2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid XSE Review

Different height, same flavor

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: Clean and inoffensive exterior styling, standard all-wheel drive, good fuel economy and safety.
Negatives: Lackluster driving experience, low-grade interior, tight back seat, powertrain gets noisy when pushed.
Bottom Line: The Corolla Cross shares a lot with its sedan sibling but adds more practical cargo space and a better view of the road. The Hybrid version is efficient and also helps performance numbers but fails to deliver anything remotely exciting to drive.
In 2022, Toyota took its venerable Corolla sedan and created a larger, stilted version known as the Corolla Cross. As the appeal of sedans wanes, the move made sense and there's plenty of Corolla DNA in the Cross's mix. It also gets bolstered by increased cargo room, standard all-wheel drive, and a bit more ride height. Like the Corolla Hybrid, the Cross Hybrid offers a naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder gas engine and three electric motors. This makes it quicker than the gas-only Corolla Cross. As similar as it is to the sedan, the changes should make it more appealing to a wider range of car buyers. Aiding that effort are an excellent suite of safety features, more adventurous styling, and standard wireless smartphone charging for higher trim levels. The interior design is pretty spartan, though, and its off-road aspirations are best limited to dusty two-tracks. Though the on-road ride is smooth, even mild enthusiast drivers will find it dull dynamically, making rivals such as the Hyundai Kona and Mazda CX-30 more attractive to buyers who like to drive.

Driving Experience



There's nothing exciting about driving a Corolla Cross Hybrid with its rather dull dynamics. The vehicle is decently quick, but the braking, steering, and handling fall far short of vehicles like the Mazda CX-30, which is a delight to drive.

Ride Quality: The Corolla Cross Hybrid's ride quality is on the firm side, but it's not upsetting as it seems to manage bumps and uneven pavement well. The 18" tires, no doubt, contribute to the firmer ride.

Acceleration: The hybrid powertrain shaves almost two seconds off the gas version's 0-60 sprint time. The CVT and the powertrain are noisy when pushed, but the added quickness is welcomed.

Braking: The brakes lack confidence and feel, making things slightly unsettling when trying to bring it to a stop. This does not make for spirited driving.

Steering: The steering setup is more for comfort than it is for precision or feedback. There's nothing coming through the wheel in terms of feel, but at least it's on center at highway speeds.

Handling: Some noticeable body roll is present, but the all-wheel drive traction helps in the corners and mitigates oversteer.




Although the software in all Corollas has been updated, the system in the Corolla Cross is just ok. It's fine in terms of usability and controls, but it's no looker. At least it comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard along with Amazon Alexa capability and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Infotainment System: The 8-inch touchscreen is, at least, easy to use and not difficult to navigate. It responds to inputs well, and making selections isn't too distracting from the driving experience.

Controls: Sadly, the physical buttons that flanked the touchscreen are now gone, and those functions are now relegated to the touchscreen. At least there are physical climate controls, and the steering wheel controls are pretty good.




The Corolla Cross Hybrid looks good from some angles and challenging from others. It manages to pull off looks that don't copy the Corolla sedan, but we wouldn't call it wholly original.

Front: The dark mesh grille on the XSE doesn't do much to reduce the large protrusion. The long wraparound headlights are a nice touch, but dinky fog lights don't quite match. Also, the slim upper grille is too proboscis-like.

Rear: Everything looks good from the back, including the split taillights and the black valance.

Profile: The Corolla Cross Hybrid is well proportioned with properly-sized front and rear overhangs and wheels and tires that fill the wells. The black trim around the windows and the chunky haunches prevent it from looking too polished.

Cabin: The Corolla Cross Hybrid's cabin lacks polish, but that's what you come to expect at this price. That said, Hyundai, Mazda, and Kia do it better. Some cheap plastics are apparent, but that's no surprise at the price. The broad-shouldered SofTex seats look good. The piano black trim around the shift knob scratches too easily, and that gap between it and the outer trim is an awful crumb trap.




The Corolla Cross provides more room in some dimensions, less in others. What it does unequivocally is provide more cargo space that the Corolla sedan or hatchback.

Front Seats: The seats feel comfortable with the right balance of bolstering and support.

Rear Seats: The Corolla Cross has a few inches less rear legroom but more headroom. 32 inches of rear legroom is on the tight side for adults.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Like all Toyotas, the sedan is well-built with no noise problems aside from the powertrain when the Corolla Cross is pushed.

Visibility: Sightlines are good, and the back isn't too bad even though the pillars are on the thicker side.

Climate: The climate system works well, as do the heated seats.




The Corolla Cross does well in safety tests, and it comes with a great set of standard safety features that are class-leading.

IIHS Rating: It earned the Top Safety Pick, just missing the top score due to "acceptable" hin a couple of areas.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 has a full set of great features like Pre-Collision System w/ Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert w/ Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Automatic High Beams, Road Sign Assist; Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Seat Warning, and an Integrated Backup Camera w/ Projected Path.

Optional Tech: None.




The Corolla Cross ups the Corolla game, providing more cargo space than both the sedan and the Hatchback.

Storage Space: Aside from the center console's cupholders, the small armrest, and a shallow cubby in front of the shifter, there's not much for gear in the cabin.

Cargo Room: The Corolla Cross has quite a bit more cargo space than the sedan. There are 25 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 66 cubic feet with the seats folded compared to the Corolla's 13 cubes in the trunk. It's more than the Mazda CX-30 has.

Fuel Economy



We drove the Corolla Cross Hybrid pretty hard most of the time in order to extract the most out of the powertrain. The 42 combined EPA rating for a hybrid all-wheel drive vehicle is worth noting. It should be attainable under normal driving conditions rather than the Sport mode we selected for most of our seat time.

Observed: 32.7 mpg.

Distance Driven: 214 miles.




Our tester had the optional JBL premium system with 9 speakers, subwoofer, and amplifier. It's a very good system, just not great. The bass and clarity are very good, but it seems to lack the width of top-end systems.

Final Thoughts

The Corolla Cross Hybrid is a welcomed entrant in the Toyota lineup. As the smallest crossover now that the C-HR is gone, it slots in nicely thanks to good cargo space, an efficient powertrain, and standard all-wheel drive. It should please most folks, as long as they don't care much about the fun-to-drive factor.

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