Road test: Toyota Corolla Cross proves itself on UAE terrain

The Rav4 and C-HR's middle sibling might share the name of the most popular car in history, but many of the similarities end there

The new 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross was unveiled to the world in April and, while it may not have garnered quite as much attention as the latest version of its venerable stablemate the Land Cruiser a couple of months later, it still gained plenty of appreciative looks and comments from motoring fans across the globe.

No surprise there. Even though the Cross only made its debut in 2020, that Corolla moniker carries some weight. The sedan version, now in its 55th year, has sold 45 million units, making it the most popular car in history.

Small wonder Toyota thought it a wizard wheeze to get another vehicle on to the world stage with the same name, albeit one with a rather higher ride height and significantly different looks.

Much like the Volkswagen’s trio of the Tiguan, Touareg and Teramont, mentioned here in order of increasing size, the Cross occupies the middle ground between Toyota’s littler C-HR and heftier Rav4. As such, you wouldn’t need to examine each with an electron microscope to see many similarities among the three Japanese cars, but that can hardly be a criticism, as they all have a tidy amount of kerb appeal.

So much for looks. What news of the Cross’s performance? Well, it’s a zippy enough little number, as you’d expect, though not the fastest in comparison to many of its mini-SUV brethren. The version being tested here, the GLI, has sufficient power for a car this size. Foot to the floor, you can get 200 kilometres per hour out of it, which is good enough on any road that isn’t referred to as an autobahn.

The road ahead

On the road, the Cross doesn’t feel as solid as some of Toyota’s bigger offerings, but that is no surprise in a smaller SUV. Few smaller models can boast that characteristic. However, the quality of the Cross’s ride is as smooth as any car in a similar bracket.

Despite what we said about the Cross being a beast in its own right, there is some similarity to its sedan namesake on the inside. The fixtures and fittings have a comparable look and feel. Rather more practical though is the generous luggage capacity, which Toyota says is a class-leading feature.

If you go for the higher-spec models, you get side-curtain airbags and driver-knee airbags, and daytime running head and tail lights. The standard version still has all the driver aids you’d expect, including anti-lock braking, cruise control, tyre-pressure warning, and so on. There’s a nice multi-information-display touchscreen in there as well, with 10.7-centimetre and 18cm options available.

What's on offer

There are two versions available in the Middle East, and both are hybrids with 1.8-litre engines making up the petrol part. The XL is the baseline option.

So it’s a decent little ride. The only real issue is whether buyers will see it as being different enough to the Rav4 and the C-HR. They all have similar Toyota design cues. The C-HR is the cheapest (starting at Dh86,900) with the Rav4 and Cross both having the same starting price. You could argue all three will appeal to a similar customer base as well.

Toyota’s stated claim for the Cross was that it was designed to “move occupants in comfort and style”, all within a vehicle that you can use for more than a daily commute. The company has succeeded in this. As we said, there are plenty of faster mini-SUVs about, but the Cross has character and that’s a quality missing from many vehicles. Appealing and fun in a single hit.

Specs

Engine: 1.8-litre, four-cylinder hybrid

Power: 122 horsepower

Torque: 163Nm

Transmission: CVT

Fuel consumption: 23.7 kilometres per litre

Price: From Dh89,900 (XL) and Dh100,900 (GLI)

Updated: July 26th 2021, 10:19 PM
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