Almost a year after it was initially teased, the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid has finally debuted, just as the car market is going bananas for fuel-efficient and hybrid models (while maintaining its attraction to SUVs) as gas prices continue to creep up. Using Toyota’s fifth-generation hybrid technology, the new Corolla Cross Hybrid takes the compact Corolla SUV model that was all-new last year, and ups its combined fuel economy from up to 32 mpg to an estimated 37 mpg while delivering significantly more horsepower.
That’s Toyota’s estimate, at least, and we’ll have to wait and see what the EPA and our own testing results in. But it’s a good start given deteriorating worldly conditions. Not only does the Corolla Cross Hybrid get the extra space, practicality, and utility of the regular Corolla Cross—at least compared to a Corolla sedan or hatchback—but Toyota advertises 194 horsepower and standard all-wheel drive, with a 0-60 mph time of 8.0 seconds. Gas-fed Corolla Crosses make do with the same 169-hp 2.0-liter I-4 engine as up-level Corolla car models, making the hybrid version the most powerful and, likely, the quickest in the lineup.
Toyota skips the non-hybrid Corolla Cross’s base L trim and starts the lineup at the mid-level LE, with the XLE offered as the step-up model. More interesting still, there are hybrid-exclusive S and SE trims, the former of which includes a sport-tuned suspension, smart key access, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The SE trim builds on the S with paddle shifters and roof rails as standard, as well as Rear Cross Traffic Alert, blind-spot monitoring, and privacy glass. The XSE takes it further with 18-inch alloy wheels, premium LED lighting, and heated front seats. Corolla followers will recognize these S, SE, and XSE trim levels, which on the sedan and hatchback represent the sporty vertical of options, whereas the L, LE, and XLE variants represent the more traditional, comfort-focused trims.
On top of the standard Jet Black Mica and Cypress paint colors, the SE and XSE will also be exclusively available in four different two-tone paint combinations; Sonic Silver, Barcelona Red, Blue Crush Metallic, and the all-new Acidic Blast paint colors are each available with a black-painted roof. A full spray of Wind Chill Pearl is available for a $425 fee.
All models get the latest Toyota Multimedia System capable of Over-The-Air (OTA) updates, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and USB-C charge ports. This setup retains the 8.0-inch display size from last year’s Corolla Cross and Corolla models, but gets sharper graphics and an entirely new UX that is more intuitive, responsive, and feature-laden than before.
Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 is also included on all trims, featuring pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, steering assist, dynamic radar cruise control with lane keep assist, automatic high beams, road sign assist, rear seat reminder, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and hill start assist.
The new hybrid will be built alongside the rest of the Corolla Cross line at the new Mazda-Toyota plant in Huntsville, Alabama—with projections to build up to 150,000 Corolla Cross models every year once the full lineup is on sale later this year.
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