The Toyota Corolla Cross is one of the more notable all-new models for 2022. It capitalizes on the popular Corolla nameplate and should attract shoppers looking for an entry-level crossover SUV. As with its rivals, the Corolla Cross boasts an elevated seating position and much of the utility of bigger SUVs but at a lower price. High fuel economy is a draw as well. But it is competing in an ultra-competitive small SUV division. Is this baby Toyota SUV a home run or just an infield single?
Edmunds’ experts compared it to the Chevrolet Trailblazer to find out. This small Chevy SUV debuted for the 2021 model year and also draws on some name heritage. It’s among Edmunds’ top-rated extra-small SUVs thanks to its roomy seating and plentiful features. Read on to learn which one is the better buy.
INTERIOR AND TECHNOLOGY
We appreciate the simplicity of the Trailblazer’s interior layout, especially in the center console. The forward angle of the screen is less than ideal, but the shape, resolution and intuitive controls are excellent. Toyota gave the Corolla Cross a perfectly capable interface, but it’s not as sharp-looking or responsive as the Trailblazer’s.
Both the Trailblazer and the Corolla Cross work well in integrating your smartphone’s functions and apps by way of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That’s a plus since neither model offers an integrated navigation system. The Trailblazer does slightly one-up the Corolla as you can connect your phone wirelessly, while the Corolla Cross still requires a tether to the USB port.
The Toyota has slightly more cargo space behind its rear seats, but the Trailblazer has a whopping 7.4 inches more rear legroom than the Corolla Cross. We found the difference in legroom made a noticeable difference for the comfort of backseat passengers as well as making it easier to install child safety seats.
POWER AND PERFORMANCE
These vehicles aren’t made for speed but rather steady daily driving, and both accomplish that goal. Every 2022 Corolla Cross is powered by a 169-horsepower four-cylinder engine. Buyers get to choose between standard front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. The base engine in the 2022 Trailblazer is a turbocharged 137-horsepower three-cylinder engine, also with front-wheel drive. Opting for a Trailblazer with all-wheel drive upgrades you to a turbocharged 155-horsepower three-cylinder engine.
On paper, it looks like the Corolla Cross should be zippier, but the Chevy’s turbocharged nature makes its power and torque more readily accessible at low rpm. As a result, the Trailblazer gets going more quickly, giving the driver more confidence to pass and accelerate onto highway on-ramps.
In Edmunds’ real-world testing, the Trailblazer with the more powerful engine and all-wheel drive returned 26.9 mpg, which is slightly less than the EPA-estimated 28 mpg in combined city/highway driving. However, we’ll give Chevrolet points for having a turbocharged engine that doesn’t require premium fuel, saving a few bucks at the pump.
The Corolla Cross fared better in Edmunds’ testing, returning 33 mpg and besting the EPA estimate of 30 mpg combined for a fully loaded all-wheel-drive XLE model. For even better fuel economy potential, the base front-wheel-drive Corolla Cross gets an EPA-estimated 32 mpg combined.
Winner: Corolla Cross
FEATURES AND VALUE
Toyota put a significant amount of time and money into making sure its Corolla Cross includes a plethora of driver-assist features. Even in the base model that starts at $23,780, the Corolla Cross includes forward collision mitigation, a lane keeping system, traffic-adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams as standard equipment.
The Trailblazer starts lower than the Toyota at $22,995 for the base LS trim level. It also comes equipped with forward collision mitigation, a lane-keeping system and a following distance indicator. However, the LS trim doesn’t even come with standard cruise control, and adaptive cruise control is optional.
Both SUVs check in at around $32,000 when fully loaded with features such as a premium sound system, sunroof and a power liftgate. Basic and powertrain warranties are the same, too. While there are some slight differences in the margins here, it’s not enough of a difference to pick a winner.
Both the Trailblazer and the Corolla Cross are excellent all-around daily drivers. The Toyota Corolla Cross might be best for you if you prioritize fuel economy, but we think most entry-level SUV shoppers will be better served by the Trailblazer because of its additional rear legroom, more likable tech interface and pleasing low-end power.
Kristin Shaw is a freelance writer at Edmunds. Follow Kristin on Twitter.