Hello and welcome to what could quite possibly be the most useless review on our website this year. Why? Because this car – a white Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid – needs about as much publicity or consumer encouragement as air or water.
Toyota hit a home run, bull’s eye and nail on the head all in one shot with this vehicle. It’s so popular that – unsurprisingly – there was a sizeable waiting list for these cars.
Secondly, Toyota South Africa had the terrible misfortune of getting an entire production plant a bit soggy in the Kwazulu Natal floods some time last year. We certainly won’t joke or make light of that situation because that’s where the backlog got even better.
If you had wandered into a local Toyota dealership in mid 2022 and ordered a Corolla Cross Hybrid, we have it on good authority that you’d still be waiting at this point in time. What a marvelous problem to have, hey?
Never mind natural catastrophes, these Corolla Crosses appear to be exactly what the southern African market was waiting for. Well priced, good looking and fairly capable of dealing with outdoorsy family adventures. And I think we’re right in saying that this is probably the first hybrid which South Africans are genuinely interested in.
Why? Well, it’s definitely better looking than a Prius, more practical than a Yaris, cheaper than a Lexus and arrived exactly at the point in time where fuel prices became slightly ridiculous. Toyota alleges that it’ll only drink 4.3L per 100km from the admittedly tiny 36L tank.
That – and the ever-so-slightly droning CVT are the only negatives we could come up with.
In the real world, my colleagues and I noticed that the car’s fuel gauge and range plummet faster than those of a 19-year-old V8 SUV one of our wives may be piloting. The Cross Hybrid simply doesn’t have the battery or fuel tank capacity to offer good urban (town) consumption figures. Our mixed average numbers were alarmingly close to 10 at times…
Point its elevated but stylish nose at the horizon and it gets a bit better. Although the tiny hybrid system isn’t of much use on the national highways and byways, at least the average fuel figure (and range) improve to such a degree that the car can be used for a lekker December family holiday.
I assume that Toyota S.A. weighed up the pros and cons of a hybrid crossover and chose ultimate Corolla practicality over Prado fuel tank volumes. This vehicle’s small petrol receptacle is a direct result of the hybrid battery and a huge deal-sealer in southern Africa: a full size spare wheel.
That’s right, you’ll have to stop for petrol more often than in other vehicles but at least you won’t be scratching your head with a can of tyre foam when you have a proper papwiel. And beside a decent amount of passenger space (and creature comforts), you’re also gifted a decent-sized boot of 440L.
Now consider the stylish new Toyota looks, the modern technology every buyer demands, excellent active and passive safety features, as well as a slow-speed EV mode at 2/3 the price of a Prius and you have an absolute winner.
Have I mentioned the big warranty and superior dealer network yet? No wonder people are queuing up for these.