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June 8, 2024

Review: 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross 1.8 G HEV


How’s this for a car buyer’s conundrum: for P 1,498,000 you can have this, the base Corolla Cross 1.8 G HEV, or for P 1,604,000, you can have the fully-loaded Yaris Cross 1.5 S HEV. For all intents and purposes, the P 106,000 price spread is negligible, especially if you opt to finance it for a period of five years. Now, internet forums are filled with debates between TNGA (Corolla Cross) versus DNGA (Yaris Cross). Issues with the DNGA (hello recalls) notwithstanding, which one’s the better buy?

The Yaris Cross, with all its bells and whistles, looks like a bargain, but if you appreciate the mechanicals, it’s best to stick with the Corolla Cross on this occasion. Full disclosure: Toyota Motor Philippines has yet to lend me a Yaris Cross for a proper test drive, and every time I’ve asked for one, they’d simply tell me it’s unavailable. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe them when they say it’s not available. But I also believe, based on what other motoring pundits have told me off print or off cam, that it probably won’t pass my exacting standards, especially when it comes to NVH.


This brings me to the Corolla Cross 1.8 G HEV. It may be the barest variant of the 2024 Corolla Cross range, but goodness, you can’t ask for anything more. Right this minute, I’d climb up a soapbox and shout out to the world: get this one. It’s not perfect by any measure, but it does deliver on the thing that matters to me the most: the mechanical foundations.

Chief among them is everyday performance and fuel efficiency. Toyota Motor Philippines took the inspired approach to hybridize the entire Corolla Cross range and it’s paying off dividends here. Far and large, its strongest suit is the easily achievable fuel efficiency. Leaving the Drive Mode on Normal, it’s easy to hit 27.03 km/L figure in light traffic (average speed 27 km/h). Even when traffic got worse (18 km/h average), it dropped down to a still crazy 22.2 km/L. Thanks to less aggressive tires (17s versus 18s) and a lower curb weight, the Corolla Cross G HEV bested figures achieved with the Corolla Cross 1.8 V HEV a couple of years back.



As with other Toyota hybrids, there’s no need to change driving habits just to achieve that kind of fuel economy. Except for starting up and taking off on electric power (the near-silent operation is still eerie to some), you just drive it like a normal car. There are selectable Drive Modes and even an EV Mode, but they’re largely unnecessary. Glancing at the Power Gauge helps you monitor the HEV system’s switchover point (trivia: the ICE switches on when the needle goes past the middle of the ECO range), but for as long as you drive it sensibly, it will return more than 20 km/L.

The electric motor on the Corolla Cross already makes 71 horsepower and that’s already quite ample for urban driving. It will only call upon the 1.8-liter when the battery charge is low or if additional power’s needed, say, for an overtake. When it does, the switchover is largely imperceptible except for a slight vibration felt through the throttle pedal.


The accompanying transmission, the E-CVT is also tuned for sensible motoring. It prefers to stay in the background and shuffles its ratios to keep the ICE at its most efficient.

The TNGA-C platform on which the Corolla Cross rides on is also tuned for comfort over cornering performance. Overall, it offers a sturdy, stable, and obedient experience without noticeable float or wallow. It also feels solid, and absorbs jolts and bumps excellently. Driven more spiritedly, it tends to understeer but not to any level that’s disturbing. The brakes, during the initial pedal stroke, do feel artificial, but that’s down to its regenerative properties. For 2024, Toyota has thankfully ditched the foot-actuated parking brake for an electronic one. There’s even an Auto Hold function for added comfort during stop-and-go traffic.



As a range, the Corolla Cross won’t quicken anyone’s pulse style-wise, but the Corolla Cross 1.8 G HEV goes a step further. This here is as exciting as a refrigerator or air fryer. Yet, there’s something refreshing about seeing an honest-to-goodness blank canvas of a vehicle with its black lower trims and simpler head- and taillights (the headlights, at least, are still LEDs). Kudos to Toyota for ditching the catfish grille for this update. Now, if only they moved the front fog lights to the “faux” brake ducts and it would have more or less perfect upfront. Sadly, anyone with slight OC will still get triggered by the off-center “Corolla Cross” rear badging.

Inside, the Corolla Cross 1.8 G HEV is equally bare. Most of the interior bits are lifted straight off the Corolla Altis sedan, for better or for worse. This means that the order of the day would be large expanses of black-grained plastic (at least it’s sturdy and soft touch). On paper, the gauges may seem like a downgrade with its puny 4.2-inch LCD screen, but the mostly analog gauges make everything so easy to read and understand. Given that the 7-inch setup on the Corolla Cross V HEV tends to washout in direct sunlight, this one’s the better choice, to be honest.


The infotainment screen also gets a bump up in both size and features. From the previous 8-inch setup, it’s now a 10-inch. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can now be connected wirelessly too. Sadly, the setup is less than ideal. The screen, when running the Toyota OS, is close to unusable. The fonts and icons are way too low-res. The responsiveness also leaves a lot to be desired. The wireless smartphone connectivity’s quite buggy too, connecting properly one minute, unable to connect the next. You can connect via a wired connection, but unless you want the cable to snake from the head unit to wherever you’re going to place your phone, the only choice you have would be to go cordless. And not to be overly critical, but the wireless charging pad also looks something straight off Lazada Racing.

Questionable tech implementation aside, the Corolla Cross nails the practicality aspect. It feels reasonably airy thanks to its large greenhouse. There’s also plenty of head, shoulder, and legroom to go around. The seats themselves look great and are supportive, even if the material’s quite scratchy. Come cargo carrying capacity, the luggage hold is generous, although folding them down don’t result in a completely flat load area. The cubby holes scattered around the cabin are decent enough; including those in the back which get niftily door trim-molded bottle holders.



In terms of safety, it does get the same package as the other variants of the Corolla Cross range with the omission of Toyota Safety Sense. With that, you miss out on things like adaptive cruise control (there’s no cruise control of any kind here), lane tracing assist, and blind spot monitoring. It may dissuade buyers shopping for a 5-star NCAP rated vehicle, but personally, it’s a small price to pay for the affordable-ish price tag.

For all the complaints and criticisms leveled against the Corolla Cross 1.8 G HEV’s barebones and lackluster cabin, this is still easily the better pick over the Yaris Cross 1.5 S HEV (baring if I do get to test drive the darn thing). Why? It’s because the foundations—the powertrain and the platform—are tuned right. Most buyers will probably be swayed by a sunroof and a fancy sound system, but when it comes to long-term ownership, you simply want a car that’s built on sturdy stuff; that’s the Corolla Cross. Fashion trends come and go, but solidity, comfort, and practicality withstand the test of time. In the end, it’s so well-attuned to the everyday driving needs that it’s worth considering, especially if you can’t splurge for the mid-trim Corolla Cross 1.8 V HEV.

2024 Toyota Corolla Cross 1.8 G HEV

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Bottom Line
Pros Affordable for a Toyota hybrid, unbeatable fuel economy, solid and comfy on the road.
Cons It's as exciting as an air fryer, in-cabin tech's buggy.
TL;DR It may not have the trimmings, but the foundations are unbeatable.
Ownership
Year Introduced 2020 (Refreshed: 2024)
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type Compact Crossover
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.8
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
Maximum Output (PS @ rpm) 98 @ 5,200 (121 combined)
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm) 142 @ 3,600 (207 combined)
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / ~91
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control None
Fuel Economy (km/L) @ Ave. Speed (km/h) 22.2 km/L @ 18 km/h,
27.03 km/L @ 27 km/h
Fuel Tank Size (L) 36
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,460
Width (mm) 1,825
Height (mm) 1,620
Wheelbase (mm) 2,640
Curb Weight (kg) 1,405
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electronic, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Bridgestone Alenza
215/60R17 H (f & r)
Recommended Tire Pressure (PSI) 35 front, 33 rear
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 7
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Advanced Driver Assist System None
Other Safety Features Digital Video Recorder (Front & Rear)
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front (LED)
Light Operation Automatic
Wiper Operation Rain-sensing
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic, Manual
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Manual, 6-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-way
Seating Surface Fabric
2nd Row 60/40 Split-Fold, w/ Armrest
3rd Row None
Sunroof None
Multi-Information Display / Size Yes, 4.2-inch
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Day/Night
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Dual, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
USB Type A
USB Type C
Bluetooth
Wireless Charger Yes
Infotainment Display / Size 10-inch
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

24 comments:

  1. No contest, TNGA corolla cross hands down. Pag long diztance sasakit katawan mo sa yaris. By the way corolla has 9 airbags, aside from curtain airbags - its the only one in its class that has rear passengers side airbags.

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  2. solid review here

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  3. Uly, you like both the Corolla Cross and Haval H6 hybrids. Hope you can also review the Dongfeng Aeolus hybrid for comparison.

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    Replies
    1. Haval n dongfeng after 1 year kakalog kalog nayan.

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  4. This review is spot on IMHO.Most people do get caught up with comparing the bells and whistles, but the platform and the mechanicals for the vehicle will win out at the end of the day.

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  5. how are the fabric seats sir? are they supportive enough?

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  6. I believe the Corolla Cross HEV is one of the best hybrids available in the market today. Please bring back the Prius, Toyota.

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    Replies
    1. Prius ain't coming back due to pricing issues

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    2. They could bring it back now that there's no more tariff for hybrids.

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    3. Still too expensive and niche
      TMPC ain't dropping the prices of its hybrid vehicles

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  7. E.O. to lower EV tariff already priced in? or is it already implemented?

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    Replies
    1. Unlikely for TMPC to reduce the prices of its hybrid vehicles as its a very greedy money hungry corporation

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  8. I've driven the non-hybrid pre-facelift version a few months back. Slow as hell and the suspension's too soft for my liking.

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  9. This car has the same power to weight ratio of a mirage G4 at 84hp/ton
    And almost has the same torque to weight ratio of 111nm/ton..maybe thats the reason when i test drove this, the pulling power is almost the same.
    Then again this is a more expensive car. But the power leaves more to be desired.

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  10. No frills just good kml figure. Nothing else.

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  11. Two thumbs up sa review!

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  12. Bring back the ICE version. Never liked hybrids.

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  13. Life is too short for boring cars. Would rather pick sonething more exciting than this one. To h*ll with practicality.

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    Replies
    1. Well, look at sales figures, it seems most pipol likes boring, reliable, durable cars.

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    2. You are in the minority. An outlier.

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    3. To be honest, hybrid cars are really boring. Once you go turbo, you cant look back. No amount of practicality, reliabilty and sales figures can match the fun and excitement of a truly spirited driving. Man and machine. And only a few experience it.

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  14. I dont get it 48% is the minority? So 6% is the majority. This is scary when you have your own reality.

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  15. It is exciting to break down w/o parts inbthe middle of nowhere.

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