2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid: built, billed right

James Raia

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is marketed as an inexpensive small sport utility vehicle with superior fuel economy. It’s an enticing description for a family needing solid transportation, reliability, efficiency and strong brand resale value.

New with last year’s model, the hybrid joins the Corolla family. Its pedigree stands alone as the best-selling car in history. The Cross debuted in 2022, with the new hybrid, of course, substantially boosting gas mileage.

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid continues the brand's enduring legacy.
The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid continues the brand’s enduring legacy. All images © James Raia/2024.

In its debut model year, the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is available in S, SE and XSE trims. All versions are powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine paired with a hybrid system for a combined 196 horsepower and a continuously variable transmission. All-wheel drive is standard.

As a value brand, Toyota packs a lot into its vehicles. The reviewed Cross Hybrid follows the tradition. It includes much of the two lower trims’ standard fare — LED headlights to automatic climate control an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen to remote keyless entry and a push-button ignition — and upgrades it.

The top-line XSE features: 18-inch wheels, folding rear armrest, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient lighting, power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, upgraded upholstery, digital instrument cluster and front and rear parking sensors with automatic braking. The hybrid’s dashboard includes an 8.0-inch square infotainment display running Toyota’s latest software interface. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM satellite radio are standard. Wireless smartphone charging, rear-seat USB charging ports and a JBL stereo system are optional.

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid has an extensive list of standard features.
The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid has an extensive list of standard features.

All Corolla Cross Hybrids come standard with Toyota’s suite of advanced driver aids known as Safety Sense 3.0. It includes: Adaptive cruise control which adjusts speed to maintain a constant distance between the vehicle and the car in front. The forward collision warning with automatic braking warns the driver of impending collision and applies the brakes in certain scenarios. Lane departure mitigation warns the driver of a lane departure when a turn signal isn’t used. It can automatically steer to maintain lane position.

The midrange SE has heated outside mirrors, tinted rear windows, a rear windshield wiper, extra USB ports, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a wireless phone charger, a blind-spot warning with a rear cross-traffic warning. It alerts the driver of another vehicle in a blind spot during a lane change or while in reverse. Only a few other options are available in the top trim: two-tone paint, a power liftgate and a moonroof.

With substantial competition, the Cross was introduced as Toyota’s transition from the now-discontinued C-HR subcompact and the RAV4. It’s hard to fathom how the SUV segment needs for finely segmented. Fuel efficiency sets the Cross Hybrid apart from its siblings and other brands’ offerings. Gas mileage estimates are 45 miles per gallon in city driving and 38 mpg in on the highway.

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is a fuel-sipper.
The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is a fuel-sipper.

The combined 42 mpg is strong and a 40 percent increase over the gas-only version. But as a small SUV, the Cross Hybrid has only a 10.6-gallon tank. The city range is 477 miles, and the highway range is 402.8 miles. Top competitors include the Kia Niro and a Toyota stablemate, the Prius. Both have better overall cargo space and legroom.

But compact SUV buyers aren’t likely to purchase vehicles for those reasons. Small SUV buyers also aren’t likely too concerned about performance. The Cross Hybrid accelerates from 0-to-60 miles per hour in 8.0 seconds. But the vehicle’s nimble driving and overall feel on the road gives it a seemingly quicker performance than test numbers. 

The 2023 Toyota Cross Hybrid is a practical, efficient and value-oriented small SUV. It provides what’s promised for about $36,000.

Article Last Updated: January 11, 2024.

1 thought on “2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid: built, billed right”

  1. Great overview of the 2023 Toyota Cross Hybrid! The impressive 42 mpg combined efficiency is noteworthy. For a more in-depth analysis and comparisons with top competitors like the Kia Niro and Prius, check out motowheeler.com. It’s an excellent resource for those exploring practical and efficient small SUVs. #ToyotaCrossHybrid #SmallSUV #Motowheeler


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