Toyota has made the
Corolla of SUVs with the 2023 Corolla Cross, which is both a blessing and a curse. The Cross features the nameplate’s signature affordability with an extra dose of practicality. Unfortunately, it also inherits the compact car’s forgettable driving character and meh performance. Its styling, though hardly memorable, at least skews toward the cute end of the spectrum, and the sportier trims add a little visual zest to the Corolla Cross’s curb appeal. The base engine is an anemic 169-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but an optional hybrid system adds three electric motors to boost the combined output to 196 ponies. The Corolla Cross straddles the narrow line between the smaller C-HR and the larger RAV4 in Toyota’s lineup and finds itself up against popular rivals such as the Jeep Compass. Unlike the Jeep, however, the Toyota comes standard with a bevy of driver-assistance features, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What’s New for 2023?
A new hybrid powertrain joins the lineup for 2023 and includes standard all-wheel drive. The Corolla Cross hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and three electric motors for a combined 196 horsepower. Three new trim levels—S, SE, and XSE—have been added and all models get an updated infotainment system with an 8.0-inch display.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We’d recommend going with the more powerful and more fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain. Of those models, the SE trim comes with a host of features to justify the upcharge, including tinted windows, roof rails, blind-spot monitoring, and paddle shifters. All-wheel drive is standard with the hybrid powertrain, too.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
All nonhybrid Corolla Cross models come with a 169-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission; front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available as an option. During our first test drive, we complained that acceleration was lazy and that the engine sounded buzzy, particularly at high revs. At our test track, our all-wheel-drive test vehicle delivered a 9.2-second 60-mph time. Sloths move quicker. The hybrid powertrain consists of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and three electric motors; all-wheel drive is standard on the hybrid and the powertrain makes a combined 196 horsepower. The result is a much perkier SUV–Toyota estimates an 8.0-second sprint to 60 mph. The hybrid model also features a slightly sportier suspension tune, but don’t expect GR Corolla levels of driving fun. We haven’t taken the hybrid model to our test track yet but when we do, we’ll update this story with test results.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates that the front-wheel drive Corolla Cross is good for 31 mpg city and 33 mpg highway; going with an all-wheel drive model drops those figures to 29 and 32 respectively. On our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, the Corolla Cross missed its highway fuel-economy rating slightly and delivered 30 mpg. The hybrid model, unsurprisingly, is the more fuel-efficient of the two powertrains and is EPA-estimated at 45 mpg city and 38 mpg highway. For more information about the Corolla Cross’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Drivers familiar with the Corolla sedan will find themselves at home inside the Corolla Cross. The dashboard layout, interior materials, and convenience features are nearly identical to the four-door model. However, the Corolla Cross’s larger dimensions create more room for passengers–particularly in the back seat–and additional space for cargo. Lower trims are far more basic, but the XLE model comes with nice-looking faux-leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped shift knob, and a flip-down center armrest for rear-seat passengers.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Out of the Corolla Cross’s dashboard sprouts a square infotainment display running Toyota’s latest software interface. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM satellite radio are standard, but wireless smartphone charging, rear-seat USB charging ports, and a JBL stereo system are optional.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
With the Corolla Cross, Toyota will continue its current trend of standardizing driver-assistance features by offering a suite of systems on all trims that includes adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, and lane-departure warning. For more information about the Corolla Cross’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features will likely include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Standard adaptive cruise contro
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
New Toyota models come with a fairly basic standard warranty package, but the company throws in two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance to sweeten the deal. Rivals such as the Kia Seltos or the Hyundai Kona may offer more value for high-mileage drivers with their 100,000-mile policies.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for two years or 25,000 miles
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
Vehicle Type: front-engine, front- and rear-motor, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base (S): $29,305; SE: $30,625; XSE: $32,400
DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-4, 150 hp, 139 lb-ft + AC motors, 111 and 40 hp, 152 and 62 lb-ft (combined output: 196 hp; 0.9-kWh lithium-ion battery pack)
Transmissions, F/R: continuously variable automatic/direct-drive
Wheelbase: 103.9 in
Length: 176.8 in
Width: 71.9 in
Height: 64.8 in
Cargo Volume, behind F/R: 70/22 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 3400–3450 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 7.5 sec
1/4-Mile: 15.9 sec
Top Speed: 115 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (MFR’S EST)
Combined/City/Highway: 42/45/38 mpg