2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Review

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross - Corolla adds style with hatchback design


Toyota, Japan’s largest automaker and as of the 2021 calendar year, America’s most popular car brand dethroning General Motors after a 90-year run, is having some creative fun on Corolla’s behalf.  

Corolla continues as the company’s popular, high-volume, competitively-priced compact bringing together better-than-average fuel economy and a solid build.  More than 50 million have sold worldwide since its 1966 debut, a brag precious few makes and/or models can top.

At issue with this long-standing offering; by-gone memories.  While dependable, some perceive this sedan as vanilla, bland and (yawn) boring.  So, Toyota decided to spice things up within this entry-friendly segment with a five-door crossover boasting the Corolla badge unveiled in the 2022 model year.  

Not that Toyota was hurting for yet another five-door body style.  With Corolla Cross in the fold, the number of offerings unofficially reach eight.  Size wise, this latest crossover slots between the subcompact CH-R five-door and uber-popular RAV4.

Three trims (L, LE and XLE) all offer front-wheel drive standard while offering optional all-wheel drive. Interestingly, the all-wheel drive opportunity is not currently available with the conventional Corolla sedan. All derive power from a naturally-aspirated (non-turbo) 2.0-liter, in-line, 16-valve four cylinder cranking out a usable 169 horsepower.  A smooth, fuel-efficient continuously variable transmission (CVT) sets the table for comfort, but this trans is not of the performance variety.

As with four-cylinder predecessors, this engine remains surprisingly quiet when traversing around town and during highway jaunts, allowing for prolonged conversations without noisy engine intrusion. Included: start/stop technology, quieting the engine at prolonged stops before summoning back to work once lifting the right foot off the brake.  It deactivates via a button fore of the vertically-sliding mechanical gear selector, but defaults back to activation each time the electronic start/stop dashboard button left of the steering column activates.  

The 169 horsepower’s not class leading, but a notable upgrade from the sedan counterpart’s base 1.8-liter I-4 delivering a quaint 139 horses (the 2.0-liter is available in pricier trimmed sedans).  Corolla Cross combines a soft, predictable suspension and intuitive handling with a relatively tight turning radius of 17 feet.

For the time being, all Corolla and Corolla Cross remain gas dominant with no all-electric or PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) version.  Those seeking fun with a plug need to check out the BZ4X, an all-new all-electric Toyota crossover. However, in 2023, Corolla begins offering gas-electric hybrid (extended gas mileage without a need for a plug-in) in both sedan and Cross body style.

The relatively diminutive 12.4-gallon tank utilizes regular, 87-octane fuel with top-trim XLE opting for a 13.2-gallon capacity. With 8.1 inches of ground clearance, Corolla Cross continues targeting on-road adventures, but not heavy off-roading events even when piloting all-wheel drive versions due in part to the unibody (car frame) design.

Mileage estimates nicely top thirty miles a gallon in both city and highway travel when opting for front-wheel drive (31 city, 33 highway respectively).  Estimates drop by two miles city and one highway when going all-wheel drive.

This new 2022 offering brings a stylish, bold, hood with a curved creases starting at the front of each A-pillar extending towards the top outer edging of the half-moon grille with three-dimensional inside fill. Long, eagle-eyed headlight housing stretches from smooth, top-side fenders which effortlessly blend into the hood.  Front edges of the housing also connect with the grille at about 2 ‘o’clock. A pair of side character lines start out from wrap-around taillight housing, coming to a point and encircling the rear strap-like door handles.  

Starting price for a front-drive L trim is $22,445. A scant few factory options include a moon roof package in LE and XLE (XLE’s also includes a power lift gate). An upgraded nine-speaker stereo is also available in LE and XLE while XLE solely offers adaptive front headlights. Entry-level L makes things effortless with no add-ons but one must ponder an exterior color.

All Corolla Cross trims include an impressive array of standard safety nuances (part of the Toyota Safety Sense /Smart Safety System) including lane departure assist, full-speed radar cruise control with road sign assist, pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection and electronic brake-force distribution. Not long ago, these were the domain of high-end luxury cars.  

As with all recently introduced Toyota models, ToyotaCare also comes standard, offering two years (or 25,000 miles) of complimentary maintenance covering factory scheduled items (oil changes, tire rotation) along with 24/7 roadside assistance.

Toyota supplied a top-trim all-wheel drive, celestite gray, XLE starting at $27,625 and loaded with all available options.  The bottom line ended at $33,550 including a $1,215 destination charge signifying the most opulent Corolla Cross offered in 2022.  

Included were the $1,465 audio package with upsized eight-inch center touch screen, $1,250 power lift gate and moonroof, $615 adaptive front headlights and a few non-factory add-ons (carpeted floor mats, door sill protectors, etc.).

Top-level XLEs add as standard fare: LED taillights, a black grille with metallic framing, chrome side window framing, dual zone front air conditioning (upgraded from single zone), heated front seats, ambient interior lighting, auto-dimming rearview mirror, larger 18-inch tires (up from 17 inches) and second-row fold-down arm rest.  The XLE also adds additional safety tech with front/rear park assist with automatic braking and a blind-spot monitor with rear-cross traffic alert, very welcome when backing out of sight-impaired parking space.

Inside, Corolla Cross accommodates five riders including the driver; three in row two but only during short stretches as two participants fare best in optimal comfort.  Headroom measures better than average especially up front with rear-seat leg room class acceptable.  Behind the second row resides a comparatively large cargo region (26.5 cubic feet).  With 60/40 second-row seatbacks folded, that figures grows to a segment impressive 66.8 cubic feet.

Our tester’s visually-appealing black/white two-tone interior included soft-touch dashboard materials although the dash’s top portion is of a harder composite.  The simple, easily interpreted layout of screens and buttons is greatly appreciated.

The easily visually digestible digital instrument panel with age-appropriate (i.e. LARGE) digits increases to seven inches in top XLE trims.  Lower versions get by with a 4.2-inch span.  Centering our enlarged IP was a half-moon, colorfully animated speedometer with quarter-moon fuel and temperature gauges to the right and left-side tachometer.  Inside the speedometer framing is a multi-function info window with controls on the steering wheel’s 3 o’clock wing.  

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay Smartphone interplay come standard allowing phones to pair with the XLE’s eight-inch flat touch screen, which jets up from mid-center, including useful audio and station-select twist dials. Two narrow, horizontal-shaped air vents reside below, separating the screen from the HVAC region, higher up in the center dash than most rivals.  The XLE’s system controls combine two dual-zone temperature dials with small push-buttons between controlling mode, fan speed, A/C and front/rear defrosters.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross
Price as tested: $33,550
Engine: 2.0-liter four cylinder
Horsepower: 169
Wheelbase: 103.9 inches
Overall Length: 175.6 inches
Overall Width: 71.9 inches
Overall Height: 64.8 inches
Curb Weight:  3,325 pounds
Powertrain warranty: 60 months/60,000 miles
Fuel Economy:   29 mpg city/ 32 mpg highway
Assembly:  Huntsville, Alabama

Dave Boe

Dave Boe, a lifetime Chicago area resident, worked at the Daily Herald, Illinois' third-largest daily newspaper, for 24 years. In 1989, the Daily Herald began a weekly Saturday Auto Section and he was shortly appointed editor. The product quickly grew into one of the largest weekend sections in the paper thanks to his locally-written auto reviews, the introduction of a local automotive question-and-answer column, a new colorful format and news happenings from Chicago area new-car dealerships.

Five years later, a second weekly auto section debuted on Mondays with Boe adding an industry insight column and introducing a "Love Affair with Your Car" column where readers sent in their own automotive memories for publication. During the next 10 years, the number of weekly auto sections Boe edited and coordinated grew to five and featured expanded NASCAR racing coverage, a dealer spotlight/profile feature and a Car Club Calendar where grass-roots automobile clubs could publish upcoming events for free. Boe also introduced more local automotive columnists into the pages of the sections, all of whom were seasoned members of the well respected Midwest Automotive Media Association. In 1997, Boe earned the Employee of the Year award from the Daily Herald.

Boe is a founding member and current president of the Midwest Automotive Media Association. He has degrees in Journalism and Business Administration from Northern Illinois University.