Did you know that Toyota’s debut in America in 1957 was a complete flop? Toyota planted itself in America in the late 1950s with the debut of the Toyopet Crown, which the automaker anticipated would be a top seller. Toyota tragically miscalculated as the underpowered and overpriced Toyopet failed to impress. This forced Toyota to design the Corona and the Corolla in the second half of the 1960s, both of which helped build Toyota’s reputation in the American automotive landscape and ultimately paved the way to the all-new 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross.
The journey from the first Toyopet to the stunning Corolla Cross is truly remarkable as Toyota proves that international automakers can learn from their mistakes and go on to achieve worldwide success. But how exactly did Toyota get from the Toyopet to a sophisticated crossover like the Corolla Cross? To fully appreciate the intuitive technology and opulence of the Corolla Cross requires a trip down memory lane circa 1950s America.
Toyota’s Emergence in America: From the Toyopet to the Corolla
The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is a far cry from the 1958 Toyopet Crown and shows just how far Toyota has come over the last 60 years. The Toyopet’s expensive price tag and lackluster performance didn’t impress and forced Toyota back to the drawing board to design a car specifically for Americans. By 1961, the Toyopet was discontinued as Toyota slowly built its reputation with the popular Land Cruiser, an all-terrain vehicle that kept Toyota afloat until the debut of the Corona in 1965.
The midsize Corona delivered the power drivers needed along with a host of amenities that were considered luxurious at the time. These features included factory-installed air conditioning and an automatic transmission, both of which added to the Corona’s appeal, making it one of Toyota’s top sellers and anchoring Toyota’s position as the third best-selling import brand in the country. The Corona’s success led to further innovation as Toyota introduced the Corolla in 1968.
After a decade in America, Toyota realized that drivers wanted more than just a bare-bones model but didn’t necessarily want to pay the higher sticker price for a larger model like the Corona. The compact Corolla answered this need as Toyota’s middle-of-the-road model. Fun to drive, efficient, affordable, and sporty, the Corolla had everything drivers were looking for and embodied Toyota’s innovative spirit with its front bucket seats and four-speed floor shifter, both of which were unheard of at the time outside of sports cars.
The Corolla’s impressive performance, design, and unique features sent sales skyrocketing and made it the most popular sedan in America. In the decades since, the Corolla became the best-selling passenger car of all time and continues to impress, with models like the 2022 Corolla proving that the sedan only gets better with age. We see this in the newest Corolla’s long list of features that extend from its LED headlights and an athletic stance on the road to its large touchscreen display, premium leather interior, and a sport-tuned suspension that makes it fun to drive and easy to handle.
The Corolla Family Grows: The All-New 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross
The growing demand for crossovers inspires Toyota’s latest addition to the Corolla lineup with the debut of the 2022 Corolla Cross. The compact crossover is a far cry from the first-generation Corolla, but it extends the sedan’s rich legacy with its sophisticated design, intuitive technology, and affordable luxury. For Toyota, the Corolla Cross embodies the fact that “the only constant thing in life is change,” and, when it comes to the Corolla Cross, change is certainly a good thing.
Stunning from every angle, the 2022 Corolla Cross effortlessly combines athleticism and stability with elegance and refinement. The crossover immediately distinguishes itself in the Toyota lineup with its LED front and rear lighting, modern black grille, black body accents, and integrated rear spoiler. The Cross’s sophistication continues to the interior, where the cabin is spacious and lined with high-quality materials. Available upgrades like dual-zone automatic climate control, a power moonroof, heated leather front seats, and a power liftgate add to the Corolla Cross’s appeal.
Power and Capability
The 2022 Corolla Cross is powered by the same 2.0-liter Dynamic Force engine and Direct Shift continuously variable transmission that you’ll find under the hood of the standard Corolla’s sporty SE and XSE trims. The pairing makes the crossover fun to drive and quick to accelerate by delivering 169 horsepower. What’s even more impressive is that this power doesn’t come at the cost of efficiency, with the Corolla Cross averaging around 32 mpg combined, which means fewer stops at the pump and more money in your wallet.
The first-generation Corolla turned heads with its front bucket seats (No bench seat? No way!), which puts the 2022 Corolla Cross’s connectivity features in an entirely new perspective. The Corolla Cross is offered with an available 7-inch Multi-Information Display that serves as a digital cluster for the driver. The center stack is outfitted with a standard 7-inch touchscreen display that’s home to Toyota’s infotainment system and smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You’ll also have access to Amazon Alexa, SiriusXM All Access, and a wireless charging station that keeps your phone battery fully charged and ready to go.
Another stark contrast between the first-generation Corolla and the 2022 Corolla Cross is the compact SUV’s extensive suite of active and passive safety features. Toyota continues to offer state-of-the-art safety technology, and that’s more than apparent when you look at the Cross’s Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) suite and the STAR Safety System. The TSS is standard on every trim and includes tools like the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection that actively monitors for pedestrians and vehicles in the front of the Cross.
The TSS’s Lane Departure Alert helps you keep the Corolla Cross safely in your lane, while the available Blind Spot Monitor serves as an extra set of eyes around the SUV. Standard Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control takes the hassle out of setting and resetting your cruise control by automatically adjusting the Corolla Cross’s speed according to the flow of traffic. Optional Front and Rear Parking with Automatic Braking makes parking a breeze since it identifies a parking spot and can maneuver the crossover into the spot with minimal input from you in the driver’s seat.
A Legacy in the Making
It’s hard to believe that the Toyota brand started with an epic failure. But that failure ignited a journey marked by innovation and evolution with the debut of models like the Corolla. Like any grand adventure, the journey zigged and zagged with dozens of models, but the Corolla has remained a staple in the Toyota lineup and quickly earned its place as the best-selling passenger car in the world. This legacy is what we see in the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross.
The 2022 Corolla Cross is built on the solid foundation of the best-selling Corolla. It embodies the Corolla’s dependability, value, safety, and efficiency but adds a modern twist by delivering intuitive technology, enhanced safety features, and a sophisticated design like no other Toyota in the lineup. The Corolla Cross is truly breaking the mold in the compact crossover segment and just might outshine the Corolla itself; only time will tell.