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Sunday Drive: 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid a fantastic drive with exceptional fuel efficiency

By Craig and Deanne Conover - Daily Herald | Nov 25, 2023
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Deanne stands with the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross that we had the experience of driving for a week in late October. What a great experience that proved how great the Toyota Hybrid System really is.
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The new 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid XSE.
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Inside the new 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid XSE.
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The new 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid XSE.
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Inside the new 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid XSE.
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The new 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid XSE.
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Inside the new 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid XSE.

When it comes to compact crossovers, the competition is fierce, with a multitude of options vying for attention. However, the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross HV XSE stands out as a remarkable blend of excitement, style and, most importantly, eco-consciousness.

After spending some time a few months ago in the Corolla GR — that would be the street racing/track edition of this new crossover — it was awesome to get time with the more family-friendly Corolla Cross, especially with the hybrid setup. After a week, we were very impressed to get a very eco-friendly score, if you will, of 49.8 mpg!

Exterior and interior

Hitting home with us the most both times now in the new Corolla Cross was its striking exterior design. Toyota has masterfully combined sporty aesthetics with modern sophistication. The crossover exudes an aura of confidence with its distinctive LED headlights, sleek lines and bold grille, not to mention the elegant 18-inch alloy wheels that completed our picture.

Getting inside the Corolla Cross, we were greeted by a nicely appointed cabin that blended comfort and technology seamlessly. Using premium materials and the well-thought-out design elements, Toyota has created an inviting atmosphere.

The synthetic leather-trimmed seats were not only plush but also ergonomic, ensuring that we would be comfortable throughout our weekly journeys. Passengers in the rear were also afforded plenty of legroom and headroom, making this compact SUV more spacious than we would have expected.

The highlight of the interior, however, is the technological wizardry that Toyota has integrated. The 8-inch touch screen infotainment system, wirelessly compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, was very intuitive and responsive.

The beautiful graphics and user-friendly interface made navigating through the entertainment and connectivity features a breeze. In addition, the XSE trim added wireless charging capability, providing an added layer of convenience for us while motoring around town.

Performance and handling

Where the hybrid truly was truly extraordinary was in its performance and handling. Under the hood, a dynamic hybrid powertrain lurks, combining a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. This collaboration results in a peppy 168 horsepower, which is more than enough to propel this compact SUV with enthusiasm.

During the week, the Corolla Cross displayed impressive acceleration, reaching highway speeds with ease. The transition between electric and gasoline power was virtually seamless, thanks to Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system. Whether we were cruising around the town or getting it on the open road, we did appreciate the torque and agility this hybrid SUV had to offer.

Additionally, the handling of the Corolla Cross HV XSE was well-balanced, offering a comfortable and composed ride. It took corners with grace and maintained a reassuring grip on the road, even when the weather turned bad and conditions got a little slippery. The responsive steering ensured that we remained in control, provided a spirited driving experience that was sure to keep us smiling.

Fuel efficiency

One of the most compelling aspects of the 2023 Corolla Cross hybrid was its remarkable fuel efficiency, as we mentioned earlier. In a world where environmental consciousness is becoming increasingly important, this compact SUV takes a giant leap forward with its hybrid powertrain. The Corolla Cross hybrid boasts an impressive 50 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway, making it a very eco-friendly choice for everyday commuters and road trippers alike.

During our test drive, again we were astounded by the exceptional gas mileage this vehicle offered. It seamlessly switched between electric and gasoline power, and the regenerative braking system helped recharge the battery while on the move, adding even more to the enhancement of fuel efficiency. The hybrid powertrain not only reduced our carbon footprint for the week but also lightened the load on our wallet, with fewer trips to the gas station.

Safety features

In terms of safety, the 2023 Corolla Cross is packed with advanced features to keep everyone in the crossover protected. The Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite comes standard, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking and traffic sign recognition. These features provide an extra layer of security and peace of mind, especially during long drives or heavy traffic situations.

The XSE trim, in particular, adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, which further enhanced our situational awareness. We always find these features are invaluable in urban environments and when navigating crowded parking lots, making this compact SUV an ideal choice for urban dwellers.

Price and value

While the 2023 Corolla Cross HV XSE offered a wealth of features, comfort and excellent fuel efficiency, we find it’s also important to consider the price point. The XSE trim, being the top-tier model, does come with a slightly higher price tag compared to the base model. However, the added features, such as wireless charging, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, would make it a worthwhile investment for those seeking a more premium driving experience.

When we factored in the long-term savings on fuel, thanks to the hybrid powertrain, the Corolla Cross became even more attractive from a value perspective. It’s a testament to Toyota’s commitment to providing a well-rounded vehicle that offers not only excitement on the road but also savings at the pump.


In a world where eco-consciousness and thrilling driving experiences can seem like conflicting ideals, the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross HV XSE successfully bridges the gap. With a sporty exterior, a comfortable and tech-savvy interior, spirited performance and exceptional fuel efficiency, it ticks all the boxes for an affordable, modern compact SUV.

If you’re in the market for a compact SUV that combines style, performance and class-leading fuel efficiency, the 2023 Corolla Cross HV XSE deserves a place at the top of your list. Toyota’s dedication to innovation and eco-consciousness has resulted in a vehicle that promises both driving thrills and environmental responsibility — a winning combination that’s hard to resist in today’s automotive landscape.

Base price: $31,065

Destination charge: $1,350

Price as driven: $36,659


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