Toyota Corolla Cross Debuts Locally From RM 124,000

Will this new Corolla Cross be Toyota’s golden goose in the local SUV game?

Looking back at Toyota’s history in Malaysia, the company has not really done very well with their SUVs over here. The RAV4, while a good car, is a just tad too pricey for its segment. The C-HR meanwhile is, to put it kindly, interesting; with the Rush and Fortuner perhaps the only ones that managed to achieve a modicum of commercial success locally. 

Toyota’s run of SUV misses locally though may soon be changing, as the new Corolla Cross has recently been unveiled over here. Wearing the nameplate of the world’s best-selling car model in history, expectations are high for this particular crossover to sell like hotcakes.

The next big hit for Toyota(?)

While some may think that this is nothing more than idle speculation or wishful thinking, there is nevertheless several good reason to think that the Corolla Cross may be the next big thing in Malaysia. Chief among which is the fact that this new Toyota SUV actually sits in a rather niche slot within this ever-growing segment of the market. 

Touted by the Japanese automaker themselves during its global launch in the middle of last year as ‘Corolla Meets SUV’, this Corolla Cross is essentially a crossover version of the ever-popular Corolla sedan. Though while its sedan sibling sits nicely within the C-segment, with crossovers dimensions being the way they are, this Toyota SUV sits in like the goldilocks zone between the compact crossovers (HR-V, X50 etc.) and the mid-sized SUVs (CR-V, X70 etc.)

Moreover, as it sits in between the two segments in dimensions, the new Corolla Cross slots in neatly between the two niches in terms of price too. Starting at RM 124,000 for the lower-spec 1.8G variant, before rising to RM 134,000 for the more premium 1.8V trim level. 

Now as for the car itself, the Corolla Cross sticks rigidly to its ethos of being a crossover-fied Corolla. Whether this be a good thing or a bad thing, this is a fact which is very apparent throughout this car, as we shall see in more detail below. 

Much like its sedan sibling

Kicking things off under the skin of this Corolla Cross first, this particular Toyota SUV arriving in Malaysia features the same powertrain combination as in the current iteration of Corolla sedan. Meaning a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder that outputs 139 PS and 172 Nm of torque is found under the hood, which is mated to a 7-speed Sequential Shiftmatic CVT that drives solely the front wheels. 

As for its chassis meanwhile, this crossover (naturally) is based on the same TNGA-C platform that underpins its saloon counterpart, as well as the C-HR. Missing though from Corolla Cross is the double wishbone rear suspension that is to be found on those two models, with a simpler torsion beam setup taking its place instead here. 

Moving up top now and talking more about the exterior design of the Corolla Cross, it could be best summed up as being Corolla meets RAV4. With its swoopy Corolla silhouette topped off with a sprinkling of RAV4 macho-ness. 

The difference that RM 10k nets

In terms of exterior features, the lower tier 1.8G variants feature halogen projector headlights, LED fog lights, LED combination rear lights and 17-inch alloy wheels. The higher trim level cars on the other hand gain bi-LED headlights, LED tail lights with a ‘light curtain’ effect, an acoustic laminated windshield and dual-tone alloys that are an inch larger in diameter. 

Stepping inside, the interior of the Corolla Cross is in essence virtually identical to the sedan sibling. Though that really is no bad thing as it therefore means that this SUV comes well equipped with keyless-go, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, a 9-inch central infotainment display with Apple Carplay and Android Auto integration, a 4.2-inch digital combination cluster, single-zone automatic climate control with rear air-con vents and a powered tailgate with a kick sensor as well as a powered driver seat with 8-way adjustability and reclining rear seats with a 60:40 fold-down split. 

Stepping up to the higher-tier 1.8V however nets interior ambient lighting and more importantly perhaps, the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 active safety suite. Bringing with it Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) upwards of 30 km/h, and Automatic High Beam (AHB) functionality. 

Having said that, the lower tier 1.8G Corolla Cross isn’t exactly skint on the safety department either. Coming with a Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) system, a Tyre Pressure Warning System (TPWS) , Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), a 3D Surround View Monitor (SVM), 7 airbags, front and rear parking sensors in addition a host of passive safety acronyms not to mention a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and Toyota’s Vehicle Telematics System (VTS). 

Coming with a 5-year warranty and a choice of 5 colours: Red Mica Metallic, Nebula Blue Metallic, Metalstream Metallic, Platinum White Pearl, and Graphic Metallic, the Corolla Cross is now available for booking at all UMW Toyota dealerships nationwide or through the virtual showroom. 

It is worth noting though that only the lower-spec 1.8G is currently available for viewing, testing and purchase, with the higher-tier 1.8V to arrive at a later date. Moreover, these initial run of cars will all be fully-imported from Thailand, with locally assembled units of the Corolla Cross only arriving some time down the line. 

PRESS RELEASE: It is true. The long-awaited all-new Toyota Corolla Cross is officially on Malaysia shores! 

It goes on sale with effect from 25 March 2021, offering Malaysians a new and exciting SUV for urban and outdoor adventures. 

Introducing the new Corolla Cross, UMW Toyota Motor President, Ravindran K., said “In wasting no time, we are accelerating into 2021 with new drive and synergised mobility. The new Toyota Corolla Cross enters the ever-growing modern SUV segment, catering to a new generation of mobile adventurous consumers. We are confident that it will prove to be yet another winner as it is ideal for today’s active lifestyles.” 

The new model, imported as a CBU model from Thailand, is available in two variants – Corolla Cross 1.8V and Corolla Cross 1.8G. They are priced from RM134,000 (without sale tax exemption) and RM124,000 (with sale tax exemption until 30 Jun 2021) in Peninsular Malaysia without insurance. 

According to Akio Takeyama, Deputy Chairman of UMW Toyota Motor, initial market studies have shown that there is a strong and positive response to this new type of Corolla. “This response is not surprising as there is great demand for SUVs globally. As such, we will have this model assembled locally around the end of this year,” he said. 

Although a member of the Corolla family, the Corolla Cross has entirely different styling from the popular Corolla Sedan. It has a bold design which indicates a sporty and fun-to-drive character with the functionality of a SUV. 

Like many of the latest Toyota models, the Corolla Cross is built around the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), a structure and platform that allows more engineering flexibility and offers a number of benefits. With TNGA, a lower centre of gravity can be achieved to Improve stability while the highly rigid body enhances agility and ride comfort. 

Compared to the Corolla Sedan, the Corolla Cross has a marginally shorter body with an overall length of 4,460 mm. However, it has 45 mm more overall width at 1,825 mm, and stands 185 mm taller at 1,620 mm. The extra height allows ground clearance to be raised to 161 mm. 

Modern SUVs have a passenger car-like interior with all the comfort and convenience features, pioneered 25 years ago by the RAV4. The Corolla Cross continues with this concept, providing an urban space with a tough premium expression. Besides having a higher seating position, the extra height of the vehicle provides significantly better headroom than other competitor SUV models in the same class. 

While the Corolla Cross 1.8G uses projector-type halogen headlamps, the 1.8V variant has Bi- LED units that give better illumination. The integrated Day Running Lights clearance lamps feature an intricate ‘light curtain’ graining for a unique, high-quality appearance. The same ‘light curtain’ feature can also be seen on the rear lighting units. 

The overall colour theme for the cabin is black with black leather upholstery for the seats, while satin-finish paint is used to highlight ornamentation parts. LED illumination on the front door trim creates a high-quality feel and gives an advanced impression. To enable drivers of any size and height to achieve a comfortable position, the seat has 8-way Power Adjustment. 

The instrument panel has a sporty appearance with a dominant speedometer in the middle and a 4.2-inch colour Multi-Information Display (MID). The large 9-inch panel in the middle of the dashboard serves as the display for the audio and infotainment system, as well as the image from the rearview camera. The system is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto ready so compatible smartphones can be linked to the infotainment system. Other connectivity options include USB mirroring, AUX and Bluetooth. 

Besides the convenience of a Smart Entry & Push Start System to lock/unlock the doors and start/stop the engine, the Corolla Cross also comes with a Power Back Door with kick sensor that opens and closes automatically by just positioning a foot under the rear bumper which has a proximity sensor. This allows for handsfree operation which will be convenient when both hands are holding bags or other items. 

The cargo area has a volume of 440 litres with the rear backrests raised. This can be expanded by folding down one or both backrests and when folded, the floor is completely flat. With both backrests down, it is possible to carry two road bicycles. To conceal the items in the cargo area, there is a tonneau cover which can be rolled up when not needed. 

The Corolla Cross is powered by a 1.8-litre petrol DOHC engine with Dual VVT-i. This proven engine produces 139 ps of power at 6,400 rpm with 172 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. With the 

optimized fuel delivery system, the engine offers an excellent balance of power, agility and fuel efficiency. 

The 7-speed Sequential Shiftmatic transmission (CVT) has improved performance with an electronically-controlled throttle to provide responsiveness, smoothness and quietness. 

TNGA encompasses the chassis engineering as well and the suspension is designed to provide a fine-tuned balance of dynamic handling and stability with exemplary ride comfort. The highly- acclaimed handling of the Corolla sedan is also evident in the Corolla Cross and some of the characteristics have been optimized for the taller SUV. Furthermore, the 5.2-metre turning radius – best-in-class – parking and moving around easy. 

At the same time, the increased ground clearance allows the Corolla Cross to handle rough urban roads with ease, not to mention flood conditions. Additionally, with an 18° approach angle, it can also travel over uneven terrain and up steep inclines, as well as easily cross over speedbumps with ease. 

In the Corolla Cross 1.8V, Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) – a suite of integrated active safety systems to assist the driver – demonstrates Toyota Synergised Mobility. The safety systems in TSS 2.0 consist of a Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) and Automatic High Beam (AHB). These core technologies, which use a radar and camera, are complemented by other safety technologies such as a Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), and a Tyre Pressure Warning System (TPWS). 

The Corolla Cross is also equipped with a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) at the front (optional for rear) enabling the owner to have a video record of the vehicle’s movements at all times. In the event of an incident, the recordings will be available as evidence. Every new Corolla Cross has a factory-installed security system that includes an engine immobilizer. 

Additionally, a Vehicle Telematics System (VTS) can track the vehicle’s position using GSM/GPS signals. The owner can also monitor Ignition vehicle status and vehicle speed and if the vehicle is stolen, a 24/7 Command Centre will locate it and inform relevant authorities to recover it. In the event there is an impact detected, the centre will inform emergency services to provide assistance at the vehicle’s location. Owners of Corolla Cross will enjoy 3-years free subscription of the VTS. 

Besides the high-strength TNGA platform, the structure of the Corolla Cross is engineered to withstand impact forces from all sides during an accident, reducing or preventing injuries to the occupants. In crash testing and technical evaluation by ASEAN NCAP, the Corolla Cross, as with many other Toyota models, has received a maximum 5-star safety rating. 

Additionally, there are 7 SRS airbags around the cabin (including one for the driver’s knees) which will deploy and provide cushioning in severe collisions. ISOFIX points (with tether anchor) are also available in the rear outer seats for installation of compatible childseats, which are now required by law. 

Also introduced during the online launch of the model were the two Corolla Cross Ambassadors – Diana Danielle and Danny Koo – who will be closely associated with the new model in advertising and promotional activities. Both are former racers in the Vios Challenge One-Make Series, and lead active lives that the Corolla Cross has been designed to support. 

“Diana and Danny are celebrities well known to the Malaysian public,” said Mr. Ravindran. “We are happy to have them associated with the Corolla Cross. Diana has a bold personality and constantly breaks boundaries, which matches the Corolla Cross perfectly, while Danny reinvents his perspectives to go beyond his limitations – just like the way the Corolla Cross Reinvents the Rules.” 

Customers can choose from an exterior colour line-up of five finishes – Red Mica Metallic, Platinum White Pearl, Metalstream Metallic, Graphite Metallic and Nebula Blue Metallic. A full 5-year/unlimited mileage factory warranty is provided as well as assurance of nationwide aftersales support with ready availability of genuine parts. 

The new Corolla Cross 1.8G is now available for viewing, testing and purchase at the showrooms of all authorised Toyota dealerships and UMWT branches nationwide. The Corolla Cross 1.8V will be available at a later date but bookings are accepted now. Bookings are also made available at its virtual showroom online. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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