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Boundaries crossed in the new Toyota Corolla Cross

I have had the distinct pleasure of driving the all-new Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid for a month. It's a medium SUV that practical in every sense of the word. Start it up and you glide away effortlessly and so silently that people around you wonder to give you a second look. I have had so many people ask me about the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid. It was the hybrid edition that they were more interested in. In essence, a hybrid car uses more than one means of energy, combining a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor, and the two systems work with each other to move the vehicle. This allows the car to burn less fuel, achieving better fuel efficiency than a traditional engine that solely uses fuel does. And that's about it really.
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj

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.

Electricity means that there is direct power and not via the engines, which could mean an approximate two-second delay. The one good thing about the Hybrid is that it is a ‘closed circuit’, so there are no external ‘plugs-ins’ required.

I do not have the exact numbers as yet, but early indications are that the Corolla Cross is selling, quite literally, like hotcakes. And when the sales numbers across all OEMs are made official, I have no doubt that the Cross will be up there in either the top or second position for its segment.

Cabin fever


The cabin is neat and uncluttered. The ride quality was just impressive and once inside the cabin, the NVH (Noise Vibration and Handling) sounds are extremely low. Whilst on the electric mode, the take-off is very quick and responsive.

The cabin is spacious and also has a class-leading luggage capacity of 440ls. The back seat can accommodate three passengers with relative ease.

Other interior comforts that make 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.

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.

Hybrid model:

  • 1.8l 2ZR-FXE Atkinson cycle petrol engine
  • Petrol engine outputs of 72kW anf 142Nm
  • Latest generation Hybrid powertrain with 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)
  • 4.3l per 100km fuel index and 98g/km CO2 output
  • Improved performance and fuel efficiency over the conventional petrol model

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

The models and pricing

  • Corolla Cross 1.8 Xi - R 349,900
  • Corolla Cross 1.8 Xs - R 390,100
  • Corolla Cross 1.8 XR - R 425,400
  • Corolla Cross 1.8 Hybrid Xs - R 413,000
  • Corolla Cross 1.8 Hybrid XR - R 448,300

A six-services/90,000km 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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