We take a closer look at the 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross

A week ago, Toyota introduced the first-ever Corolla Cross online. But now we can see it in the metal at the 2020 Bangkok International Motor Show, giving us a good chance to take a closer look at Toyota's newest high-rider. It is one of the vital models the Japanese automaker has released, and it's one that could be introduced here eventually.

Let's first take a look at the entry-level Sport. For the Thai market at least, it's the only one with a conventional gas engine. Serving as the base model of the range, it doesn't have all the cosmetic goodies that come with the hybrid models.

A closer look at the 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross image

For starters, the wheels appear smaller than the gas-electric models, but those measure 17-inches in diameter. Only the base Sport comes with that specific wheel design as well. There are no LED projector headlights in the Sport either. Instead, illumination is provided by halogen projectors. It also doesn't have foglights or chrome trimmings outside. Marking it as a non-hybrid model is its badge, which does not have a blue “glow” around the logo.

So what does the Corolla Cross Sport have? The crossover comes standard with Apple CarPlay, internet connectivity options, rear camera, and automatic climate control, so it isn't bare. Toyota didn't scrimp on safety though, as even the base Sport has seven airbags, stability control, and a rear-view camera. These safety essentials are fitted to all variants

A closer look at the 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross image

The Hybrid Smart sits above the Sport and it's the entry-level model for the Corolla Cross hybrid line-up. This variant gets different wheels with bigger spokes, and it also gains LED projector headlights. Like the gas-fed Sport, however, there's still no chrome on the exterior, and it doesn't come with fog lights either. In terms of equipment, it's the same as the Sport, so it boasts a comprehensive infotainment system and other comfort and convenience features.

A closer look at the 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross image

On to the Hybrid Premium and that's where most of the exterior, interior, and feature upgrades are present. There's more chrome on the outside, complemented by gloss black highlights. These are seen on the grille, bumper, and window frames. Hybrid Premium models then ride on larger 18-inch alloy wheels. LED Projector headlights are standard, and it also gains a pair of fog lights as well.

With that Premium tag attached to it, this variant has several upgrades in the features department. It's fitted with a power tailgate which also includes hands-free operation. To open the tailgate, simply wave your foot underneath the bumper. For added convenience, the driver's seat is power-operated and can be adjusted in eight ways. There are also several safety upgrades in the Hybrid Premium over the Sport and Smart. It comes with a tire pressure monitoring system, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

A closer look at the 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross image

As for the top-spec Hybrid Premium Safety, it looks much like Hybrid Premium. But if you take a closer look, there are two key differences. The Hybrid Premium Safety has a pair of roof rails, and it's the only one available with a sunroof. Inside, however, it's much like its lower variant when it comes to trimmings and features.

What this top-spec model has is a whole lot more active safety features, as the variant name implies. Instead of a reverse camera, it has a 360-degree camera with a 3D view. Also included are automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. Automatic high-beam, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist are also present in this fully-loaded Corolla Cross.

A closer look at the 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross image

The gas-powered Sport uses a 1.8-liter mill that makes 140 PS and 177 Nm of torque. It then shifts with a continuously variable transmission with a seven-speed manual mode. As for the hybrids, those use a 1.8-liter as well, but with different internals. The engine uses the Atkinson Cycle and it's paired to a 600-volt electric motor. The electric motors alone provide 72 PS and 163 Nm of torque, while the engine makes 99 PS and 142 Nm of torque. Combined horsepower output is rated at 122 PS, which is similar to the Corolla Altis Hybrid.

Should the Corolla Cross make it here, we might see higher-spec models come with the standard 1.8-liter gas engine with the hybrid reserved for just one top of the line variant. It's prime competition locally could likely be the Subaru XV, Honda HR-V, and Mazda CX-30.