2023 Toyota Corolla Cross HV XSE - Review by David Colman +VIDEO
Maybe the best choice for an affordable family vehicle
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
In 2022, Toyota discontinued their C-HR mini-SUV in favor of the Corolla Cross. This model stands 8 inches taller and 2 inches wider than the Corolla sedan upon which it is based. It's 7 inches shorter than the sedan, with a 2-inch shorter wheelbase. Despite that, the Cross wins the cargo capacity comparison, with its 26 cubic foot load space doubling the 13 cubic foot trunk of the sedan. So what we have here is a shorter, easier-to-maneuver mini SUV with double the cargo capacity of the Corolla sedan.
For 2023, Toyota sweetened the performance appeal of the Corolla Cross by introducing a new all-wheel-drive Hybrid version that bumped horsepower from the base model's 169hp to 194hp. That in turn reduces power-to-weight from 20lb/hp for the base model to just 17.5lb/hp for the Hybrid. This visceral improvement manifests itself in the Hybrid's superior acceleration numbers. Where the base model struggles from 0-60mph in 9.2 seconds and covers the quarter mile in 17 seconds at 83mph, the Hybrid posts a 0-60mph run of 7.3 seconds, and a quarter mile time of 15.6 seconds at 89mph. If you need any further incentive to opt for the Hybrid, then check out its overall mileage rating of 42MPG. That bests the non-Hybrid's 32MPG by a whopping 10MPG!
With a base price of $31,065, the top line XSE version of the Corolla Cross we tested is the one to buy, since it provides such niceties as a 10-way power driver's seat with adjustable lumbar, SofTex trimmed and heated front row seats, dual zone front AC Control, and rear seat armrests complete with beverage holder. The modest base price encourages you to equip your Cross with a slew of worthy extras. Our test vehicle's add-on list totaled $4,294, bringing its bottom line to $35,359. Among the more expensive options were $1,250 for a tilt/slide moonroof, $800 for a JBL premium audio system (9 speakers, amplifier and subwoofer), and $615 for adaptive headlights. After spending a week admiring our test car's $500 "Two-Tone Exterior Color" (Arctic Blast and Jet Black), we wouldn't think of owning a Cross in any other color combo. Finally, tack on $1,335 for dealer delivery and you've got a $36,694 Corolla that is still an outstanding buy considering the average new vehicle transaction today costs $45,000.
Out on the road, we found the Hybrid Corolla Cross to be a frisky pony, with more than enough acceleration to keep ahead of traffic flow. But on a freeway jaunt, we decided to dial our speed back to the posted limit of 65mph, set the cruise control accordingly, and marveled at the fact that just about everything on US 101 swarmed past us. The Corolla's cruise control system proved flawless, and we were amazed to discover that we never had to intervene manually to adjust speed to conditions or adjacent traffic in 60 miles of congested driving.
In fact, we found the cabin of the Cross to be well adapted to driver comfort, with its extra large digital information screen keeping track of speed, lane placement and adjacent traffic through the many monitors comprising Toyota Safety Sense 3.0. One of the benefits you enjoy in the Cross versus the Corolla sedan is improved all-around vision thanks to that 8-inch increase in ride height. The elevated driving position also helps significantly with parking chores.
Toyota equipped our Cross with a set of Goodyear Assurance Finesse radials (255/55R18) that provided a pillow-soft ride on the freeway. On back roads, however, these all-season tires provided a moderate level of stick in keeping with the Cross' flaccid "Normal" steering response. Toyota does provide a "Sport" setting for your controls that bumps the steering feel from 1950's finger touch light (Normal) to semi-responsive (Sport). But rest assured, you will never confuse the Cross' back road behavior with anything made in Germany.
Then again, you'll never confuse the Cross' price with anything made in Germany either. For those of you seeking a rather charming, fetchingly handsome, all purpose get about, the 2023 Hybrid Corolla Cross is the perfect answer to that most frequently asked question: what's my best choice for an affordable family vehicle?
2023 TOYOTA COROLLA CROSS HV XSE
ENGINE: 2.0 liter inline 4, DOHC, 16-valve, Dual VVT, plus 3 electric motors
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 45MPG City/38MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $36,694
HYPES: Cute Outside, Smart Inside
GRIPES: Floppy Storage Bin Lid
STAR RATING: 9 Stars out of 10