Any new or revolutionary technology is bound to be expensive and often misunderstood at first.
Over time, however, that changes. If the technology is good and beneficial to the lives and well being of people, acceptance is inevitable. Eventually, as more and more start to accept it, prices will start to come down.
That's the story with hybrid drive technology. When it was first introduced to Filipinos, the complex technology made the prices quite premium. There was also a lot of misconceptions about how it works, and how it can benefit not just the motorists of today, but the generations of the future.
That is what Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) wants to drive for. The country's number one automaker wants to drive hybrid technology forward, and this is what they want to use to do it: the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.
Let's see how this new hybrid can be your best bet to take you into the future with electrified driving.
Sharp dressed for success
The Corolla Cross comes out of the box with charm and sophistication, and even though it’s a hybrid, it doesn’t have that space-age look that isn’t really for everyone. What it does have is a modern crossover body that’s currently the preferred style of 5 out of 11 vehicle buyers.
While it stands out with its form and figure, deep down inside it shares the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform with the Corolla sedan while getting and borrows its good looks from the RAV4.
Part of what gives the Corolla Cross mass appeal is the contrast of certain exterior elements like the wide grille complemented by the slim design of the LED lighting system, and the bold look finessed by the svelte curves of the body.
It doesn’t even scream ‘hybrid’ so onlookers can’t really tell unless they notice subtle cues like the blue highlights in the headlamps and blue halo in the emblem that its non-hybrid sibling doesn’t have. But of course, it comes with the hybrid badge on the tailgate and front fenders.
The Corolla Cross is muscular without being overly macho and hi-tech without being too overt about it, these are qualities modern city-types are looking for.
Daily driven comfort
Of huge importance in any vehicle -for any passenger- is comfort and convenience.
Mass market nameplates usually don’t come endowed with driving qualities found in higher-end cars like the Camry but that’s what standardized architecture or the TNGA does. Aspects like ride quality improvements, an enhanced drive and better visibility with thinner A-pillars are just some of the characteristics common with TNGA vehicles
It comes fully loaded as well with standard power features (windows, speed-sensing locks, steering), plus dual-zone automatic climate control system (three, if you count the rear AC vents), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via a USB port, and even Bluetooth connectivity.
Despite taking pointers from the RAV4, one thing drivers will notice is the vehicle’s low center of gravity, which allows it to maintain stability during fast speed turns while giving it increases rollover resistance.
If you’ve never been in a hybrid, one thing to look out for is what you’ll hear or better yet what you don’t hear when you start it. As its default is EV mode, once you press the Start button, you’ll only hear the fans of the climate control system. Just shift it to D and you’re good to go.
Do you need to charge it? No. Not once and not even before using it for the first time. Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive has a system that recharges the built-in battery using a regenerative braking system, which takes all that kinetic energy from braking and stores it in the battery for future use.
Versatile and practical
The top reason why crossovers have become the popular choice over sedans is practicality. This body type has more cargo space and is taller than sedans.
Its ground clearance of 161 mm may be modest compared to SUVs but it’s just the right height providing a good balance crossover usability with the low center of gravity for a better drive. And the ride height also makes it easy for the little ones to get in and out, no problem.
And even though it’s bigger, the Corolla Cross churns out fuel economy figures that are more similar to smaller sedans but with 1.5 times more boot space. In the Corolla Cross, you can load up at least 440 liters worth of cargo even with the 60:40 split-folding and reclining second-row seats up.
Plus, it seats five with some knee and elbow room to spare, including plenty of storage compartments for your small devices.
Low emissions, maximum fuel economy
Facts first: the Corolla Cross HV uses two propulsion systems in one. The first is a 1.8L four-cylinder engine with VVT-i that puts out 98 PS while the other is a motor-generator with 72 PS. Together, a total output of 122 PS and 142 Nm of torque is sent to the front wheels via a CVT.
If you’re concerned about having to manually switch between the two, relax. This vehicle simply does everything for you so don’t fuss about it. Whether you’re stuck in traffic or cruising on EDSA, it switches automatically between the engine and EV mode so you save as much fuel as possible.
It's a little conservative when running on EV mode but if need to overtake, just put a little pressure on the throttle and the engine wakes up to give you the extra horsepower for the boost you need to get ahead.
The result is fuel consumption you don’t see very often; upwards of 17 kilometers per liter based on our tests if you're patient with the throttle.
That’s not the only thing the Corolla Cross HV comes to play with. This nameplate is just the fourth Toyota model to get Toyota Safety Sense after the Super Grandia and the Alphard.
It gets a Pre-Collision System (PCS) which can help prevent impact with a vehicle or pedestrians in certain situations by using a camera and radar. The driver gets both audio and visual alerts and if they don't react, the system is designed to brake automatically.
Forget about the hassle of having to constantly switch between high and low beams at night because Automatic High Beam (AHB) detects headlights and taillights of preceding vehicles and toggles accordingly.
Granted you’re on highways with proper markings, Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) and will help keep you centered and in your lane (to avoid looking like a rookie driver), but if you do leave veer off, Lane Departure Alert (LDA) will prompt you to return.
Finally, there’s Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) which uses a radar behind the Toyota badge plus a camera on the windshield. These work together to monitor and adjust the vehicle’s speed and help maintain a preset distance from the car in front.
Can you handle the truth?
All of the above are simply specifics, no exaggerations.
It's practical because of the crossover body and the hybrid engine that allows you to save a lot on fuel. It offers space and versatility for young families and uniqueness for individuals looking to make a statement about their choices and the future. It’s a no-fuss, no-muss vehicle because you’ll never have to charge it, all while enjoying the low fuel consumption benefits of hybrid technology. Plus it’s priced just right because of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. At Php 1.650 million you get all the tech from Toyota for safety, connectivity, and efficiency.
Can’t argue with the truth. The Toyota Corolla Cross HV simply ticks all the right boxes, it’s a stylish vehicle that’s safe, fuel-efficient, and best of all reliable.