From a dull also-ran to one of the most recommendxable family hatchbacks out there, the Toyota Corolla has had some turnaround in this generation. The wilderness days when it was known as the Auris now firmly behind it, the Corolla, like so many other recent Toyotas, is a compelling car that’s good to look at, good to drive, and great to own.
Sensing it is on to a good thing with the Corolla, even more spin offs are coming - but not all of them for the UK. Sadly, we’re being denied the excellent Toyota GR Corolla hot hatchback we tried recently, but this Toyota Corolla Cross version remains up for grabs with no decision yet taken on a UK launch.
The Corolla Cross is officially billed as an SUV version of the hatchback. It’s a global model that’s been on sale in some markets including the US for almost a year. Some European countries have already decided to take it, and we tried a European-spec version in Denmark on judging duty for the 2023 Car of the Year contest.
While Toyota might call it an SUV, it actually looks more like an Allroad-style estate car. In the metal, it still looks like it sits quite close to the ground and it doesn’t appear to be the tallest visually either even though it’s officially 185mm taller than the Corolla hatchback.All this while lacking the fun styling of the C-HR (a car that still looks so fresh a good five years after launch), and the chunky, rugged appeal and SUV presence of the RAV4. It’s the gap between these two cars, however small (the C-HR is 4385mm long and the RAV4 4600mm), that the 4460mm-long Corolla Cross looks to plug.
The presence of the other recent recipient of the ‘Cross’ treatment, the Yaris Cross, which is easily one of the best-looking small SUVs out there, is also nowhere to be seen in another route Toyota could have gone down.