It's official. Stories of being stuck in traffic behind a slow-moving Toyota hybrid now have a shelf life.
2023 is the year not only of the all-new Prius, but of that same hybrid gas-electric powerplant being put to good use in the Toyota Corolla Cross.
If there's a downside to the standard Toyota Corolla Cross, as I found in my review in the spring of 2022, it's power. A 2.0-liter gasoline engine produces 169 horsepower and getting to 60 miles an hour from a standing start takes 9.2 seconds. But---give the Corolla Cross the new Prius hybrid powerplant and the horsepower rises to 196, and the 0-60 times fall to 7.3 seconds. Plus there's the bonus of fuel economy---the gasoline version's EPA estimate is 29 city/32 highway. With the hybrid? 45 city/38 highway/42 combined.
Toyota uses different trim level designations for the Hybrid as compared to the regular Corolla Cross (the ICE version tops out at XLE, while the top of the Hybrid line is XSE), but basically, there's a $3,350 premium for the hybrid, with a base price, including destination, of $32,400.
Standard at that price are 18-inch wheels, a comprehensive active safety suite, smart key, pushbutton start, auto-dimming rearview mirror, LED head, tail and fog lamps, an eight-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker audio system including a 3-month Platinum Plan trial of SiriusXM Satellite Radio, four USB ports, wireless device charging, ambient lighting and dual-zone climate control.
Our tester did have a fair amount of extra-cost optional equipment. $1,250 for the Convenience Package (moonroof, power liftgate), $800 for a nine-speaker JBL Premium audio system including subwoofer and amplifier, $615 for adaptive headlights with auto-leveling, $500 for the two-tone Acidic Blast/Jet Black paint job, $330 for the roof crossbars, $89 for a rear bumper protector, $289 for carpeted floor mats and cargo mat, $179 for door sill protectors, $175 for a frameless interior mirror with HomeLink, and $67 for wheel locks.
That puts the bottom line of the window sticker at $36,694.
And it's the price tag that could be a problem. That number puts the Corolla Cross Hybrid, in loaded, top-trim form, very close to the price of the larger RAV4 Hybrid, with more room, more power, and nearly the same fuel economy. Some restraint with the options brings some price relief, and if the total tab can stay at or below $35,000, the value argument for the Corolla Cross Hybrid is pretty compelling.