New Toyota Corolla Cross arrives in the UAE – and it's a bit of a surprise

The world's bestselling car has made a return, but this time it's wearing the clothing of a compact SUV

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An all-new Toyota Corolla has arrived in the UAE, but it’s not what you might expect. Moving on from its traditional sedan guise, the latest version has taken on a compact SUV skin.

Dubbed the Corolla Cross, the car is exactly that – a new vehicle that attempts to combine everything buyers loved about the 12 generations of the original vehicle (and love it they do – since the Corolla's launch in 1966, about 45 million units have been shifted, making it the most sold car on Earth).

The Cross was unveiled in Thailand in July 2020 as a more practical and larger alternative to Toyota’s C-HR.

Available only as a hybrid, the Cross is a vehicle designed to “move occupants in comfort and style”, Toyota says, and the company has given it a gritty, urban exterior that is an indicator you can use it for more than your daily commute.

It’s no surprise than the new arrival as a higher ride height than its sedan sibling, alongside a wide stance giving the impression of stability.

Features include newly developed 17-inch alloy wheels, an air conditioning system with smart-flow control, a moon roof, a seven-inch multi-information display in the cluster gauge, an eight-inch multimedia display, and smart entry and start systems.

Power comes from a 1.8-litre petrol engine that works in tandem with two electric motors. Together, they produce a 122 horsepower. Drivers can also choose between Eco, Normal, and Sport modes, depending on what they're after.

You can see design clues from the Rav-4 in the Cross, but the latter is much more compact and has a lower base price.

The compact SUV market is tough, but the Corolla name badge should attract a little more attention than other newbies in the marketplace. That said, it remains to be seen whether hardcore fans of the sedan will be tempted by a crossover.

The Corolla Cross is in UAE Toyota showrooms now, and the vehicle has a starting price of Dh89,900.