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The new Toyota Corolla Cross: Crossing more than boundaries

The Toyota Corolla. An iconic car indeed. Practically every family has owned a Corolla. That's because the Corolla has a rich and diverse history spanning 12 generations and has notched up over 50 million global sales, making it one of the most successful vehicle model ranges ever. Think Toyota and you know straight away that you can expect tens of thousands of hassle-free motoring. Remember that popular catch-line of the decades gone by?: Everything keeps going right, Toyota. That ad jingle still resonates very clearly in my mind. Since 1966, the Corolla has evolved in so many ways.
The new Toyota Corolla Cross: Crossing more than boundaries

Fast forward to November 2021 and the Corolla Cross represents the first foray into the crossover/SUV space for this popular derivative that combines the respected characteristics Corolla is known for. But that’s not all. The new Corolla is the cheapest hybrid vehicle available on the market. Now that’s saying something. With the ever-increasing cost of petrol, the hybrid version is bound to capture the attention of many.

Local is lekker

The Corolla Cross carries great significance for South Africa, as the model is locally produced in Toyota's long-running Prospecton Plant in Durban. The Cross thus continues the legacy of producing Corollas in Mzansi, making it #ProudlySouthAfrican. Securing the manufacturing contract for this model, carries considerable importance - having a direct impact on job creation, industry viability and economic support for not only South Africa, but Africa as a whole.

Just impressive

I tested the Corolla Cross on launch in Cape Town recently. The ride quality was just impressive and once inside the cabin, the NVH (Noise Vibration and Handling) sounds are extremely low. Step on the gas and the Corolla is very quick and responsive.

The cabin is spacious and also has class-leading luggage capacity of 440 litres. The back seat can accommodate three passengers with relative ease. Other interior comforts that makes the journey ever rewarding include soft-touch materials, double-stitched accent detail, large centrally-mounted infotainment system, large door openings and a 60/40 split rear seat to aid convenience. All the controls are at the drivers’ fingertips, making the journey that much more rewarding.

The new Toyota Corolla Cross: Crossing more than boundaries
The new Toyota Corolla Cross: Crossing more than boundaries

The exterior

The Corolla Cross fuses the unmistakable design of the Corolla Sedan and Hatch models with a SUV-shape to provide a harmonious design. Just some of the enhancements includes large and elongated headlamps, a trapezoidal radiator grille, broad lower bumpers, fender flares that add to the width, large tailamps with detailing.

The new Toyota Corolla Cross: Crossing more than boundaries

Power plants

As the Corolla Cross is poised to take Corolla into the 'new age', it is paramount that this model embraces the New-Energy philosophy. In recognition of this, Toyota are proud to announce the inclusion of both conventional petrol and Hybrid Petrol-Electric powertrains in the Corolla Cross. This will also signal Toyota's first Hybrid powertrain production in Mzansi. Both powerplants are exclusively mated to Toyota's latest generation CVT transmission, aiding powertrain efficiency while offering the user convenience of an automatic transmission.

Petrol model:

  • 1.8l VVTi 2ZR-FE engine
  • 103kW at 6000rpm and 173Nm
  • 6.8ls per 100km fuel index

Hybrid model:

  • 1.8l2ZR-FXE Atkinson cycle petrol engine
  • Petrol engine outputs of 72kW and 142Nm
  • Latest generation Hybrid powertrain with more a compact yet more efficient battery pack
  • Smooth, immediate acceleration response
  • Electric motor provides an instant torque boost aiding acceleration
  • Ultra-refined and quiet operation
  • Dedicated EV mode where operation is restricted to near-silent, full-electric propulsion
  • Automatically recharges the battery pack either via regenerative braking or by the petrol engine
  • Closed-loop system means there is no need to "plug-in" to recharge the battery
  • Electric motor outputs of 53kW and 163Nm (Total system output of 90kW)
  • 4.3ls per 100km fuel index and 98 g/km CO2 output
  • Improved performance and fuel efficiency over conventional petrol model

The grade line-up

A three-grade strategy has been adopted, using Toyota's familiar Xi, Xs and Xr nomenclature (also found on the Cross' Corolla stablemates and other Toyota passenger vehicles).

  • Xi denotes the entry-level model, which is aimed at customers seeking core-value motoring
  • Mid-tier Xs adds additional comfort and convenience specification
  • Flagship Xr grade receives upgraded exterior aesthetics, larger alloy wheels and added features

The specification list

The Corolla Cross comes comprehensively equipped - no matter which grade you choose. The standard specification fare includes the following:

  • Colour coding, keyless entry, power-adjustable and auto-retractable exterior mirrors
  • 17" alloy wheels shod with 215/60/R17 tyres (in the Xi)
  • LED taillamps and automatic light control
  • Cruise Control, air-conditioning, and all-round one-touch power windows
  • Multi-information display

Xs standard specification:

  • Foglamps and upgraded LED headlamps
  • Park Distance Control (PDC) and rain-sensing wipers
  • Black leather interior
  • Multi-Information Display (MID)
  • Touchscreen audio with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • USB ports
  • Reverse camera

XR standard specification:

  • 18" alloy wheels shod with 225/50/R18 tyres
  • Black and grey radiator grille
  • Choice of Black or 'Terra Rossa' (Red) Leather interior
  • LED interior Illumination

The models and pricing

  • Corolla Cross 1.8 Xi - R349,900
  • Corolla Cross 1.8 Xs - R390,100
  • Corolla Cross 1.8 XR - R425 400
  • Corolla Cross 1.8 Hybrid Xs - R413,000
  • Corolla Cross 1.8 Hybrid XR - R448,300

A six-services/90,000 km service plan is standard on all Corolla Cross models Hybrid model carries an eight-year warranty on the Hybrid battery.

About Naresh Maharaj

Naresh Maharaj is a petrol head who loves cars and writing about them. He is also a Member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists. Naresh is also an international sports correspondent and an acclaimed corporate MC and voice-over artist. Naresh is a sports/news producer for community radio stations and also an award-winning sports journalist. Contact Naresh on moc.liamg@123jarahamn.
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