COROLLARY TO SMALL SEDAN ABANDONMENT : In cases of potential mass abandonment there are lifeboats for ships and life mattresses (formerly, nets) for buildings. Similarly, the crossover utility vehicle is expected to rescue those abandoning traditional four door sedan. It is a trend which has eroded market share to half of its former self of more than a decade ago. While Toyota’s Corolla, the world’s all-time best selling car, is still finding plenty of parking spots, the Japanese automaker has developed a contingency plan in the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross small crossover ute.
WHAT: 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE AWD. This all new sub-compact crossover utility vehicle is designated XG10, resting on the modular TNGA GA-C platform, shared with the E210 12th generation Corolla sedan and Corolla hatchback.
- Power: transverse 2.0L DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 169 hp/ 150 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
- Drivetrain: 10-step continuously variable automatic transaxle, featuring first helical gear w/ steering wheel shift paddles (SE, XSE only)
WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE(S):
Rather than simply lifting the existing Corolla Hatchback [conscripted for GR sport rally car greatness] the new 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross invokes the brand’s truck -ier side, not unlike a shrunken x 2 sizes Toyota Highlander. There is that Tacoma donated wide hexagonal maw filled with graphite color links.
√ Clamshell hood flows from sharp raked windshield; √ Dark lower body cladding throughout front to form prominent bumper cover; √ Body colored mid to lower fascia includes stylish vertical corner folds; √ Wrap around boomerang LED headlamp topped by prominent lateral white DRLs; √ Fashionably high beltline; √ Widened fenders and rear quarters show flex of biceps; √ Rakish roof accented with chrome band; √ Roof spoiler hangs over subtle Kammback liftgate; √ Large lateral LED boomerang taillamps stretch around; √ Mid tailgate cinching license plate bowl; √ Graphite cladding rear bumper cover with with lateral corner red reflectors; √ Pseudo front and rear skid plates, dark clad in the rear.
- +1 Corolla Cross body creasing is more softly blended than in the obliquely chiseled large compact RAV4.
- -1 Partly exposed exhaust muffler
WHY: In the event of abandoning car, there is refuge in smart new small crossover ute bearing best selling car’s name.
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Autumn 2021
WHERE: Toyota new car dealers
WHERE MADE: Huntsville, Alabama, U.S.A. (at plant shared with Mazda)
HOW STRONG: Sometime in 2023 a gas electric hybrid will flow off the Toyota line at Huntsville assembly plant. Until then all Corolla Crosses are motivated by the Corolla Hatchback‘s 2.0L tumbling air intake fortified straight four. The sewing machine smooth idler, when tapped for greater go, doth protest a bit much with groaning. A dedicated planetary first gear assures adequate stoplight to stoplight snap. Yet the CVT’s super-wide ratio and the extra SUV mass sap enthusiasm. Door mount wing mirrors and corner light housing fairings quell wind noise but road rumblings penetrates from down below.
HOW LIMBER: Capable of exercising greater independence in low traction conditions, the 2022 Corolla Cross AWD also gains full rear independence from the front drive model’s torsion beam. The damping selected for the freer rear wheel attachment favors a cushioned expedition. Increased weight is sensed only when really pushing things but disconnected feedback to the helm discourages that level of enthusiasm in the bends. On balance operational effort is commuter friendly low. Yet impressively the binders issue consistent bite responding with pedal linearity.
HOW FAR: 27 miles per gallon combined fuel economy. Range = 400 miles on the interstate per tankful of 87 octane unleaded fuel.
HOW BIG / LITTLE: While the wheelbase figure is shared with the tidier-than-sedan Corolla Hatchback, taller seat cushions and roof height endow the 2022 Corolla Cross with mid-pack four adult space.
HOW USEFUL: √ Holds 2 full size cases and two carry-ons; √ Low load liftover; √ Sub cargo floor storage organizer; √ Flat folding 60/40% split rear seat backs; √ (available) Power liftgate; √ Cargo bay tie downs x 4 chrome steel; √ Cup holders x 4, Bottle holders x 4
- +1 Generous center armrest bin and glovebox; Oversized stack bottom inductive charging w/ USB connectivity
- -1 Fixed center armrest too short for steering wheel reach
- -1 Thick outboard door armrests leave room only for bottles and a compact umbrella (up front)
- -1 Shallow rear center seatbelt receiver recessing
• TOW RATING: 1500 pounds: 1500 lbs. > Hyundai Kona; = VW Taos
HOW SAFE: IIHS 2022 Top Safety Pick Plus = √ 9 airbags (incl. 2nd Row outboard seats), √ Rear camera w/ fixed gridlines, √ Sonar park audible park assist;
Driver assist technology: √ STANDARD Toyota SafetySense 2.0 = Pedestrian detection braking; Forward collision avoidance braking; Lane Departure Warning, Keep Assist w/ Trace Control; Full adaptive cruise control, LED projector headlamps w/ auto on/off; Automatic High Beams.
-1 Adaptive cruise control won’t brake for already stopped cars and is easily fooled after slowing then passing to recognize slow car after changing lanes to pass. Park assist sonar sensor in front bumper cover prone to snow accumulation setting off an MFI warning.
- XLE trim adds: ♦ Blind Spot warning w. Rear Cross Traffic alert (LE and up) + avoidance braking; ♦ Park assist warning & rear braking; ♦ Adaptive front LED headlamps, LED DRLs, rear lighting.
Peer inside the 2022 Corolla Cross to confirm that Toyota appoints interiors as a sensible office with high on convenience. The cohesion in appliques between instrument panel segments makes for one unified piece of simplicity. Looking for that antiquity of a blue LED digital clock on the center stack? There isn’t one. Instead there is blue warmth in the TFT single dial gauge cluster and MFD pages. Like photocopied page out of the Corolla Hatchback, [which it is], the Cross‘ cockpit is an example uncluttered, low distraction, and first nature operation.
√ Softex seats w/ ribbed grips, front heated, front sport seats, driver’s 8-way power adjustment; √ Power windows w/ full auto operation x 4; √ Keyless approach access, push button ignition; √ 2-Zone automatic climate control; √ Thick padded front and rear door armrests; √ Enhanced cabin insulation; (available) Power moon roof
- +1 Fatigue reducing seats pay off.
Cool Gizmo(s): √ TFT twin dial, 7.0″ inch selectable graphics multifunction display instrument cluster; √ Cockpit blue accent lighting.
Details Done Right: Contrast colored seating w/ light contrast border stitching; ♦ Seat matching stitched leatherette mid dashboard; ♦ Chrome accent band spanning and encasing corner climate vents; ♦ Floating gauge cluster hood; ♦ Sloping padded lower instrument panel w/ stitching; ♦ Piano black accents traced by “U” metallic bands to encase center dash climate & center console and front door pulls; ♦ Tight pebble grained soft mid dash and upper door panels;
Nearly Non Descript: -1 Outboard driver’s side dashboard switches obstructed; Hard dash top; “plain Jane” door panel switches
HOW “APP” -LICABLE: +1 A lesson in how to properly implement a short reach, pod mount, tablet style media display, without any need to fiddle with remote twist knobs, joysticks or touchpads.
√ Dash top tri-pane 8.0″ flat-panel touch LCD infotainment screen; √ Voice command hands-free communications; √ SMS; √ Siri Eyes, Apple CarPlay, √ 9-speaker, 800W JBL ClariFi HD radio audio; √ USB-A x 3 (including Row 2 x 2), 12V x 1; √ Qi wireless charging pad (lower center stack shelf)
Free Apps: ♦ Amazon Alexa
By Subscription (trial): ♦ Sirius XM radio (3 mo.); ♦ WiFi by Verizon (2 GB); ♦ Toyota Connected Services (3 yrs.);
- +1 Excellent hi-resolution tablet touch screen
- +1 Natural language POI voice navigation search
- -1 Native navigation unavailable
- -1 JBL premium audio too muddy
HOW MUCH: $33,550 suggested retail price 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE (2 years / 25,000 miles scheduled maintenance included).
WHAT’S MISSING: The old Toyota Entune free weather and traffic apps; passenger seat height adjustment; front center armrest w/ greater forward length or greater steering wheel telescoping.
ANY COMPETITION: Honda HR-V: +1 handling, composure; Hyundai Kona +1 fuel economy; Mazda CX-30: +1 steering/ handling, fuel economy, cabin materials, road noise isolation; Volkswagen Taos: +1 cabin space, fuel economy
(Contributing Editor: T. Paluch)