The Toyota Corolla
has been a staple brand in the South African motoring sphere
for decades, raking up total sales of over 1 million during that period. That the nameplate is still going strong is something to behold. Now the local chapter of the company has introduced the next chapter, called the Corolla Cross
, which is a compact SUV
type that is being produced right here at the Prospecton Plant in Durban. Over 20 000 units are planned for annual domestic sales by the brand from next year, which will give the car a top 5 position in overall monthly sales.
Very confident numbers indeed. However, with the recent growth of the SUV
sector in every segment, Toyota
is happy to put its money where its mouth is regarding the Corolla Cross
. The other big part of this already big news is that the Corolla Cross
is the first Toyota that Prospecton is producing with a Hybrid powerplant
, using the new company TNGA platform. This global platform is the basis for many other upcoming cars, is solid, stable, strong and sustainable. It is also flexible.
So the Corolla Cross
itself. What is it like? Large front grille with a new design that is bold and attractive, features something that looks like a split grille. Headlights wrap around the bonnet in thin strips and some foglights at the bottom give the front end a strong stance. Toyota has thinned out the A-pillar on the side profile, giving the driver a better 180-degree view of the outside, thus improving safety.
At 4.4 metres the car is pretty long for its segment, with a matching long front overhang, a pretty flat roofline that helps with rear headroom, bumper cladding on the sides, and a choice of between 17 and 18-inch wheels, depending on the trim chosen. The two powertrains available share three trims by the way, namely Xi
(only for the full ICE model), Xs
and the range-topping XR
says the car also has the biggest boot space among its competitors, at 440 litres.
Whilst inside it is worth noting that interior space is quite large, with plenty of storage spaces not just for cups and bottles, but also for other loose items. If you are familiar with the current Corolla sedan
you will be at home in the Corolla Cross
. Features include a CD player and Bluetooth connectivity for the Xi
, and touch screen infotainment for the Xs
models. Others include air conditioning, leather upholstery, cruise control, keyless entry and others.
Powering the Corolla Cross is a choice of two powertrains that use differently set up naturally aspirated 1.8-litre petrol engine. In the normal ICE setting the engine produces 103kW at 6 000rpm, and 173Nm of torque at 4 400rpm. It is paired with a CVT transmission and Toyota claims an average fuel consumption of 6.8 litres per 100km for this powertrain.
version of the engine produces 72kW and 142Nm on its own, while the electric motor and battery pack make 53kW and 163Nm. Together system output is quoted at 90kW and average fuel consumption at 4.3 litres per 100km. This is not a plug-in Hybrid
, meaning it does not need any stationary charging. Instead it charges itself as it drives and brakes using regenerative energy recuperation systems.
has put in a massive investment into the production of the Corolla Cross
, not only technically speaking, but also into the people responsible for it. It is a good drive by first impressions and will sell in strong numbers.