When you think Corolla, it’s as the reliable and affordable hatch or sedan that has nigh on a million years of credibility. Toyota went and changed that up as part of company boss Akio Toyoda’s “no more boring cars” decree, and now you can also have it as an SUV.
Enter the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid, the latest addition to an ever-expanding line-up of exciting vehicles and another option for those in the market for a compact SUV. We’re testing the range topping front-wheel drive variant.
Powered by Toyota’s ever reliable 2.0-litre hybrid electric/petrol powertrain, it’s good for a respectable 146kW and 190Nm. It’s more than capable around the city, and there’s even a Sport mode, although we didn’t feel any drastic improvements when using it.
That makes it a somewhat wasted concept, especially if it means increased fuel consumption. There’s no tasty sporty exhaust note either, but it does drive extremely well around the city. Toyota claims 4.3-litres/100km economy-wise.
Visibility is excellent, steering is responsive and the turning circle is great too. Props for the benefits of its capabilities in traffic, as you watch the car flip between the electric motor and petrol engine. It’s a process that happens effortlessly; almost seamlessly.
While the Jungle Khaki exterior colour isn’t for everyone, it certainly attracts some glances. We were stopped a few times in our worldly travels by people wanting to take a look inside too. That said, if you don’t love the colour there are other options.
These include Glacier White, Frosted White, Stunning Silver, Eclipse Black, Atomic Rush, Lunar Blue and Moondust Grey. There’s plenty of black trim outside, in classic Toyota style, making it look like it’s ready for some soft-roading.
They’ve doubled down on the rear end, where it feels a little over-the-top, and destined to fade in the future. Nevertheless, it’s a good looking car, and isn’t simply a Corolla on stilts. It’s loaded with safety tech as well.
Lane trace assist, assisted steering, adaptive cruise control and an extremely alert 360 sensor detection system all feature, along with an excellent 360 degree camera. Inside, the cabin is surprisingly spacious and well appointed.
It’s not luxurious, but that’s okay, for $50,320 drive away it’s a decent amount of vehicle for the money. It feels a bit premium thanks to a leather interior, and both the steering wheel and front seats are heated.
Only the driver gets power adjustment, which is a little average. Overall though, the front seats are extremely plush and comfortable for long road trips. Legroom in the rear is sufficient for four adults travelling together for shorter trips.
The doors and parts of the dash feature Toyota’s notorious use of scratchy hard plastics, which we’re not a fan of, and storage is minimal. There’s an extremely small glove box and centre console, but the bottle holders in the door will handle at least a 600ml bottle.
One nice touch is the fact the panoramic moonroof sits nicely into the roof panel and makes the cabin feel larger, while not reducing any of the available head room. Boot space is acceptable without being amazing, at 414-litres.
It’s enough to fit this writer’s golf clubs in, without putting the seats down, which is always a bonus. A decent luggage blind is also included, meaning you can hide those all important valuables, or keep your groceries out of direct sunlight.
The technology suite is impressive too, with an incredibly clear 12.0-inch driver display. There’s a lot of information available, which means it feels a little busy, but if you owned it, you’d work out the settings quick enough.
There’s a 10.5-inch infotainment system with DAB+ digital radio, satellite navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto. It’s connected to a 9-speaker JBL sound system, including a subwoofer in the boot. It’s a nice touch for the audiophiles.
Oddly, when it comes to charging, there is a wireless charging pad and one USB-A in the front and two USB-Cs in the back. It’s a bit of a mixed bag and we’re not sure the reasoning behind it. That said, there’s enough ports to keep your devices charged.
All-in-all, the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid 2WD is an excellent, well-rounded option that includes the added advantage of extra space and ride height over its hatchback namesake.
Backed by a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and bundled with capped price servicing, it’s anything but boring. That said, some may balk at the price. You can find out more on the Toyota Australia website. If you’re keen on one and need finance, talk to CreditOne.
Our test vehicle was provided by Toyota Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid 2WD, contact your local Toyota dealer.