2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid: Hollywood Flash Counter-Point Review

2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid: Hollywood Flash Counter-Point Review
2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD: Co-opting world's all time best selling name to achieve small SUV fame.

Toyota’s Corolla Cross fills the spot vacated by the funky C-HR cute ute. It slots below the large compact RAV4 in Toyota’s SUV lineup.  Theoretically, it’s a rewind to the Corolla All-Trac wagon.

The 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross is a practical buggy with more storage room than a Corolla sedan. The Hybrid version eked out 34.2 miles per gallon during winter testing. Cold weather demand for cabin heat kept firing up the petrol engine for warmth.  Likely reported under more temperate conditions, EPA fuel economy numbers are 42-mpg combined, 45 city and 38 highway.  The hybrid powertrain with standard all-wheel drive reduces below-the-floor rear stowage.  Space occupied by the traction battery nixes spare tire in favor of an inflation kit.

The $36,707 as tested price of the 2024 Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid abuts some more polished, premium subcompact crossover SUVs. However, none of those are hybrids. Fortunately, the combined 196 horse developed by the 2.0-liter gas engine and the electric motors provide greater kick than the non-hybrid Corolla Cross


2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD hybrid powertrain
2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD: buzzy 2.0L Atkinson cycle engine + 2 e-motors.

That extra motivation sent to the pavement with an electric continuously variable transmission and a sport-tuned suspension, makes the Corolla Cross Hybrid worth investigating.  Toyota faithful, who had been waiting for "hybridity" to bless a smaller SUV than the RAV4, have had their prayers answered.  Seekers of greater performance and panache might want to look beyond the CC Hybrid's Panzer battle tank level grace.


2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD: uncomplicated Corolla sedan cockpit

This journalist is a "lapsed" Corolla SR-5 Liftback driver, recalling a time when a Corolla’s cabin was nicely finished with adequate padding. Its hushed engine ran smoothly.  The clutch and five-speed manual transmission were silky.   Wind noise, however, was excessive…punctuated with suspension snapping.  And that subcompact routinely netted 35 mpg without "hybridization." 

The first and most alarmingly gruff Corolla Cross Hybrid spot is its engine.  Sawzall and Toyota vehicles seem incongruous, yet they co-exist here.   The driver’s seat, steering wheel and pedals all resonate.  The engine tone resembles grandma's self-propelled Hoover vacuum. 


2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD cabin
2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD: Corolla- esque cabin, slightly low on plushness

Skimping in some sections of interior padding imparts sensory cheapness.  The door’s armrest and center armrest have thin foam below their vinyl covers.  The front-door card’s armrest is narrow toward the back edge creating an uncertain elbow perch. 

While the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid delivers a mostly absorbent urban ride, the chassis liveliness lives is less refined. Braking on rough roads yields a some nonlinear action. Overly light steering and soft springing hardly engage the driver, particularly at highway speeds.


2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD exterior
2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD: matte metallic roof spill-over accentuates bi-tone colors.

The 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid tester is like Hollywood; it’s got showy extras.  The list includes tilt-slide moonroof, heated seats, power liftgate, roof rack, 18-inch alloy wheels, wireless phone charger, swiveling adaptive headlights, booming JBL audio, two-tone paint, door-sill protectors, mudguards, leather-wrapped steering wheel, folding rear center armrest, cargo tonneau cover and Toyota’s Safety Sense 3 driver assist with radar cruise, lane keeping assist and pre-collision system with pedestrian detection.   The optional equipment adds more than $4,000 to the base model’s $31,155 MSRP plus $1,350 delivery fee.


2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD cargo bay
2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD: superior cargo space over the C-HR it replaced

If this were a Consumer Reports review, the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid could have ramped up points for its fuel-sipping potential, which wasn’t obvious during the cold weather road testing.  In contrast, this journalist found it less than satisfying to spend time in its driver's seat. It’s too loud with hard-touch spots and unrefined orchestration of engine noise and vibration.  Predicted reliability is about average with complaints about electronics.  Toyota’s operating costs are favorable, however.  In fact, Consumer Reports claims the gas-only Corolla Cross’ customer satisfaction score is mediocre. 

With driving enthusiasm by the wayside,  the 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid dresses snazzy with two-tone body paint, wide alloy wheels and bright-accented D pillars. However, it remains a fancy cover for a somewhat ordinary book. 

Toyota’s E-CVT setup differs mechanically and aesthetically from the typical rubber banding CVT.  Instead, it drives like a conventional automatic—sort of—as the planetary gearset does the trick.  There are paddle shifters and a manumatic shift-lever slot. 

2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD exterior
2024 Toyota Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD loaded for urban adventure with body cladding.

In reality, a lukewarm driving experience and such tepid fuel economy for a hybrid electric vehicle hinders the value component in what ultimately should be a competent "meat and potatoes" small family urban wagon.

The 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid AWD re-launches the small SUV by co-opting the world's best selling car nameplate.

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid AWD - Re- Driven Redeeming Green Review
GREEN COROLLARY TO SMALL SEDAN SEGUE AWAY : Anticipating the impending wholesale exodus from the four door car Japanese automaker Toyota brilliantly borrowed the renowned nameplate of its theretofore world’s best selling nameplate to satiate small SUV thirst with the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross cute ute. A gas electric hybrid variant