Toyota Corolla Cross: What to know about SA's first locally-built hybrid vehicle

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• The all-new Toyota Corolla Cross will go on sale in South Africa in November 2021.

• The Corolla Cross Hybrid is the first of its kind built locally by Toyota Motors South Africa.

• The Corolla Cross Hybrid is the most affordable vehicle of its kind in the country.

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Toyota South Africa is about to embark on a journey that should see it win over more customers than they could have imagined. How? By launching a new vehicle that addresses several customer needs at the same time.

Come November 2021, the all-new Corolla Cross will make its South African debut, in the process expanding the Corolla portfolio to four derivatives. It will line up alongside the budget-friendly Corolla Quest, turbocharged Corolla Hatchback, and the ever-green Corolla Sedan. The Corolla Cross is the SUV variant in the family and is built on the same TNGA platform that underpins the entire Corolla range and Toyota's CH-R and Prius.

Built at Toyota's Prospecton plant in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, the Corolla Cross is about to write an entirely new chapter in the Corolla's history - with it heralding a new era as the automaker looks to the future.

Toyota Corolla Cross
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid

Corolla Cross goes green

Toyota is not blind to the fact that the internal combustion engine's (ICE) days are numbered. However, they are adopting a more pragmatic approach to addressing the eventual switch to electric mobility with a series of hybrid models. Abroad, especially, the automaker established itself as a leader in the field of hybrid technology. And with South Africa - and its government and other stakeholders - making more noise about the transition from ICE to EVs than before, the time is now to introduce the local market to hybrid technology.

As such, the locally-built Corolla Cross range consists of three ICE and two hybrid models. The hybrids have garnered the biggest interest thus far as it blends future technologies with current - and familiar - ones. The Corolla Cross Hybrid models are powered by the same naturally aspirated 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as the rest of the range. Only here, an electric element has been brought into the equation.

The petrol engine has been tuned to deliver 72kW and 142Nm in its natural state, while the electric motor adds an additional 53kW and 163Nm. Given the power losses due to the continuously variable transmission (CVT), the overall system output for the Corolla Cross Hybrid is rated at 90kW.

The Corolla Cross Hybrid is the first South African-built hybrid for Toyota.

Toyota Corolla Cross
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid

How the hybrid powertrain works

Toyota is a global leader on the hybrid front, having dominated the space since introducing the first Prius in 1997. Not resting on its laurels, Toyota improved its hybrid technology over the years, resulting in the modern-day product. The latest version of Toyota's hybrid system made its debut in South Africa recently when the hybrid versions of the Corolla and Rav4 were introduced. And now it finds a home in the Corolla Cross' engine bay.

Toyota's hybrid powertrain features the automaker's self-charging technology, which means that owners do not have to plug the car into an electric socket to charge it. Instead, the electric battery can self-charge through the SUV's petrol engine or by recovering energy via regenerative braking. This process is in a continuous loop, ensuring that the battery is always charged with enough power to engage EV mode.

The Corolla Cross Hybrid will switch to EV mode when coasting on a level road, reversing, in peak traffic or other low-speed usage situations. The torque is instantly available when called upon, gifting the Corolla Cross Hybrid with a driving experience and acceleration akin to that of a turbo- or supercharged four-cylinder engine.

The petrol engine's shut off happens in near silence, without sacrificing the Corolla Cross's driveability, performance, or fuel economy. The Corolla Cross Hybrid boasts an incredible fuel return of just 4.3-litres/100km and a CO2 index of less than 100g/km.

Toyota Corolla Cross
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid

South Africa's most affordable hybrid

The two Corolla Cross Hybrid models are available with the mid- and high-specification trim packages. This means that Toyota South Africa could position its first locally-built hybrid at a very aggressive price, making it an unmissable proposition for buyers looking to blend performance with efficiency.

The result is the Corolla Cross 1.8 Hybrid Xs retailing for R413 000, while the Corolla Cross 1.8 Hybrid Xr - the top model in the range - selling for an impressive R448 300. With standard features like LED Xenon headlights, cruise control, keyless access and -start, automatic wipers, and rear-view camera, the Corolla Cross Hybrid becomes a hard-to-ignore proposition for South Africans looking for a value-orientated buy.

The Toyota Corolla Cross range comes standard with a six-services or 90 000 km service plan, with service intervals pegged at 12-months or 15 000 km. A three-year or 100 000km warranty also forms part of the offering. The Hybrid models carry an eight-year warranty on the hybrid battery. Customers can also purchase additional service and warranty plan extensions from any of Toyota's 220 dealers countrywide.

Line-up:

- Corolla Cross 1.8 Xi                 - R 349 900

- Corolla Cross 1.8 Xs                - R 390 100 

- Corolla Cross 1.8 Hybrid Xs     - R 413 000

- Corolla Cross 1.8 Xr                 - R 425 400

- Corolla Cross 1.8 Hybrid Xr     - R 448 300

Toyota Corolla Cross
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
This post is sponsored by Toyota and produced by Wheels24.
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