2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Review

Jack R. Nerad, Independent Expert | Sep 21, 2021

Introduction - Find the best Toyota deals!

If you need evidence that the crossover vehicle is the new "car," you have it in the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross. In creating this small SUVToyota has taken the name of one of the most popular sedans in automotive history and applied it and its associated engineering to a taller, 4-door vehicle with a rear hatch instead of a trunk lid. In other words, Toyota has "evolved" the Corolla into the most popular vehicle type in the United States, the crossover SUV.

The all-new model is designed to slot into the Toyota SUV lineup below the RAV4, a model that has recently been the best-selling non-pickup in America. And it essentially replaces the Toyota C-HR as the brand's entry-level crossover.

The 2022 Corolla Cross adopts the familiar Toyota trim level scheme that is prevalent across the brand. It is available in three trim levels: L, LE, and XLE. Each of those trim levels is available with either front-drive or all-wheel-drive (AWD).

Because the Corolla Cross is targeted at cost-conscious customers, the new model does not offer a Premium trim or specialty off-road trims like some other Toyota models. But those will likely come in future years if the Corolla Cross is nearly as successful as Toyota executives feel it will be. Toyota is so confident about the new crossover model that it has entered into a joint venture with Mazda to build an all-new U.S. manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Ala., capable of producing 150,000 Corolla Cross vehicles per year.

Toyota intends for the all-new Corolla Cross to offer buyers of low-cost vehicles an alternative that combines many of the virtues of compact sedans with those of small crossover utilities. Inside and out, its style is attractive but practical, almost the polar opposite of the Toyota CH-R. That model has always stressed avant-garde styling over function, and it has never been available with AWD. In contrast, Toyota product planners expect a significant percentage of Corolla Cross buyers to opt for AWD.

What Owners Say About the Small SUV Segment - Find the best Toyota deals!

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Front Quarter View

Photo: Jack R. Nerad

The Toyota Corolla Cross competes in the Small SUV segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 58 percent of new Small SUV buyers are female (vs. 40 percent for the industry), and the median age of a Small SUV buyer is 56 years (vs. 56 for the industry).

As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated Small SUVs in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you'll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about the vehicle to their least favorite:

  • Exterior styling
  • Driving feel
  • Feeling of safety
  • Setting up and starting
  • Getting in and out
  • Fuel economy
  • Interior design
  • Infotainment system
  • Driving comfort
  • Powertrain

In the 2020 APEAL Study, the Mini Countryman and Toyota C-HR rank highest (in a tie) in the Small SUV category.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Toyota Corolla Cross - Find the best Toyota deals!

In the sections that follow, our independent expert provides an analysis of a 2022 Corolla Cross XLE equipped with the following options:

  • Moonroof
  • Power rear liftgate
  • Audio Plus with JBL 9-speaker system
  • Adaptive headlights with auto-leveling

The price of the test vehicle came to $30,870, including the $1,215 destination charge.

Getting In and Getting Comfortable

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Front Seats

Photo: Jack R. Nerad

It's easy to get into the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross. Indeed, ease of entry and exit is one of the things consumers like most about crossovers. All the seats are at convenient heights, so you neither have to climb up into them as you might in a larger SUV or plop into them from above as you would in a sedan or coupe.

Once inside, you immediately notice how liberally Toyota designers have borrowed from the Corolla sedan and hatchback. There's nothing wrong with that because the Corolla has a well-drawn interior with an attractively usable instrument panel and dash. Corolla Cross L and LE trims have conventional instruments accompanied by a 4.2-inch digital driver information display, but the XLE features a fully digital 7-inch-wide display that is even more legible. The center-dash infotainment display is eight inches across versus seven inches in the L.

The "SofTex" imitation leather seats in the XLE are particularly handsome. The XLE trim also features a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and both front seats are heated. The rear bench seat accommodates three passengers. It is split 60/40 and folds to offer the kind of interior versatility for which people buy SUVs. The XLE also has a center armrest with two additional cupholders. Rear-seat heating/ventilation vents, standard across the lineup, keep things comfier in the rear. The XLE trim offers standard automatic dual-zone climate control. A power liftgate with height adjustability is available to make access to the roomy cargo area even more convenient.

The Corolla Cross isn't luxurious, but it is well-designed, well-assembled, and comfortable. A single person, couple, or small family will find the Corolla Cross a very useful and convenient vehicle. And the fabled Toyota assembly quality shines through.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Audio Plus Infotainment System Review

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Interior Dashboard

Photo: Jack R. Nerad

You might expect the upscale XLE trim to offer a driver-information system with control buttons on the spokes of the leather-trimmed steering wheel. What you might not expect is similar controls on the entry-level L and the mid-level LE trim. Drivers can use the XLE steering wheel controls to manipulate the audio, voice-command, Bluetooth, and driver-assistance features. The urethane-covered steering wheel in the L and LE has identical functions. The 7-inch driver info display standard in the XLE (and LE) is more legible than the 4.2-inch unit in the base Corolla Cross.

The optional Audio Plus system, one of just a few options on the XLE test vehicle, has an 8-inch touchscreen well-positioned in the center of the dash. While not particularly flashy, the system works very intuitively. The touchable icons are nicely sized and easy to recognize at a glance. Dedicated buttons flank the screen on both sides, adding to the convenience. And the system has desirable volume and station-selection knobs.

The Audio Plus system includes:

  • JBL audio with amplifier and nine speakers including subwoofer
  • Android Auto compatibility
  • Apple CarPlay compatibility
  • Amazon Alexa compatibility
  • SiriusXM satellite radio with 3-month trial

In the XLE trim, the standard reversing camera system has guidelines in its display. Qi-compatible wireless device charging is standard in LE and XLE trims. Integral navigation is not available based on the likelihood customers will use their smartphone apps for that function.

Audio sound quality is quite good, and the functions are easy to understand and use. The voice-command is another upscale-quality feature that delivers beyond expectations. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto would be a welcome but currently unavailable addition. Still, overall, the infotainment system in the Corolla Cross XLE functions way beyond the vehicle's price class.

What It's Like to Drive the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Side Profile View

Photo: Jack R. Nerad

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross offers a very competent drivetrain that emphasizes economy rather than driving performance. Its single available engine is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with variable valve timing. It delivers 169 horsepower, teamed with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that has a physical first gear for better starts from a standstill.

Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, which the test vehicle had. The available AWD system is pretty sophisticated. It delivers up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels when that is desirable. And it completely disengages the rear wheels when it's not. Corolla Crosses equipped with AWD have a fully independent rear suspension, while the front-drive models have a lighter torsion-beam rear setup.

The acceleration and handling are more than acceptable but not engaging in an enthusiast sense. Happily, the genuine first gear blunts one of the least appealing aspects of a CVT. There's no buzzing or other bad behavior, either. Steering offers a good on-center feel, and the Corolla Cross tracks well on Interstate highways. Braking provides no drama.

One of the Corolla Cross's strong suits is fuel economy. That is a result of both the efficient naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine and the CVT. The typical Corolla Cross driver will find the overall experience just fine.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 Review

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Radar Cruise Contol

Photo: Jack R. Nerad

The Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of active safety and advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) is standard across the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross lineup. It is a remarkably comprehensive system for a vehicle with a base price of around $22,000. As the trim levels climb in expense, even more safety and driver-assist tech come standard.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 includes:

LE and XLE add:

XLE adds:

Having a sophisticated piece of driver-assist tech like adaptive cruise control in a vehicle this inexpensive is a boon to Corolla Cross drivers. It, road sign recognition, and parking assist with automatic braking are all technologies you don't expect on a vehicle at this price point. And the tech works extremely well, just as if you're driving a Lexus.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross FAQ - Find the best Toyota deals!

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Cargo Area

Photo: Jack R. Nerad

How much cargo space does the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross have?

The Toyota Corolla Cross has a large, easily accessible cargo area, just what crossover buyers want. Front-wheel-drive versions offer 25.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat. With AWD, the cargo area drops slightly to 24.3 cubic feet. A power-operated rear liftgate is available on the XLE trim in a package with the moonroof.

Does the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross get good gas mileage?

In FWD specification, the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross has a combined EPA fuel-economy rating of 32 mpg. With AWD, the rating drops to 30 mpg. It was impossible to run a complete mileage route in the test period, but the overall observed fuel economy was 30 mpg in combined driving. With the 12.4-gallon fuel tank of the front-drive Corolla Cross, the vehicle offers 372 miles of range on a fill-up.

Is the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross safe?

As a new model to the market, the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross has not been tested or rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

How much is the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross?

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross has a starting price of $22,195 for the FWD base L trim. The mid-level LE trim starts at $24,545. The well-equipped XLE trim has a base price of $26,325. All-wheel drive is available across the lineup for an extra $1,300. The destination charge is $1,215.

What are the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross competitors?

In the J.D. Power 2020 Initial Quality Study (IQS), the Kia Soul ranks highest in the Small SUV segment. The next highest-ranked models are the Toyota C-HR, Buick EncoreChevrolet Trax, and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

In the 2020 APEAL Study, the Mini Countryman and Toyota C-HR rank highest in the Small SUV segment. The Mazda CX-30 is the next highest-ranked model.

Other competitors to the 2022 Corolla Cross include the Buick Encore GXFord EcoSport, and Nissan Kicks.

Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best Toyota deals!

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Rear Quarter View

Photo: Jack R. Nerad

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross seems like the right vehicle at the right time. The American market continues to demand crossover utilities, and the lower end of the market appears to have room for a vehicle that wears a very proud and family name.

Toyota has a long history of building crowd-pleasing crossovers, and they've done it again with the Corolla Cross. While hardly lush, the Corolla Cross is very comfortable and highly versatile. This made-in-America SUV hits all the right notes and should have a very bright future.

For decades, Jack R. Nerad has been road testing and writing about vehicles for Web and print publications, including JDPower.com and others. He hosts the weekly radio program America on the Road on the SportsMap Radio Network, and his work has appeared in scores of prestigious newspapers, magazines, and online publications.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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