It was once the biggest-selling car in the world, year after year. But with the world’s car buyers deciding they really need a ute or SUV for that daily drive, the Toyota Corolla has lost the best-selling trophy – for the time being.
After giving us the Yaris Cross (a little honey of a car), Toyota stretched the Corolla upwards to give us the Corolla Cross.
DriveLife got the opportunity to sample both the base GXL model and the top-spec LTD model. Our test would see us drive over 1,100km in both Corolla Cross models, including our daily commute and a 600km weekend away.
Want to know how the Corolla Cross performs in all situations, including a cyclone? Read on.
What We Like and Dislike About The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross GXL/LTD
|What we like||What we don’t like|
|The sheer ease of driving|
Standard safety features
|Engine noise up hills|
Tyre noise on coarse-chip seal
What’s In The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Range?
Like the Corolla Hatch, you can only buy a Corolla Cross as a hybrid. You get to pick from four models;
- GX Hybrid: $41,990
- GXL Hybrid: $44,990
- Limited Hybrid: $48,990
- Limited Hybrid e-Four (AWD): $51,990
All Corolla Cross models are eligible for a Clean Car rebate.
Mechanically the cars are identical, with levels of features being the only differentiator, other than the e-Four which is all-wheel drive. The cars have a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with hybrid assistance. Total power output is stated at 146kW, with torque at 190Nm. Fuel consumption on a combined rating is 4.8L/100km.
Other than the e-Four, the Corolla Cross is front-wheel-drive and all models use a constantly variable transmission (CVT).
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Standard Equipment Highlights
- Apple Carplay/Android Auto
- 6-speaker audio
- 8” central touchscreen
- Pre-Collision System with Autonomous Emergency Braking
- Pedestrian, Cyclist and Motorcycle Detection
- Intersection Turn Assist
- Emergency Steering Assist
- All-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Indicator-Linked Control and Road Sign Assist
- Automatic high beams
- Lane Tracing Assist with Lane Departure Alert
- Traffic Sign Recognition
- Blind Spot Monitoring
- Hill Start Assist
- 8 airbags
- 17” alloy wheels
- LED headlights
- Power folding and heated exterior mirrors
- 7” Driver’s Information Display
The Corolla Cross GXL adds:
- 10.5” touchscreen display audio
- Satellite navigation
- Dual-zone automatic climate control
- Leather steering wheel
- Satin chrome interior handles
- Black roof rails
- Sequential front indicators
- Simple Panoramic View Monitor
- Parking support brake with 4x front and rear sensors
- 2x passenger USB-C ports
- Fabric and synthetic leather accented seats
- Rear privacy glass
The Corolla Cross Limited adds:
- Panoramic roof
- Toyota Teammate advanced parking assistance
- 9-speaker premium JBL audio
- Qi wireless device charging
- Heated steering wheel
- 12.3” full colour meter
- 18” dark grey machined finish alloy wheels
- Panoramic view monitor
- 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat
- Front seat heaters
- Powered back door with kick-type sensor
- Automatic rain-sensing windscreen wipers
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross – Colour Selection
The GX models come in one of 5 colours:
- Glacier White
- Tensile Silver
- Eclipse (black)
- Blue Crush
The GXL and both Limited models add two more colour options;
- Cement Grey
- Safari Green
For a full list of specs and options available for the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid Limited e-Four, head over to the Toyota New Zealand website.
How Does The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Compare To Its Competition?
Since we did the majority of driving in the LTD model, we’ll use that for our comparison chart.
All prices below exclude the refund or additional cost of the New Zealand Clean Car Programme.
|Hyundai Kona Hybrid Elite||1.6-litre, 4-cylinder petrol-hybrid||104/265||5||4.4||374||$54,990|
|Kia Niro HEV Water||1.6-litre, 4-cylinder petrol-hybrid||104/256||5||4.4||451||$53,990|
|Toyota Corolla Cross LTD AWD||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder petrol-hybrid||112/190||5||4.9||380||$51,990|
|Mazda MX-30 Hybrid||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder petrol-hybrid||114/200||5||6.4||370||$46,790|
|Subaru XV E-Boxer Hybrid||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder hybrid||112/262||5||6.5||345||$44,490|
First Impressions Of The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross GXL/LTD
Like the Yaris Cross, the Corolla Cross looks so very different to its hatchback donor. Not in a bad way, but I still find it surprising that Toyota has decided to change the frontal design of its Cross models. In saying that, they’ve altered it to look like a mini RAV4, so perhaps that was their idea the whole time.
Our GXL was finished in Blue Crush and it looked excellent in a sea of grey and silver cars driving around. I was unsure of the Safari Green of the LTD model when picking it up, but it grew on me rapidly. It’s not a bright colour but it suits the design of the car nicely. In certain light, it looks battleship grey, in others very green. I like it.
As is expected of a crossover, there is plastic plastered around the exterior to give the Corolla Cross that rough ‘n tough look. Again, it suits the car. The whole design is pleasing to the eye.
What’s The Interior Like In The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross GXL/LTD?
Stepping into the Corolla Cross GXL, you are greeted with spaciousness, especially when you compare it to the Corolla hatch. While I love the design of the Corolla hatch, it’s not a practical car, with a boot that’s smaller than the Yaris hatch. I have no idea how those people renting a Corolla hatch at the airport manage to get all their suitcases into the boot of that car. Regardless, the Corolla Cross nails the practicality side of things, with plenty of room inside and a far bigger boot, at 380 litres. That boot space expands out to 1,840 litres with the seats down.
It would have been better to see the headlining finished in a brighter colour than black, but overall the car feels so much bigger inside. Helping this is the centre console; after a bunch of cars we’ve reviewed with high centre consoles, the one in the Cross is nice and low, adding to that feeling of space.
The console in the Corolla Cross is surrounded by piano black, as are the AC controls. It was great to see that Toyota has stuck with physical AC controls, instead of switching the AC to be controlled by the touchscreen. The last 4 cars I’ve reviewed have had their AC controlled by the screen, and it’s far preferable to have physical buttons for this.
Legroom in the rear is very good for the class and would be more than acceptable for a long trip. Rear headroom in the GXL is good, but in the LTD it’s a bit more restrictive with the panoramic roof eating into headroom at the rear, right where your head is.
Rear seat passengers get access to 2 USB-C ports, while the front has a single USB-A port, and single 12-volt socket, which is located inside the smallish centre cubby. That’s not the ideal place for a 12-volt socket for your dashcam, but at least it has one. While the centre cubby isn’t large, the glovebox is, with ample space to store things you never need.
Switching to the LTD model, the feeling of luxury is instant. Leather seating, a huge panoramic roof, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, and more. That panoramic roof does not open but is covered by an electric cloth blind. With the blind open, it makes the interior of the Corolla Cross feel even more spacious. If I had the budget, I’d be stretching for the LTD model for that pano roof and the other extras.
One of those extras in the LTD model is automatic parking, but Toyota has decided the best place for the button for this is down on the right-hand side of the dash, next to the tailgate button. It’s a little awkward to get to and easy to miss.
The LTD also gets an electric tailgate, but of course, the boot in both cars is identical, as is the infotainment system.
All in all, it’s top marks for the interior of the Corolla Cross, in either GXL or LTD form.
What’s The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross GXL/LTD Like To Drive?
Slipping the car into Drive, it was nice to see that Toyota haven’t gone to a button or dial for the gear change – possibly too much change for Toyota buyers? Regardless, using a lever is so easy. Like other Toyota hybrid cars, you can slip the lever beyond Drive and down into ‘B’ mode, to give the car extra regeneration to charge the batteries while driving down a hill or coming to a stop. You don’t have to use B mode at all, but it does assist in getting some ‘free’ charge into the batteries. Weirdly, putting the Corolla Cross into B mode will start the petrol engine when you take your foot off the gas pedal. I’m sure there’s a good reason for this but it feels counter-intuitive.
Still, on the move, the Corolla Cross is a doddle to drive. In fact, over my 1,100km of driving, this was one of the highlights of this car; it’s so simple to drive, everything works perfectly together, and the overall driving dynamics mean this is a car that is better than the sum of its parts.
All the controls are simple to use, although I still struggle with cars like the Corolla Cross that put the volume controls on one side of the steering wheel and the track/station change buttons on the other. Even after over 1,000km of driving, I still went to the wrong side of the wheel at times. Not the end of the world, and quite possibly it’s only me that does this.
Cruising around town or on the motorway, the 2.0-litre engine in the Cross is quiet and subdued. You barely notice that the car has a constantly variable transmission (CVT), and life is good. Again, it’s such a pleasure to drive it’s almost the perfect commuter. If there’s a ‘but’ here, it’s steep hills like Transmission Gully. Heading up the steep side of TG towards the Wainui Saddle and the engine will make itself known. It’s certainly not deafening, but it is fairly intrusive under load.
Tyre noise can make itself known on most surfaces due, likely due to those Michelin Primacy tyres. Every car we’ve tested with those tyres has issues with tyre noise, especially on coarse-chip seal. It’s a real shame as overall, the Primacys are excellent, but are let down in that one aspect.
On the other hand, road and wind noise are extremely well damped, barely making themselves known. On the flat at 100km/h, the car is relatively quiet inside. Also on the positive side of things, the ride is simply excellent. The Corolla Cross rides beautifully and is marginally upset with things like speed bumps. Huge credit to Toyota for making the ride so good in this car.
If you are using the Cross as a commuter (as I did), visibility is generally excellent. Even with chunky A and C pillars, with a higher roofline and blind spot monitoring (even in the base GXL), you can really see well out of the Corolla Cross.
My daily 40km commute is a mix of suburban driving, city, then motorway and a bit of open road – so a good mix of conditions. The hybrid system works well here, better than I thought it would, and at the end of my 40km journey, my EV drive percentage was 40%. Again, better than I thought it would be.
While in the GXL model, I had to applaud Toyota for giving it all their safety features regardless that it’s the base model. That means things like adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, Lane Tracing, and automatic high beams are all standard. Toyota is one of the few brands that add all their safety features to every model of car, and that surely will sway some buyers to their models.
The centre screen is a huge improvement of Toyota infotainment systems from not that long ago. With crisp, clear graphics, good response and an excellent size at 10.5” (in either GXL or LTD) it’s a massively positive move for Toyota. The screen size is perfect for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (especially after reviewing the Citroen C5 PHEV recently) and was well overdue. I guess if there was one thing I didn’t like about the infotainment system, it’s the Energy Flow screen, which shows how the car is being powered at the time. It’s an active display so it’s always changing, but the graphics on this screen alone are a bit of a let-down; chunky and old-school.
The leather steering wheel is identical in both models, and it feels superb. It’s just the right size for the car, too, and other than the aforementioned audio controls, all the other controls on the steering wheel are set out perfectly. You get most audio/screen control on the left side, and adaptive cruise on the right – along with those track/station change buttons.
For a while, I couldn’t find any volume controls for your front seat passenger, but eventually, my daughter pointed out that they are under the screen itself. So there are buttons for volume up/down and power on/off. I would have far preferred a knob for this, but at least these are physical buttons and it’s not controlled via the screen.
It was time to move into the LTD model, a day before heading away to Hawera to work on our project car. I’ve mentioned the interior changes already and this was one of the reasons I chose to drive the GXL first, and take the LTD away on a 600km drive. I’d rather have a bit of luxury on a long drive if I’m being honest.
I loaded up the Cross LTD on a Thursday night and then late on Friday afternoon, took to SH1 for the 300km drive north. I have mixed feelings about the performance of the Corolla Cross; it has a 2.0-litre engine AND hybrid assist, so at times I felt it should go better than it does. But loaded up with car stuff, I barely noticed the extra weight. I think most Corolla Cross buyers will be more than happy with the performance.
You get three drive modes in the Cross; Eco, Normal, and Power. Thankfully, the car remembers your mode so every time you start it, it will stay in the mode you last chose. I wish all cars did this. In both the GLX and LTD models I left the car in Eco mode, and it drove perfectly. I couldn’t really see the point of using Normal or Power modes on a daily basis. In saying that, I sometimes switched to Power mode to pass slower traffic. Passing other cars does highlight a couple of things; that engine noise is prominent, and CVT flaring is quite evident. I got used to it, but I was expecting this engine to be a little more refined.
Power mode will really get the car moving along if you prod that accelerator pedal enough, and at times like this it does feel like a 2.0-litre motor. If there was one other reason I was happy I took the LTD away on a long trip, it was because of its all-wheel drive system (AWD). Tootling around town in the front-wheel drive (FWD) GXL is easy and the car handles very well. In fact, on a normal commute or in daily use, I couldn’t feel much difference between the FWD and AWD models. But during my weekend away Cyclone Gabrielle hit and I was very thankful for having an AWD car. The AWD LTD Corolla Cross sticks to the road beautifully, and it feels very planted – even in heavy rain and heavy crosswinds. It was simply not upset by the wild weather outside the car.
Full acceleration from a stop in the wet, and the LTD model will see no drama and no wheelspin; it’s all nicely controlled forward acceleration.
Like other times, I used the car’s adaptive cruise control for a lot of my journey to Hawera. Those that know the road from Wellington to Hawera will understand; it’s pretty boring. I also used Toyota’s Lane Tracing feature for this trip, which means the car will assist as much as it can in the steering. I’ve got to say, in a short amount of time, systems like this one have improved hugely. The Cross’s Lane Tracing is very accurate, rarely putting a foot wrong. While you never should, taking your hands off the wheel to test it shows it will do a great job of following a gently winding road, keeping you in the lane. It’s definitely one of the better systems in the market at the moment.
Part of the adaptive cruise control in the Corolla Cross includes route-based speed management. We’ve seen this appearing more and more on cars, where adaptive cruise will adjust the car’s speed to slow it down for a bend. Like other cars, the Cross’ system is a bit too nannyish, and will slow you down to say 85km/h for a corner than can easily be taken at 100kmh/. You know it’s at play, as a winding road sign appears on the dashboard. So it’s a good start, and I’m sure over time this will improve – or perhaps give us some adjustments for this in the infotainment system.
While the audio system in the GXL model is acceptable, the JBL system in the LTD is much better. It’s not outstanding, but the clarity at higher frequencies – I expect mainly due to those tweeters at the bottom on the A-pillars – is excellent, and separation is also good.
Seat comfort in either model is very good, and the LTD model’s seats border on excellent. Just the right amount of padding for a 300km drive, and I didn’t need to adjust the electric lumbar support once.
Body roll is evident if you push on too hard on a windy road, but still that Toyota chassis is nicely done. Yes, the Corolla hatch handles better than the Cross, but it should. The AWD grip of the LTD model is something the Corolla Hatch will never have.
But, it’s not perfect. Other than the engine noise, I had reasonably consistent issues with the Bluetooth connection. Sometimes, the Cross would revert the audio to radio on getting into the car. It happened far too often for my liking, but not always. One day when on a phone call, the Bluetooth disconnected itself. No idea why. My phone works well with other cars, so I can only put it down to the Cross.
The sun visors on the Cross only extend halfway down the door, and they don’t slide. This leaves a big gap for the sun to smash your face as you drive. I wish more manufacturers took note of this, as Toyota isn’t alone here.
As mentioned, we covered 1,100km driving both models, and fuel economy averaged out at 5.1L/100km, which compared well to Toyota’s suggested combined rating of 4.5. While this might not seem mind-blowing, keep in mind it is a 2.0-litre engine pushing this car along, and with our 600km open-road trip, the hybrid system doesn’t perform its best. The hybrid system in cars like the Corolla Cross excels around town and in the suburbs.
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross LTD – Specifications
|Vehicle Type||Hybrid, all-wheel-drive, crossover small-medium SUV|
|Price as Tested||$51,990|
|Engine||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder with hybrid assist|
|112@6,000rpm (combined 146)|
|Spare Wheel||None – repair kit and pump|
|Kerb Weight, Kg||1,550|
|Length x Width x Height|
|Boot Space / Cargo Capacity,|
Litres(seats up/seats down)
|Fuel tank capacity,|
|Advertised Spec – Combined – 4.9|
Real-World Test – Combined – 5.1
Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
|Warranty||5 Year Warranty|
5 Years Capped Servicing
5 Years Roadside Assist
5 Years WoF checks
|Safety information||ANCAP Rating – 5 stars – Link|
Rightcar.govt.nz – 5 Stars – CRLA X
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