Corolla line could be expanded further
Well this is a surprise.
It seems Toyota may be planning to add another version of the new generation Corolla that they launched in the Philippines last year. But this isn't any other variant that differs in engine, gearbox or features.
What we're talking about is a 5-door version of the venerable Corolla. And here's the thing: it might not be not an ordinary 5-door as it could be a model called Corolla Cross.
The info came to us via our contact who let us in on an internal plan that the brand's next big model is a “Toyota Cross”, a 5-door which (as the name implies) has a crossover-like design to it. Now when Toyota revealed the new generation Corolla 4-door saloon that was built on the new TNGA platform, they also showed the 5-door hatchback and the longer 5-door wagon body styles. It is rumored that this supposed Corolla Cross could be based on one of the two.
Toyota still hasn't officially revealed the rumored Corolla Cross, but we surmise that such a model would have extra ground clearance and a more buff styling that's centered around bigger wheels with tires apt for crossovers, as well as extra plastic body cladding. For a clearer idea, you can check out what Modellista did with the Corolla Fielder a few years ago. As for engine options, we expect more or less similar options with the current range.
The information is also interesting because it agrees with other tidbits from around the world regarding the Corolla Cross, as Toyota have reportedly filed trademarks for the name with the European Union Intellectual Property Office in late 2018. The move is telling because Toyota has a habit of following through with their name trademarks. Toyota did the same thing with the Supra years prior to its launch; in 2014 they trademarked the Supra name in the U.S., followed by another trademark in Europe in 2016.
If confirmed, the move is a logical one from Toyota, as other carmakers have cashed in strongly on turning passenger models into crossover-like vehicles. Subaru (which is also part-owned by Toyota) did so very successfully with the XV (AKA: Crosstrek) when they took the Impreza hatchback and upped the dose of testosterone with bigger wheels, increased ride height, and added cladding and roof rails.
Our contact tells us that the Corolla Cross could happen sometime in Q2 or in Q3 of this year. It seems a bit quick to us, but if it does happen in that timeframe, that would mean the model can only be produced in Japan.
We contacted another source, this time from abroad, and we were informed that Toyota's Thailand manufacturing operations had no plans as of now to produce a 5-door Corolla there. That means if the model were to be offered in the Philippines, it will likely come from Japan, not Thailand. That means the price could be at the high end of the spectrum.
If Toyota Motor Philippines does launch the Corolla Cross, it will be the first time that Toyota will officially offer a 5-door version of a Corolla as far as we know. The old Delta Motors (pre-TMP) did sell some liftback variants of the Corolla, but Toyota has historically stuck to sedans for the Corolla line when they started operations as TMP in 1988. Hatchbacks were usually offered in the form of the Toyota Echo, Yaris, and Wigo.