Toyota, like other automakers, is doubling up in the subcompact crossover segment, planning to sell the Corolla Cross alongside the C-HR — a vehicle more hatchback than crossover — at least for now. Toyota introduced a similar vehicle with the Corolla Cross badge in Thailand last summer, with plans to sell it in other markets, though the U.S. version is expected to be slightly different.
The subcompact crossover market is on fire and continues to attract newer entries such as the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Buick Encore GX, Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30 and Hyundai Venue.
U.S. sales in the segment grew 4.8 percent to nearly 900,000 in 2020, when the broader market contracted amid the coronavirus pandemic, and 44 percent in the first quarter, making it the third-biggest utility segment — mass market or luxury — behind compact and large crossovers.
With car demand waning, subcompact crossovers have also become a key entry point for major brands.
It's the second time in recent decades that Toyota has leveraged the name of its Corolla compact car, one of the industry's top-selling nameplates of all time, on a new model. The company marketed the Corolla Matrix, a hatchback, starting in 2003 until output ended in 2013.
The Corolla Cross will be built on Toyota's modular TNGA-C platform and be powered by a 1.8-liter inline-four engine paired to a continuously variable transmission, making an expected 140 hp and 129 pound-feet of torque.