Toyota Corolla Cross SUV set for launch outside Asia

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Toyota is readying a new small SUV for the US market and it will arrive in Australia from later next year.

Called the Corolla Cross, it’s already on sale in Asian markets. It’s now been spied testing in the United States, suggesting a market launch there is closing in. It will arrive in Australia next year, though likely into Q2.

The company’s new European boss, Matt Harrison, has also hinted that a new SUV the size of the Corolla Cross is on its way to other markets. Last year, he told us: “The way we see the segments expanding, some are so big frankly that you can’t cover them with one product,

“You need a couple of entries, at least, within the segment. C-HR is a good example; with C-HR, we’re successfully delivering eight per cent segment share with a product that is an emotional choice. It’s chosen for style, design and driveability rather than outright practicality.

Toyota Corolla Cross 2“But there’s a whole huge chunk of the C-SUV segment that we don’t really appeal to. We’re playing at the top end of the C-SUV segment and fishing into the premium segment, almost. So we see further opportunities with SUV products, frankly.”

The Corolla Cross could be the model to plug that gap, sitting alongside the C-HR as a more practical alternative and a go-between for it and the larger RAV4.

To place it amongst its rivals, the newcomer will need to have a starting price of around $42,000. In Malaysia, prices for the SUV start from the equivalent of $40,000.

The Corolla Cross shares its mechanicals with the Corolla hatchback, using the same GA-C platform and four-cylinder petrol-hybrid powertrains. Toyota wouldn’t need to alter the SUV’s engine range for the Australian market, either, with buyers getting the same 90kW 1.8-litre and 135kW 2.0-litre units, both of which send drive to the front wheels via a CVT gearbox.

Toyota Corolla CrossThe SUV measures 4,460mm long, 1,825mm wider and 1,620mm tall. There’s enough space inside for five and a boot big enough to hold 487 litres, which places it well ahead of the C-HR’s 377-litre capacity. The tailgate can also be specified with a kick-sensor under the rear bumper.

The Corolla Cross shares elements of its design with the smaller Yaris Cross – and it’s styling won’t change for it’s western debut, based on these US spy shots. It has the same tall radiator grille, similarly slim headlamps and a kindred profile. Even the cladding around the SUV’s wheel arches and sills is familiar, but it’s still a radical departure from the Corolla hatchback’s styling language.

Specifications differ according to region, but the most well-equipped versions of the Corolla Cross come with a wireless smartphone charger, electric seats, automatic air conditioning, a 4.2-inch digital display for the gauge cluster and a nine-inch infotainment system, which also appears to be shared with the new Yaris Cross.

Luke Wilkinson

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