Toyota Corolla Cross
The newly-launched Toyota Corolla Cross has significance for the South African auto industry way beyond its modest size as the first vehicle to be locally assembled on the Japanese company’s new global platform and the first hybrid to be made in the country.
Looking at the bigger picture, the process to getting the first cars off the production line at the Prospecton, Durban factory involved massive investment by Toyota into the plant and equipment and, in itself, is a statement of faith in the future of the country as Africa’s economic powerhouse.
The Toyota Corolla Cross launches in two formats, a petrol 1,8-litre with three specification options and the battery hybrid version with two specification grades – pricing starting from R349 900 for the base petrol to R448 300 for the full-spec hybrid.
Hybrids are not new in the Toyota/Lexus line-up but the Corolla Cross marks the first the company locally is targeting as a volume seller and, President and CEO, Andrew Kirby admits there is still work needed to be done to bring the price of hybrids down – much of which depends on increasing volumes.
Driving through a CVT gearbox, the Corolla Cross Hybrid switches seamlessly between pure electric power and the engine, easing itself along in city traffic on electricity with zero emissions until the space opens up to accelerate to highway speeds.
On the outside, the Corolla Cross fuses the design language of the Corolla Sedan and Hatch models with a SUV-shape with large, elongated headlamps, a prominent trapezoidal radiator grille and large elliptical tail lamps with trapezoidal detailing and crease lines at the rear.
Inside, the Corolla Cross feels larger than it actually is, surrounding the occupants with soft-touch materials and, for the driver, an uncluttered and easily readable dash display with multiple options of what to view at any given time.
Although a small SUV it has a luggage capacity of 440 litres and the rear seat has a 60/40 split to free up more space and to house bulkier items.
The Hybrid model is powered by a 1,8-litre Atkinson cycle engine with outputs of 72 kW and 142 Nm in pure ICE mode. The electric motor outputs 53 kW and 163 Nm for a total system output of 90 kW.
The pure petrol model has the 1,8-litre VVTi 2ZR-FE engine offering 103 kW at 6 000 r/min and 173 Nm 4 400 r/min.
The three-grade uses Toyota's familiar Xi, Xs and Xr nomenclature (also found on the Cross' Corolla stablemates and the base Xi offers as standard colour coding, keyless entry, power-adjustable and auto-retractable exterior mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 215/60/R17 tyres, LED tail lamps and automatic light control, cruise control, air-conditioning, 12-volt power outlet and all-round one-touch power windows, multi-Information display (MID) for the driver and Toyota Connect.
The Xs versions gain foglamps and upgraded LED headlamps, park distance control (PDC) and rain-sensing wipers, black Leather Interior, air-conditioning upgraded to dual-zone variant, multi-information display (MID) is upgraded to the TFT-type, Touchscreen audio with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, two additional USB ports and reverse camera
The Xr features list kicks it up a notch with 18-inch alloy wheels shod with 225/50/R18 tyres, black and grey radiator grille, Toyota Safety Sense, choice of Black or 'Terra Rossa' (Red) Leather interior and LED interior Illumination.
All Corolla Cross models offer buyers an anti-theft system, auto door-lock, ISOFIX anchor points, driver, passenger and side crash bags across the board, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), ABS + EBD + Hill Assist Control.
On the XR models the Toyota Safety Sense comprises adaptive cruise control, Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Lane Trace Assist (LTA) and Pre-Collision System (PCS).
- 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/90 000 km service plan is standard on all Corolla Cross models with service intervals of 12-months/15 000 km and a 3-year/100 000 km warranty. Hybrid model carries an 8-year warranty on the Hybrid battery and additional service and warranty plan extensions can be purchased from Toyota dealers.