TOYOTA is expanding its reach into all corners of the SUV market, unveiling the Corolla Cross small crossover this week ahead of an Australian launch in the second half of 2022.
Unveiled in Thailand, the Corolla Cross is built on the same TNGA-C platform as the popular Corolla hatch and sedan but offers a higher ground clearance and unique interior design.
The second ‘Cross’ model unveiled by Toyota this year after the Yaris Cross (due late 2020), the Corolla Cross will join the swelling ranks of compact crossovers/SUVs from the market-leading Japanese brand that also include the C-HR and RAV4.
From the outside, the Corolla Cross features a broad, blacked-out grille flanked by LED lights that look like a flipped version of the arrangement on the Supra sportscar.
Black cladding around the lowers skirts of the vehicle and roof rails give it the look of an SUV, while at the rear the tail-lights resemble the related Corolla sedan.
Toyota has revealed few concrete details of the Corolla Cross, promising ‘excellent’ luggage space, and active safety equipment from the Corolla range.
The new SUV will be offered with the choice of petrol or petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, as found on the regular Corolla.
The standard petrol engine will likely be a normally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit, good for 125kW/200Nm and driving the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission.
The hybrid grade will likely consist of a 1.8-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine producing 72kW/142Nm, combining with a 53kW/162Nm electric drive motor for a maximum output of 90kW.
Toyota is yet to reveal whether it will offer all-wheel drive on the Corolla Cross for some extra SUV credibility.
Through the first half of 2020, Toyota has sold 41,721 SUVs, giving it a dominant 19.6 per cent share of the biggest single market category in Australia.
The RAV4 is its most successful SUV this year, and second only to HiLux in overall terms, racking up 15,544 sales for a 35.6 per cent year-on-year improvement – an outstanding result in the current market, which has been crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.