Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 08 Nov 2021

In what was the largest scale media launch across the entire motoring calendar of 2021, we caught up with Toyota to meet the brand new and incredibly important Corolla Cross. Building on a name or rather an institution Corolla which has been a firm favourite in South Africa since 1975, while adding modern hybrid electric technology and to top things off a R2.6 billion plant in KwaZulu-Natal this is much more than just a new model entrant, it’s set to change the rule book!

With a history spanning 12-generations and over 50 million global sales, the Corolla nameplate is a familiar one to anyone globally. When I think Corolla, I simply can’t pinpoint a single element that stands out solely, but rather that Corolla’s offer a culmination of reliability, build solidity, style and luxury all rolled into a single easy to digest package. Having already driven and reviewed the new Corolla Sedan, I had very high expectations for this new cross model, and I am glad to report it exceeded all of them.

Why is it so important?

It’s simple really, the new model takes all the elements which make the new Corolla sedan such a well-crafted and award-winning product and roll them into a segment that is increasingly growing exponentially year on year, the crossover. Toyota has used a similar strategy with this new model as with previous models by bringing the whole package to market priced below that of any competition in terms of what it offers. You are getting the space, features and technology of a C-Segment vehicle with B-Segment pricing. It’s a strategy that has worked before and will almost certainly work again.

Apart from offering more for less in terms of costings, the Corolla Cross is also proudly assembled in South Africa and uses many local suppliers, parts, and crafts. This injection into the South African economy is of course well welcome and adds to the sustainability of the new model.

Add to this, the Corolla Cross being the most affordable hybrid electric vehicle on the market and one which is packed with space and technology, and I think you can see where this is heading.

The Corolla Cross is available as either as a full petrol or hybrid electric derivative. The key differences are listed below.

Petrol Model:

  • 1.8-litre VVTi 2ZR-FE engine
  • 103 kW @ 6000 rpm & 173Nm @ 4400 rpm
  • Prioritises refinement and strong mid-range torque delivery
  • 6.8 litres per 100 km fuel index
  • CO2 emissions = 154 g/km
  • Paired with a CVT transmission
  • Offers seven pre-programmed steps in manual mode

Hybrid Model:

  • 1.8-litre 2ZR-FXE Atkinson cycle petrol engine
  • Petrol engine outputs of 72kW & 142Nm (pure ICE mode)
  • Latest generation Hybrid powertrain with more a compact yet more efficient battery pack
  • Smooth, immediate acceleration response
  • Electric motor provides an instant torque boost aiding acceleration (similar to turbo/supercharger)
  • Ultra-refined and quiet operation
  • Dedicated EV mode where operation is restricted to near-silent, full-electric propulsion
  • Automatically recharges the battery pack either via regenerative braking or by the petrol engine
  • A closed-loop system means there is no need to “plug-In” to recharge the battery
  • Electric motor outputs of 53kW and 163Nm (at full capacity)
  • Total system output of 90kW
  • 4.3 litre per 100 km fuel index & 98 g/km CO2 output
  • Improved performance and fuel efficiency over the conventional petrol model

A three-grade strategy has been adopted, using Toyota’s familiar Xi, Xs and Xr nomenclature (also found on the Cross’ Corolla stablemates and other Toyota passenger vehicles).

In Conclusion

Having experienced the Corolla Cross, I would be prepared to wager a bet that it’s going to become one of South Africa’s biggest very quickly. It’s well-priced, well optioned, looks impressive and has the space and drive to match. All-in-all, it looks set to continue writing the next chapter of the Corolla success story.

SA Pricing & Warranty

  • 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

The Service Plan & Warranty

  • A six-services/90 000 km service plan is standard on all Corolla Cross models
  • Service intervals of 12-months/15 000 km
  • A 3-year/100 000 km warranty is included
  • Hybrid model carries an 8-year warranty on the Hybrid battery
  • Additional service and warranty plan extensions can be purchased from their nearest Toyota dealer (220 outlets nationwide).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *