Is the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Really a Game Changer?

That middle “hump” seat in the rear of most vehicles is typically the least desirable place to sit. When you don’t have a small child along for the ride, larger passengers have to squeeze into this space, pushing the outer two toward the doors. This is a bit of how it feels looking at the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross. This compact crossover version of the beloved Corolla squeezes between the C-HR and RAV4. Could that squeeze eventually push the C-HR out the door?

Has Toyota upgraded the 2023 Corolla Cross?

The latest version of this compact crossover SUV hits the market with a few new items to admire. This new model of the Corolla Cross brings a hybrid powertrain, the next-generation infotainment software, and the improved Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 package.

Is the Corolla Cross a game-changer in the compact crossover SUV class?

Blue 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross On a City Street
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross | Toyota

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Not really; in fact, MotorTrend calls this Toyota SUV unremarkable. That’s not exactly a case for an SUV that could change things in the market. Possibly, because this small Toyota SUV isn’t overtly bold or polarizing could be why it’s an appealing choice. The Corolla Cross offers an honest, straightforward nature making it an easy SUV to drive.

What makes this Toyota SUV an attractive choice?

You won’t be blown away by the driving manners of the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross but will likely admire the full package of driver assist features, techy items, and fuel economy. These factors, coupled with the brand name and its reputation for reliability, make this Toyota SUV a fine choice when looking for a crossover that does many things well.

What are the powertrain options for the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross?

Yellow 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid Posed
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid | Toyota

The standard powertrain for this compact crossover SUV is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a CVT automatic transmission. This powertrain returns 169 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque to send power to the front wheels. Fuel mileage reaches 31 city/33 hwy mpg for the FWD models, but if you choose AWD, the fuel mileage dips to 29 city/32 hwy mpg.

The hybrid powertrain for this SUV is a 2.0-liter engine plus three electric motors. This engine should bring 194 horsepower and reach 37 mpg combined. For the hybrid model, AWD is standard, giving you power and control to all four wheels.

What does the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 include?

The Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 package offers an improved comprehensive package of safety features and driver assist technology. Some of the items found in this package include:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Front automatic emergency braking
  • Automatic high beams

Higher trims can include:

  • Rear cross-traffic alerts
  • Blind-spot monitoring

How does the passenger and cargo room stack up for the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross?

Interior Area 2023 Corolla Cross
Interior Area 2023 Corolla Cross | Toyota

Compared to the Kia Seltos and Hyundai Kona, the Corolla Cross falls slightly short in the passenger and cargo areas. The Corolla Cross offers 32 inches of rear legroom, which is less than the 38 inches for the Seltos and 34.6 inches for the Kona. The Cargo area tells a slightly different story. The Toyota has 26.5 cubic feet of cargo room, the Seltos offers slightly more at 26.6 cubic feet, while the Kona offers 19.2 cubic feet of space.

Is the Corolla Cross a good compact crossover SUV to drive?

If you’re searching for a small SUV which does several things well while offering a reasonable price, the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross could be what you want to drive. This SUV is small, but not too small, it drives well and offers good efficiency numbers, and it has plenty of safety tech to keep you out of trouble.

Even though the Corolla Cross doesn’t change the game in the compact crossover SUV class, is a great alternative to competitors, including the Subaru Crosstrek, Kia Seltos, and Hyundai Kona.

RELATED: Consumer Reports Recommends the Toyota Corolla Cross Over the Toyota C-HR