Toyota Corolla Cross: Perfect for SA?

Think of it as a junior RAV4, but without all-wheel drive.

Toyota has created a potential nightmare for rival product planners, with its latest Corolla model range extension.

Recognising the surge in demand for crossovers, the Japanese company has shaped a new bodyshell for the TGNA-C platform Corolla. This transforms the conventional Corolla sedan into a five-door crossover.

The styling details, from grille to tailgate, are notably different to a Corolla sedan and as befits a crossover-type vehicle, there is black cladding around the bumpers, side skirts and wheel arches. Cabin trim, design and switchgear, is similar to what you'd find in a current Corolla. 

If you wish to reference dimensions, this new Corolla Cross is 35 mm shorter but 185 mm taller than a current Corolla, although its mechanical configuration is slightly less advanced. An example of this is that Corolla Cross has independent MacPherson strut front suspension but features a torsion beam rear. The new Corolla Cross is positioned slightly larger than the C-HR but smaller than the RAV4. Expect it to take on rivals such as the VW T-Cross, Hyundai Venue and the Kia Seltos.

Powering this new Corolla development is a familiar 1.8-litre petrol engine, producing 103 kW and 177 Nm. Toyota will also be offering a hybridized version, which adds an electric motor to the powertrain, producing 54 kW and 163 Nm, in conjunction with a mild tune of the 1.8-litre petrol engine, set at 73 kW and 142 Nm.

Drive is to the front wheels, via an e-CVT transmission. Toyota is offering both 17- and 18-inch wheels with its Corolla Cross, rolling 215/60 or 225/50 profile tyres.

Initially scheduled to launch in Thailand, the new Corolla Cross would be massively popular in South Africa, if Toyota were to market it here – which is unconfirmed. Toyota SA had this to say: "Toyota's product portfolio is vast and we are currently investigating a number of different models for local introduction, however, we cannot confirm the specific details at this stage". It also mentioned that certain models are region-specific and not always available to our market. Since the Corolla Cross runs the Corolla platform, you could speculate that there is a case for the Cross to be built in the same factory in KZN, provided there is enough demand for the small SUV. We definitely think so! 

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