2022 Toyota Corolla Cross squeezes into small SUV lineup

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross emerges as the right-sized center in Toyota’s Venn diagram of small cars. Larger than the Toyota C-HR and taller than the Corolla sedan on which it’s based, the 2022 Corolla Cross looks like a small RAV4.

Toyota debuted its latest crossover SUV on Wednesday, calling it the “bold compact crossover you didn’t know you needed—until now.”

Sold globally, the Corolla Cross small crossover shares a platform with the Toyota Corolla compact sedan and is powered by the same 169-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 found in sportier Corolla S models. It also uses the same continuously variable automatic transmission. Unlike the latest Corolla, the 2022 Corolla Cross can be upgraded from standard front-wheel drive with all-wheel drive. The suspension changes based on the drive system, with front-wheel models sticking with a rear torsion beam and all-wheel models getting an independent suspension.

All-wheel-drive CCs can shift 50% of torque to the rear axle when slip is detected, otherwise it defaults to front drive for an EPA-estimated 30 mpg combined. The front-drive versions are pegged at 32 mpg combined. The Corolla Cross has a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds.

It’s clear Toyota equips the Corolla Cross with more SUV-oriented drive components than the pedestrian C-HR, which straddled the marketing line between hatchback and crossover. It’s unclear if the Corolla Cross will make the smaller C-HR obsolete, like the Mazda CX-30 did to the smaller Mazda CX-3, but the C-HR remains popular, with more than 40,000 units sold in the U.S. last year. Still, it seems much more reasonable than Toyota discontinuing the Corolla sedan, which is one of the bestselling cars in the world. The Corolla hatchback could be endangered. 

At 175.6 inches long, the Corolla Cross is nearly seven inches shorter than the Corolla, and 5.9 inches shorter than the RAV4. It’s also 3.8 inches shorter in height than the RAV4 and has a half-inch lower ground clearance at 8.1 inches. The wheelbase is only 2.0 inches smaller than the RAV4, however, and front leg room increases at the expense of rear seat passengers, who get nearly 6 inches less leg room of 32 inches than in the RAV4. Cargo capacity behind the second row remains ample, with 25.5 cubic feet in front-drive versions and 24.3 in all-wheel drive. 

In the U.S., however, Toyota’s clear bestseller is the RAV4 compact crossover. The style of Corolla Cross mimics the popular RAV4 compact crossover with its black grille and body cladding squared off over 17-inch steel wheels or available 18s. LED headlights and taillights bookend the small crossover, and an integrated rear roof spoiler further traces the RAV4’s silhouette. Minor differences include fog lights in the lower grille and different headlight designs. Toyota did not disclose dimensions at launch time. 

Offered in three trims, L, LE, and XLE, the 2022 Corolla Cross comes well equipped with a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Amazon Alexa compatibility, satellite radio trial, USB ports, 60/40-split folding rear seats, and driver-assist features such as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic high beams. 

Blind-spot monitors comes standard on LE and XLE, while rear automatic emergency braking comes standard on XLE. Other available features include an 8.0-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone charging, two rear USB ports, a 9-speaker JBL sound system, sunroof, synthetic leather seats, 10-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and adventuring accessories such as a bike rack. 

Pricing will be disclosed nearer the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross’s sale date later this year.  

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