Pricing for the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is out, and the base S trim starts at $29,305. That sounds like a lot of money, but it makes this thing the cheapest all-wheel-drive hybrid crossover on sale. Admittedly, this isn’t the most exciting car in the world, but it’s still important. Cars are getting so expensive that anything under $30,000 deserves at least some consideration, and despite the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s hippo-shaped form, some interesting stuff lies under its skin.
Power comes from a two-liter four-cylinder engine mated to Toyota’s dual-motor/generator eCVT and paired with an electric motor on the rear axle. The gasoline engine itself makes 150 horsepower and 139 lb.-ft. of torque, while total system output clocks in at an admirable 196 horsepower. Remember when that was a lot? Toyota claims that with this powertrain, the Corolla Cross can run from a dead stop to 60 mph in a very reasonable eight seconds flat and return a combined fuel economy figure of 42 MPG. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.
Of course, the extra weight of the hybrid powertrain has necessitated some chassis adjustments, so the suspension’s been re-tuned with what Toyota claims is a sportier calibration. Judging by how silky similarly sport-tuned Toyota models are, I wouldn’t expect anything jarring. Oh, and unlike some subcompact crossovers, the Corolla Cross Hybrid sports independent suspension at all four corners. Nice.
So that’s mechanicals covered, what about the base model’s creature comforts? Well, this sub-$30k entry model pictured in all the photos above gets 17-inch alloy wheels with pothole-friendly tall sidewall tires, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, LED headlights, rear air-con vents, and a smart key system for easy access. It largely seems like the right mix of toys to make this thing feel worth $30,000, although I’d like to see heated seats added to the roster, even as an option. As it stands, the only available option on the base model is premium paint at $425. A bit sparse, but that’s the way it goes.
Right, moving on up to the $30,625 SE model that you see above. It’s a modest $1,320 jump from the base S trim and includes an equally-modest list of additional equipment. All the windows behind the driver are tinted as opposed to fishbowl-clear, roof rails get added for the sake of cargo flexibility, a pair of paddle shifters sprouts from the steering wheel, and blind-spot monitoring climbs aboard. Sensible features for sensible money, although the options list does grow longer. In addition to premium paint for $425, two-tone paint can be had for an extra $500, you can get a moonroof for $940, and a JBL audio system can be added for $800. That last one sounds like $800 well spent.
Should you wish to own a range-topping Corolla Cross Hybrid, step on up to the $32,400 XSE trim, which is a bit like the SE, only with more X. The standard 17-inch wheels get tossed in the bin for larger 18-inch units, the taillights and fog lights get swapped out for LED units, and the front end now sports “premium LED head lamps” which presumably offer an advantage in light throw. On the inside, cloth upholstery vacates its position and faux-leather takes its place, and the front seats are now finally heated. It took them long enough. Options on this trim include an ominous-sounding $1,250 Convenience Package, the $800 JBL sound system, $615 adaptive headlights if you want your car to look like a chameleon when going around bends in the dark, and unsurprisingly, $425 premium colors and a $500 two-tone treatment.
Of course, being a Toyota, all Corolla Cross Hybrid models come crammed with advanced driver assistance systems. Radar cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-tracing assistance, automatic high-beams, all that stuff. No huge surprise here, and it should mean that this thing’s a doddle to road-trip: Just set the radar cruise and drive.
While the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid isn’t likely to get blood pumping in those who live by friction circles, it promises practical, economical transportation at a fairly reasonable price. Expect it to hit showrooms in June and be in high demand thereafter.
(Photo credits: Toyota)
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I like everything about this except the styling.
If I hadn’t already bought a vehicle recently and cancelled my long-awaited RAV4 build order, I would’ve switched my order to one of these and waited even longer.
The RAV4 optioned the way I wanted was $41,000. It’s also a little bigger than I wanted. This runs $8,000 less and suits my needs every bit as well.
I would want the new Prius Prime, or even the new regular Prius, but the roof rack and SUV format offered here are a little more useful for my needs and the economy penalty is now very small indeed.
Count on a very long waiting list. They’ll sell these as fast as they can make them, for at least the next couple years.
This is a direct strike at the heart of Subaru.
I’ll look forward to when they eventually come out with a FWD hybrid version. Not interested in the extra cost and weight of AWD.
And sadly, the new Prius (at least in Canada) has been infected with this mandatory AWD disease as well.
Don’t count on it. The AWD in these is almost certainly an additional profit driver that Toyota and its dealers are unwilling to give up easily, if ever.
It’s just not attractive. They’ll sell a boatload of them.
The grill is hideous and unnecessary. If they want to save face, they should change this face. Other than that it’s likely an excellent car – except we would rather it have a real transmission with 6 speeds.
Pricing on the non-hybrid Corolla Cross is great, but this is a little too close to RAV4 hybrid (at least, in base configuration for each model) to make sense, to me.
came here to say this too. The Rav4 hybrid starts at $30,725 and is a better car in every way, spending the little bit extra is a no brainer.5
They quoted the price with destination in the headline – actually, that really should have been noted somewhere in the piece, as although it’s more honest about what it will really cost, not every article or comparison tool or the like will use that. Plus Toyota’s destination charges vary in different regions.
Corolla Cross Hybrid starts at $27,970 without destination, so about $3k apart.
RAV4 Hybrid is at least $32k to start with destination or about the same price as the Cross XSE Hybrid with more content. To start to get some of the same features as the top Cross on a hybrid RAV, like power seat or smart key, you have to step up to the RAV4 XLE for another $1500 more.
Look! Yellow! Is nature finally healing? The fact that I could get a yellow hybrid crossover Toyota is worth getting excited over!
If you consider that this is roughly the size of a gen 2/3 RAV4, as well as the fuel economy, this is a pretty smart buy for someone who needs a commuter? Would I prefer a Corolla Hatch? Absolutely. But similar to the Crosstrek Wilderness discussion the other day, I find anyone willing to decide on a reasonably sized and economical vehicle sort of a win.
Biggest problem with the Corolla hatch when I tried one was the cave-like interior. And now you can’t get one with a manual anymore unless you shell out close to $40k for the balls-to-the-wall GR.
It’s too bad this one isn’t offered with a sunroof and “fishbowl-clear” windows on the same car.
This is true. Though I think it’s possible to get the hatch with a light gray interior? Maybe not anymore though. And the loss of the stick is lame, but predictable.
As much as the GR is awesome, I really wish there was a version of the Corolla that was fun but actually attainable? I tested one once and thought it was a surprisingly good car, if a little pokey.
If you think you’ll pay even close to MSRP, I have some land in florida to sell you
Every single Corolla Cross I see for sale has AWD and every single unnecessary option (mud flaps, premium paint color, etc) added to bump the price as high as possible – and that’s for vehicles that aren’t being sold above MSRP lol
Ugliest car I’ve seen in a while, looks like that old CR-V they are dissolving. The 30k price tag is the only way it would sell and so they HAD to.
This front fascia, wow, is it possible to make it more ugly and useless ?
They actually overdelivered on their initial estimated MPG from when it was initially unveiled, which was 37 combined. Though they also said it would come in LE and XLE trims along with S/SE/XSE – wonder if that is scrapped totally or it will come down the line. I know Toyota is trying to change the image of their hybrids, but not everyone needs the faux-sport look…or a dark interior.
Otherwise it seems like it mostly parallels the trim walk of the regular Corolla Cross. The Convenience package is moonroof + power liftgate on the XLE, so I assume the same on the XSE.
I’ve been mildly interested in how this was going to turn out, not for myself but for a lot of other people. Yeah yeah, “it’s just a boring Toyota crossover” but it’s not a monstrously large vehicle, it’s shorter in length than a regular Corolla. This makes a lot more sense for many people that want the higher seating position and entry/exit without having to step up in size and price to a RAV4 and the like.
it makes sense if you hate yourself or you view cars as an appliance.
What would you suggest for the regular person who just uses a car for transportation? i.e. most people.
something just like this! It’s a grandslam in that respect I can acknowledge. That doesn’t mean I have to like anything about it ha!
I’m with you there – not for me personally but I know several people that I would recommend it to.
Good job making a boring topic into an interesting read, Thomas. That being said, this could have been a chart and a couple pictures and I wouldn’t have complained.
Won’t seem as cheap when the Ford Bronco Sport Hybrid debuts
The Bronco Sport already starts $2k more than the hybrid Corolla Cross here. I doubt they’re going to slash prices on it if/when a hybrid hits.
Out of all the cars in the world this is certainly one of them!
…all jokes aside this is A TON of car for that price and an awesome option for folks who might not have a ton of money to spare. You could finance this thing, pay it off, then drive it for another decade or more. Maintenance and insurance costs will be cheap as hell and if you miss an oil change or two it’s no big deal. If you need something to get you from A to B reliably in all weather conditions for (relatively) cheap this is a home run. I won’t hesitate to recommend it to non enthusiasts I know who need an appliance.
…wait a second I may be talking myself into liking it? Let’s not get TOO carried away 😉
For anyone that actually uses their brain when buying a car, Toyota is really making itself hard to ignore. I have to admit, this is a serious bargain, though I unapologetically discriminate against SUVs.
It is just as SUV as a Tesla Y, CrossTrek etc is an SUV.
I look at it this way. You can marvel at engineering in a sports car. Building speed, precision handling, lightning fast shifts (or crisp shifting yourself). Yeah that is all cool.
You can also marvel at the engineering that went into building an efficient, reliable, utilitarian, resilient vehicle at a price point a lot of people can afford that arguably would be a great choice for any regular person who just needs something to get to do all the things you need a car for in modern society.
I keep looking at options to replace one of our cars, and just like you describe here, when I objectively look at value for the dollar and how it meets our needs, I keep coming up with a Toyota. The two models are also apparently nearly impossible to buy right now, so I guess I am not the only one.
$29,305!? FFS! 😀
Yup. I agree with the “price FFS” comment every time.
I realize someone has to buy new for some reason. I’m glad it’s not me.
I haven’t spent that much on all of my cars combined (including maintenance) over the last twenty five years.
Am I too frugal? Is there something I’m missing out on by never owning a brand new car? I can’t fathom what that would be.
(Hold on safety nerds, keep your spit in your mouth I understand that aspect of it.)
I guess people can do what they want with their (usually the banks) money. But in my eyes new has never made sense. I just don’t get it.
Suppose I bought a brand new car in 1998 and only ever owned that car up until today.
Still doesn’t seem worth it. Who wants to drive a single car for 25 years, gross.
Instead I’ve bought and owned 6 used cars (3 of which are still in my driveway and fully operational) for less money overall.
I don’t see the value in it. Even if I won the lottery tomorrow I still wouldn’t step outside the used market. It will never make sense to me.
I know Toyota is taking a lot of shit for their (lack of) BEV development, but they’re quietly crushing it with new reasonably priced, high MPG hybrid’s, pretty much across their lineup.
All combined mpg
Corolla hybrid 44
Corolla Cross hybrid 42
Rav4 hybrid 40
Camry hybrid 52!!!
Crown hybrid 41
I guess the Tundra mpg is probably pretty good for that segment, as will the new Taco.
The PRIME’s are all pretty much the best PHEV’s you can buy, at least in terms of range and how they work.
Should they be further ahead on BEV? Absolutely. But if we’re being realistic about what the overall transition to more electrification needs to look like, Toyota’s hybrid lineup makes a lot of sense.
The environmentalist scorn for Toyota has been misplaced from day 1
Correct. Since Dieselgate its amazing how VW is now touted as an environmental trailblazer (after lying about pollution for years at finally geting caught out) and Toyota is now the pariah of car brands. But how many Electric VWs are on the street?
Seriously the greenest thing you can do unless you are able to charge your car off your own PV array at home is keep an old car due to the emboddied energy. Guess what brand cars are know for longevity.
And also remember Toyota has a lot of human resources in Japan that they can’t just chuck out overnight when the stratergy changes unlike American manufacturers. I think the implicit social contract is much more ingrained there.
They also don’t have enough battery capacity to fulfill the BEV orders, so mind as well make things they can actually deliver.
Personally, I’m not going to buy a BEV for my primary car yet. I also prefer not to commit to 20 mpg combined for the next 8 years. Hybrids are the way to go, and Toyota is offering them. Seems like plenty of other people have the same idea, seeing you can’t get your hands on many of these without bribing the local dealer. I never thought the RAV4 Prime, without a tax credit, would still be basically “sold out” 2+ years after launch.
I post this every time, but I really don’t think Toyota is “behind” on anything. They’ve built more cars with big batteries in them than anyone, their battery research is just as good as anyone else, if not better. You could argue they could have put more effort into making the BZ4…whatever it is called..a better competitor to the Ioniq but clearly they didn’t think it was worth it right now.
I’d like to see a Toyota competitor to the Bolt, but I also can’t argue with thinking a Prius, or Corolla Hybrid probably is a better fit for most customers today.
there is an road between those two options (BEV or 20mpg). I’m at 42K on my 2020 jetta stick and still averaging 40+ mpg combined (granted over 80% of my miles are freeway). i don’t try to hypermile, though maybe i’m a little conservative on the freeway (cruise set at 72 in Ohio & Ontario, 76 in Michigan), and the tach has only hit 5K a twice, in crisis passing.
I think you’re right in terms of their experience with batteries and that tech, but it’s also ok (and factual, IMO) to say they’re behind at this point. Pretty much all of their competition will have fairly mainstream options available by the end of the year. Toyota has one – and I don’t think it’s controversial to say it’s not went well. Even beyond the wheels coming off, its range and charging speed are behind the pack, at best.
I do think they can catch up, it’s still early days in this space.
Personally, I’d be happy if they just made a prime version of everything.
I wonder if this is the powertrain that Mazda will end up using in their BP (4th gen Mazda 3) platform? Rumor has it they will start selling their 3/CX-30/CX-50 with a Toyota sourced hybrid drivetrain in the next year or two? The Corolla Cross and CX-50 are built in the same factory.
That’s another one I’ve been wondering when we’ll hear more about. I’ve kinda assumed they’ll just throw the hybrid tech on the existing Mazda engine, but that may be too simple especially now that there’s both mild and plug-in hybrid CX-90 variants coming. I know they said it around the time of the CX-50 launch and there’s plenty of hybrids in that segment now, so I would think that will be first to get it.
I’m still hoping the CX-50 gets a Prius Prime or RAV-4 Prime powertrain, but odds are looking slim now.