2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
(Photo/Toyota)

More Power, Better Economy: 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross AWD Gets Hybrid Powertrain

Better late than never, Toyota has given the Corolla Cross the automaker’s best feature: a hybrid powertrain with AWD.

In a move we’re still surprised didn’t happen from day one, Toyota is bringing its hybrid synergy drive system to the Corolla Cross crossover for 2023. The driveline upgrade means more power and better fuel economy, making an already appealing package an even more compelling one.

Toyota launched the Corolla Cross for the 2022 model year. It is built at one of Toyota’s most modern plants, the Huntsville, Alabama, facility that is also home to the Mazda CX-50.

Corolla Cross came to North America with one engine, a 2.0L four-cylinder connected to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and front or all-wheel drive options. Despite offering 169 horsepower, in a vehicle slightly smaller (and lighter) than a Toyota RAV4, it felt underpowered.

2023 Corolla Cross Hybrid

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
(Photo/Toyota)

The new hybrid system, which will be optional on five trim lines, including new S, SE, and XSE grades, should boost the Corolla Cross’s performance. Toyota says the new driveline will offer 194 horsepower, cutting the 0-60 miles per hour time down to 8.0 seconds, from more than 9 seconds.

All-wheel drive will be standard on the Corolla Cross, and Toyota expects the hybrid to deliver 37 miles per gallon on the combined EPA fuel economy cycle. That’s not quite as impressive as the 52 miles per gallon the smaller Corolla hybrid sedan offers, but it should be a noticeable savings at the pump over the 30 miles per gallon the standard Corolla Cross delivers with AWD.

Toyota Infotainment Upgrades

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
(Photo/Toyota)

Every Corolla Cross gets an upgrade for 2023 in the form of the latest Toyota Multimedia System. The new system adds over-the-air updates, connected services, “Hey, Toyota” voice commands, and Points of Interest from Google.

You’ll be able to link Apple Music and Amazon Music subscriptions to the crossover. It also has 4G Wi-Fi hotspot capability. The system debuted in the latest Toyota Tundra pickup, and we’ve already spent time with it in that vehicle.

For the Corolla Cross, the infotainment system will run on an 8.0-inch screen. As part of the new system, the wireless versions of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included. Toyota also added more USB-C charge ports.

It’s a new screen, but it sits in the old bezel. The Corolla Cross still has a physical volume knob and real controls for the heating and air conditioning, but the large bezel can make the screen look small.

Evolutionary Upgrades

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
(Photo/Toyota)

Another update for 2023 is the addition of Toyota Safety Sense 3.0. Upgrades over version 2.0 include adding motorcycle detection to the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection. In addition, tweaks to Lane Departure and Lane Tracing Assist are meant to make those features work better on the road.

Sport versions of the Corolla Cross Hybrid — how Toyota refers to S, SE and XSE trims — get some cosmetic changes. A new nose has a more closed-off grille area. The top section is body-color; the bottom section looks open but is just a clever illusion. Only the lowest section allows air to flow through the radiator.

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross
Pphoto/Toyota)

S and SE grades get 17-inch alloy wheels, LED head and taillights, and a sport-tuned suspension. SE adds tinted rear glass for privacy and a roof rack to help you carry more cargo. SE also gets blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Step up to the XSE grade, and Toyota adds 18-inch alloys, premium LED headlights, and Softex-trimmed seats. You’ll need XSE if you want to get heated front seats, as they aren’t offered on lower grades.

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross
(Photo/Toyota)

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross

Expect the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid at dealers this fall. While Toyota didn’t give us the new price, we expect it will be slightly higher than the starting $23,745 MSRP of a non-hybrid AWD 2022 Corolla Cross.

Virtually build your own Corolla Cross out and find a local dealer for a test drive.

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Evan Williams
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Evan has been drooling over cars since the time he learned to walk. Since then he's worked on controlling the drooling and expanded his interests to include hiking, cycling, and kayaking. He went to school for engineering but transitioned into a more satisfying career and has been writing automotive and outdoors news for nearly a decade