Toyota Corolla Cross 1.8XR CVT HV: A BIG Step in The Right Direction

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Is the Corolla Cross 1.8XR CVT HV the car that will make hybrids mainstream on local shores?

The Toyota Corolla Cross 1.8XR CVT HV, if you haven’t heard of it then you must be living under a rock. The reason I say this is because, despite a long history of building hybrids, Toyota may have finally released the car that will make hybrids a more common sight on local roads.

Now I know that you must be asking why, given that the Prius has been available locally for several years and Lexus has an extensive line-up of hybrid models, but the Corolla Cross is significant because it's “normal”.  What I mean by this is that the Prius looks weird while the Lexus models are too expensive. The Corolla Cross however looks cool (like any modern crossover SUV), it’s the most affordable hybrid on the market, and it's built right here in South Africa!

Starting with the looks, I honestly love the stylish simplicity of the Corolla Cross. The overall shape is familiar to SUV consumers, and the grill carries over design elements from models like the latest RAV-4 and the C-HR. It’s ideal for those looking for a lifestyle SUV that doesn’t scream “Oh look at me, I’m going green”. Add to that the car’s ground clearance of 161mm coupled to the 225/50R18 tyres, and you have a vehicle that can put up with the daily challenges of commuting, from potholes to steep driveways and the trip to the countryside mountain bike trails on weekends.

Clicka Car Toyota Corolla Cross Front

The same ethos is carried over the interior, where Toyota could have gone crazy trying to show off the model’s “ground-breaking technological credentials”. Toyota has however chosen to hold back, offering a clean, modern and uncluttered dashboard with a large infotainment screen, simple yet modern air-con controls, and easy to read gauges.

Clicka Car Toyota Corolla Cross Dashboard

The interior also features adequate seating for five people, and the boot is a massive 440 litres.

Clicka Car Toyota Corolla Cross Seating

I honestly love how Toyota has kept the cosmetic side of the Corolla Cross HV somewhat conventional and focused its efforts on the unconventional drivetrain instead. Being a hybrid, the Corolla Cross HV is equipped with a 1800cc engine that produces 103 kW and a 90kW electric motor linked to a CVT automatic gearbox. The beauty of this system lies in the fact that you can take advantage of the electric drive system when pottering around town or sitting in stop-go traffic before switching over automatically to the petrol engine for high-speed highway cruising or when the batteries are running low. This allows consumers to enjoy the benefits that come from extreme fuel saving, with Toyota claiming 4.3l/100km, lowered emissions, and it dispels any form of range anxiety one usually experiences behind the wheel of a full-electric car because once your batteries run low, the petrol engine takes over, allowing you to get to your destination instead of the nearest plug-point.

Now we come to the final reason why I, a supercar and high-performance nut, love the Corolla Cross HV; the price! If you want a Prius, be prepared to ask your bank for at least R604,000. Choose the Corolla Cross, and you only need to ask for a saner R461,700 - R500,000 depending on spec and the extras you wish to add. That is amazing value for the amount of the car you’re getting, and, in all honesty, if you are in the market right now for an urban family SUV, the Corolla Cross 1.8XR CVT HV should be the only candidate on your list!

Find your Corolla Cross in the ClickaCar Virtual Showroom.