2022 Toyota Corolla Cross: Making Up For Lost Time

Published on November 8, 2021 in First Drives by Germain Goyer

In order to understand the hype around the all-new 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross, you have to consider two other models.

While fairly popular, the Matrix hatchback was discontinued in Canada after the 2014 model year. Toyota’s Scion brand came back with the iM, which later became the Corolla iM before it was replaced by the Corolla Hatchback. In the process, the five-door compact has gained sharper looks and slightly more fun driving dynamics, but it’s no match for the Matrix when it comes to versatility and practicality.

On the other hand, you have the C-HR, which was initially supposed to be sold as a Scion model when it debuted in 2018, capitalizing on the growing demand for small crossovers. With Scion out of the picture, Toyota decided to add the vehicle to its lineup. However, a polarizing design and lack of an AWD option have proven to be major hurdles for the C-HR, which still can’t be considered a serious threat to the likes of the Honda HR-V, Subaru Crosstrek and Nissan Qashqai.

Now, here comes the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross, a brand new crossover that promises to shake things up in the segment. How good is it? We recently attended the Canadian media launch and found out for ourselves.

Photo: Germain Goyer

One Engine Option at First

The Corolla Cross formula is pretty simple. The vehicle rides on the same TNGA-K platform and uses the same naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine as the Corolla sedan and hatchback, but gets a completely different, SUV-type body and available AWD.

Said engine produces 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque through a continuously variable transmission—nothing to get excited about if you’re a driving enthusiast. However, with generous content, a spacious interior and high predicted reliability, the Corolla Cross will inevitably attract a lot of folks in the market for a small utility vehicle.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: the Corolla Cross does a good job in most situations, but performance and handling are definitely not at the top of the segment. Also, you have to know that base FWD models make do with a rear torsion beam, while those equipped with AWD benefit from a fully independent suspension and deliver a more enjoyable ride.

As for fuel consumption, Natural Resources Canada rates the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross at a combined 7.3 L/100 km with FWD and 7.8 L/100 km with AWD. At the end of a 140-km trip in superb weather conditions, our AWD tester netted an average of 7.4 L/100 km.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Hybrid Variant Coming in 2022

While the first units to go on sale in Canada will be conventionally powered, Toyota Canada confirmed to us at the event that a hybrid variant of the Corolla Cross will be added to the mix next year.

It makes total sense, really. Toyota already offers a large number of hybrid models, and the small crossover segment currently has just one—the Subaru Crosstrek PHEV. More details about the future Corolla Cross Hybrid including powertrain specs, fuel ratings and pricing will be announced closer to launch.

Photo: Germain Goyer

How is Life Inside?

Unsurprisingly, the interior of the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross looks awfully like that of the regular Corolla. The driving position is almost perfect for a small SUV, although some drivers will wish for extra thigh support.

The standard touchscreen measures seven inches, but an eight-inch display is available on higher trim levels. In typical Toyota fashion, the infotainment system and graphics fail to impress.

Photo: Germain Goyer

In the rear, we were pleased to find a sizable amount of headroom, not so much when it comes to legroom. Cargo capacity is a remarkable 750 litres if you settle for FWD. Due to the higher cargo floor, AWD models are limited to 713 litres.

Oh, and let’s not forget that every Corolla Cross comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, a suite of advanced safety and driver assistance technologies that helps prevent collisions and provides greater peace of mind behind the wheel.

Photo: Germain Goyer

How Much?

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is priced from $24,890 (plus destination) in FWD configuration. Add an extra $1,400 for the AWD option. The mid-level LE starts $27,090 or $28,490 depending on the drivetrain. At the top of the line, the XLE with standard AWD can be yours for a minimum of $33,990.

Honestly, the entry-level L model is rather unattractive with steel wheels, no roof rails or tinted windows and other missing features. We wouldn’t recommend the most expensive trim, either, leaving the Corolla Cross LE as the most sensible purchase you can make.

The 2022 Corolla Cross is now on sale at Toyota dealers across Canada.

Watch: 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Overview

Test drive report
Test model 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross
Trim level XLE AWD
Price range $24,890 – $33,990
Price as tested 33 990 $
Warranty (basic) 3 years/60,000 km
Warranty (powertrain) 5 years/100,000 km
Fuel economy (city/highway/observed) 8,1 / 7,4 / 7,4 L/100km
Options N/A
Competitive models 2022 Buick Encore, 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer, 2022 Ford EcoSport, 2022 Honda HR-V, 2022 Hyundai Kona, 2022 Kia Seltos, 2022 Jeep Compass, 2022 Mitsubishi RVR, 2022 Mazda CX-30, 2022 Nissan Qashqai, 2022 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Volkswagen Taos
Strong points
  • Right-sized SUV for many Canadians
  • Available AWD
  • Styling is less polarizing than the C-HR
Weak points
  • Hybrid variant not available at first
  • Unattractive base model
Editor's rating
Fuel economy 3.5/5 Conventionally powered models land in the 7 L/100 km range. Let’s see how the future hybrid variant fares.
Comfort 3.5/5 AWD models offer a smoother ride thanks to a fully independent suspension. Some drivers will wish for extra thigh support.
Performance 2.5/5 Nothing to get excited about.
Infotainment 3.0/5 Functionality is clearly not a problem, but we’ve seen much better graphics elsewhere.
Driving 3.0/5 The Corolla Cross is generally uninspiring to drive. For most small SUV buyers, though, it won’t matter.
Overall 4.0/5 Less polarizing than the C-HR and equipped with lots of desirable features, the Corolla Cross is bound to be a hit.
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