We drove the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid to Penang and it's better than expected
Regarding the new 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid, we're going to start off strong and direct. Ready to be officially launched on 14 January 2022, UMW Toyota has stated that its expected price should be around RM137,000 (OTR excluding insurance). This is only RM10,000 more than the Toyota Corolla Cross 1.8V petrol variant because of one very important aspect - it's UMW Toyota's first hybrid CKD model fresh from its Bukit Raja plant.
The first batch of petrol-only Toyota Corolla Cross variants CBU models (1.8G and 1.8V) are all sold out, which indicated the next move for the brand's SUV offering - CKD. All new models including the 1.8 Hybrid are now locally-assembled, with prices being modded from RM123,000, RM127,000, and RM137,000 as you move up the variants.
We had a go with the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid model thanks to a media drive organised by UMW Toyota to Penang earlier this week, and surprisingly, it's a lot better than most of us expected. First and foremost, the looks are not that different from its petrol-only siblings. There are some indicators to show that it's a Corolla Cross Hybrid via its blue logos, blue highlights within the headlights, and some hybrid badges on the sides and rear.
It also comes with a pair of functional roof rails which can carry a maximum load of 70kg if you need more cargo space. Speaking of cargo space, the one in the rear is exactly the same as the petrol-only versions with 440 litres of capacity. There were able to do so by cleverly positioning the hybrid's 6.5 Ah nickel-metal hydride battery unit under the second-row seats.
This also means that the fuel tank had to be redesigned to accommodate the battery. Its 36-litre fuel capacity is considerably smaller compared to the 47-litre units in the 1.8G and 1.8V with the idea to help keep the Hybrid's weight down to within an acceptable margin. Fully fueled and ready to go, the Corolla Cross Hybrid is only 25kg heavier than its petrol-only siblings (1,430kg kerb for Hybrid, 1405kg for 1.8G and 1.8V). Fuel consumption figures are rated at 23.3km/l (petrol-only models at 14.7km/l).
The insides are also somewhat similar at first glance, apart from a few differences such as a bigger 7-inch multi-info display to accommodate all the hybrid system info for the driver, drive mode buttons in front of the gear lever, dual-zone climate control, electrochromic rearview mirror, and the optional wireless phone charger and rear digital video recorder.
As for firepower, the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid model is fitted with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder DOHC engine with VVT-i that produces 98PS and 142Nm of torque. That's a slightly lower figure than its petrol-powered brothers which are fitted with the same engine but with dual VVT-i that resulted in 139PS and 172Nm of torque.
The Hybrid's electric motors themselves produce 52kW and 163Nm of torque, and when combined, there's 122PS on tap. While it's still lower than the petrol-powered variants, acceleration is slightly faster. Modulated via its E-CVT transmission, the Corolla Cross Hybrid's 0-100km/h time is 0.9 seconds faster than the 1.8V (0-50km/h is 2.1 seconds faster). It's also quieter too with slightly lower NVH levels compared to the 1.8V. Comfortable? Very.
Its overall comfort is also enhanced via the Toyota New Architecture platform or TNGA. This combination offers a very comfortable ride that absorbs bumps easily and provides very little body roll when you're in the corners. At RM137k, we can honestly say that the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is one of the best in terms of comfort and driving dynamics within that price range.
For those who are interested, bookings are now opened and come Friday (14 January 2022), UMW Toyota will announce the official prices for its entire Toyota Corolla Cross CKD line-up. Stay tuned for more updates!