September 20, 2021 By Paolo de Borja Photos by the author

2021 Toyota Corolla Cross G: The gasoline variant

Back to Basics

Few things excite modern Filipino car buyers like a new crossover. More so when it comes with a Toyota badge. The Japanese manufacturer launched the Corolla Cross Hybrid in 2020, and with it came the G variant featured here today. 

Its arrival was received rather positively. Some even consider the Corolla Cross to be one of the more underrated cars in the past year. We understand the claim. Toyota managed to deliver a properly-sized crossover built for the ASEAN market and based on the trusted Corolla Altis platform.

The demand for ladder-frame SUVs like the Fortuner won’t dwindle anytime soon, but Filipinos still yearn for a true crossover. While other markets in Southeast Asia got the CH-R, the Philippine market only had the RAV4 as a legitimate crossover offering. And to be frank, the RAV4 price tag is quite steep. Most people we’ve encountered who were initially interested eventually opted for the “bang-for-buck” Fortuner. That’s until the Corolla Cross arrived.

At PhP1,285,000, the Toyota Corolla Cross’ price tag is ways below both the RAV4’s and Fortuner’s. It’s situated along the lines of its main rivals in the segment, such as the Geely Coolray, Kia Seltos, and Ford Territory. 

The Corolla Cross slots between the CH-R and RAV4 in terms of size. Outside, the absence of smoked lights, LED bulbs, daytime running lights, a few chrome garnishes, and blue-accentuated Toyota badges differentiate this trim from the hybrid. For comparison, LED lights are now standard for the Corolla Cross’ top-of-the-line competitors and are offered at similar prices. Although we could argue customers pay a premium for the Toyota name and reliability, this is still something worth considering. It’s true buying a Toyota is a safe and smart choice in the run. We just wish that LED lights were made standard even for the G trim considering the cost. Not everyone is sold on hybrid technology yet, but they do take a good look at the Corolla Cross, so we wish this variant came with more exterior necessities. 

The Corolla Cross isn’t as much of a head-turner as its rivals, but it still looks fresh and nice to the eye. Besides, Toyota has reached success despite more handsome offerings from other brands. 

Inside, the boxy infotainment system we’ve seen on the RAV4 and Corolla Altis follows the Corolla Cross. It’s a 6.8-inch display without Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, but this is understandable given this is the lower variant. This also costs P365,000 less than the hybrid, so something has to give. Additionally, not all of the Corolla Cross G’ competitors offer such functionality, and these are now more accessible in the aftermarket scene. We also appreciate the linear gear shifter, an obvious upgrade compared to lower models like the Vios. 

There’s a lot of hard plastic around the interior but they present the familiar sturdy, long-lasting construction we love about Toyotas. In line with this, two proper cupholders are situated on the door handles for rear passengers. As a type of vehicle regarded for overall practicality and versatility, this is a small touch that will surely come in handy.

The Corolla Cross is a comfortable and practical daily driver. The ride feels sturdier compared to most of its main rivals, but not as hard as the ladder-frame SUVs. Perfect for our imperfect roads. It can also easily accommodate five adults thanks to the generous headroom and general space in the backseat. The absence of third-row seating allows for more spacious cargo space, with little bins on the side and an organizer beneath the mat where we find the spare tire and basic tools. 

Underneath the hood is a 1.8-liter gasoline engine connected to a CVT. It produces 136 bhp and 127 lb-ft of torque, practical numbers for an everyday crossover. Speaking of practicality, the fuel efficiency sort of surprised us. The petrol engine gave us ratings of 8.1 km/L in city driving and 17.8 km/L on the highway. We know fuel economy is a concern for local consumers when it comes to gasoline-powered crossovers, especially with the abundance of diesel options in the market, but the Corolla Cross G may just address this. Power delivery is also respectable and does not have the slight lags experienced with some of its competitors. 

What the Corolla Cross lacks in the plain exterior package is compensated on the safety department. The G gets 7 airbags, stability control, traction control, ABS with EBD and brake assist, hill-start assist, and one rear camera with sensors. Toyota has put safety at the forefront of its vehicles these last few years, and it’s great to see such features even in lower variants or models. 

Overall, the Toyota Corolla Cross G is a companion we wouldn’t mind having for the next 10 years or more, especially if we’re looking for a daily crossover. The respectable efficiency, interior package, and general practicality will prove to be significant in the long run.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-4, 1798 cc, dohc 16V, Multi-Point Indirect Injection, Chain drive with Dual Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-I)
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 136 bhp @ 6400 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 127 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

Performance

Top Speed 180 km/h (112 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 11.2 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 8.1 km/L City, 17.8 km/L Highway

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 1,285,000.00
What's Great Practical yet interesting enough to be an everyday crossover, superb safety package, efficient for a gasoline crossover
What's Not So Lack of LED bulbs on exterior lights, a bit more expensive than fully-equipped competitors
C! Editors Rating 9/10
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