Toyota Corolla Cross?
That’s the name the Japanese automaker patented with the European Intellectual Property Organization this week – potentially signaling the arrival of an off-road focused Corolla hatch with slightly raised suspension and tough plastic body cladding. Such a model would compete with other off-road hatchbacks like the Ford Focus Active, Subaru Crosstrek, VW Golf Alltrak and Chevrolet Spark Activ.
Small, hatchback-based off-roaders like these are becoming big business in North America. More and more consumers are seeking out vehicles that match their active lifestyles, but not all of them want a big crossover, truck or SUV. That makes active lifestyle compact cars like the Focus Active, for example, a good middle ground. The sales success of these models is also less dependant on oil prices than larger vehicles, making them a safe bet for automakers.
Details on the Toyota Corolla Cross aren’t yet available – it’s not even clear if it’s actually headed to production. If it does, though, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it with smaller wheels shod in knobby off-road tires, plastic body cladding and raised suspension. Toyota’s 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine and 1.8-liter turbocharged engines would likely be on the table as well, along with its CVT automatic and six-speed manual transmissions.
Stay tuned for more details on the Toyota Corolla Cross in coming months. Maybe. Perhaps.