30-Minute Test Drive: The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross LE

Toyota Corolla Cross


Toyota Corolla Cross

The Toyota Corolla Cross gives you a name you love, now with more space. Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock

Meet the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross, a brand new take on a longtime favorite.

When you’re shopping on a budget, it can be hard to find a brand new car that satisfies all your needs, including space, safety, reliability, and some decent tech. Many shoppers will turn to the Toyota Corolla, a vehicle that has long been renowned for its ability to run smooth and last a long time without costing an arm and a leg. But if you need more space, a sedan just won’t cut it.

Enter: The Toyota Corolla Cross, which is everything you love about a standard Corolla, but made just a little bigger with some extra storage space and a higher ride height. It may be brand new, but the Corolla Cross will benefit from an already-solid reputation.

We had the Toyota Corolla Cross for a quick test drive in Los Angeles, and we drove the mid-tier LE trim that starts at $25,760. If you’re really budgeting, the Corolla Cross also has a lower-tier L trim for $23,410. And of course, there’s that $27,540 XLE trim for those of you who just can’t forego heated seats.

Related: Why the Toyota Corolla Makes A Great First Car

Toyota Corolla Cross

The selling feature for this Corolla? It’s trunk space. Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock

Say Hello to Space!

If it seems like everyone you know is trading their sedan for a crossover, there’s usually one very good reason for that: Space. And that’s what the Corolla Cross provides in spades compared to the standard Corolla.

First, you have a solid amount of actual trunk space, which is far deeper than what you’d have in a sedan with a narrowed rear end. The second-row seats also fold flat for additional space, and there’s a 60/40 configuration that lets you choose how much flattening you do.

In the second row, you’ll also have plenty of legroom for your passengers courtesy of the fact that the crossover, by its nature, creates more space. If you’ve loved the Corolla sedan but felt like it just didn’t have room for your growing teens, you’re going to love the flexibility provided by the Corolla Cross.

Keep your eyes out, too; the Corolla Cross is new and still finding its footing, but in 2023, Toyota has told us that we can expect a hybrid version of this crossover. That means better fuel mileage and more money in your pocket!

Related: Ask the Car Chick: Which Are the Best Cars for a Teen, and Which Mid-Sized SUV Is the Best Family Car?

Toyota Corolla Cross

Meet your perfect do-it-all vehicle. Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock

A Comfy Drive Without Compromise

I took the Toyota Corolla Cross on a variety of different roads around Los Angeles. I navigated a highway, both at speed and during stop-and-go rush hour traffic. I took it for a spin in tightly packed suburbs and sprawling industrial areas. I even found a little gravel driveway, just to get that extra rumble.

And with all that in mind, I’m here to report that the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross drives perfectly well. No, it isn’t sporty. It’s not inspiring. It isn’t going to wow you or be the envy of your friends.

But you know what? That’s perfect. Not every car needs to be a sports machine, and the Corolla Cross’ drive is absolutely comfortable on all types of roads, with a suspension that absorbs harsh bumps and a cabin that filters out noise. If you’re looking for a vehicle that will competently get you where you need to go predictably and without any surprises, then the Corolla Cross is for you.

All Corolla Cross models have the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 169 horsepower, which is going to be perfect for just about all daily driving needs. If you’re frequently driving on hilly roads or need a little extra traction on unpaved paths, you’ll do well to opt for the $1,300 all-wheel drive option for that extra oomph.

Related: 2022 Toyota GR First Drive Review: Don’t Let This Sexy Little Sports Car Fool You: It’s Fun, Fast, and Affordable

Toyota Corolla Cross

The cloth rear seats feature unique stitching that sets the Toyota Corolla Cross apart from the competition. Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock

This Crossover Is Nondescript — Just The Way It Should Be

There’s a common misconception among automotive enthusiasts that states everyone should want their vehicle to be unique, to stand out from the crowd — but that’s simply not true. Most folks are looking for something they enjoy but that’s not going to draw too much attention, and the Toyota Corolla Cross is that kind of vehicle.

On the outside, the Corolla Cross looks very much like many crossovers, but it has the benefit of a somewhat pug-dog look in the front thanks to the downturned grille, narrow headlights, and jowl-like fenders. It won’t win any inspired style awards, but it’s actually pretty darn cute, and I’ll be honest — I do love an adorable vehicle that makes me smile when I see it in the parking lot.

Inside, you’ll find a similar formula. If you’ve been in another modern Toyota vehicle, you’ll feel right at home behind the wheel, already familiar with the controls and layout. In the back, adult passengers will find themselves with a fairly decent amount of legroom thanks to the crossover’s more expansive size when compared to a sedan.

My favorite part, though, was the seat stitching, which I illustrated in a photo above. The LE trim comes with cloth, not leatherette, seats, and the curvy stitching is fun and almost a little retro. It’s subtle but playful — something that will make you smile every time you climb inside.

Toyota Corolla Cross

The multi-media system isn’t anything fancy, but it’s going to give you the connectivity you need. Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock

An Affordable Crossover, No Matter the Trim

The Toyota Corolla Cross I drove came with the LE trim, which is the mid-tier trim that starts at $25,760. This trim includes the following:

  • 8-inch media screen
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Three USB ports
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with cloth seats
  • Roof rails
  • Blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, smart key, push-button start

The lower L trim comes with fewer USB ports, a plastic steering wheel, and a smaller multi-media screen, and it costs $23,410. The top XLE trim has heated front seats, 10-way power seats, leatherette seats, dual-zone climate control, and front and rear parking assist. The XLE trim starts at $27,540. All-wheel drive is also available on any trim for $1,300.

If you’re looking for a very standard crossover that can’t steer you wrong, the Toyota Corolla Cross is going to be your best bet for anyone on a budget. The ride is comfortable, and the multi-media system provides plenty of brand-new tech — but the Corolla Cross doesn’t come with tons of bells and whistles of the kind you’d expect with a luxury crossover. And that’s perfect.

If I were to recommend this vehicle to anyone, I’d aim for younger adults that are transitioning from their first, basic job to something a little more career-establishing. This is also great for small families that need a bit of extra space that a sedan doesn’t provide — and especially for folks who have a teen learning to drive or seeking a little more freedom. You can rest assured that you and everyone else in the car will be safe in the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross.

Disclosure: Toyota provided the Corolla Cross to A Girls Guide to Cars with the purpose of us reviewing it. All opinions are my own.


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I'm Elizabeth Blackstock, managing editor of AGGTC, blogger, journalist, novelist, editor, MA/MFA graduate student, wife, motorsport fanatic, and bearer... More about Elizabeth Blackstock