Categories
New Toyota Vehicle

Checking in on the Toyota Corolla Cross

When Toyota unveiled their compact crossover SUV the Corolla Cross hybrid in 2020, it seemed to fill a logical hole in Toyota’s SUV lineup. Longer and wider than the subcompact C-HR and taller than the Corolla hatchback, the Cross was more akin to a hybrid version of the RAV4.

The Corolla Cross rolled out alongside a new Toyota motto: “everyday, reinvented.” Taken at face value, the slogan seems to promise excitement; here is a vehicle so dynamic that it has the capacity to change the very fabric of virtually any day.

But with nearly a half decade of hindsight, it’s easy to look at that motto another way. The Corolla Cross was never designed to reinvent life itself. Rather, it was meant to literally reinvent your everyday routine, offering a sustained measure of practicality that took all that was burdensome about life’s day-to-day trials and streamlined it.

Recently, MotorTrend completed their yearlong test review of the 2022 Corolla Cross. In the end, they also arrived at the same descriptor: practicality. Let’s look at where the Corolla Cross stands and where it figures to go from here.

The Year-Long Findings

Although the Corolla series launched way back in 1966, the Corolla Cross was the very first hybrid crossover introduced to Toyota’s lineup. Initially, it was powered by a standard 1.8-liter inline-four with 138 horsepower and 130 lb-ft of torque.

After spending a year with the 2022 Corolla Cross, MotorTrend kept coming back to the little details that coalesced into a practical whole: the enormous trunk and cargo capacity, the rubber floor mats, the wireless charger-storing cubby beneath the HVAC controls.

The magazine also praised the Corolla Cross’s lifetime fuel economy of 29 mpg, citing minimal spending at the pump and low maintenance costs. In terms of fuel economy, the Corolla Cross comfortably outpaced rivals such as the CX-30, Soul, and Mazda 3.

And while the Corolla Cross admittedly offered little in the way of surprises, MotorTrend deemed it a great fit for daily commutes and errands, as its slight frame made parking in tight spots painless.

Crossing Into 2024

Toyota has been a key part of the global movement towards electrification since its outset, and the latest edition of its crossover hybrid continues their green effort.

Since the 2022 model, the Corolla Cross has added standard all-wheel drive. Its engine has been upgraded to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, with three electric motors combining for 196 horsepower. For the 2024 model, the Corolla Cross SE and XSE trims receive updated wireless smartphone charging pads.

Though changes to the Cross have been incremental, its foundation has held solid. You’ll still find the same affordable starting price, the same level of fuel efficiency, and the same level of dependability.

Sometimes it’s better to know what to expect when tackling everyday life. The overtly practical Corolla Cross hybrid is peace of mind on four wheels. And as we get an early look at the redesigned 2025 model, it doesn’t appear as though that core philosophy is changing, regardless of how sleek the Cross becomes.

Your Next Toyota Experience Awaits

The new year is upon us, and that means it’s time for resolutions. In 2024, resolve to get behind the wheel of a new or used Toyota vehicle. Whether you’re interested in the Cross, new models such as the 2024 Toyota Tundra, or just in need of an oil change, Lithia Toyota of Abilene is here to keep for all your practical – and occasionally indulgent – auto needs.

Categories
Awards

The 2024 Toyota Prius is MotorTrend’s Car of the Year

For the first time in two decades, the Toyota Prius has been named MotorTrend’s Car of the Year. Toyota claims the coveted Golden Calipers award for the first time since the 2007 Toyota Camry, and 20 years after the trailblazing 2004 Toyota Prius earned the title. 

The magazine has a set of six specific criteria it uses to judge its Car of the Year finalists, so it speaks to the complete, well-rounded nature of the 2024 Prius that it was able to take home this year’s top honors. It also does so in a year that marks the 75th anniversary of Cadillac claiming MotorTrend’s inaugural Car of the Year award in 1949. 

To commemorate the moment, Lithia Toyota of Abilene looks back at 2004’s winner and where the Prius stands today.

2004 

When Toyota initially developed the Prius, their vision was to create the “car of the 21st century.” The fully realized version of the Prius arrived four years after the turn of the century, ready to claim that mantle. The 2004 Prius was a complete redesign of the previous generations of Kia, replacing the Toyota Hybrid System (THS) with the superior Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD). 

The 2004 Prius became the first hybrid vehicle to claim MotorTrend’s year-end award – a bold choice at the time, and the magazine knew it. Then-editor-in-chief, Kevin Smith, wrote in 2004, “We realize the selection of a hybrid vehicle is going to stir controversy, but we believe the performance, engineering advancements, and overall significance of the Toyota Prius merits the distinction of Motor Trend’s Car of the Year.” 

In presenting the 2023 award, MotorTrend notes, “It’s remarkable how much we wrote about that game-changing 2004 Prius that still applies to its Car of the Year-winning successor two decades later.” They’re not wrong; just as it was in 2004, the Prius remains the gold standard for the combination of fuel efficiency, ultra-low emissions, safety, and riveting performance. 

2024

MotorTrend is quick to point out that it in winning Car of the Year, the 2024 Prius “has made a cultural impact far greater than its carbon footprint.” As we enter 2024, Prius drivers have certainly become associated with more than Toyota’s green-first initiatives: nerds, ride-hail drivers, virtue-signalers… even music snobs celebrated when the hybrid car got a shout-out in a certified Charli XCX banger from 2019. 

But if your primary criticism of the hybrid is that it’s an entryway to chique hipsterdom, that means the vehicle itself is probably doing a lot of things right. MotorTrend praises the 2024 Prius for its design, boosted efficiency, and perhaps most importantly, the way it’s helped advance “the automotive state of the art without forcing drivers to change their deeply ingrained habits.” 

It was the 2024 model’s newfound mesh of style and performance, however, that may have separated it from all-electric competitors like the Hyundai Ioniq 6 and the Tesla Model 3 Highland. For the first time since the 2004 model, Toyota designers and engineers had total freedom to completely reimagine the Prius, which led to a modern 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, larger motors and batteries, and all-wheel drive available at launch. 

In claiming top honors, the 2024 Prius emerged from a competitive group of finalists: the 2023 BMW 7 Series, the 2023 BMW M2, the 2024 Lucid Air, and the aforementioned 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 and 2024 Tesla Model 3. 

Get Behind the Wheel of a Prius Today 

Clearly, there’s never been a better time to be a Prius owner. Lithia Toyota is Abilene’s number one dealership when you’re making the switch to hybrid or all-electric. Check out more info on the 2023 Toyota Prius and other hybrid/plug-in/electric vehicles, as well as our entire inventory of new and used Toyotas.

The Prius could very well take home its third pair of Golden Calipers 20 years from now, but for the time being, it’s established itself as the model of consistency in the automotive world. The only question remaining is how high the Prius’s ceiling can possibly rise. This New Year’s, make it your resolution to roll into 2024 with the best car on the market, the Toyota Prius.