Corolla Cross

SA’s first-ever petrol-electric hybrid and a petrol model on sale end October

Toyota has continued to roll out information about its much anticipated forthcoming Corolla Cross. For whatever reason, it has released a tranche of engine and technical info precisely 77 days before the car makes its local debut. The big news is that there will be two engines. A conventional 18-litre petrol. And the interesting one — SA’s first ever locally produced petrol-electric hybrid.

Cross petrol engine nicked from Corolla Sedan

First, let’s take a look at that conventional 103 kW 173 Nm 1.8-litre VVT 2ZR-FE petrol four-pot. Which the Cross will share with Corolla Xs and Quest. An under-square unit, it prioritises strong mid-range punch and is mated to Toyota’s constantly variable automatic. That also incorporates a seven-step manual mode too. Rated at frugal 6.8 litres per 100 kilometres in Corolla Cross, 2ZR-FE will emit 154 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

The Corolla Cross Hybrid on the other hand steals the Toyota Prius’ famous 2ZR-FXE Hybrid engine. Mated to its next generation signature self-charging hybrid powertrain for a super fuel efficient, relaxed and carefree drive. Set up so to deliver natural, immediate, yet smooth response, the re-engineered Atkinson cycle 1.8-litre delivers a pure combustion 72 kW and 142 Nm of twist. At a world-beating 40% thermal efficiency for a petrol engine.

It gets improved gas flow, combustion, cooling, knock control and more effective exhaust gas recirculation. To speed up coolant warming on start-up and bring further fuel savings by stopping the engine sooner in its Hybrid cycle. Boasting thin section resin-coated con-rod bearings, a low-friction camshaft chain and reduced friction piston skirts and rotating parts. Add an easier spinning oil pump and a new electric water pump, 2ZR-FXE is as efficient as ever.

Much improved first ever SA hybrid

Toyota’s latest generation Hybrid now also features a more compact, lighter weight and cheaper to build electric system. It brings significant advances in battery tech. Corolla Cross’ higher energy density hybrid battery pack retains its power output but is now 10% lighter. It can absorb 28% more energy in the same timeframe for even quicker self-charging.

The system’s smaller new 53 kW 163 Nm electric motor has an improved power-to-weight ratio to boost overall system output to 90 kW. The e-motor very noticeably, yet smoothly boosts mid-range torque and overtaking acceleration. Just like a turbo or supercharger. But without the drama of heat or mechanical complexity of forced induction.

Corolla Cross Hybrid can also be driven in near-silent, full-electric EV mode. It will really shine in low-speed and peak-hour traffic, or when coasting on a level road on battery power only. The Corolla Cross is a full hybrid. It recharges the battery pack via regenerative braking or by the petrol engine when on the move. It does not ‘plug in’.

Four litres per hundred, 100 g/km CO2

The Hybrid employs a CVT gearbox to seamlessly and automatically integrate its petrol and electric drive sources. Without sacrificing drivability, performance or fuel economy. Perhaps most significantly, the Corolla Cross Hybrid will return a most impressive 4.3 l/100 km overall fuel consumption while emitting less than 100 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre driven.

Entering production as we speak at Toyota’s Prospecton, Durban Plant, the all-new Corolla Cross will feature that first hybrid powertrain ever manufactured in South Africa. It is part of a significant investment that will see the local company compete on a global scale. Local Toyota Corolla Cross sales commence late in October. — Michele Lupini

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