We check out the differences between the US- and PH-spec Toyota Corolla Cross

The Toyota Corolla Cross is making a splash here in Southeast Asia. So far it's been pretty successful in the region, and Toyota wants to expand that model's reach in other markets. Recently, Japan's largest automaker introduced the Corolla Cross in North America.

Does the U.S-spec Toyota Corolla Cross have all the goodies? image

That got us thinking: is the U.S version of the Corolla Cross much better equipped than the one we have here? After all, the Philippine models don't always get the most goodies according to the commenters.

From the outside, there isn't much difference between the one sitting in showrooms and the ones bound for the U.S. You'll need very sharp eyes to spot any changes, and even then, it's not a significant change. The only thing Toyota changed for the U.S version is the headlight reflectors with amber corner lights.

Does the U.S-spec Toyota Corolla Cross have all the goodies? image

There are a few more changes inside. For starters, it has a JBL touchscreen instead of the aftermarket system seen in the local versions. Over there, it even has different color options including a two-tone scheme to boost its upmarket appeal. Available in the U.S version is a wireless charger, which isn't even an option here. But other than that, it looks much like the ones sitting in showrooms.

So far, the differences are minor, but what about safety features? The North American Corolla Cross features Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), just like the hybrid variant in the Philippines. However, TSS is fitted to all variants of the American Corolla Cross. The entry-level version of the local spec does not have it.

But the biggest difference between the U.S version and the Philippine version is the engine and drivetrain. Locally, the non-hybrid Corolla Cross uses a 1.8-liter mill with 140 PS and 172 Nm of torque. But given that the U.S is the land of the freeway, Toyota thought it was wise to put in a bigger engine over there. Instead of a 1.8-liter engine, the one sold across the Pacific comes with a 2.0-liter that packs 171 PS and 203 Nm of torque.

Does the U.S-spec Toyota Corolla Cross have all the goodies? image

The 2.0-liter in the North American version makes us a little jealous. It's 31 PS and 31 Nm more than the 1.8-liter, giving it much needed kick to drive along American highways. That said, it's still paired to a continuously variable transmission. However, the Corolla Cross in the U.S can be specified with all-wheel drive, which also gives it independent rear suspension. Our front-wheel-drive Corolla Crosses have torsion beams at the back.

All in all, our local Corolla Cross is nearly comparable to the one sold in North America. The equipment list is identical, and we're glad it also matches the safety features. While it would be nice to have the 2.0-liter and all-wheel-drive, it will drive up the base price of the local version to near-Fortuner levels. But all things considered, the Philippine-spec Corolla Cross doesn't pale in comparison to the ones in the West.

That's good news for us.