Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A white 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross is shown driving on a street at night.

Toyota’s Corolla Cross Is All Grown Up With a Promising Future

You may recall the original Toyota Corolla, a sedan that became popular because of its reliability, durability, fuel economy, and spacious seating for five with plenty of trunk space. It has remained at the top of the charts for decades. Even though it has a reputation for being sought after by college students and young adults, the truth is that the Corolla is a popular vehicle with many demographics. It doesn’t look like anyone will be losing interest in the near future, especially with the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross coming in to supplement the existing sedan model..

Toyota’s commitment to providing quality vehicles that are easy to maintain and inexpensive to repair appeals to the vast majority of drivers. It doesn’t hurt that it comes with plenty of safety features and tech for drivers who prefer to have a little help when navigating the commute to work, home, or while running errands. The Corolla Cross combines the spaciousness of an SUV with the ease of driving you’d expect from a sedan. If you’re looking for something a bit more more green, the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid gives you not only better fuel economy, but more horsepower and standard all-wheel drive as well.

A yellow 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross is shown parked near a diner.

A Look Back

Toyota first introduced the Corolla to the world in 1966, and the world has never looked back. Corolla’s five comfortable seats, fuel economy, excellent performance, and high-end features quickly endeared it to the public. The first generation (1966-1970) gave drivers a taste of what life could be like with a quality vehicle, and the second generation (1970-1974) only deepened that admiration and desire. When the third generation came out (1974-1979), people could still purchase used second generation cars, a less expensive option for those looking to get their own Corolla. The 1970’s saw a wave of reform in the automotive industry, which led to a larger Corolla that included all of the equipment necessary to perform with lower emissions, along with being safer when it came to collisions.

The fourth Corolla generation (1979-1983) provided a multitude of options for drivers when it came to body type and the number of doors, but the four-door sedan remained the most popular. When the fifth generation arrived (1983-1987), it was most definitely a product of its time in regards to styling. The 1980s were full of neo-pop art, photography, and neo-expressionism, and the Corolla shied away from its previous 1970s minimalism. At the end of the 1980s, however, the sixth generation Corolla (1987-1991) was reimagined as the dream car of the 1990’s: sleek and sophisticated, with smoothed lines and a more modern look.

Lines became curves for the Corolla of the seventh generation (1991-1995), and it got bigger, aligning itself with the ideals that came with the 90s financial boom: success, spaciousness, and becoming better than previous generations. Later on in the 90s, the environment once again became an important topic, along with the collapse of the 90s financial boom, leading to a more economical, frugal design for the eighth generation Corolla (1995-2000). College students and young adults came into the picture with the rise of Toyota’s ninth generation Corolla (2000-2006), becoming even more rounded and giving the air of a softer, more friendly vehicle that was suitable for younger drivers.

Not much changed for the tenth generation Corolla (2006-2012), but it did maintain its popularity as an inexpensive choice for new drivers, and a safe vehicle for those who were older and looking for a quality sedan. After the financial crisis of 2008, Toyota decided to return to its roots and produced the eleventh generation Corolla (2012-2016) that was smaller than several previous generations. Now in its twelfth generation (2016-), the Corolla is still one of Toyota’s most successful vehicles. With the advent of the Corolla Cross, both the gasoline fueled model and the optional hybrid model, it seems Toyota has kept their winning formula, improving it over time to deliver what generations of drivers care most about.

Toyota’s 2023 Corolla Cross

With a family that includes minivans, trucks, coupes, and sedans, it makes sense that an SUV would also make its way into the Toyota fold. The Corolla Cross was introduced in 2021, and appealed to many drivers because of its roomy cabin, extra cargo space, and the inexpensive price tag. In keeping with the Corolla’s earlier values, the Cross can be made even more powerful and efficient when choosing the Hybrid variant, which makes 196 horsepower rather than 169 from the gas engine. With plenty of return customers, Toyota has a built-in base for the newest addition to the family, and so far it looks like it has been warmly accepted by older and newer Toyota fans alike.

The gas-powered model of the Corolla Cross comes in front wheel drive, but the hybrid model comes standard with all wheel drive, an appealing choice for those who live in areas that see a lot of sleet and snow. When it comes to fuel economy ratings, the two vehicles are close, with the gas-powered model reaching 31 mpg for city driving, and 33 for highway driving, which makes 32 mpg combined. The EPA has not release numbers for the hybrid model, but it’s estimated to get 37 mpg combined. Either ride is smooth, comfortable, and safe, ensuring that you and your passengers can relax and enjoy the ride, wherever your destination may be.

When it comes to features, Toyota spoils its loyal drivers with an array of safety and tech. If you’re looking at the mid range trim levels, you’ll see that heated front seats and faux leather upholstery are included. With over eight inches of ground clearance, the Corolla Cross can also be used off-road. You can choose to add other features that will enhance the driving experience, like the power moonroof, lumbar support for the driver, and a trailer hitch and rack for bikes, camping gear, or other outdoor activities. All trim levels are compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and have Sirius XM satellite radio as well.

Safety tech comes in a suite for all trim levels, with adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection among other features. Toyota’s commitment to providing standard safety features across all trim levels is yet another reason people continue to purchase Toyota brand models.

A blue 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross is shown parked next to a man and a dog.


What Does The Future Hold For The Corolla Cross?

With the advent of the Corolla Cross, Toyota seems to be taking sure steps into the future. The hybrid Corolla Cross will be available for the foreseeable future as part of Toyota’s plan to integrate 70 hybrid and electric models into their inventory by 2025. The Corolla Cross is an excellent addition to this lineup, alongside its sibling, the original Corolla. It’s exciting to think about the future of driving. Considering that the Corolla has been so popular for so long, it’s likely that it will continue to be one of the top selling vehicles from Toyota. Seeing the evolution of the Corolla from a minimal five-seater to a hybrid SUV is breathtaking, and leads one to wonder what we’ll see next from Toyota when it comes to their most beloved vehicle.