Is The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross the new RAV4?

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Front 3/4 Angle. Photo: Cameron Aubernon
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross front 3/4 angle. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is filling a spot once owned by the RAV4.

Near the end of March 2021, I became a car owner for the first time ever, some 26 years after obtaining my driver’s license. For $2,000, I picked up a 1997 Toyota RAV4 L in black on CarGurus. Alas, it has a few issues that need sorting out, issues that could be easily handled if I only had the cash to buy metric hand tools, a floor jack, and a set of jack stands. Or I could just drive it to my friend’s home on the other side of Virginia. He’s worked on, and driven, machines in the 24 Hours of Lemons, a racing series for cars that cost less than $500, and surely I could use his tools. Maybe I’ll flip a coin to determine what to do one day.

That said, my RAV4 still functions as transportation, especially when I need to take my mom to the grocery store or myself to the airport. Which is where the Corolla Cross comes in. Introduced to the world for the 2022 model year, the compact crossover is the new entry-level model for Toyota’s lineup of crossovers and SUVs. It made me wonder if maybe this new crossover could fill in for my ailing RAV4.

Related: A Starter SUV That Isn’t So “Starter:” 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross First Drive Review

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Xle Grille. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE grille. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

Is the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross A First-Generation RAV4 for the New ‘20’s?

When the first-generation RAV4 arrived in the United States in 1995 for the 1996 model year, it was the first compact crossover around. Its now-classic adorable looks drew in more than a few women into the Toyota showroom, despite being a bit too small for some families. Yet, its low cost of entry and good utility – including a low loading floor in the rear cargo area – were a big hit.

Five generations later, the RAV4 is now an angular compact crossover made for a tougher time, priced and sized just below the Highlander and the hybrid-only Venza. Its starting MSRP is $26,525. The C-HR has a lower starting price of $23,880, yet its subcompact size means it might not be the best fit for young families.

With the Corolla Cross, though, shoppers now have a compact crossover with a low cost of entry – $22,195 for the L base model – with plenty of tech and, more importantly, plenty of utility, filling in the space once occupied by the RAV4.

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

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Driver'S Side. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross driver’s side. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

We Are a Long Way From the 90’s

My RAV4 came with a CD player (in addition to the AM/FM/cassette radio), cruise control, and an alarm system with keyless entry (alas, the original key fobs were already lost by the time I became its fourth owner). Multimedia systems weren’t a thing for the majority of the automotive marketplace. Fast forward to 2022, and the AM/FM/XM satellite radio are available through the Corolla Cross’s base 7-inch touchscreen. Step up to the Audio Plus package (available on the LE and XLE), though, and an 8-inch touchscreen with nine JBL speakers plus subwoofer and amplifier take the “-media” in multimedia up to 11.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Apple Carplay. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Apple CarPlay. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

Actually, I don’t generally listen to music while driving. For me, it was all about SiriusXM NASCAR Radio or MLB Network Radio for the entire time the Celeste Gray Corolla Cross XLE was with me. All of my favorite voices, including Larry McReynolds, Dave Moody and Claire B. Lang, came through loud and clear.

Related: 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross: The Reliable Name You Love, Now With More Space

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Xle Multimedia Screen. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE multimedia screen. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

As far as Apple Carplay and Android Auto go, I only used that functionality while going to and from Draper Valley Overlook in Pulaski County, Virginia; I’m familiar enough with my own town to no longer need that help while driving around. Instead, I made plenty of use of the Qi wireless charging system tucked under the center console in front of the shifter. It’s great to not need a cable to keep my phone ready to go.

The one thing that did ding me, though, was the Corolla Cross’s cruise control. All those features exist as a faux-scroll wheel on the steering wheel. You push the right side down to engage/disengage the cruise control, then push down the bottom end to set/decrease the speed, push up the top end to reset or increase the speed. Because of how flat that wheel is, though, it wasn’t as easy for me to use without looking down to make sure I set it up correctly. I’ll take a traditional stalk any day.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Xle Front Seats. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE front seats. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

The 2022 Corolla Cross as Cargo Room, Fuel Economy

No matter which Corolla Cross you get, there is only one powertrain available to move either the front or all four wheels: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine linked to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This amounts to 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque, which is more than enough to carry the whole family over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Rear Seat Fold. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross rear seat fold. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

But power isn’t the highlight of the Corolla Cross. It’s all about the utility. With the 60/40 bench completely folded down, a whopping 26.5 cubic feet of room offers plenty of room for all the groceries (like my mom’s for herself and her mom), moving boxes or camping gear you can fit inside; the XLE has 25.2 cubic feet due to the 13.2-gallon fuel tank exclusive to the trim, instead of the 12.4-gallon tank in the L and LE. It can also tow up to 1,500 pounds, perfect for a small trailer holding a pair of jet skis or dirt bikes.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Xle At The Laundromat. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE at the laundromat. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

Speaking of fuel tanks, though, with fuel prices currently at highs not seen in a few years, you’ll be happy to know the Corolla Cross does very well at the pump. The L and LE trims deliver a combined 32 mpg, while the XLE I tested manages a combined 30 mpg; I only had to fill a quarter-tank once during the week, and that was on the last day before it had to be turned in. A hybrid version – available elsewhere in the world at the moment – would likely pull in more consumers, though at a higher price of entry.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Cargo Area. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross cargo area. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

What This Car Costs

  • Toyota Corolla Cross L base model with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility, 169 horsepower, front-wheel drive, and 7-inch touchscreen, $22,195
  • Toyota Corolla Cross LE with front automatic single-zone air conditioning with air filter and rear vents, smart-key system, and Qi wireless phone charging, $24,545
  • Toyota Corolla Cross XLE with 18-inch alloy wheels, SofTex-trimmed seating for five, LED daytime running lights with on/off feature, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and braking assist, $26,325
  • Audio Plus package with 8-inch touchscreen, nine JBL speakers with subwoofer and amp and alarm, $1,465
  • All-wheel drive, $1,300
  • Tilt-and-slide moonroof with power back door, $1,250
  • Auto-leveling adaptive front lighting system, $615
  • Carpet floor and cargo mat package, $249
  • Frameless Homelink rear view mirror, $175
  • Total sticker price of test model, including $1,215 delivery fee, $32,594

What We Loved

  • Wireless charging is always a hit, especially when you don’t need your phone to navigate around home
  • SiriusXM; how else am I going to listen to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on the way to the laundromat?
  • Excellent fuel economy + plenty of room for groceries = a crossover for the everyday

What You Need to Know

  • Cruise control button is not the easiest to use without looking at the button to use it
  • Low sticker price for the base model combined with more cargo room than the Toyota C-HR is a good combo for those seeking substance over style without needing to go further up Toyota’s crossover/SUV lineup

The Corolla Cross is definitely a car that will hit all the right buttons for many buyers, just like the RAV4 did so many years ago. Whether you’re going to Grandma’s, the grocery store, or the laundromat, it can get the job done. Except play a cassette tape.

Disclosure: Toyota provided the 2022 Corolla Cross for me to test. All opinions are my own.

Correction: The article was revised to specify Cameron’s friend competed in the 24 Hours of Lemons racing series, not the rally we previously mentioned.


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Cameron Aubernon started her journey over a decade ago as an independent fashion blogger. Yet, they knew a bit... More about Cameron Aubernon