The name Corolla is one of the most famous in the automotive world, the European change in 2007 was even more surprising when Toyota decided to switch to Auris in the lower middle class. Toyota finally understood that the new name was not a very good idea and returned to the C segment again with the Corolla in the current twelfth generation. I still don’t understand how anyone could willingly give up one of the most valuable labels in the automotive industry.

That’s a bit of a different story, but our long-term Toyota is also called Corolla. Only the legendary Corolla was joined by the omnibus Cross, to make it clear to everyone that it is a very popular crossover, at least in recent years. The Corolla Cross was then included in the European Toyota range between the stylish C-HR model and the popular and more family-friendly RAV4.

And she took it to Europe via Thailand, where the Corolla Cross went on sale three years ago. And although you might not be able to tell from the rather bumpy representation on Czech roads, the Corolla Cross is extremely successful worldwide – last year it was even the eighth best-selling car ever. In short, the Corolla Cross thrives mainly in markets that are more exotic for us.

Toyota as we have known it for many years

Actually, the Corolla Cross really looks a bit exotic. I mean here in Europe, where we have recently become accustomed to Toyotas with a more distinctive design. And it’s not just the outright eccentric CH-R, but the aforementioned RAV4 doesn’t look boring either, the same applies to the smaller Cross model based on the Yaris, the Aygo X is also a cute little thing, and the newest Prius has also taken a downright stylish path. The Corolla Cross is truly an exotic among these hotties, but an extremely conservative, bland exotic. It’s a throwback to ten to fifteen years ago, when Toyotas didn’t really compromise on shape. I have no doubt that someone may find this approach convenient, if you don’t want to show off your invested funds, you won’t get anything more settled. Personally, the newer Toyota term is closer to me, but as I write, every product has its buyer.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

The design of the Corolla Cross is decidedly conservative.

Conservatively even inside

The interior made a very similar impression on me. Here, too, I realized how much Toyota has improved in recent models. For example, see the CH-R, which I recently drove for the first time – the quality of plastics, decorations, display resolution, buttons… All this is on a different level with the latest production. In short, you can see that the Corolla Cross has been on sale for three years. And that she started her career in markets outside of Europe.

But from the point of view of the function, not only that I practically have nothing to blame, but I will actually mainly praise. I connect my Apple wirelessly, the mirroring works reliably, the induction charger less so, but this may be an isolated problem of my device. At this moment, the Corolla Cross is digitally fulfilled for me, I don’t need anything else in the car. Fortunately, Toyota accommodates me and doesn’t force me to do anything touch-sensitive – I can operate the ventilation on a classic separate panel, I can find the normal buttons on the steering wheel, which I click relatively easily to deactivate the lane keeper… satisfaction! I admit, the rocker switches to activate the heated seats are very old school, but – first of all, I’m glad that I don’t have to hunt somewhere in the touch submenu or hit an unlit bar. And the fact that Toyota fumbled in some remote part of the warehouse is more of another manifestation of differently focused markets.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

Sure, the quality of the plastics and the overall concept is on a different level in the latest Toyotas, but you connect your phone wirelessly and you don’t really need anything else. On the contrary, you will only be happy for the classic button control!

What I’m most excited about, however, is the cruise control option. Its adaptive function is not default, you can also choose the good old and ordinary cruise control. For me, driving with adaptive cruise control can never be as smooth as when a skilled driver just tries a little. And he predicts. A huge thank you for this dying feature!

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

Well, these rocker switches were probably never modern…

More for smaller families

I already wrote about the size comparison with the RAV4, or rather the new CH-R, that the Corolla Cross fits among its siblings in terms of size. And that’s exactly how you feel inside. Compared to the CH-R, the interior is definitely more airy and spacious, but the larger RAV4 is still somewhere else. I’ve sat from car to car once and I’d say the RAV4 needs to be longer than the 140mm that actually separates the Corolla Cross and the larger Toyota. Even Toyota itself says that the Corolla Cross is intended for smaller families, I already see the RAV4 as a full-fledged car in this respect.

Also thanks to the luggage compartment, which offers a very respectable 580 liters. The Corolla Cross is more modest, significantly more so in the tested version with all-wheel drive – here only 390 liters are waiting for luggage, without four-wheel drive (with a two-liter hybrid), you can improve to 425 liters. The most voluminous is the basic 18-seat model, with a trunk of up to 473 liters. But honestly, I wouldn’t say that with the less than four hundred liters I have to limit myself in any way. And most importantly, you know how it is with the calculation of liters – you have a hidden compartment there, space under the floor elsewhere… and then the difference in favor of the version with only front-wheel drive and a smaller hybrid jumps out at you. In reality, however, with the four-wheeler, which took up some of the liters due to the added electric motor on the rear axle, the usable volume is plus or minus the same. However, this does not change the already significant lead of the larger and generally more family-ready Toyota RAV4.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

Mainly due to the electric motor at the rear axle, the volume of the trunk was reduced to a not-so-miraculous 390 liters.

And how much does it cost?

When someone asks you how much the two-liter with an automatic transmission and four-wheel drive costs, the answer is very simple. And misleading just a little. The more powerful of the hybrids in the Corolla Cross runs on five liters. And almost always. Well, there are some differences, in the city you can drive under five thanks to the greater connection of electricity, on the highway you can add a liter or so. I will get to a more detailed analysis of consumption next time, for the moment we will make do with the indicated combination of 5.1-5.4 liters – in this range you can really move for a long time without any problems.

And that’s absolutely phenomenal value for a crossover with a combined output of almost 200 horsepower, all-wheel drive and an automatic transmission. Toyota hybrids have been a model of efficiency for years, the improved fifth generation of this device can of course continue this trend. Toyota used more powerful internal combustion and electric engines, reduced electrical losses and individual components, which brought… Yes, you already read a little higher about the extremely low fuel consumption.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

Almost two hundred horsepower, automatic four-wheel drive… And a real consumption of around five liters!

I definitely include dynamics as a positive, the Corolla Cross burns very well with a more powerful hybrid, which is also proven by the acceleration to 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds. However, it creates a lot of hype around it. This is another typical feature of Toyota hybrids – the e-CVT transmission acts like a variator on a scooter during acceleration, the internal combustion engine sends high revs during acceleration, where it remains throughout the acceleration period. As I write, a typical feature, in the latest models (see, for example, the already mentioned CH-R and RAV4 duo), however, Toyota managed to put the sound of four-cylinder gasoline engines back a little. However, the Corolla Cross – despite the presence of the latest fifth-generation hybrid – is still quite noisy.

This phenomenon stands out all the more because the ride in the Corolla Cross is otherwise very quiet most of the time. Especially in the city, the electric motor is active almost exclusively, and the reaction to pressing the gas more forcefully is even more surprising. It’s like stepping on Toyota’s neck.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

This is also not seen much anymore. Selector of driving modes in the form of a classic and honest lever!

The chassis is rather stiffer on the eighteen-inch tires (for the tested Executive standard, the highest specification), but definitely not overly hard. It only makes a slight noise on larger bumps, until then it dampens very decently. If the Corolla Cross had better steering (like the one in the CH-R, for example), it would actually be very pleasant to drive. You have decent support in the chassis, the Corolla Cross does not wobble, it firmly sticks to the set direction. The low weight also has a positive effect here, Toyota indicates a range of 1,435-1,550 kg for the more powerful two-liter with four-wheel drive, a great value for today, especially with hybrid technology.

It’s already in action!

The Corolla Cross is Toyota from the old, downright conservative school. You won’t even notice the design, even customers who get lost in the latest digital trends will feel at home in the interior. The two-liter hybrid is exemplary economical, a crossover with a power of two hundred horsepower, acceleration to 100 in 7.5 seconds, all-wheel drive (it is realized by an electric motor on the rear axle with a power of 29 kW) and an automatic that actually drives on five liters. It is a dream. No exaggeration.

This is a collection of features that can be very attractive to a part of the audience (yes, the more conservative one, we already said that). If you don’t need a bigger car and don’t want a more expressive style, the Corolla Cross is here. In addition, for the price, which is currently discounted by one hundred thousand across the versions, plus you can deduct a redemption bonus of thirty-five thousand.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

With the top Executive trim, you get upholstery combining natural and artificial leather.

The tested absolute top version in the top Executive trim with a more powerful two-liter engine and all-wheel drive will then come at least for… (space for your tips). End of bets, our white Toyota is worth at least CZK 1,009,900 after deducting all bonuses. I admit, it’s not much, especially if you buy the extra white pearl for 22,500 CZK, the Skyview package with a panoramic roof for 20,000 and better JBL audio again for 20, you get to the final 1,072,400 CZK.

And then you are very, very much into the cabbage of the larger and significantly more practical RAV4. It is currently sold in an interesting promotional version with a two-liter petrol engine and a manual for 929,900 CZK (with a buy-in bonus even for 884,900 CZK), with a 2.5-liter hybrid, all-wheel drive and very decent equipment (again thanks to the promotion) for 1,024 900 CZK, with the bonus for the purchase of your older car, you will then need 989,900 CZK.

In these higher price areas, everything really works in favor of the larger Toyota RAV4, but there is a way for the Corolla Cross too. Due to the overall focus, the smaller Toyota will be more suited to the basic version, perhaps with an eighteen-cylinder hybrid, which in the end will offer similar dynamics to the larger two-liter. And that will be enough for you, a significantly more acceptable 749,900 CZK, the bonus purchase subtracts another thirty-five thousand. At the same time, the default Comfort equipment is not bad at all, you get automatic air conditioning, rear parking camera, rain sensor, 17-inch alloy wheels, infotainment with a 10.5-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, or roof rails.

Such a Corolla Cross clearly makes the most sense – a conservative car with no frills, which can be expected to operate reliably, and at an affordable price.

Motor in-line four-cylinder, placed in front across + 2x electric motor
Displacement volume 1987 cm3
Performance 112 kW (152 hp) at 6,000 rpm
Torque 190 Nm at 4,400 – 5,200 rpm.
The combined performance of the hybrid system 146 kW (197 hp)
Transmission automatic, e-CVT
Tree all four wheels
Standby weight 1 435-1 550 kg
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 7,5 s
Maximal speed 180 km/h
Consumption (combination) 5.1-5.4 l/100 km
Fuel tank volume 43 l
Wheels and tires 225/50 R18
Dimensions (length/width/height) 4 4460/1 825/1 620 mm
Wheelbase 2 640 mm
Volume of the luggage compartment 390 l