Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid version is in the pipeline

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Toyota will build a hybrid version of its new Corolla Cross, the company confirmed during a media briefing Wednesday. The new compact crossover will hit showrooms with just a run-of-the-mill four-cylinder, with the new hybrid powertrain coming later, likely for the 2023 or 2024 model year at the earliest.

At launch, the Corolla Cross will be offered only with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 169 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque paired to a CVT. That powertrain will be offered in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and the latter gets a fancy multilink suspension setup in lieu of the FWD model's torsion beam. Toyota estimates the 2.0's fuel economy will be a bit worse than a Corolla Hatchback's, coming in at 32 mpg combined for front-wheel drive, and 30 mpg for all-wheel drive, leaving room above it for a more fuel-efficient hybrid.

Toyota has not said yet which hybrid powertrain will be adapted to the new Corolla Cross, but it will likely come down to one of two existing systems: the front-wheel drive setup offered in the Corolla or an "AWD-e" setup similar to that found in the Lexus UX 250h and all-wheel drive Prius. That electric AWD powertrain relies on the gasoline engine to power the front axle while an on-demand electric motor kicks in when slip is detected or when the driver floors the accelerator. In the Prius AWD, that rear motor produces just 7.1 horsepower and 40.6 pound-feet of torque and operates independently from the rest of the powertrain; there's no physical link (driveshaft, etc.) between the front and rear axles.

We've been told to expect more information next year.

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