Most car writers have a preference for big, fast, expensive vehicles, and I get it. There’s something about the design and drive experience of a $100K+ vehicle that is pretty delightful. And those admiring looks you get from fellow auto enthusiasts aren’t bad either. But most people don’t drop $100,000 or more on a vehicle, and a whole category of buyers seek the least expensive auto that will work for their families and get them from that proverbial point A to point B without any fuss. A quarter-million-miles lifespan doesn’t hurt; lots of people really dislike buying a new car so want theirs to run forever. The first new car I bought was a mid-80s Toyota Tercel, after my Mazda RX4 (with a rotary engine!) went kaput. Suffice to say, I have a really long history with Toyota vehicles and a soft spot for entry level and budget vehicles.
All of this is to say that when Toyota offered me the chance to drive the 2022 Toyota Corolla “Cross” edition, I was definitely interested. Yes, it was a significant step down from the lovely Lexus NX 450h plug-in hybrid I had been driving immediately beforehand [read my review here] but plenty of people want to find out what the lower-cost vehicles are like too. The Cross edition is on the high end for the Corolla line, with an MSRP of $27,625. The LE starts at $21,500, and the Hybrid starts at $22,800, making it one of the most affordable hybrids available.
I hadn’t had any behind-the-wheel experience with the Cross edition, and it’s pretty interesting, with an exterior that seems to take design notes from the popular Subaru outdoor SUV line, as you can see:
There’s no question, Toyota has mastered vehicle design in its decades of work, offering a lower-end vehicle that has some visible aspiration to the more expensive RAV-4 and other more expensive modest family cars. This is in Celestite Gray and features the stock 18″ alloy wheels and an acceptable 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with continuously variable transmission (CVT) and all-wheel drive.
You’re not going to beat that Tesla Plaid off the starting line, or, for that matter, that souped-up Tacoma, but the drive experience is okay. Would it be more fun with a bigger engine? Definitely. But that’s not really the goal of this category of vehicle; a better drive experience involves a bigger investment in your wheels, for sure. On the bright side, it delivers good fuel efficiency for a simple ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle, averaging 30mpg. Then again, one of the strangest things about the Corolla Cross is that it has a tiny gas tank, somewhere between 6 and 7 gallons. That helps with weight, I suppose, but severely hampers its range. You’ll be lucky to get 250 miles on a full tank of highway driving.
Article continued on PlanetDave.com as “Car Review: 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross“