Ask Nathan: Toyota Corolla Cross Pickup, Defender’s Tire Blunder and My Crunched Nissan Pathfinder?

Toyota Corolla Cross pickup rendering via: KDesign AG /

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • This Toyota Corolla Cross pickup can’t be real – is it?  
  • JLR blundered the Land Rover Defender – as you found out.
  • Your Nissan Pathfinder got crunched!

The first question comes from a fan who caught an image (rendering) of a Toyota Corolla Cross pickup.

Q: (Via: NathanAdlen@Twitter) Saw this image of a Toyota Corolla Cross pickup and lost my mind!

There’s no way this can be real. Am I right? Maybe it is with the Maverick and Santa Cruz now living in our market. Hard to say.

— Teddy K.C

Toyota Corolla Cross pickup rendering via: KDesign AG /

A: It appear to be a rendering only, but a Toyota Corolla Cross pickup would be pretty sweet!

You’re right about the fact that we now have a growing selection of crossover (car-based) pickups in the United States. In terms of Honda and Hyundai, the Ridgeline and Santa Cruz are their only pickup option available here. Ford’s Maverick is different as it gives buyers a starting point among many pickup choices.

Image: Hyundai

I like all of them to be honest. They address different needs and, in some cases, are potential bargains.

The idea of an even smaller pickup, which is what the Toyota Corolla Cross pickup would be (if it were built), may not be realistic here. Currently, the Corolla Cross has a 103.9 wheelbase with an overall length of 175.6 inches. Even by stretching the platform, it would most likely be smaller than the Maverick and Santa Cruz. That might mean between 36 and 42-inchs in length, which is the same as the Subaru Baja. Simply put – that would be tiny.

2006 Subaru Baja (Image: Subaru)

Still, the idea of having a smaller, less expensive option among Toyota’s pickups is appealing. Ford is doing that with their Maverick, and it appears to tick the right boxes for many consumers. We’ve seen an outpouring of interest for the Maverick from the public thus far, and rightfully so.

Image: Ford

Could Toyota benefit from doing something similar? I think so, but my gut tells me it would have to be a bit larger than the upcoming Corolla Cross. Maybe a RAV4 pickup??

By the way, we’ll be posting several hands-on reviews of the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!

— N

The next question/statement comes from our recent YouTube video which featured (among others) our 2021 Land Rover Defender… on 20-inch wheels.

Q: (Via YouTube) Good work guys! But we all knew that would happen.

There were consultants that pleaded with Land Rover Jaguar during its development (I have inside information) to permit smaller rims. But they didn’t listen. Their priority was to build a tourer that could also go off-road. Not the other way round – exactly like almost all the cars they already make.

Go figure.

— 4xoverland

A: It boggles the mind Andrew.

Most of the comments about the tire debacle have been rather unfavorable. All of us at TFL Studios were scratching our heads too. I know we’ve shown early examples of the new Defender to be unreliable, but this one was damn good. We did some serious off-roading on other types of terrain, and its performance was outstanding.

We all knew that this tire and wheel combination would become an issue at some point. As you have seen in this video – our luck ran out… big time.

I truly love this new Defender, it has so much going for it; which is why I am struggling with JLR’s decision to not allow for a better off-road wheel and tire combination on our model. Yes, other variations can get a better setup (honestly, it’s not that much better), but why not give us something even more capable?

Believe me, it got worse. (Image: TFLcar)
Note: currently, all 110’s with the 3.0L P400 i6 MHEV get 20-inch wheels standard. The 2.0L P300 i4 can get the 18″ Style 5093, Gloss White Steel. We don’t know why.

Fanboys argue that no one would ever take their pricey Land Rover Defender off-road like we did. I call BS on that sentiment. People do, or (at the very least) they want to. Look, the automaker DID build a capable vehicle that CAN seriously off-road. Unfortunately, somebody opted to hamstring the vehicle by not providing a proper wheel/tire combo.

The outcome is not a good one for JLR, which is a shame. Had they given consumers something less street-chic and more off-road savvy, it would look better for everyone.

Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean.

The last question comes from a fan who saw my Twitter post about my old friend (2008 Nissan Pathfinder) getting crunched.

08 Pathfinder with Popup - The Fast Lane Truck
Image: TFLcar

Q: (via Twitter@NathanAdlen) Just saw your Tweet about your awesome R51 Nissan Pathfinder getting rear-ended.

The photo looks like it was hit by a tall truck like a Semi! BAM! Is everyone ok?


Image: TFLcar

A: Thanks for asking… all is well.

As you can see in the photo, it was hit by something tall. Well, that vehicle was a lifted Jeep Cherokee XJ with a heavy-duty steel bumper. It was just high enough to snag the upper part of the rear bumper and plow into the hatch.

Fortunately, all of the occupants were A-OK. Even with the Pathfinder being perfectly drivable, the expense of the repair looks daunting. It may have to go away.

— N

Speaking of the aforementioned Pathfinder…