Introduced in Thailand last year and rolling out to selected global markets, the Corolla Cross is a small crossover with a more traditional SUV design than the current Toyota C-HR (Coupe, High-Roof).
Initially slated for the now-defunct Scion brand, at the last moment, the highly stylized C-HR became a Toyota instead. However, the C-HR is space-constrained and does not offer all-wheel drive or much ground clearance. These limitations leave a sizable gap below the popular RAV4 in the Toyota SUV lineup at a time when the small SUV segment is exploding in terms of growth.
Therefore, Toyota needs a more suitable small crossover SUV to bring new buyers into the fold. Spy photos of what appears to be a Corolla Cross undergoing testing in Colorado seem to confirm that Toyota is cooking up a solution to this problem. If the reporting is accurate, the Corolla Cross will compete against vehicles such as the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Bronco Sport, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Jeep Compass, Kia Seltos, Nissan Rogue Sport, Mazda CX-30, and Subaru Crosstrek.
When Toyota debuted the Corolla Cross in Thailand, specifications showed a standard 1.8-liter gasoline 4-cylinder engine good for about 140 horsepower and an available gas-electric hybrid powertrain promising greater fuel efficiency. However, the Corolla Cross spec sheet also shows the new crossover SUV has front-wheel drive. Without an optional all-wheel-drive system, many American buyers may shop elsewhere.
Highlights of the Toyota Corolla Cross include styling reminiscent of the RAV4, with the body cladding and simulated skid plates that characterize most crossover SUVs. Inside, the Corolla Cross looks nearly identical to the existing Toyota Corolla. Based on Asian specifications, it holds up to 17.2 cubic feet of cargo behind the back seat when equipped with the tire inflator package instead of a temporary spare.
Toyota Safety Sense advanced driving assistance systems will likely be standard for the U.S.-spec versions of the Corolla Cross, with blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic warning available as upgrades. Expect the current family of Entune infotainment systems and Toyota’s collection of connected services plans, too.
If the Corolla Cross comes to fruition in the States, expect a late 2021 or early 2022 debut and prices competitive with the models listed above.
Toyota and Automotive News are the sources of information for this article. It was accurate on May 18, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.