Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid crossover test

It is the best selling car in the world. It has been two years since Toyota celebrated the global success of its most important bestseller, when the popular Corolla sold more than fifty million units. And after less than sixty years in the world, one of the most important cars of all time is entering a new era and segment. The brand presented the model as a compact SUV for the first time, filling a rarely seen niche in the portfolio. We already know that the new Corolla Cross combines all the positives and negatives of the Corolla with a new trend.

Until today, the automaker’s portfolio lacked a normal compact SUV that would have appealed to the target group of customers of the competitor Škoda Karoq. The smaller C-HR is more stylish, while the larger RAV4 is unnecessarily large for many customers. And so the new Corolla Cross arrives, which is close to its smaller sibling in terms of size, but in terms of practicality. And Toyota used it at the same time to launch the state-of-the-art fifth generation of its parallel hybrid on the European market.

The new Corolla Cross was the missing piece in the Toyota portfolio. Especially in the Czech Republic, the competition is the popular Škoda Karoq.

Electrified SUV with new 5th generation hybrid

The Japanese have been developing the brand’s traditional hybrid since the launch of the first Prius in 1997, and have newly modernized the entire electrified drive system. We already presented the changes in detail in our first impressions, so let’s recall only the most important. The more compact and powerful lithium-ion battery is new, the internal friction of the internal combustion engine is lower, the continuously variable e-CVT transmission is improved and the new PCU energy management unit significantly reduces electrical losses. With it, the brand’s most modern hybrid is simultaneously more powerful.

The new Toyota SUV is sold in the Czech Republic with a basic 18-liter hybrid and a more powerful two-liter hybrid. A stronger heart can be had with ordinary front-wheel drive or the intelligent all-wheel drive AWD-i. It combines a gasoline four-cylinder (152 hp / 112 kW, 190 Nm) with a front electric motor (111 hp / 83 kW, 206 Nm) and a rear electric motor (40 hp / 29 kW, 84 Nm). The primary drive of the front wheels is taken care of by the combustion unit together with the electric motor, while the rear wheels are connected when better traction is needed only by the power of electricity.

The intelligent four-wheel drive AWD-i is only available with a two-liter hybrid, and compared to the more common front-wheel drive, you will pay an extra 50,000 crowns for it.

It drives cheaply in the city, but the negatives of the hybrid show on the highway

Let’s leave the technical theory and go for a ride. If you switch from hybrid Toyotas that are only a few months older, you will soon start to discover pleasant news. More modern hybrids often run purely on electricity and save fuel. The efficiency of electric motors has increased and you use the internal combustion engine only minimally in cities. Most often, to recharge the car’s battery. In this way, it continues the established practices, where the fifth generation of the hybrid lives its life and works with electric energy to always provide the maximum. You’re just refueling.

Thanks to two electric motors, the range-topping Corolla Cross with intelligent four-wheel drive has decent traction at lower speeds and benefits from a new hybrid tuning for more intense acceleration. After all, the car can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds. It is also flexible at speeds up to 100, but as the speed increases, perhaps the most significant unpleasantness of the combination of the naturally aspirated engine and the e-CVT gearbox begins to show. It’s noise.

The Japanese believe that interior architecture must above all function properly. Even the new Corolla Cross feels dated inside.

Even with quite decent dynamics, with which the almost “two-hundred-horsepower” hybrid can drive, it starts to lose its breath in the absence of turbocharging at higher speeds. Already during flexible accelerations “over a hundred”, the atmospheric unit looks for performance at high revolutions associated with constant engine speed noise, which is maintained in the band of greatest power by the continuously variable transmission. And along with the revolutions, the fuel consumption also increases. On hilly highways with frequent climbs, you can drive at a speed of 130 km/h on cruise control and consume a considerable 7.5 liters per 100 kilometers. In the cities, the two-liter Corolla Cross can also drive on 5 liters.

Comfortable and great handling, but getting old

And cities are the ideal environment for the new Corolla Cross. When traveling at lower speeds, it uses electric power much more often and works with the hybrid drive at full capacity. It cannot do this on highways, where the benefit of electricity is minimal at high speeds. In cities, you can also drive in the forced purely electric EV mode, which, however, requires a sensitive tickle of the gas. During a more vigorous acceleration or a deeper depression of the pedal, the two-liter combustion engine is automatically switched off and switched on.

The higher ground clearance in connection with the four-wheel drive is one of the main arguments for the Corolla Cross. It is more pleasant to park on the curb and drive over high retarders.

Toyota Corolla Cross is based on the well-known TNGA-C platform and has a standard chassis without adaptive settings. Although it is stiffer and on streets with low-quality asphalt, it may copy the road surface too much, but on better surfaces it is comfortable and ensures good handling. It doesn’t let itself be thrown off by unevenness, it confidently keeps its track in turns. The understeer associated with the preference of the front wheels is manifested only during quick changes of direction or sudden acceleration into an arc, for example, when turning quickly at an intersection.

And if you’re not against the compact SUV trend, there are at least two reasons why you should choose the Corolla Cross over the standard Corolla. The first is the fact that the higher ground clearance of the Cross makes it more pleasant to move through city walls from retarders and park on high curbs. The second is the fact that the Cross is the only Corolla with all-wheel drive, which gives it new uses. It will pass through snowy areas more easily and you can go on a forest or dirt road without fear of damaging the chassis.

Unfortunately, higher loads on highways are not natural for electrified cars. While in the cities they drive almost on gasoline fumes, they get hungry on the highways.

The new Toyota Corolla Cross thus builds on all the positives of the more traditional variants and appeals to a new target group of customers unknown to them. However, it is not perfect. The typically Japanese interior, which prefers functionality over aesthetics, looks outdated, little things like steering wheel heating buttons and hard-running seats don’t seem premium, and the trunk with a basic volume of 436 liters is average. However, if you forgive her, she will be a reliable companion for you every day.

The Toyota Corolla Cross is sold in the Czech Republic with a base price of CZK 844,900 for the version with a weaker hybrid 18-cylinder engine. You can buy a more powerful two-liter engine for at least 919,900 CZK, and you will pay an additional 50,000 CZK for the AWD-i all-wheel drive.

Motor in-line four-cylinder, gasoline, placed in front across + 2x electric motor
Displacement volume 1,987 cm3
Performance 112 kW (152 hp) at 6,000 rpm
Torque 190 Nm at 4,400 – 5,200 rpm.
Electric motor front 83 kW (111 hp), rear 29 kW (40 hp)
The combined performance of the hybrid system 146 kW (197 hp)
Transmission automatic, e-CVT
Tree all four wheels AWD-i
Standby weight 1 500 kg
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 8,1 s
Maximal speed 180 km/h
Consumption (combination) 5.2l/100km
Fuel tank volume 43 l
Wheels and tires 225/50 R18
Dimensions (length/width/height) 4 460/1 825/1 620 mm
Wheelbase 2 640 mm
Volume of the luggage compartment 436 l

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