Looks Like The Toyota Corolla Cross Will Head To North America After All: Report

2021 toyota corolla cross
New spy shots (shown here, via Automotive News) hint that the global Toyota Corolla Cross will make its way here, probably with some minor changes. (Images: Toyota)

One of Toyota’s latest crossovers looks set for a North American debut after all.

New photos (shown here, as Automotive News reports) show the Toyota Corolla Cross — a new model whose global version debuted last summer — on U.S. roads. Most automakers are choosing to double down in this sort of in-between segment, and it looks like the Japanese automaker wants in on the action as well.

In fact, reports say this is the new crossover Toyota will build at its new Alabama factory, in a joint venture with Mazda. Expect some minor changes from the car’s official Thailand debut last summer, though the looks shouldn’t drastically change by the time it arrives in North America. When it does get here, the small crossover will sit between the subcompact C-HR and the RAV4, much the same way as the Mazda CX-30 sits between the CX-3 and CX-5. You may not think there’s enough room between those small crossovers, but so much competition is emerging beyond the CX-30 that it’s becoming more of its own segment. Think about the Chevy Trailblazer, Buick Encore GX, Kia Seltos and the Hyundai Kona as Toyota’s most direct rivals here.

Leaning on the “Corolla” side of the Toyota Corolla Cross, expect some powertrain similarities with the passenger car. Namely, for both to share the automaker’s TNGA-C platform and 1.8-liter 2ZR-FXE engine. Paired to a CVT, the inline-four manages about 139 horsepower and 126 lb-ft of torque. If anything, Toyota may need to consider the 2.0-liter “Dynamic Force” inline-four with 169 horsepower to split the difference between the CH-R and RAV4 — but that’s not a given. What is a given is that Toyota will almost certainly offer a Corolla Cross Hybrid model down the line, as it does offer overseas.

When to expect the U.S. Toyota Corolla Cross

With the current chip shortage, it’s really anyone’s guess as to when these cars will actually arrive. Toyota, of all manufacturers, is one of those better prepared to whether the situation that’s currently hampering global production lines. As such, we may well see the new Toyota Corolla Cross sometime early next year.

Whether Toyota will ultimately replace the C-HR with this model — at least in North America — also remains unclear. For the time being, Mazda insists upon keeping the CX-3 as the value entry to their lineup, but they’ve pared it down to just one trim level. As the CX-30 outsells its smaller sibling nearly ten to one (and Toyota’s RAV4 does outsell the C-HR by ten to one), we could see a shift in Toyota’s lineup in the foreseeable future.