Toyota expands Corolla Cross family

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Many folks love the efficiency and reliability of the Toyota Corolla sedan but still yearn for one of those cutesy and roomy crossovers. Toyota capitalized on that idea and created the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross. For 2023, the Japanese carmaker went one better on efficiency and gave it an optional hybrid powertrain, making it the quickest and most efficient member of the family.

The Cross is situated between the subcompact CH-R and larger RAV4, measuring 6 inches shorter than the RAV but with a wheelbase only a couple of inches less. Beyond its half-moon shape, it’s distinguished with a unique grille and headlights, and it has smooth flowing lines down the sides.

Flashy colors include Sonic Silver, Blue Crush and Barcelona Metallic, all of which can be paired in a two-tone combo with a black roof.

If you like the Corolla, you’ll like the Cross, which comes in five trims: LE, XLE, S, SE and SXE. The dashboard and interior materials are nearly identical. The seats are, too, except that the roomier cabin offers more legroom and headroom in front and rear.

Higher trims get 10-way power drive seat with Softex upholstery, made with a synthetic leather (no animals involved). It’s durable and easy to clean.

Cargo space is 25.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats.

Every Cross gets a new infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen. It includes wireless connectivity to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus voice controls, Wi-Fi hot spot and navigation with over-the-air updates. Standard audio has six speakers, but a nine-speaker JBL premium system is available.

Quick it isn’t. The base Cross gets a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine that is good for 169 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. A CVT (continuously variable transmission) sends power to the front wheels and reaches 60 mph in an unrushed 9.3 seconds.

The hybrid gets a retuned 2.0-liter inline four but it is assisted by two electric motors up front and another in the rear. Total output 194 ponies, and 0-60 mph comes in at a more respectable eight seconds.

Standard all-wheel drive makes it more sure-footed on wet and snowy roads. The hybrid also has four drive modes — Sport, Eco, Normal and EV-only — while the standard Cross has none.

Steering, braking and handling are all satisfactory. Consider it simple, reliable transportation that delivers an estimated 37 mpg, five better than the gas-only.

Each Corolla Cross is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, a group of active safety and driver-assist features. They include adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and blind-spot monitor. High-end trims also get rear-cross traffic alert and rear-seat reminder.

The Corolla Cross and Hybrid Cross are a welcome addition to the Corolla family. Converting Corolla’s reliability and economy into a compact crossover with the Corolla name is a sound idea. In a highly competitive segment, the Cross is a practical choice, but it may not satisfy the “driver” in everyone.

Price range is $24,395 to $28,300.

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