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The arrival of the new Toyota Corolla had been the focus of so much anticipation in global markets for the main reason that it is still the brand’s best-selling car.

And a flagship model that has already delivered 48 million in sales since 1966 deserves all the attention it needs to remain on top.

The new Toyota Corolla Cross is a bright new combination on many levels.

Toyota uses the phrase “Corolla meets SUV”. But it’s more than just that.

The new features are indicative of a very forward thinking technology that built its foundations very well from its roots: a combo of the Toyota TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform system, the Toyota Safety Sense and its emerging Hybrid expertise.

What buyers will get with this new Corolla Cross hybrid, in particular, is a somewhat mature hybrid technology in the sense that they aren’t experimenting at the expense of the consumer.

The new car vehicle is at the forefront of new technologies while still working within the Toyota TNGA platform system. This Corolla Cross uses the said platform like the Corolla Altis but in this case, Toyota has chosen to use a new development of their torsion bar for the rear suspension. This is an example of how consistencies across the design and production flow actually can allow better fine-tuning of particular key points. This all-new torsion beam provided benefits in weight and packaging that in turn they say provide better low-speed comfort and reduced body roll. Given that this is an all-new vehicle model, it is good to see that the multi-platform design and engineering system still allows the company to create vehicles that answer specific needs.

The Corolla Cross comes in two variants, basically all-gas or hybrid. The 1.8 G CVT is the all-gasoline model, using a 1.8 liter DOHC inline four cylinder engine mated to a CVT Continuously Variable Transmission. It starts at P1,285,000 and is available in either Metal Stream Metallic, Red Mica Metallic or Attitude Black Mica at that price. A premium color, Platinum White Pearl Mica, is available with an P15,000 additional charge.

The 1.8 V HV Hybrid combines a lower output 1.8 liter DOHC inline four cylinder engine that uses an Atkinson Cycle to combine with an electric motor for a good combination of efficiency and smoothness of power application. The Hybrid is priced at P1,650,000 for the three basic colors and the same P15,000 premium for the special Platinum White Pearl Mica. With the increased price of the Hybrid, you also get significant additional features. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, as are leather seats. The Hybrid also is the fifth of Toyota Motor Philippines’ lineup to feature TSS or Toyota Safety Sense. This includes Pre-Collision System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, Lane Tracing Assist and Automatic High Beam. These features were only available previously in the higher-level cars like the Alphard and the Hiace Super Grandia Elite and the Prius and Corolla Altis 1.8 HV Hybrids. The Corolla Cross Hybrid also includes a Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The driver can also choose between three different modes of driving, Eco, Power or EV, that skew power delivery appropriately.

All variants of the Corolla Cross get a slew of safety systems including Anti-Lock Brake Systems with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Vehicle Stability Control with Traction Control, Hill Start Assist and 7 SRS airbags. All variants have reverse cameras, with the G having two rear sonars and the Hybrid getting two sonar sensors in the front and four in the rear.

The Corolla Cross will seem most familiar to Altis owners on the inside, with similar design treatments and style choices. The Hybrid gets the special 8-inch infotainment center (which accesses Apple CarPlay or Android Auto by wired connection) and a 7-inch digital/analog instrumentation display. All variants though have phone and audio connectivity.

The Corolla Cross as a new model brings the familiarity and solidity that come with both the Toyota and Corolla names. But they are clearly looking forward just as their customers are. The Corolla Cross follows the more sporty and fresh and dynamic feel that has been coming from Toyota of late. If we look back at the Corolla name itself, it was never really defined by a body type. It has been a sedan, a coupe, a hatchback, a wagon. Now may well be the time to attach it to the body type and the technology of the future.