The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross offers a little fun | Jobs Reply

2023 Honda HR-V AWD EX-L vs. 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE AWD: petty rival

This week: Toyota Corolla Cross

Price: $33,550 as tested Major options include moonroof and power liftgate, $1,250; auto-leveling front lighting, $615; Activity Mount, $399; Crossbar, $299. More is mentioned below.

Conventional Knowledge: Motor Trend liked the “smooth ride, easy-to-use controls, reasonably attractive,” but not that it’s “slow” and has “plodding dynamics, tight rear seats.”

Marketer’s Pitch: “For every turn of life.”

Reality: Some are fun, but mostly the boxes are checked.

What’s New: The Corolla Cross extra-small SUV, originally available in 2022, is just under the size of the RAV4. This is a car that Toyota needed to offer as their RAV4 got bigger and other brands made vehicles of this size. It takes the Corolla sedan and turns it into an SUV, but it seems designed to fill a competitive niche, not enhance it.

Mr. Driver’s seat doesn’t usually do much for a vehicle’s looks, but despite Motor Trend’s thumbs-up, the big fat Tacoma-style grille really sets it off.

Competition: Highlights of the extra-small set include the Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trailblazer, Hyundai Kona, Kia Seltos and Soul, Mazda CX-30, Subaru Crosstrek, and Volkswagen Taos.

Friends and things: The Corolla Cross doesn’t make terrible accommodations for friends and family. It’s almost identical to the rear of the Sturgis family Soul, offering great legroom, headroom and leg room.

We’ve taken the Corolla Cross on many trips with the family — to Lancaster, Doylestown and Philadelphia, about 30 to 40 miles each — and even brought the three Sturgis kids on the Lancaster trip and had very few complaints. Sturgis Kid 4.0 even spent the trip to Lancaster in the middle seat, and when he sat up high, he declared it wasn’t too bad.

Cargo space behind the second row is 24.3 cubic feet; Measurements not provided with seat folded down.

To speed up: The Corolla Cross isn’t going to win any performance tests, but it offers more get-up-and-go than I expected. Even with five passengers on various hilly and curvy country roads, I never felt like I had to push the SUV to keep going.

According to Motor Trend, the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine produces 169 horsepower and reaches 60 mph in 9.3 seconds. That’s pretty slow, but faster than the HR-V, which takes about 2 seconds longer.

Shiftless: The Corolla Cross features an equivalent to the Toyota continuously variable transmission (CVT), but offers nine steps for shifting. The transmission could be a hair bit bulky when the vehicle was still cold, but overall power was delivered smoothly. Shifting happened only via the floor lever, and it was responsive and a bit funky, something Toyota has gotten better at.

On the curve: In terms of handling, the Corolla Cross won’t knock any socks off, but it glides through slaloms with ease. The vehicle can take curves at some ambitious speeds and doesn’t feel like it’s going to end up. Advantage, Toyota.

Driver’s Seat: The plain black dashboard has silver trim and an ebony multimedia border, part of the Corolla’s aesthetic. The upgraded Softex seat felt a bit on the warm side, though, and shouldn’t have a ventilator.

On the way: The Corolla Cross requires some raised voices on the highway to be heard from the front to the rear, which is becoming increasingly rare these days.

Play some tunes: If you’re building a noisy vehicle, at least make sure the stereo is working, because it isn’t. I’ve never seen such amazing consistency in volume from song to song.

Even without background noise, the stereo that’s offered — with the $1,465 Audio Plus package — is less than stellar. I actually find that the JBL speakers play most songs acceptably, but fall short on others, so b. A slight advantage is the HR-V.

The 8-inch touchscreen interface works nicely, though, as I’ve found in most Toyotas.

Keeping warm and cool: The dial controls the temperature and the buttons control everything else. The readout is easy to see and follow. Rectangular blowers direct air Out of your mouth, which I guess is all one could ask for.

Fuel Economy: On the bright side, the Corolla Cross offered a consistent 27.8 miles per gallon, long before I got it and even throughout my hard-driving test. It is much better than the HR-V.

Where it is built: Huntsville, Ala.

How it is constructed: Consumer Reports predicts a 3 out of 5 reliability rating for the Corolla Cross.

At the end: Between the two, it’s the Corolla Cross for me. I’m not usually in a big hurry, but the HR-V forced me to plan more entrance ramps and hills than a 25 mpg 2023 car.

A hybrid version of the Corolla Cross is coming for 2023 and that makes me even more curious.

Among the competition, my favorites would be the Volkswagen Taos and the Subaru Crosstrek.

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