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Toyota’s Corolla Cross Hybrid – HY TIMES

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Toyota’s Corolla Cross Hybrid – HY TIMES

Toyota’s Corolla Cross Hybrid


Practical, reliable, capable, excellent value: The reasons for buying a Corolla Cross, Toyota’s SUV version of a time-tested budget compact car, remain steadfast when it is longer and roomier.

Imagine a car that is practical, dependable, capable, and offers terrific value. Now, picture it with a hybrid power system that makes it zippier and increases fuel economy by a third. And the best part? It is available at a starting price of around $29,000. This is the 2024 Toyota Corolla Hybrid, a car that is winning the hearts of many Toyota buyers this year.

Although high sticker prices and interest rates have taken some bloom off the rose in recent weeks, the first quarter of 2024 was kind to the North American auto market, where sales rose at an annualized rate of 2.7%. The experience of individual automakers, however, was not uniform.

When it comes to the North American auto market, Toyota is leading the pack. In the first quarter of 2024, Toyota posted a 20.3% increase in sales, driven by a staggering 74% increase in electrified vehicles. Note the term used was electrified and not electric, called BEV in the trade.

Toyota, an EV contrarian, sells only one BEV, which is not doing well. Still, the maker’s 26 other Toyota and Lexus gas-electric hybrid drivetrains are selling like umbrellas at a rainy music festival. 

Sales of those were up 75% in the first quarter, and four in every ten new Toyota or Lexus models has either the fifth generation of the hybrid system (HEV) that Toyota introduced to these shores with the Prius in 2001, or is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), which Toyota first offered in 2013.

Understanding the difference between a hybrid and a BEV is crucial. Like the 2024 Toyota Corolla Hybrid, a hybrid has a gas engine and fuel tank, while a BEV is fully electric. The distinction between an HEV and a PHEV, both of which are available in the Toyota lineup, is more nuanced. 

Like the fifth generation of the hybrid system (HEV) introduced with the Prius in 2001, the former is a self-charging hybrid. The latter, a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), has a slightly larger battery and a 120-volt charger, which can recharge in a few hours and provide the car with about 40 miles of all-electric range. 

The EPA says that is what the average driver puts on daily. Blonde Beauty and I bought one of those last year, a Ford Escape PHEV. (Ford licensed the technology from Toyota). We have gone to the gas station twice in seven months, and the tank has sat full for the past three. No, we did not have to hire an electrician to install a charger. 

Toyota received criticism for not jumping on the BEV bandwagon, but it is being rewarded by the ultimate arbiters of automotive fashion: buyers. Scrolling through the sales charts, it is evident that affordability and reliability count for a lot. Sales of the Corolla, which comes in both sedan and hatchback models, gas or HEV, were up 65% in the first three months. The SUV-like Corolla Cross sales were up 30%. Sales of the RAV4, which comes only with either HEV or PHEV powertrains, were up 45%.

Sales of the Prius were up 83%, but here is the surprising number: Less than a year after it first appeared in showrooms, the Corolla Cross now outsells Prius by a two-to-one margin. It makes sense. The Corolla Cross is roomier, more versatile, less edgy, still fuel efficient, and still a Toyota.


  • Excellent fuel efficiency with the standard hybrid powertrain, earning an EPA-estimated 52 mpg city/50 mpg highway.
  • Three electric motors—two in front, one aft—provide more power and all-wheel drive.
  • Roomy, comfortable cabin with ample passenger and cargo space for the compact crossover class.
  • High predicted reliability and low projected depreciation.
  • Standard advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.


  • Performance is adequate but not thrilling, with 0-60 mph times in the 8-second range – but that’s two seconds faster than gas-only models.
  • The infotainment system is basic and not as user-friendly as some competitors.
  • Towing capacity is 1,500 lbs., less than many rival crossovers.

Main Competitors

  • Compared to the Honda CR-V Hybrid, the Cross Hybrid has a slight edge in fuel economy but trails in interior space, performance, and towing capacity. The price is similar, with the Cross Hybrid starting at $27,450 and the CR-V Hybrid at $28,350.
  • The Hyundai Tucson Hybrid offers more power, more advanced tech features, and available all-wheel drive, but gets slightly lower fuel economy than the Corolla Cross. It starts at $29,200.
  • The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a step up in size and capability, with more powerful acceleration, higher towing limits, and available all-wheel drive. It starts at $29,975 but delivers slightly lower fuel economy than the Corolla Cross.

Ride and Comfort

The Corolla Cross hybrid provides a comfortable, compliant ride quality on most road surfaces. The suspension does an excellent job of soaking up bumps and potholes without feeling overly floaty. Cabin noise levels are well-controlled for the class.

Seating comfort is good, with supportive front seats and ample head and legroom for both rows. Rear passenger space is a highlight, with enough room for adult passengers to sit comfortably on longer drives.

Like most Corollas, handling is leisurely because the suspension is tuned for comfort. Still, AWD makes a significant difference. The standard wisdom is that all-wheel drive is for areas with rough winters, providing a considerable increase in traction. However, it also improves handling and stability, particularly in this case, where the car’s computer controls torque to individual wheels. Pushed through a slalom course, the Cross hybrid is remarkably competent.

Acceleration is also much quicker and smoother, which is true of most – if not all – electrified powertrains. The three electric motors increase system horsepower from 169 in base models to 196 in the hybrid.

Because they do the heavy lifting, hybrid systems significantly reduce wear on internal combustion engines, which is probably why six of Consumer Reports10 most reliable vehicles are hybrids.

Cabin Features and Comfort

Standard features include an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a digital gauge cluster. Higher trims add features like a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and a larger 12.3-inch infotainment display.

The cabin materials quality is good for the class, with soft-touch surfaces on the dash and door panels. However, some budget-oriented hard plastics are lower on the doors and center console.

Cargo and Towing Capacity

With the rear seats in place, the Corolla Cross offers 25 cubic feet of cargo space, expanding to 55 cubic feet with the seats folded. This is on the larger end for the compact crossover segment.

The 1,500 lb towing capacity is decent but trails many competitors, limiting the Corolla Cross’s utility for hauling trailers or heavier items, but would prove perfectly adequate for your personal watercraft or a couple of dirt bikes.


The 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid comes with Toyota’s standard warranty package:

  • 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty
  • 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty
  • 8-year/100,000-mile hybrid system warranty

Boilerplate language: The batteries in my 2007 Highlander Hybrid are still near total capacity. If I needed to replace them, I could get the job done for around $1,500-$2,000. Methinks paying to have a new crate engine might cost more.

Overall, the 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid is a strong contender in the compact crossover segment, offering excellent fuel efficiency, a roomy and comfortable interior, and Toyota’s reputation for reliability and value retention. While it may not be the most exciting or capable option, it delivers on the core attributes many crossover buyers prioritize.

In four decades of journalism, Bill Owney has picked up awards for his coverage of everything from murders to the NFL to state and local government. He added the automotive world to his portfolio in the mid '90s.

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