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It seems a bit odd for Toyota to be adding a new crossover to their line-up considering they already have a healthy array of variants to meet the satisfactions of their consumers. They have the funky C-HR that target the youths, the RAV4 for the young adults, the 4Runner for that active lifestylist, the Highlander for the growing family and the Sequoia for the road tripping grandparents after the grandkids go off to college. So, when Toyota decided to turn their most popular selling sedan into a crossover, I suppose their thought process was why not, it’s not like their missing a targeted demographic.

If the name doesn’t speak for itself, the Corolla Cross is, well, based on the Corolla family that all ride on the same TNGA-C global chassis platform. Depending on powertrain options, the front-wheel drive version shares similarities to the Corolla sedan, opt for the all-wheel drive and it shares a much more improved multi-link suspension set up that comes straight out of the Corolla Hatchback. It also features the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and its 169-horsepower performance figures.

If you take a step back, the Corolla Cross looks nothing quite like the Corolla Hatchback or Sedan; in fact, it carries a baby faced RAV4 sort of look that maintains a conservative, yet attractive design que – far from the funkiness of the C-HR and its alien spaceship door handles. If you are at all familiar with the Corolla, then the interior will be quite recognizable. It is exactly the same, and with my example coming in the top trimmed XLE, the interior was amply finished with leatherette SofTex seats, a 9-inch touchscreen display, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, wireless phone charging and heated front seats.

One would think by growing into a crossover state, this would make for an ideal Corolla, but you’d be wrong. The problem with the Corolla Cross is that it feels as if it’s taking a step backwards after Toyota has worked incredibly hard to bring the Corolla Sedan and Hatchback up to par in its retrospective competitive segment. The Corolla Cross isn’t nearly as roomy as the standard Corolla, the sunroof in our exampled impeded our headroom comfort, the Corolla Hatchback offers more rear seat legroom and with the all-wheel drive fitted to our sample cuts on cargo capacity due to the rear-axle mechanical components.

Sadly, to say it does get worst from there… the 2.0-liter four-cylinder that is featured in the Corolla Hatchback is an adequate engine that offers decent heft for when it needs to get going. In the Corolla Cross however, that is only slightly heavier than the Hatchback by about 200lbs carries a dismal 9 and half seconds to 60-mph. Accessing this power is also not an easy task, using a CVT single speed transmission, the powerband is all over the place – it works hard to build up the revs and the power; but then, lift our foot off the accelerator and all that work is lost and we have to rebuild itself back up, forcing us to listen to the horrifying moans of its engine. Making matters worse, it uses simulated gears within the CVT to make it feel more like a normal transmission that, if anything, feels more like its struggling to keep up with the demand of the accelerator.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty upside to the Corolla Cross – it manages to handle decently well and the suspension is superb on rough roads, which is nice when traveling on a washboard beaten trail. It’s also decently fuel efficient despite its all-wheel drive system averaging near its targeted 30-mpg rating. It also features Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 system as standard that is equipped with lane departure assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, and emergency braking. The biggest upside to the Corolla Cross is its value and this is where I can see it best fits within the Toyota crossover lineup. A Corolla Cross L with all-wheel drive starts at $25,080 – that is nearly $600 less than the smaller, entry-level C-HR XLE at $25,615 and only comes in front-wheel drive. It is also a staggering $4000 less than an entry-level RAV4 LE with all-wheel drive at $29,710.

The problem however is that while the Corolla Cross appears to be great value, the top trimmed XLE featured here doesn’t carry quite the same enthusiasm with its over $32,000 price tag . Other competitors like the Kia Seltos, Honda HR-V and Volkswagen Taos all feature all-wheel drive capabilities for under that $30,000 price tag in their perspective top trimmed levels, but also not nearly as nicely equipped as the Corolla Cross XLE that has front and rear parking sensors and a power lift tailgate. However, if you are someone that enjoys their Toyota Corolla but wishes it had all-wheel drive, luckily there is now an option for that.

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