2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Review: The Corolla of crossovers

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Review: The Corolla of crossovers

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Pros: Strong fuel economy for the segment; available hybrid

Cons: Bland to drive and look at; slow acceleration; unremarkable space and storage

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross is the definition of what perfectly fine and acceptable looks like in a midcompact SUV. It’s both smaller and cheaper than a RAV4, but doesn’t come off as quirky or weird like the canceled C-HR was. It’s a Corolla, but in SUV form, and that makes a certain amount of sense for someone looking for a basic and utilitarian form of transportation. It has competent tech, OK backseat and cargo space, and some of the best fuel economy in the segment. There's also the Hybrid being added to the lineup later this year that'll improve that fuel economy even more and give it an X factor for a segment that counts only one other hybrid, the Kia Niro.

Unfortunately, the standard car just doesn’t do enough to push the needle. There are plenty others that are more fun to drive, have better tech, look more stylish and are simply all-around more enjoyable vehicles to own on the daily than the Corolla Cross. Perhaps the Hybrid will change the overall dynamic (we have yet to drive it), but it’s hard to find much to get excited about in the otherwise dreary standard version.

Interior & Technology   |   Passenger & Cargo Space   |   Performance & Fuel Economy

What it's like to drive   |   Pricing & Features   |   Crash Ratings & Safety Features

What's new for 2023?

Toyota upgrades the Corolla Cross' infotainment system with its latest Audio Multimedia system that also brings a bigger 8-inch screen to the party. Additionally, it gets the latest suite of Toyota's driver assistance systems standard, going from TSS 2.0 to TSS 3.0. A Corolla Cross Hybrid is joining the party for 2023, too, and it brings an AWD hybrid powertrain for better fuel economy, unique styling to set it apart, and exclusive sporty trim levels.

What are the Corolla Cross interior and in-car technology like?

While the Corolla Cross exterior looks nothing like a Corolla, the interior is a spitting image with a fairly minimalist dashboard and an infotainment screen popping up out of the middle. As is usually the case in the midcompact SUV segment, interior plastics are a mix. Some stitched soft plastic is front and center on the dash, but harder varieties are found in most other places. Everything is put together nicely with tight gaps, and the XLE trim looks a bit more premium than the base model. However, our test car had some rattles, and cranking the audio system would cause some annoying vibrations.


We appreciate the dedicated physical buttons and knobs for the climate control, as well as the knob for volume control. Toyota's latest infotainment system that the Corolla Cross is updated with this year is much faster and more fluid than the old, but its user interface can prove tricky to navigate. Both wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto are onboard as standard equipment, and if you like talking to your car, the Amazon Alexa-based voice control is snappy and understands commands well. A mostly-analog gauge cluster is standard and awfully plain by today's standards, but higher trims adopt a fully digital cluster with slick, modern graphics.

How big is the Corolla Cross?

Size-wise, the Corolla Cross is what we'd call a midcompact SUV, and as such, is sized similarly as the Mazda CX-30, VW Taos, Kia Seltos and Subaru Crosstrek. Notably, it has a fair amount of ground clearance at 8.1 inches, which is almost even with the all-wheel-drive Jeep Renegade and more than the Kia Seltos, though less than the Crosstrek or a Renegade Trailhawk.

In terms of passenger space, the Corolla Cross is somewhere in the middle of the segment, but represents a significant step up from its Corolla namesakes (again, they're just barely related). There's good room up front in all directions and a comfortable seating position, but the back seat is merely mid-pack for space. The front seats have thick cushions that are comfortable, though they don't have much shape or support. The rear seats are firm and flat, and the seatbacks are more upright than we'd like.

Cargo space is on the large side for midcompact crossovers at 24.3 cubic feet with all-wheel drive and 25.5 with front-wheel drive.