Ask Nathan: Toyota Corolla Cross Baby SUV, Screen Size and Destroying Cars With Puppies?

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Are we getting the Toyota Corolla Cross Baby SUV?
  • When did in-car infotainment systems get so massive?
  • You’re destroying cars with your puppy!

The first question comes from a Toyota fan who wants to know if we’ll get the Toyota Corolla Cross.

Toyota Corolla Cross (Image: Toyota)

Q:  (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) Love my RAV4, but I want a smaller one for my spose. Corolla Cross Maybe?

Heard about the Toyota Corolla Cross the baby SUV being sold in Asia. Do you think it will come here? I need all-wheel drive and the Toyota C-HR doesn’t offer it. Wanna stick with Toyota.

— Elle NP

Image: Toyota

A: The Toyota Corolla Cross may come here after all.

We covered the debut of the Toyota Corolla Cross back in July 2020, and there was no mention of it coming to the North American market. At the time, I lamented and stated that the Toyota Corolla Cross is the crossover the U.S. needs… or might need.

Why? Simply put – Toyota does not have a small crossover that directly competes with the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Nissan Rogue Sport and others. As you mentioned, their C-HR does not offer AWD. To keep Toyota competitive in this market, and to (hopefully) lower the entry price into a Toyota crossover, the Toyota Corolla Cross could be a big deal. That’s IF they offer an AWD version. The one sold overseas is FWD and available as a gas/CVT or hybrid/CVT setup.

Insiders speculate that the Corolla Cross hybrid could have an AWD system similar to the Toyota Prius AWD. That’s if it sold in our market.

The big news here is that Toyota has already filed for a trademark on the Corolla Cross name in the United States. This seems to point where many felt Toyota was going with this little crossover – right into our market.

What about the Mazda/Toyota partnership?

Toyota and Mazda broke ground on a $1.6 billion joint-venture plant in Alabama last year. A a small Mazda crossover may be powered by a Toyota-sourced hybrid system. It is possible that the Toyota Corolla Cross could serve as a platform for this yet-to-be-announced vehicle. Sadly, details are thin.

What we do know is that Toyota is one of the top automakers in the crossover segment. Overall sales numbers for their crossovers are some of the best worldwide. It’s doubtful that they will take a back seat to allow other automakers to dominate any segment for long.

We will know a lot more very soon.

— N

The next question comes from a nice neighbor who is confounded by the sheer size of modern infotainment screens.

Q: (Paraphrased) I don’t understand the need for such a massive information screen on every car.

I think they may be dangerous because they takes your attention off the road. How big will they get?

— My neighbor

Tesla Model 3 interior
(Image: Tesla)

A: Thanks for the question!

Essentially, automakers are mimicking smart-phone technology, hoping to lure in consumers who want a lot of tech in their vehicles. I’m not a huge fan of massive screens on some vehicles. I find that they can reflect at night and, as you said, they can be distracting.

Automakers are fully aware of this and they work hard trying to research and develop the best/safest systems they can. Some are more successful than others.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some automakers, like Tesla, are totally reliant on screens as they do not have built in gages like an average automobile. Seeing their success, other automakers are beginning to build “digital cockpits” which rely on LCD technology. Many vehicles already have full LCD setups for all of their gages. Many forget that as these displays are made to look like conventional gages.

The large display screen battle is far from over, and we will see whole dashboards light up with full graphics in the very near future. Hopefully, new tech will come along to mitigate some of the issues current screens have.

– N

The last question comes from an angry viewer who argued with me about the “damage” our TFL pup Blaze could cause a vehicle in a recent video. Ugh… dog haters…

Q: (Via: YouTube) Yah let a dog scratch up a luxury Volvo, good video idea.

(One of many comments) All dogs have claws, and just because it didn’t happen then doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen all the time.

— M

jack russell terrier laying down inside 2019 volvo v60 estate wagon
Here’s another dog in the back of a Volvo. Note: no scratches on this Volvo either.

A: Thanks for watching. I deleted my YouTube responses as the ongoing argument was unnecessary.

Evil puppy was naughty! He will be punished with cuddles, treats and additional staring roles in MANY upcoming videos.

In all honesty, if we felt that we were going to damage the vehicles, we would have not done it in the first place. Our dog is well groomed, manicured and has soft puppy paws. There was no danger of scratches. We feel that automakers like Volvo and GM are well aware of the massive amount of consumers that own and transport pets. Our example simply proved a point about load-in height for larger animals.

If you go to the Volvo website, you’ll see a page with accessories specifically tailored to dogs. Accessories like the stainless steel plate that was on our wagon.

Compared to being smacked around off-road (which is what we do – often) and harsh tests in the Rocky Mountains, the puppy test isn’t such a bad thing. Judging by a majority of the comments on this, and other videos with Blaze, we think viewers like it. I know we do.

I am seriously thinking of adding a cat to the mix, but that may not go well.

Thanks for watching.

— N

Speaking of this fun Volvo and puppy video…