• South Africans no longer look for traditional sedans as family vehicles.
• Corolla Cross places a new five-door bodyshell on the brand's TGNA-C platform.
• If brought to SA, it would be a popular product with no rivals.
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Toyota's Corolla is the only affordable sedan which sells in any significant numbers anymore.
South Africans have mostly divested from the idea of owning a traditional sedan as their primary family car. If it does not have some body cladding, a tailgate and touch more ride height, local buyers are unlikely to express interest.
As the popularity of crossovers continues to soar, the Corolla is a lone marker of what was once the family car of choice, for most South African motoring families. But what if Toyota combined everything that is held in high regard about the Corolla, with a crossover design?
The Japanese automotive giant has now revealed precisely such a vehicle, one which could revolutionise the Corolla brand globally, especially in gravel travel market like South Africa.
Do you think the Corolla Cross would work in South Africa if it had to be available in our local market? Please email us your thoughts.
Five-door Corolla concept becomes real
Toyota's Corolla Cross places an entirely new five-door bodyshell on the brand's TGNA-C platform. Its shape and configuration place Corolla Cross between the C-HR and Rav4 in Toyota's product portfolio.
As a guide to Corolla Cross's size, it measures 4460mm long and stands 1620mm tall. Those numbers make this new Toyota crossover 140mm shorter and 65mm lower than a Rav4, but also 70mm longer and 30mm higher, compared to the C-HR crossover.
The overall design is typical of a contemporary crossover, with a boldly reshaped front bumper and a large hexagon-pattern grille, which distinguishes the Cross from other Corollas.
Black plastic cladding has also been added around the wheel arches, lower front bumper section and side skirts – to prevent stone chip damage to the paintwork when rolling along gravel roads.
Slightly more space inside
Interior architecture of this new Cross variant is remarkably similar to most Corollas in terms of cabin design. Any drivers who have spent time in a late model Corolla will recognise most of the ergonomics, buttons and dials.
The change in configuration from sedan to five-door crossover has increased luggage space with the Cross. Whereas a standard Corolla can carry 470-litres of luggage, the Cross marginally increases that to 487-litres, albeit without a spare wheel along for the ride.
If you are going to be doing a lot of rural terrain travelling in your Corolla Cross, and desire the peace of mind that a spare wheel brings, luggage capacity reduces to 440-litres.
Mechanically the Corolla Cross does not feature Toyota's most sophisticated new turbocharged engines or independent rear suspension. Powering this new crossover is a proven 1.8-litre petrol engine, good for 103kW and 177Nm. Toyota will also be offering a hybridised version, with modest peak outputs of only 98kW and 142Nm, but the promise of tremendously low fuel consumption of only 4.3-litres/100km.
Although the Corolla Cross is available with 17-inch wheels, rolling mid-volume 215/60 tyres, it is only available front-wheel drive. In this respect, it is closer to a true crossover, such as C-HR, instead of an SUV with the all-wheel drive option, as is the case with Rav4.
There is no official word from Toyota about the Corolla Cross coming to South Africa, but it would be a remarkably popular product if introduced locally, with virtually no rivals.