The Corolla is undoubtedly the most iconic model to come from Toyota in the last 50 years. Despite a global shift in preference towards SUVs, the Corolla lineup – which only consisted of sedans, hatchbacks and wagons until now – managed to hold its title as the most sold model in the world. However, to adhere to the shifting taste, Toyota finally added a crossover under the Corolla moniker in 2020.
Being an established nameplate in Bangladesh, the Corolla Cross didn't take long to become a common sight on Dhaka's roads since borders opened up for trade post-pandemic.
The current E210 Corolla lineup consists of a sophisticated design that's sportier than ever before. The Corolla Cross, on the other hand, looks much tamer. It's still based on the same TNGA-C platform of the regular Corolla etc, thus sharing nearly the same chassis underneath.
Unlike the CH-R, the Cross is built for utility like any other Corolla. Despite sharing the wheelbase with CH-R, the Cross looks less funky and is bigger up front. It comes with SUV styling cues like fender claddings, wheel arches and front and rear metal plating while still retaining the iconic Corolla badge up front.
In pictures is the Japanese variant of the Corolla Cross that can be purchased from reconditioned car dealerships. A Thai-spec variant is available brand new in Toyota Bangladesh's official dealership, which comes with different front bumpers and headlights.
The Japanese models can be purchased with an optional panoramic roof while the Thai-spec is limited to a sunroof only. Wheels come standard at 17 inches with the regular variant while users who opt for Modellista variants will get upgraded 18-inch rims.
Unlike the lack of resemblance in the exterior, the styling is very similar to the regular Corolla models inside. The dashboard design, instrument cluster and infotainment are completely carried over. The 8-inch infotainment system supports Apple CarPlay and can also be set to English.
The seats feel more premium and also offer more headroom than the regular models. Our unit came with the 'Z leather' package and an optional panoramic roof, which ensured a very pleasant and premium experience during our short drive with the Corolla Cross.
The optional panoramic sunroof, along with the high ground clearance, is ideal for passengers with claustrophobia as it makes the interior feel more roomy by allowing light to enter during the day and offers a pleasing experience for rear passengers, particularly during rain.
The trunk door can be electronically opened with the key which gives access to the largest trunk to ever come in a Corolla, with the option to further increase space by folding the rear seats.
The trunk also features a 100 amp power supply that can be used to connect anything from your regular laptop charger to a full-fledged refrigerator in case you're planning to go on a road trip.
Before getting behind the wheels of the Corolla Cross, I wasn't expecting much from it. After all, it uses the same 1800cc 2ZR-FXE engine from the Prius, which is meant to put out exceptional fuel economy and, until now, wasn't particularly designed to be fun to drive.
The Corolla Cross's hybrid powertrain pairs its engine to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to produce maximum power and torque of 122 bhp and 142 Nm respectively. However, the car is surprisingly 'torque-ey' at speeds below triple-digit, where the electric motor kicks in.
The brakes come with 4-disk setup with regeneration and thus ensure confident braking even at triple digit speeds. The low centre of gravity, on the other hand, given the hybrid batteries below the rear passenger seat, gives the Cross a great balance and more stability than can be expected from a crossover.
At prices between Tk50 lakh to Tk60 lakh, based on trim, colour and condition, buyers will get a nimble and powerful crossover that's unlike any other. It diminishes the one particular thing wrong about Corollas so far– their inability to tackle local speedbumps without suspension spacers. Hence, it's not a surprise that the Corolla Cross is getting popular. It's a versatile contender with the potential to be the next most popular crossover in Bangladesh.
Engine: 1800cc 2ZR-FXE
Power: 122 bhp
Torque: 142 Nm
Price: Tk50-Tk60 lakh