2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid review - SUV VEHICLE

2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid review

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There’s been a lot of new car activity in the small SUV market since the Toyota Corolla Cross arrived in 2022. How is Toyota’s baby RAV4 holding up?

2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid

Spare a thought for the product planning people at Toyota. At last count, Australia’s largest car importer had 144 different vehicle variations on sale in Australia, each with its own selling proposition and price, and it’s somebody’s job to keep all that in order. Somebody else at Toyota has the equally unenviable job of identifying gaps in Toyota’s market coverage and figuring out how to plug them.

Not all gaps are as obvious, or as easy to plug, as the one the Toyota Corolla Cross filled when it arrived in Australia mid-2022. Back then, the Toyota RAV4 mid-size SUV was in huge demand, and so too was the Toyota C-HR small SUV. But, over the many generations of RAV4, its dimensions had grown to the point where it was bigger than a 2000s large SUV, effectively opening up a gap below for a smaller RAV4.

Enter the Toyota Corolla Cross, which is fast finding its place in Australia. The Toyota Corolla Cross is something of a mongrel (in automotive terms) because it’s a mashup of the Toyota C-HR and Corolla with a few RAV4 bits thrown in for good measure.

Let’s take a closer look.

How much is a Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid?

There are eight variants in the 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross range, spanning three mechanical variations and three equipment levels. All share the same compact five-door SUV body, which I’ll detail in the next section.

Pricing has increased over the last 12 months by around $1000 on each variant. In April 2024, pricing starts at $33,980 for the Corolla Cross GX 2WD, which is powered by a non-turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine driving the front wheels. This same drivetrain is found in the Corolla Cross GXL and Atmos priced at $37,730 and $44,530 respectively.

Upgrading to a petrol-electric hybrid 2WD drivetrain adds $2500 to the GX, GXL and Atmos prices listed above. Those looking for all-wheel drive will find it in the GXL hybrid and Atmos hybrid only, for an additional $3000.

That means the price of the Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos AWD hybrid we’re testing here is $50,030 before on-road costs. According to Toyota’s website, the drive-away price is $55,024 in Melbourne and $54,756 in Sydney.

Atmos-exclusive features include 18-inch alloy wheels, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, leather upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, an eight-way power driver’s seat, panoramic sunroof, hands-free power tailgate, wireless phone charging, rain-sensing wipers, auto parking, a nine-speaker JBL premium stereo, and an upgraded 360-degree camera.

Features carried over from lower model grades include LED headlights and tail-lights, power-folding mirrors, a 10.5-inch touchscreen, wireless/wired Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, satellite navigation, reversing camera, leather steering wheel, and a full suite of advanced safety technology.

The Corolla Cross’s main hybridised small SUV rivals are the Honda HR-V, Nissan Qashqai, Hyundai Kona, and Subaru Crosstrek. The Hyundai Kona was named the 2024 Drive Car of the Year Best Small SUV under $50,000, dethroning the 2023 winner, the Nissan Qashqai, so both of those are high in our esteem, as is the Honda HR-V.

Key details 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid AWD
Price $50,030 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Jungle Khaki
Options None
Price as tested $50,030 plus on-road costs
Drive-away price $55,024 (Melbourne)
$54,756 (Sydney)
Rivals Honda HR-V | Hyundai Kona | Nissan Qashqai

How big is a Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid?

The Toyota Corolla Cross shares the Corolla and C-HR platform, is produced in Japan for Australia, and is classified as a small SUV. It measures 4.46m in length, 1.62m tall and 1.83m wide not including the wing mirrors.

That means it is bigger than the C-HR and smaller than the RAV4, which is about 14–16cm longer, 7cm taller and roughly the same width. That’s exactly how it feels inside, too, but I’ll get to that.

Anyone moving from a Corolla hatchback or sedan into a Corolla Cross will quickly feel at home. The cabin is really an SUV adaption of the Corolla’s tried-and-trusted interior.

The seats are comfortable and the materials are to a suitably high standard for a car with a $50K+ price tag, although the (lack of) inclusions let this down a touch, but I’ll get to that. Leather-accented trim is used for the seats, the dashboard and door skins, and on the usual touchpoints like armrests, although here the veneer of luxury runs thin and you can feel the hard plastic lurking beneath.

The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable, which combines with the four-way adjustable steering wheel to deliver a comfortable and flexible driving position. I felt the driver’s seat didn’t go low enough for my preferences; your thoughts may differ.

There are two central cupholders up front, bottle holders in all doors, and a wireless phone charger at the base of the centre stack. The stack itself is somewhat spartan, betraying the Corolla’s overall age with its lacklustre (albeit functional) buttons and layout, topped by a barely adequate 10.5-inch touchscreen in an age where 12.3 inches is typical and some go even bigger.

The Corolla Cross is sufficiently spacious in both the front and the back, although back-seat leg room is helped by the scalloped front seatbacks. There are two air vents for back seat occupants along with two USB-C charging points, a fold-down armrest with two cupholders and a seatback pocket on the passenger side.

A dual-pane moonroof gives front- and back-seaters equal opportunity for skygazing, adding to the airiness of the cabin.

Moving to the Corolla Cross’s boot, and the Atmos gets an electric tailgate that opens to reveal the smallest boot in the Corolla Cross range. At just 380 litres, the Atmos AWD’s boot is 34L less that the Atmos 2WD hybrid and 45L smaller than the GXL 2WD hybrid. It’s also a whopping 72 litres less than the Nissan Qashqai hybrid.

The Atmos AWD hybrid has a smaller cargo space because firstly it has to fit an electric motor for the rear wheels, the hybrid battery and parts of the JBL sound system.

A retractable roller blind hides cargo from view, and there are a few tie-down points to prevent items from rolling around. There is no spare tyre underneath the floor. Instead owners get a can of hole-plugging goo and a tyre inflator on hybrid all-wheel drive Corolla Cross models, 2WD versions get a space-saver spare wheel.

2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid AWD
Seats Five
Boot volume 380L seats up
Length 4460mm
Width 1825mm
Height 1620mm
Wheelbase 2640mm

Does the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

Being the most expensive variant in the Corolla Cross range, the Atmos grade gets the big 10.5-inch infotainment touchscreen running Toyota’s latest-generation software. This is a big step-up on Toyota’s previous-generation software which featured dated graphics and limited features.

Standard features include AM/FM/DAB+ radio, wireless and wired Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity and streaming, and satellite navigation. There are also screens for checking on the vehicle’s fuel consumption and watching its hybrid powertrain at work.

In general the new system works fine, and we experienced no issues with (wired only) Android Auto. Our colleagues have previously mentioned connectivity dropouts with wireless Apple CarPlay, but I was unable to test that this time around.

The Corolla Cross was the first Toyota to introduce a 12.3-inch digital screen in the driver’s instrument cluster, and works well at communicating all the information the driver needs. In typical Toyota style, the graphics are more functional than fancy, and the system doesn’t have the breadth of customisation options of some rivals.

Toyota Connected Services allow owners to pair their smartphone and offers remote access to vehicle location, driver profiles and restrictions for guest users, status checks on things like fuel level and open/closed windows, plus in-car features like SOS emergency call and stolen vehicle tracking. Access is free for the first 12 months, and is offered by paid subscription after the first year.

Lastly, the Corolla Cross Atmos has a nine-speaker JBL sound system, which is an appreciable step-up on the six-speaker system in GX and GXL variants.


Is the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid a safe car?

The Toyota Corolla Cross received a five-star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) when tested in 2022.

The Corolla Cross earned 85 per cent for adult occupant protection, 88 per cent for child occupant protection, 87 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 83 per cent for safety assist technology.

All Corolla Cross variants have dual frontal airbags, front-side airbags and two-row curtain airbags. A driver’s knee airbags is also standard, as is a front-centre airbag that is designed to prevent front-seat occupants clashing heads in a side impact.

2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid AWD
ANCAP rating Five stars (tested 2022)
Safety report Link to ANCAP report

What safety technology does the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid have?

Toyota has been known to reserve some safety features for higher-priced variants in a range (Toyota BZ4X is one example), and has done the same with the Corolla Cross range.

Most of the safety and driver assist features found on the most expensive Corolla Cross Atmos are also on the cheapest Corolla Cross GX.

That includes autonomous emergency braking with intersection assist, and day/night pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection. Lane-keep assist with centring function, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross-traffic alert, speed sign recognition and high-beam assist.

The Atmos adds a few extra though, including a 360-degree camera with a see-through moving view, and parking support brake to help avoid low-speed parking bumps, with object, vehicle, and pedestrian detection.

I experienced no glitches or issues with any of the safety systems during the week of testing. I do like the fact that Toyota gives the driver a choice between active cruise control and dumb cruise control. I do wish that the cruise control’s curve speed reduction function wasn’t so conservative, but I suspect they have to set it with low driver competence expectations.

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) Yes Includes pedestrian, cyclist, junction and limited night-time awareness
Adaptive Cruise Control Yes All-speed adaptive, with curve speed reduction
Blind Spot Alert Yes Alert only
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Yes Alert and assist functions
Lane Assistance Yes Lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, lane-centring assist
Road Sign Recognition Yes Includes speed limit recognition and assist
Driver Attention Warning Yes
Cameras & Sensors Yes Front and rear sensors, 360-degree camera

How much does the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid cost to run?

Toyota provides a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty with all Corolla Cross variants, with an additional two years for the petrol-electric powertrain. Servicing intervals are every 12 months or 15,000km, which is fairly standard.

Servicing is a very low $250 per year for the first five years, which makes the Corolla Cross hybrid one of the most affordable small/medium SUVs to own — only the Honda HR-V is cheaper (at $199).

Our online comprehensive insurance quote came in at $1914 per year for a 35-year-old male with a clean driving record living and garaging the car in Chatswood, NSW. Interestingly, this is $140 per year cheaper than Drive was given in January 2023, which shows just how volatile insurance quotes can be, even with the same company, and shows the importance of shopping around.

This is competitive with a $1952 Honda HR-V quote, and a touch more than our $1843 quote for the Nissan Qashqai e-Power.

Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.

At a glance 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid AWD
Warranty Five years, unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs $750 (3 years)
$1250 (5 years)

Is the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid fuel-efficient?

Toyota claims all-wheel-drive hybrid versions of the Corolla Cross will consume 4.4 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres in mixed (urban and highway) driving.

Drive put the Corolla Cross Atmos hybrid through 600km of driving in one week, largely 100km/h highway commuting but with a fair amount of urban running around thrown in. We were pleasantly surprised to return a week-long average of 4.9L/100km. Even though this is 10 per cent above Toyota’s laboratory-tested claimed average, it’s a real-world difference of $3 a week.

If you travel the national average 15,000km per year, the Corolla Cross will cost less than $30 a week to fuel. That’s astonishing for a car large enough to carry four adults and luggage in comfort.

Given those real-world figures, the Corolla Cross’s tiny 43-litre petrol tank is still capable of more than 800km on a 91-octane fill.

Fuel efficiency 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid AWD
Fuel cons. (claimed) 4.4L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 4.9L/100km
Fuel type 91-octane unleaded
Fuel tank size 43L

What is the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid like to drive?

Annoyingly, frustratingly, infuriatingly… good. The Corolla Cross Atmos hybrid is right on the money for what buyers should expect, and is another example of Toyota absolutely nailing the dynamic fundamentals to suit the vehicle type. So from a critic’s point of view, it’s frustrating and annoying because there’s really nothing of substance to criticise.

Sure, I could complain that the engine becomes a little harsh when pushed, and dynamically the Corolla Cross is not as sharp as the Hyundai Kona. But these qualms are largely irrelevant to the buyer set, because the dynamics are sound and the engine has enough low-end pull that it doesn’t need to be revved hard.

For the record, the Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos hybrid AWD comes with a 112kW 2.0-litre petrol engine combined with two electric motors (83kW front and 30kW rear) and a small rechargeable battery. The total system output, Toyota says, is 146kW. Toyota makes no system torque claim, saying only that the petrol engine provides 190Nm and the front motor 206Nm.

The Corolla Cross is a fuss-free car to drive because the petrol-electric powertrain uses its constituent parts to great effect. It generally uses its electric motors to pull away from standstill before calling on the petrol engine to assist with building and maintaining speed. The beauty of the Toyota system is the driver doesn’t need to know or care about the details; the Corolla Cross is strong and willing when you need it to be, and relaxing when you don’t.

The Corolla Cross’s ride quality is plush, too, yet never verging on sloppy. It has a suppleness that soaks up rough road elements without translating into poor body control. This, too, contributes to the Corolla Cross’s competence in everyday situations, and adds just a touch of sporty spice for enjoying corners and quiet country roads, if that’s your thing.

Our Corolla Cross test car wore Michelin Primacy 18-inch tyres that exhibited good levels of adhesion in the dry and the wet. We’d question the need for all-wheel drive in a car of this type, because drivers are rarely if ever going to put this car in a situation where all-wheel drive makes the difference. Certainly not off-roading or muddy forestry tracks; perhaps only snowy roads leading to the slopes? For 95 per cent of buyers, the $3000 cheaper Atmos 2WD would be a smarter buy.

The steering is another element that strikes a nice balance between lightness and heft. It is light enough to make the car easy to park, yet has a good weight at driving speeds that communicates front-end grip and precision.

One aspect of hybrids that can be tricky to get right is the brakes, because braking plays a dual role of reducing speed and recuperating kinetic energy. Again, annoyingly, nothing of substance to complain about here. Toyota’s hybrid system sees to its needs seamlessly while making the sure the driver gets smooth and confidence-inspiring retardation.

Ultimately, the Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos is a well-engineered and finely tuned exemplar of the small SUV breed.

Key details 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid AWD
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol hybrid
Power 112kW @ 6000rpm petrol
83kW front electric
30kW rear electric
146kW combined
Torque 190Nm @ 4400–5200rpm petrol
206Nm front electric
No combined figure quoted
Drive type All-wheel drive
Transmission Continuously variable automatic (CVT)
Power-to-weight ratio 94.2kW/t
Weight (kerb) 1550kg
Spare tyre type Tyre repair kit
Tow rating 750kg braked
750kg unbraked
Turning circle 10.4m (tyre) or 11.2m (body)

Can a Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid tow?

Finally, one discipline in which the Toyota Corolla Cross is found wanting. Toyota has certified the Corolla Cross Hybrid to tow 750kg maximum (regardless of brakes or no brakes), so this is not the car you buy to regularly tow anything heavier than a weekend handyman’s 6×4 box trailer.

That said, the Corolla Cross’s petrol-electric powertrain certainly has the torque to cope with a 750kg anchor being dragged behind it, but if towing is something you do more than once in a blue moon, perhaps a RAV4 would suit you better.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on who and what you put in the cabin. The Corolla Cross has a maximum payload of 455kg, which is the equivalent of four large blokes or five average size adults — not including luggage.

Should I buy a Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid?

Yes, if what you want is a fuss-free, well-engineered, capable and practical small SUV. When Toyota set out to design and develop the Corolla Cross, it clearly did its homework on what buyers want and need. Then Toyota nailed it. There are no rough edges, no burrs, no cut corners with the Corolla Cross.

About the only caveat I can level at the Corolla Cross is that it’s not the absolute best at anything, except perhaps fuel efficiency. In-cabin practicality is one example: additional storage is needed in the occupant spaces, and the boot is on the small side.

In every measure you could find a slightly better car, so depending on your priorities, there may be a better choice. But for buyers who want to short-cut the researching and test-driving process, putting your money down on a Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid means you won’t go wrong.

Is the Atmos worth the cost of admission, and the $6800 step-up from the GXL hybrid AWD? Yes. It has the additional features to justify that step. As we said above, though, canny buyers should consider the need for all-wheel drive, because the Atmos 2WD is $3000 cheaper and has a bigger boot.

How do I buy a Toyota Corolla Cross? The next steps.

Toyota suffered terribly from a lack of hybrid supply a couple of years back (particularly on the RAV4), but has since told us that supply lines are back under control. Customers shouldn’t have to wait long, if at all, for their preferred Corolla Cross variant and colour.

The next step on the purchase journey is to check the Toyota website for stock of your preferred Corolla Cross variant. You can also find Toyotas for sale at Drive Cars for Sale.

We strongly recommend taking a test drive at a dealership before committing because personal needs and tastes can differ. Find your nearest Toyota dealer here. It’s also worth checking out the Hyundai Kona and Nissan Qashqai, two other standouts in the small SUV market. We’d also recommend test-driving the Toyota RAV4 hybrid to decide if the smaller Corolla Cross really has the in-cabin space you need.

If you want to stay updated with everything that’s happened to this car since our review, you’ll find all the latest news here.

The post 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid review appeared first on Drive.

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