Toyota’s newest compact SUV isn’t due to go on sale until 2022, but when it arrives what can we expect?
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Toyota has unveiled its newest SUV internationally, introducing the Corolla Cross nameplate to trade on the one-two punch of its best-selling badge and the continuing rise of SUV sales.

Despite the recent global reveal, Australia isn't expected to see the new model any earlier than late 2022, while markets such as Thailand, where the new model will be manufactured, will see stock filling showrooms as early as September 2020.

While local price, specifications and features will be the subject of official reveals as the new model draws closer, CarAdvice has crunched the numbers on overseas specification vehicles to give an indication of what to expect when the new model eventually hits local shores.

How big is the Corolla Cross?

Toyota will likely position the Corolla Cross between the C-HR small SUV and RAV4 medium SUV, and of course given the name, it’ll sit in a triangular pocket between those two SUVS and as a wagon-alternative to the Corolla sedan and hatch. Key competitors will include small SUVs like the Hyundai Kona, Nissan Qashqai, Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-30 amongst others in the segment.

At 4460mm from nose to tail the Corolla Cross is 70mm longer than the C-HR and 140mm shorter than a RAV4. Parked alongside a regular Corolla the Corolla Cross would be 85mm longer than a hatch but 170mm shorter than the sedan.

Given that the C-HR is positioned as a somewhat sports-styled SUV (the name is supposed to be an acronym for Coupe High Rider) it sits 55mm lower than that 1620mm tall Corolla Cross, whereas the the larger and more practical RAV4 sits 65mm higher again. Both Corolla body styles mark a high-water line some 185mm lower than the Corolla Cross, though the difference will be made up by both a lower roofline and lower ride height.

In terms of width the Corolla Cross, at 1825mm drops right between RAV4 and C-HR which are 30mm wider and 30mm narrower respectively. The Corolla hatch is 35mm narrower and the sedan is 45mm narrower.

If you count wheelbase, or distance between the centrepoint of front and rear axles, as an indicator of interior room the 2640mm Corolla Cross is identical the C-HR and Corolla hatch, the RAV4 has a 50mm longer wheelbase but the Corolla sedan out-reaches them all with a 60mm longer wheelbase.

At the rear Toyota claims a maximum 487-litres of boot space for the Corolla Cross, putting it well ahead of the C-HR (318L) the Corolla hatch (217-333L depending on specification) and just ahead of the Corolla sedan (470L) but clear of the RAV4 which maxes out at 580L.

Placed alongside it's competitors the Corolla Cross will be one of the largest, it's 65mm longer than the CX-30 or a substantial 295mm longer than a Kona, overall height is 15mm taller than a HR-V but 80mm more than a CX-30. The Qashqai has a 6mm longer wheelbase but the CX-30's is 15mm longer while the Kona's is 40mm shorter. On boot space the Corolla Cross leads with 170-litres more than the CX-30 or 50-litres more than the HR-V.

What engine and drivetrain is in the Corolla Cross?

Toyota has released details of two engines so far, and these will be the ones that go on sale in the Thai market.

The base engine is a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine, it’s based on Toyota’s ‘2ZR’ engine, which is a version of the previous-generation Corolla’s engine and not the newest M20A engine as found in the new Corolla and RAV4 – hold your horses though, there's a fair chance it won't be the engine that goes on sale in Australia

The version available from launch is known as the 2ZR-FBE, with that particular engine suffix indicating flex-fuel compatibility. In this case it means the Corolla Cross will be capable of running on both normal petrol and a blend of up to 85 per cent ethanol, again, not a requirement for Australia although flex-fuel has been trialled in the past.

Outputs are listed at 103kw at 6000rpm and 177Nm at 4000rpm – compare that to a a petrol C-HR and the 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 85kW and 185Nm can’t match the bigger engine for power, but offers more torque from 1500-4000rpm, meaning the C-HR shouldn’t have to work as hard to get things rolling.

Corolla and RAV4 both use a bigger 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine. The Corolla claims a maximum of 125kW at 6600rpm and 200Nm from 4400-4800rpm while the RAV4 does a little better with 127kW at 6600rpm and 203Nm at 4400-4900rpm.

Don’t place your bets just yet though, for instance in the Thai market the Corolla sedan is available with both 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre versions of the older ZR series of engines, but doesn’t come with the 2.0-litre engine sold in Australia. There’s every chance that local versions could make the switch to the newer, more powerful 2.0-litre engine before the car goes on sale here, and in other international markets.

Don’t expect significant changes for hybrid models, either. The Corolla Cross is also available with a 1.8-litre 2ZR-FXE petrol electric hybrid engine, the same as you’ll find in the current Corolla hybrid in Australia.

In this instance the FXE suffix denotes high-efficiency specification, with the engine tuned to run on what's known as the Atkinson combustion cycle which favours low consumption over high power.

The same engine can already be found in hybrid versions of the the Corolla and C-HR and it rated at 72kW at 5200rpm and 142Nm at 3600rpm for the petrol engine with assistance from an electric motor with its own 53kW and 163Nm maximum outputs. Toyota claims the maximum combined power for the system is 90kW.

Bet on seeing the hybrid here in exactly the same specification as detailed in the initial release.

Both engines are linked to CVT automatic transmissions, there’s no manual option for the Corolla Cross. The hybrid uses a planetary e-CVT which can modulate power between the petrol engine and electric motor.

The petrol engine uses a Super CVT-i automatic, that’s a regular belt-type CVT and not the Direct Shift CVT found in the Corolla. You’ll find a similar type of transmission in the C-HR and RAV4, it means the Corolla Cross 1.8L goes without the torque converter first gear of the Corolla which is designed to provide a more natural driving feel.

Of course, if the Corolla Cross moves to the Corolla’s 2.0-litre engine for Australia it would likely also adopt the Direst Shift CVT with it.

If you fancy heading off the beaten path the Corolla Cross may not be for you. For the time being the range doesn’t include all-wheel drive.

Toyota has launched the Corolla Cross with front-wheel drive only, much like the Corolla with which it shares its name. In theory it would be possible for Toyota to add AWD variants, the Corolla Cross uses the same chassis hardware (called TNGA-C internally) as the C-HR which is available with both 2WD and mechanical AWD for petrol models.

What equipment is available in the Corolla Cross?

The question of local specifications is a more hit-and-miss given the Australian arrival is more than two years away, but like the current Corolla range the Cross will likely offer a three-pronged model range.

There’s no indication yet if those spec levels will use the Ascent Sport, SX and ZR trim grades of the hatch and sedan or opt for the SUV-style GX, GXL and a bespoke top-level name (Cruiser, Crusade, Kakadu, etc) in the way the RAV4, Fortuner and Prado do.

In Thailand you have a choice of four models, the 1.8 Sport petrol and the Hybrid Smart, Hybrid Smart Premium or Hybrid Premium Safety, those three latter steps on the Corolla Cross model point to what we’d see in Australia, but some mix-and-match spec crossover is likely.

The 1.8 Sport wears the simplest appearance package with no chrome trim on the outside, steel wheels and halogen headlights. Unlike the Corolla Ascent Sport Corolla there is a leather-wrapped steering wheel as standard, but it sticks with manual air conditioning and a small 4.2-inch instrument display.

Locally there’s every chance the base Corolla Cross will pull most of the Sport spec, though don’t be surprised if the 17-inch steel wheels were swapped for a set of alloys, which would be in keeping with the C-HR and RAV4 base models.

A little oddly all variants of the Corolla Cross sold in Thailand are equipped with ‘leather and synthetic leather’ as the interior trim material. It would come as no surprise to see cloth trim subbed in on low-grade versions here.

Toyota Australia makes a strong statement on safety and driver assist technology, so some of the missing items overseas would likely be standard here.

Features like lane departure alert with steering assist, AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, road sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control are all a part of the basic Corolla kit in Australia but are reserved for high-spec Corolla Cross models in Thailand. That’s sure to change before the new model goes on sale here.

At the very least expect one or two features to be reserved for the top-tier model. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert aren’t included in the Corolla Ascent Sport, for instance. There’s also a 360-degree camera reserved for the top trim overseas, which would likely be the case here.

Across all model grades features like seven airbags, rear seat air vents, 9.0-inch infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, proximity key with push-button start, and a reclining rear seat are shared.

If the base model doesn’t come with LED headlights this could be where the mid-spec model steps in, along with items like dual-zone climate control, extra exterior brightwork, and inbuilt navigation.

Using the Corolla SX as a guide items like privacy tint, fog lamps, steering wheel paddle shift levers, extra USB charge points, and wireless phone charging are some of the features that could separate the base Corolla Sport from the mid-grade model.

Expect the flagship model to pack leather or leather-look seats with heating, power adjustment up front, a sunroof, bigger 7.0-inch instrument display, 18-inch alloys, ambient interior illumination, auto-dimming interior mirror, and a power-opening tailgate – based on a mix of local Corolla and overseas Corolla Cross features.

Don’t expect to see the Corolla's head-up display. There’s no mention of it overseas, or premium audio for that matter with no mention of JBL-supplied audio as seen in other Toyota models.

Two years is a long time to wait in the automotive world though, and what you see here is largely devised using spec available overseas as confirmation of availability and aligning it with how the Corolla is positioned here. Features may change and individual specifications may vary, with Toyota Australia having plenty of time to settle on the final versions for Aussie showrooms.

Let us know what you think of the Corolla Cross in the comments. Are there any features that should or shouldn’t make the cut Down Under?