The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross looks familiar, like a new winter jacket that somehow smells like grandpa. Toyota’s latest model does nothing new, but it does welcome buyers from Toyota sedans or shrink from larger vehicles with a warm but inspired greeting.
Like the RAV4, smaller than a larger Corolla hatch, the smaller crossover offers a right-sized alternative to the funky Toyota C-HR Hatchback that has been paraded as a crossover since 2018. The new Toyota doesn’t look new with its old infotainment system, buzzing powertrain and analog gauge cluster. There is even a stick in the gauge cluster to reset the trip meter like in the old days. But Toyota has repeatedly proven that the conservative introduction of its new vehicle technology appeals to customers who like the introduction. That’s one reason it’s a solid earner TCC rating is 6.2 out of 10Which will increase after the crash-test results are finalized.
On my long weekend with the AWD 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE on the road, I was surprised not to find a CD player.
Hit: Looks like a small, cool RAV4
Shares styling features with a five-seater crossover Toyota’s best-selling RAV4, But without sharp corners in front and back. The split top and bottom grille keeps itself away from RAV4’s more terrifying scout with a smile aimed at making it happy. The black cladding runs over the square wheel arches, and the curved fenders give it some height from the rear without claiming to take it seriously as an SUV. It’s not, and Toyota has struck a balance between over-designing some of its most recent models, including the more integrated Streamline look on the Corolla Cross.
Miss: Dull, buzzing powertrain
There is less to choose from under the hood, but for most drivers it is quite adequate. The Corolla Cross uses a 2.0-liter Inline-4 that has been shared throughout the family, from the Toyota C-HR to the Lexus UX. It produces 169 hp and 150 pound-feet of torque, and with a constantly changing automatic transmission, it’s not going anywhere in a hurry. It’s okay, but the sound it makes seems to be pushing for relief around every turn. More than anything else, noise reveals the roots of its economy.
Hit: Cargo volume
It remains to be seen whether the Corolla will replace the cross-flagging C-HR, which still sold 35,700 units in 2021. The Squat C-HR contains only 19.1 cubic feet behind the rear seats, or 37 cubic feet, including the folding of the seats. The Corolla Cross AWD model is the rear seat up with 25.2 cubic feet of space I tested, and the cargo hold can easily handle a Costco run. Separately, it holds my daughter’s big hockey bag with less trouble than other small crossovers. In both models, the rear legroom is about 32 inches but the head and shoulder housing on the Corolla Cross is better than the C-HR.
Miss: Old interface
Toyota is bringing its much improved operating system and interface, but the entry-level Corolla Cross has not. The fonts and graphics will be familiar to anyone who has driven a Toyota in the last decade or two, which gives it a familiar simplicity that is not found in other new cars. But it’s dated like an 8-bit game on a digital metaverse
Hit: All-wheel drive available
The top XLE models come with AWD, which you can’t get in C-HR. It should appeal to winter weather drivers who want extra traction of AWD without the hassle of switching winter tires.
Miss: There should be a hybrid
An EPA-rated 29 mpg city of loud but efficient powertrain, 32 highways, 30 combined. I’ve come less than that on most highway miles, but it’s good for an AWD crossover. It will be much better – and quieter – as a hybrid Probably next year.
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE AWD
Cost: $ 28,640, $ 1,215 including destination
Priced as tested: $ 33,550
Drivetrain: 169-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 with a CVT and AWD
EPA Fuel Economy: 29/32/30 mpg
Hit: Quiet styling, good cargo room, AWD available
Miss: Loud, older interface, would be as good as a hybrid