If you’re planning to sell a lot of vehicles anywhere in the world and don’t have a SUV in your portfolio, you’re going to have a bad time. Toyota Malaysia has finally crossed out that shortcoming in its local line-up with the all-new Corolla Cross as it bids to regain the number one spot in the non-national best-selling list.

To do that, you’ve got to go big or go home. Fortunately, Toyota Malaysia has decided to bring out the big guns. The Corolla Cross will have its crosshairs firmly on the likes of the Honda HR-V; the latter being the best-seller in the B-segment SUV that Toyota dropped the C-HR-shaped ball with.

Initially to be imported from Thailand, the Corolla Cross will be available in two variants and shares quite a bit with its Corolla Altis sibling. The flagship trim will be the Corolla Cross 1.8V and the entry-level option comprises the Corolla Cross 1.8G. Pricing is RM134,000 (without sale tax exemption) and RM124,000 (with sale tax exemption until 30 Jun 2021) respectively. There’s a five-year unlimited-mileage warranty.

Toyota expect to have it locally-assembled by the end of the year and that should see a significant price reduction for the 1.8V.

Much like the most of the newer Toyota models, the Corolla Cross rides on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform; specifically the TNGA-C as used in the Corolla Altis. Mechanically, it’s identical to the C-HR save for the rear suspension that’s now a more affordable torsion beam over the C-HR’s double-wishbone.

The TNGA platform is renowned for its deft handling and plush comfort; both of which are abundant in the Corolla Cross. Toyota also boasts a 5.2-metre turning radius that’s the best-in-class.

Although logic dictates it slots into the B-segment SUV arena, the Corolla Cross is marginally heftier in all directions over its competition, key in achieving its 440-litre cargo space in the rear; narrowly edging out the HR-V but not fully folding flat when dropped. There’s a powered tailgate with handsfree operation for convenience.

If you’re wondering, the same powertrain from the Corolla Altis powers this SUV; the 1.8-litre petrol DOHC engine with Dual VVT-i. Power is 138hp and 172Nm of torque. The very same seven-speed CVT drives the front wheels.

Toyota pioneered the car-like interior in a SUV and the Corolla Cross doesn’t disappoint. It’s a nice place to be in with the black-on-black leather cabin. A satin-finish paint is used to highlight ornamentation parts. Only the driver’s seat has eight-way power adjustability.

Infotainment is courtesy of a 9.0-inch touchscreen that serves as the display for the rear-view camera and 360-degree panoramic view monitor (standard on both). There’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity as well as the usual USB mirroring, AUX and Bluetooth.

So, what does the extra RM10,000 in price get you in the 1.8V? The answer is safety; specifically the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) 2.0 suite of active driver assist tech that comprises:
- Pre-Collision System
- Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
- Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (regular cruise control on 1.8G)
- Lane Tracing Assist
- Automatic High Beam

With active safety handled, passive safety is in the form of seven airbags, Isofix anchorage points and the alphabet soup of ABS, EBD, BA, traction control, stability control and hill-start assist. Complementing the safety tech here are blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert and tyre pressure waning system.

Unsurprisingly, the Corolla Cross gets the maximum five-star safety rating from Asean NCAP testing.

Toyota has also included a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) on the front windscreen and has made a rear one optional at extra cost.

Lastly, a telematics system is available. This allows the vehicle to be tracked using GSM/GPS signals. The Owner can also monitor the ignition status and speed. In the event of a collision detected, the system will inform emergency services to provide assistance at the vehicle’s location. Subscription to this service is free for the first three years.