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Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid 2024 review


A year on from launch, the honeymoon phase has ended for Toyota’s crucial small SUV. Does the Corolla Cross still stack up against new rivals?

Good points

  • An approachable, relaxing drive
  • Doesn’t feel tiny on the road
  • Sharp entry point
  • Enticing hybrid frugality
  • Cheap servicing
  • Surprisingly quick at times

Needs work

  • Loud, clattery engine
  • Feels cheap inside
  • Hybrid AWD forfeits spare wheel
  • Reversing AEB not standard
  • Cheapy petrol versions axed
  • The RAV4 is better

Upon landing in Australia in late 2022, the Toyota Corolla Cross was a vehicle that on paper we didn’t seem to need. With two charming small-stature SUVs in the Yaris Cross and C-HR already on offer, to many, it might seem an unnecessary excess.

In truth though, the former is technically a compact, probably too small for most. And the latter? Well, I’ve seen animal cages seized by the RSPCA that look more humane than the backseat occupancy of the just-replaced first-generation C-HR, while its successor is priced like a designer poodle.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 rear 3/4

The Corolla Cross was quite different. It’s a generously sized small contender, practical in packaging, more sensible and family friendly in nature, a likeable slightly shrunken RAV4 format for thriftier pricing. And with a nice Corolla-like manner to the driving experience.

After a short ramp-up period, the Corolla Cross really hit its stride in 2023, recording 7932 sales, which is a decent effort but still shy of established rivals such as the Mazda CX-30 (13,115) and Volkswagen T-Roc (8943) along with new/updated competition such as the Subaru Crosstrek (8991) and Kia Seltos (10,473).

Although we’ve seen small updates overseas, the Corolla Cross is the same as it was when it launched and no major updates appear to be on the horizon. Besides swapping some USB A ports to the more modern USB C, and the addition of the slick two-tone paint option on the top-spec Atmos, this model is the same as it was on debut.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 front 2

In a time of record inflation, prices have naturally followed, now up $980 across every grade in the range.

The entry point starts at a friendly $33,980 before on-road costs for the petrol GX. But not for long. At the time of publication, Toyota has just announced that it will halt orders moving forward on important petrol-only engines for a range of models including the Corolla Cross.

So once the current stock is gone you’ll have to front up the extra cash for the hybrid, or currently $36,480 for the base hybrid GX.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 driving rear

At launch, the Corolla Cross presented itself as a well-rounded proposition that would serve as a good alternative for buyers who were tired of the midsized RAV4’s long wait lists or looking for something with a slightly cheaper price.

So does the Corolla Cross continue to serve as a good second option to the larger RAV4, or does this right-sized, genuinely affordable small SUV stand confidently on its own two legs? Let’s investigate.

What are the Corolla Cross’s features and options for the price?

The Corolla Cross range is made up of the entry-level GX, mid-spec GXL and top-spec Atmos.

As standard, they are available with a 126kW/202Nm 2.0L petrol version, sending power to the front wheels exclusively. Unlike the RAV4, a purely petrol AWD version is not offered.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 interior 3

Stepping up to the 146kW hybrid commands an extra $2500 fee in FWD guise, or $5500 if you want AWD, though the latter is not available on the base GX.

As standard, the Corolla Cross is offered with the following in GX guise:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Power folding and heated mirrors
  • LED headlights and tail-lights
  • Fabric upholstery
  • Urethane steering wheel 
  • 7.0-inch digital driver’s display
  • 8.0-inch touchscreen
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto
  • Six-speaker stereo
  • USB C charging points
  • Keyless entry

Stepping up to the GXL adds:

  • Higher grade LED headlights
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Roof Rails
  • Leather-accented/fabric seat upholstery 
  • Leather shifter and steering wheel
  • 10.5-inch touchscreen
  • Satellite navigation
  • 360-degree camera
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Rear USB C charging points

A curious difference between the GX and the GXL is the latter scores a larger 43-litre fuel tank in AWD hybrid guise, whereas the FWD-only hybrid GXL makes do with a smaller 36-litre unit. So if you want to travel further between fill-ups it could be worth the step up.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 360 camera

Finally, the top-spec Atmos adds:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Power tailgate with kick sensor
  • Leather-accented seats
  • Heated front seats and steering wheel
  • Wireless phone charger
  • Nine-speaker JBL stereo
  • Eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat
  • Rear armrest
  • 12.3-inch digital driver’s display
  • Automatic wipers

How does the Corolla Cross drive?

Those who are looking for a more approachable daily driver will welcome the demeanour of the Corolla Cross. Put simply, it’s small enough that you’ll be able to drive anywhere on the road but not so small that you’ll be intimate by larger SUVs and utes. It really is a sweet size.

In comparison to larger SUVs, parking becomes an afterthought; you rarely have to worry about there being enough room to open your door or boot and even in the small, skittish driving lanes of Sydney the Corolla Cross has room to spare.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 driving rear 2

At 4460mm long, there are definitely smaller and more wieldy SUVs in this segment, but the Corolla Cross has great visibility in all directions, with controls that fall easily to hand and provide a decent amount of communication to the driver.

It’s no racecar, but the Corolla Cross does pack a decent amount of pep underfoot, particularly in hybrid guise where the electric motors produce a solid amount of torque from a standing start with outputs of 83kW/206Nm, making it well suited for urban areas. The AWD version adds an additional 30kW motor on the rear axle.

The peak power output is cited at 146kW for both the FWD and AWD hybrids.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 driving front

The only major drawback is the sheer amount of noise produced from the drivetrain as the CVT sends the engine spinning to the rev limiter in pursuit of adequate power. You’ll either get used to it or hate it immensely, and if you find yourself in the latter camp the more refined hybrid systems like that found in the Nissan Qashqai E-Power might be a better fit for you.

Like the hybrid, the purely petrol version also uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, with this configuration producing 126kW/202Nm which is 14kW/12Nm up on the hybrid, but lacks the instant torque of the electric motors and forgoes the AWD option. It’s not terrible for the price point but the revvy soundtrack continues here too.

Anyone who has driven a Toyota SUV in the last few years will likely recognise the way the Corolla Cross drives. Like the rest of the experience, it’s a slightly miniaturised version of the RAV4, if with a sure-footed enough and almost playful nature more than a little akin to the Corolla hatchback on the road.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 driving interior 2

While your teenage son or brother might be keen to test the almost oddly engaging dynamics of the Corolla Cross, for others this little SUV might come across as a relatively relaxing driving experience that packs a little bit more bandwidth than most small SUVs if the road greets you with a sudden surprise.

On the road, the Corolla Cross carries a comfortable rhythm that is easy to get used to, though some of the more car sickness-prone folk may not take kindly to the rolley-polley nature that is common in some other Toyota and Lexus vehicles.

The upside of this softer suspension however is a fairly comfortable ride that soaks up all the abuse Aussie roads throw at it without being bounced off out of your lane, as can be the case with smaller vehicles.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 driving rear 3

If you do feel inclined to take the Corolla Cross off-road, the fairly rubbish 160mm ground clearance isn’t likely to offer much comfort, though the fairly spongy tyres (particularly on the 17-inch wheels) ought to be somewhat more resilient to punctures than low-profile alternatives.

Annoyingly though, unlike the RAV4, once you go for a hybrid AWD (which is the only way to get AWD) the space-saver spare is thrown out for a tyre repair kit. That’s not an ideal safety net when you’re on the backside of a mountain with no reception…

What is the Corolla Cross’s interior and tech like?

As a vehicle designed to appeal to the younger crowd, it’s crucial that Toyota doesn’t fall for its classic pitfall of making a functional and smart but bland interior and the Corolla Cross does its best to stay on the right side of the fence.

A 10.5-inch touchscreen sits centre stage in the dash, flanked on either side by a cheerful little steering wheel and some silver accents that hint at modern design on the other.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 interior 2

It’s a functional space for sure, with physical climate control buttons and large toggles for every other feature, making it easy to locate what you need without fuss. The learning curve to this car is largely nonexistent.

Cheap materials and the near absence of colours outside of black do leave a bit of a sour taste in one’s mouth at circa-$50k ask, especially in a segment where its competitors such as the Hyundai Kona manage to experiment without ditching usability or quality.

The crisp 10.5-inch screen was a much-needed upgrade for the Toyota range and brings with it wireless Apple CarPlay, though Android Auto is still wired. The nine-speaker JBL stereo connected to it is just okay.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 interior digital gauges

By opting for the Atmos you do score a host of goodies such as a wireless phone charger along with an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heating for both front seats and steering wheel as well as leather upholstery panoramic sunroof which collectively do make the Atmos feel worth the extra cash.

Also included in stepping up to this grade is a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display though its functionality is quite limited.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 interior back seat
Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 baby seat 2

The aforementioned front seats are both comfortable and supportive, there’s also room to spread out in the cabin of the Corolla Cross even with my moderately tall height of 183cm.

Similarly impressive is row two, which I was able to sit in quite easily behind my own driving position and accommodate a rearwards-facing baby seat with a bit of compromise to the knee room of the front passenger.

Finessing a child seat in place is reasonably straightforward with the raised height of the Corolla Cross’s SUV form, the wide opening (if short) doors and the two outboard ISOFIX points.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 boot
Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 boot

The Corolla Cross has a 414L boot in our FWD hybrid version. It’s slightly larger in the FWD petrol and slightly smaller in the AWD hybrid.

In all forms, the boot space is well-sized for the class and was able to accommodate our single pram, though squeezing in the weekly shopping on top of that was a bit of a challenge and this is likely where some buyers will decide to size up to the RAV4.

Is the Corolla Cross a safe car?

Indeed it is. The Corolla Cross was awarded a five-star rating from ANCAP back in 2022 and received decent scores across the four major disciplines, though it’s notable that nothing quite cracked into the 90 percent range like some of its rivals.

  • 85%: Adult Occupant Protection
  • 88%: Child Occupant Protection
  • 87%: Vulnerable Road User Protection
  • 83%: Safety Assist

Toyota Corolla Cross crash

The Corolla Cross comes with a solid list of standard safety features including:

  • Eight airbags including a front-centre airbag
  • Forwards AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane keep assist
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert 
  • Reversing camera 

In general the safety suite is commendable and performs well in the real world, however it must be said the Corolla Cross is lagging behind rivals when it comes to the fitment of reversing AEB, a feature which is standard on the new-gen C-HR and Nissan Qashqai.

Toyota doesn’t offer reversing AEB – referred to as Parking Support Brake – until the GXL grade and it’s limited to detecting cars and objects. The capability to detect pedestrians (such as small children) isn’t added until the Atmos grade and even then it’s only offered in the hybrid.

What are the Corolla Cross’s ownership costs?

Being a Toyota, the Corolla Cross has pretty cheap service intervals, capped at $1250 regardless of drivetrain or grade for the first five years or 75,000km. Servicing intervals are every 12 months or 15,000kms.

Toyota’s warranty is the industry standard of five years and unlimited kilometres but this is increasingly being overtaken by a long list of brands such as Kia, Skoda, GWM and more who offer up to seven years, while Mitsubishi offers up to 10 years.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 engine

In terms of fuel economy, both the petrol and hybrid use 91 octane fuel with an official rating of 6.0L/100km for the former in combined conditions, while the FWD and AWD hybrids are noted as 4.3 and 4.4L/100km respectively.

During our most recent testing in the FWD Atmos hybrid we saw an average of 5.1L/100km, which is remarkable and slightly less than we’ve seen in long-term testing of the RAV4.

However, it must be noted that we’ve seen even less during long-term testing of the Yaris Cross, which recorded a genuinely shocking 3.8L/100km, though this vehicle is of course smaller in size.

The honest verdict on the Corolla Cross

Last year, just under 235 million people purchased an Apple iPhone. And why not. The iPhone is a trusted and familiar product made to serve the bulk of the population with most of their needs and a few of their wants. Toyota applies a similar principle to the Corolla Cross.

The SUV’s hybrid technology is proven, its price isn’t ‘cheap’ per say but you are getting what you pay for, and Toyota’s famous resale value takes away the harsh edge of deprecation. In many ways, it’s a serious consideration too sensible to ignore.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 tail-light

The Corolla Cross is an impressive vehicle, even if it’s not quite as impressive as the slightly larger (and only slightly more expensive) Toyota RAV4.

The GXL FWD hybrid remains the pick of the range, at $40,230 before on-roads with leather upholstery in key touchpoints, the larger 10.5-inch touchscreen and niceties like a 360-degree camera building on strong fundamentals of the Corolla Cross.

And while Toyota has called time on petrol versions, it’s the hybrid that ultimately proves the more compelling option.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos 2024 front 3/4

It must be said, though, that rivals such as the Hyundai Kona, Nissan Qashqai and the Peugeot 2008 offer more style, more identity and charisma – not to mention a few less scratchy plastics in the interior.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you seek most in your new car, but the Corolla Cross remains both an impressive and a proven option in the Australian market now that it’s settled into its model lifecycle.

Overall rating
Overall rating
Running costs
Overall rating
Running costs
Approximate on‑road price Including registration and government charges

Key specs (as tested)

1987 cc
112kW at 6000rpm
190Nm at 4400rpm
Power to weight ratio
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
36 litres
4.3L/100km (claimed)
Average Range
837km (claimed)
Front Wheel Drive
Single gear
4460 mm
1825 mm
1620 mm
Unoccupied weight
1480 kg

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