Aren’t there enough SUVs on the market already? Not if you ask Toyota. It appears to be on a quest to fill every niche in a segment it kicked started with its own RAV4 in 1998.
Based on the TNGA-C planform which also underpins the Corolla, the Corolla Cross looks nothing like the sporty Corolla hatch but brings familiar interior theme with a sought after higher riding position.
While the range starts from $33,980 with the Corolla Cross GX front-wheel drive petrol, Toyota has given us the top-spec Atmos eFour Hybrid in ‘Jungle Khaki‘ pearl finish with all the bells and whistles for this test.
It starts from $50,030, which means it’s in fact, more expensive than the RAV4 Cruiser AWD Hybrid at $48,750 and just undercuts the top-tier RAV4 Edge AWD Hybrid at $52,700. All prices are before on-road costs.
What’s the Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos like on the inside?
The overall interior vibe is not dissimilar to the Corolla hatch, with a largely similar dashboard and steering wheel, albeit mounted taller to suit its SUV brief.
However, it’s 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster is positively more hi-tech than the partially digital one in the Corolla. It’s also highly configurable with no fewer than seven different layouts – a first for the Japanese brand until now – to suit individual tastes along with crisp graphics.
Sitting atop the front air-vents is a 10.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with the latest software that is years ahead of the old-gen system found in Toyota’s wider range. The graphics are fresh and more user friendly than ever before.
There’s wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto which is lovely although it’s not without some flaws, as it took several attempts including having to turn off the engine and start again before a successful connection to CarPlay.
And while the interior is overall very well made and pleasing with most of the dash made of squidgy soft-touch materials, the visually similar texture dashboard trim to the right of the steering wheel is oddly cheaper hard plastic.
The lack of a head-up display and lack of USB-C ports upfront at this price point also left us scratching our heads.
On a positive note, the 9-speaker JBL sound system with subwoofer is doof-doof worthy and we also enjoy the inclusion of heated seats and steering wheel, as well as a wireless smartphone charger.
Ergonomics are also top rated with all controls falling easily to hand and plenty of adjustment to the power driver’s seat and reach and rake steering wheel.
The front seats are comfortable even for long distance while there is sufficient room in the back to seat three adults in relative comfort. Rear seat passengers will also delight in the USB-C ports for their devices along with rear air vents, while parents will take comfort in the two ISOFIX and three top-tether points.
Due to the all-wheel drive hybrid hardware, the Atmos gets just 380L of boot space with the rear seats in place, as opposed to 415L for the front-wheel drive and 425L for the FWD variants without the JBL’s subwoofer.
What’s underneath the bonnet?
The Atmos eFour comes with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine producing 112kW and 190Nm that is connected to an e-CVT. It is combined with a pair of electric motors making 83kW and 206Nm at the front, and 30kW at the rear axle for a total system output of 146kW.
In typical Toyota fashion however, no combined torque output has been quoted.
All Corolla Cross hybrids feature a 4.06Ah lithium-ion battery pack which is said to be 14 per cent lighter and more powerful than before.
Combined fuel economy is rated at 4.4L/100km and it only requires the wallet friendly 91 RON regular unleaded. On test and with a round trip from Melbourne to Daylesford, we managed 6.0L/100km on a mix of freeway (sixty percent) and city driving.
How does the Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos hybrid drive?
It’s a comfortable and quiet car to drive. The hybrid is one of the best money that can buy; as you’d expect from a pioneer of the technology. It’s smooth in its handover between the engine and the electric motors and the e-CVT is generally inoffensive.
There’s still the hallmark CVT engine flare if you pin the throttle, but in most situations, you won’t even know it’s a CVT. That’s how far these things have come.
The hybrid is now more willing to lean on the electric motors than ever before. Where the engine used be eager to jump in on anything other than a light tap on the throttle, you can now prod deeper into the throttle travel and the car will remain in EV mode for a sustained period at around 30km/h. The all-wheel drive system provides reassuring grip and traction in the wet and through corners.
The Atmos’ latest generation hybrid also delivers on acceleration with instant step-off response from the electric motors. Toyota claims a nippy 7.6 seconds dash to 100km/h and it feels on the money.
Like the hatch on which it is based, the Corolla Cross is comfortable around town with supple suspension that soaks up road imperfections dutifully. Together with great all-round visibility and a light steering, it makes for an ideal city car. On long country drives, the Corolla Cross is quiet and relaxing.
Its driver assist technology also works well in keeping you on the straights without being intrusive. The adaptive cruise control is adept at keeping a consistent distance with the car in front, while the lane centring is gentle in steering the car back between the lines.
Toyota’s latest generation regenerative braking is likely one of the best in the business. Brake pedal feel is almost entirely normal with no artificial numbness to it at all.
Is the Toyota Corolla Cross well equipped?
Standard features on all variants include:
- LED headlights and daytime running lights
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Heated and retractable side mirrors
- Single zone climate control air-conditioning
- Keyless entry and push button start
- 0-inch touchscreen infotainment
- Wireless Apple CarPlay
- USB Android Auto
- DAB+ digital radio
- 6-speaker audio
- Toyota Connected Services via MyToyota app allowing:
- Remoted engine start and climate control
- Vehicle lock status
- Vehicle location
- Set controls on guest drivers
- Log recent trips
Stepping up to the GXL adds:
- High-grade LED headlights
- Front fog lights
- Roof rails
- Rear privacy glass
- Leather/fabric upholstery
- Leather steering and gear knob
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- Dual-zone climate control
- 5-inch touchscreen infotainment
- Satellite navigation
- 360-degree camera
- Rear USB-C ports
The range-topping Atmos gains:
- Front dynamic indicators (rear bulb indicators!)
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- 3-inch digital instrument cluster
- Panoramic glass sunroof
- Rain sensing wipers
- Power tailgate with kick sensor
- Leather upholstery
- 8-way power driver’s seat
- Heated front seats
- Heated steering wheel
- Wireless smartphone charger
- Advanced Park Assist
- 360-degree cameras with see-through view
How safe is the Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos eFour hybrid?
The entire Corolla Cross range has been awarded a 5-star ANCAP rating in 2022.
Standard safety kit includes:
- 8 airbags including front centre airbag
- Toyota Safety Sense which encompasses:
- AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection
- Adaptive cruise control with curve speed reduction
- Auto high-beam
- Lane keep assist
- Lane Trace Assist
- Lane departure warning
- Lane change assist
- Speed sign assist
- Blind-spot monitoring including safe exit assist
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Reverse camera
- Parking support brake including vehicle, object detection
- 360-degree camera
- Enhanced 360-degree camera with see-through view
- Advanced Park Assist
- Parking support brake with pedestrian detection
What is the Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos hybrid’s running cost?
Like Toyota’s wider range, the Corolla Cross is protected by a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. This extends to seven years for the powertrain if serviced using Toyota’s capped-price service programme.
Servicing costs are capped at $230 per visit for the first five visits, which is required every 12 months or 15,000 kilometres.
Design & Comfort
Performance & Handling
Equipment & Features
- Fuel-savvy hybrid
- More practical than a Corolla hatch
- Excellent ride comfort and strong equipment
- No head-up display and front USB-C
- Some cheap interior plastic
Do we really need another SUV? Probably not, but the Toyota Corolla Cross will appeal to those wanting something between the larger RAV4 and the smaller Yaris Cross, along with its elevated driving position. Its hybrid powertrain is also proven and brings real-world efficiency.
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid pricing and specifications
|Price (excluding on-road costs):||From: $50,030|
As tested: $50,030
|Warranty:||5 years/unlimited kilometre|
|Warranty Customer Assistance:||N/A|
|Service Intervals:||12 months/15,000km|
|Country of Origin:||Japan|
|Engine:||2.0-litre aspirated in-line 4-cylinder multi-point injected hybrid petrol:|
112kW @ 6,600rpm, 190Nm @ 4,400-5,200rpm
|Electric Motor:||Front: 83kW, 206Nm|
4.06 Ah lithium-ion battery
Combined Power: 146kW
|Transmission:||Constantly variable transmission (CVT)|
|Power-to-Weight Ratio (kW/t):||95.7|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):||Claimed: 4.4/Tested: 6.0|
|Electric Driving Range (NEDC) (km):||N/A|
|Fuel Capacity (L):||43|
|Body:||5-door SUV, 5 seats|
|Boot Space (min) (L):||380|
|Tare Mass (kg):||1,525|
|Towing Capacity (kg):||Braked: 750/Unbraked: 750|
|Entertainment:||12.3-inch colour touchscreen, AM/FM/DAB+, Bluetooth, Wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, USB-C, AUX, 9-speaker JBL Sound System|