toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars
It's not just the fuel economy that's good on the new Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid 2WD!
toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars

At first glance, you don’t actually see any of the Corolla in this car and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. (image: Tom White)

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars

It shares more design DNA with its bigger sibling, the RAV4, but it’s more refined. (image: Tom White)

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars

The boot space is a good size for a small SUV with 425L of capacity when all seats are in use. (image: Tom White)

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars

There’s a space saver spare tyre under the floor and ample room for gear. (image: Tom White)

I’ve been driving the newly released Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid 2WD for the last week with my family of three and it’s not just the fuel economy that’s good!

It has the luxury features you often find on more expensive SUVs, combined with a no-fuss drive experience.

While it is an SUV, it still manages to handle more like a hatch and that’s a big plus for urban families needing the space it offers but not wanting a big bruiser to handle. Combined with fantastic fuel economy, this car ticks a lot of boxes.

What does it look like?

At first glance, you don’t actually see any of the Corolla in this car and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It shares more design DNA with its bigger sibling, the RAV4, but it’s more refined.

The curves are sleeker and the compact rear loses any hints of the chunky edges that its sibling has, while still looking purposeful. The stylish LED lights and chrome panelling help cement the looks firmly in ‘young and modern’ territory.

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars

At first glance, you don’t actually see any of the Corolla in this car and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. (image: Tom White)

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars

It shares more design DNA with its bigger sibling, the RAV4, but it’s more refined. (image: Tom White)

The interior is pleasant but classically Toyota. Meaning, everything is where it should be but there aren’t a lot of thrills to be found.

The 10.5-inch touchscreen multimedia screen looks like an iPad that’s just been plonked on the dash and there’s a lot of large plastic buttons and dials. However, it still manages to look solid and dependable, if a little boring.

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars
The interior is pleasant but classically Toyota. Meaning, everything is where it should be but there aren’t a lot of thrills to be found. (image: Tom White)

How does it drive?

The 2.0-litre petrol engine, electric motor combination is serviceable, but it won’t get your pulse racing.

The responsiveness and power make it perfect for pottering around town but it will also manage on the open road. It will just complain loudly to you whenever you have to put your foot down or get up a hill.

The steering feels smooth and direct plus the wheel itself feels good under hand. The ride comfort is darn good, too, with slightly softer suspension, but it doesn’t feel spongy on the road.  Even wind and road noise aren’t intrusive in the cabin.

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars
The 2.0-litre petrol engine, electric motor combination is serviceable, but it won’t get your pulse racing. (image: Tom White)

The Corolla Cross feels shorter than it is and the lean width makes it a real friend in tight spots.

The 360-degree camera view is one of the best I’ve sampled and I love how clear the image is. However, the sensors are very sensitive.

I was parked in by an over-enthusiastic driver on a tiny Sydney street and the car triggered a LOT of emergency braking while I was navigating out of the spot… despite the fact I was moving at a snail’s pace and making only small corrections.

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars
The steering feels smooth and direct plus the wheel itself feels good under hand. (image: Tom White)

It also happened a few times while moving about in my driveway, while not actually being near anything to set it off! It’s quite a jarring (and scary) experience when it happens.

It also has a park assist feature but the button is located near your knee, and honestly, I only used it the once because I forgot it was there.

How spacious is it?

I would describe the cabin space as cosy – all passengers get an okay amount of headroom and legroom but the dashboard sits a little too close for comfort. If it was pushed back a bit, it wouldn’t feel as crowded in the front.

The storage throughout is lean, with just the standard features – glove box, middle console, two cupholders in each row and a drink bottle holder in each door, but there are no additional clever cubbies or spaces for storage.

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars
I would describe the cabin space as cosy – all passengers get an okay amount of headroom and legroom. (image: Tom White)

The boot space is a good size for a small SUV with 425L of capacity when all seats are in use.  There’s a space saver spare tyre under the floor and ample room for gear.

The rear seats fold flat in a 60/40 split, so it shouldn’t be too hard to fit your stuff.

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars

The boot space is a good size for a small SUV with 425L of capacity when all seats are in use. (image: Tom White)

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars

There’s a space saver spare tyre under the floor and ample room for gear. (image: Tom White)

How easy is it to use every day?

Again, this is classically Toyota because everything is where you need it to be. You don’t think too much about operating the car, unless the emergency brake pops on!

The lower profile height of the car made it easy for my six-year old to climb in and out but the taller window sills meant he missed out on a good view this week.

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars
You have some other great features, like the heated front seats and steering wheel. (image: Tom White)

The rear doors have skinny apertures, which can make it tricky to fit a big child seat in and at times it was awkward to buckle in my son.

We all loved the cupholders on the rear door handles and agree that they should come standard on every car. They’re just so practical for little ones – easy to reach and a good size for the fat drink bottles kids always seem to have.

The boot has a powered tailgate with kick-function and it’s a breeze to use. I would have liked grab handles on the retractable cargo blind, as it’s a slippery material and it’s easy to dislodge your grip.

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars
The stylish LED lights and chrome panelling help cement the looks firmly in ‘young and modern’ territory. (image: Tom White)

How safe is it?

The Corolla Cross comes with some of the safety features you expect, like AEB (with pedestrian, cyclist and junction detection), rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring.

It also has lane keeping and departure aids, road sign recognition and adaptive cruise control.

There are eight airbags, including a front centre airbag, and at the time of this review, it hasn’t been rated with ANCAP but its smaller hatch and sedan siblings both achieved maximum five-star ratings in 2018.

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars
The Corolla Cross comes with some of the safety features you expect. (image: Tom White)

There are ISOFIX mounts on the outboard rear seats plus three top tether child seat mounts but you will only fit two seats side by side.

And unfortunately, there’s not a lot of room for front passengers when a 0-4 rearward facing child seat is installed, which won’t appeal to growing families.

What’s the tech like?

The tech is a mixed bag. The multimedia system is terrible. It’s not user-friendly and you don’t get a lot of information from it.

The design also looks like the manufacturers forgot about it, plus, while it has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, when I plugged my iPhone 8 Plus in via a cable, the wireless functionality stops working, even when I unplugged it.

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars
The 12-inch digital instrument panel looks good and is customisable, which helps make up for the multimedia system. (image: Tom White)

I had to reset the connection to get it going again, which is annoying. There is a plus to it as it has in-built satellite navigation.

The 12-inch digital instrument panel looks good and is customisable, which helps make up for the multimedia system.

You have some other great features, like the heated front seats and steering wheel but the controls are big plastic buttons or flip-switches. I like the way each row gets USB-C ports and the front enjoys a wireless charging pad.

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars
The 10.5-inch touchscreen multimedia screen looks like an iPad that’s just been plonked on the dash. (image: Tom White)

How much does it cost to own?

There are a few models to choose from but our model is almost at the top of the range and will cost you $46,050, before on-road costs.

That’s very competitive for a hybrid SUV and you get some nice features for your cash.

Some of the highlights are the heated front seats with synthetic leather trim, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a heated steering wheel and a panoramic fixed sunroof. So, you don’t miss out on those luxury features, despite the lower price tag.

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars
There are a few models to choose from but our model is almost at the top of the range and will cost you $46,050, before on-road costs. (image: Tom White)

The official combined cycle fuel figure is 4.3L/100km and I achieved 4.6L after driving it pretty hard. I reckon the fuel efficiency kind of makes up for the lacklustre performance!

The Corolla Cross comes with Toyota’s standard five-year/unlimited km warranty, as well as, 10 years/unlimited km warranty on the electric battery.

It has a five-year capped-price servicing plan and services are just $230, which is cheap for the class.

Servicing intervals are reasonable at every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever occurs first.

toyota corolla cross, toyota corolla cross 2023, toyota corolla cross reviews, toyota reviews, toyota suv range, small cars
The Corolla Cross comes with Toyota’s standard five-year/unlimited km warranty, as well as, 10 years/unlimited km warranty on the electric battery. (image: Tom White)

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