2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid XSE

The Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is new for 2023. It’s basically the Corolla in crossover form. Like the Corolla sedan, this little crossover is reasonably priced and offers good value for the money with a smooth ride, standard all-wheel drive, lots of standard features, a decent amount of cargo space, and good fuel economy.

Base Price: $31,065
As Tested: $36,275
Horsepower: 196
Mileage: 45 mpg city/38 mpg highway/42 mpg combined

The Corolla Cross Hybrid is now the smallest hybrid crossover made by Toyota, fitting in the line-up below the RAV4 Hybrid. (Toyota discontinued the subcompact C-HR). Like the regular Corolla, the Corolla Cross is available with a traditional gas-powered engine, which was introduced for the 2022 model year, and as a hybrid which is new for 2023.

Yes, the Corolla Cross does remind me of the Subaru Crosstrek, which is also available as a hybrid, in that it’s a budget-friendly compact crossover with standard AWD. Another rival is the Kia Niro Hybrid, although it has front-wheel drive.

The 2023 Corolla Cross Hybrid comes in three trims: S, SE and XSE. Starting prices are $27,970, $29,290 and $31,065, respectively. There’s room for five passengers in two rows of seating. As noted above, AWD is standard on every trim.

All are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, three electric motors that drive all four wheels, and a .9-kWh battery pack. The transmission is a continuously variable automatic. Total output is 196 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque.

The Corolla Cross Hybrid is a little peppier than the regular gas-powered Corolla Cross. Acceleration is ok from a stop – Toyota says it can go from zero to 60 mph in 8 seconds. There’s also enough oomph for merging and passing at freeway speeds.

The ride is pretty smooth for a compact car with the suspension absorbing most bumps and potholes. The Corolla Cross feels stable in turns with little body roll. The brake pedal can feel squishy because of the regenerative braking. The CVT works fine but the engine can drone when you hit the accelerator as the CVT can keep revs fairly high. Visibility is good to the front and sides but limited to the rear due to the thick roof pillars. Overall, the Corolla Cross is pleasant to drive with a ride that’s more about comfort than spirited performance. 

There are three driving modes: Normal, Eco, and Sport. As expected, the Sport setting has the liveliest performance.

Fuel economy is good for a hybrid crossover. EPA ratings for my tester are 45 mpg city and 38 mpg highway with a combined rating of 42. I got 42 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.

The cabin is spacious and comfortable but looks a bit low-rent. There are lots of hard plastics and some of the controls look and feel cheap. Front row passengers enjoy good leg and headroom. The second row is roomy enough for average size adults, but taller folks may wish for more legroom.

Standard features include remote keyless entry, push-button start, rearview camera, cloth upholstery, six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, four-way manually adjustable passenger seat, 4.2-inch driver information display, infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, two USB-C ports, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Available features include proximity keyless entry, single-zone automatic climate control, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather shift knob, leather-trimmed steering wheel, seven-inch digital instrument cluster, nine-speaker JBL premium audio system, two additional USB-C ports, wireless device charging, Wi-Fi hotspot, moonroof, ambient lighting, and adaptive headlights.

Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, pedestrian detection, and rear-seat reminder.

Available driver assistance technologies include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, reverse automatic emergency braking, and front and rear parking sensors.

The infotainment system is a mixed bag. The Corolla Cross Hybrid gets Toyota’s latest with sharp graphics and quick response time. But unfortunately, the only physical control is a volume knob. You have to go through the touchscreen or use voice commands for other inputs.

Cargo space is good for a compact hybrid crossover. There are 21.5 cubic feet behind the second row and 61.8 cubes with the second row folded. A power liftgate is standard. Roof rails are standard on the SE and XSE trims.

The good:

Good value for the money

Smooth ride

Standard AWD

Great fuel economy

Many standard features and tech

User-friendly infotainment system

Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

The not-so-good:

Engine can drone when pressed

Infotainment system only has volume knob, no other physical controls

Pricing info:

My tester starts at $31,065. The Convenience Package is $1,250 and includes a tilt and slide moonroof and power liftgate. The JBL Premium Audio is $800 and includes nine speakers including a subwoofer and amplifier. Adaptive front headlights with auto-leveling are $615. Two-tone exterior color is $500. Carpet floor mat and cargo mat are $289. Door sill protectors are $179. Frameless HomeLink mirror is $175. Wheel locks are $67. Delivery fee is $1,335, bringing the grand total to $36,275.

Bottom line:

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is a well-rounded contender among compact crossovers. It gives good value for the money, has decent performance, excellent fuel economy, a spacious cabin, and a long list of standard features.

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