2021 Toyota Corolla Cross vs Honda HR-V – add RM 6k for a bigger car, should you?
Eric · Mar 25, 2021 08:50 PM
At long last, the 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross is here. The new SUV from Toyota will be competing in one of the most competitive segments in Malaysia.
Let’s dive into one of the most highly-anticipated comparisons of the year, comparing the Corolla Cross against established rivals such as the Honda HR-V.
The Corolla Cross is actually closer to a Subaru XV than a Honda HR-V but since the XV is a slow seller here, there's not much sales for Toyota to pull from Subaru. Instead, Toyota will of course be fishing for customers at the Honda HR-V's pond.
Also, the fact that the Corolla Cross is an all-new model will definitely have a big impact on the ageing HR-V.
Exterior – Corolla Cross one ups the HR-V
Design has always been a subjective topic – some may love the design of a particular model, while others are instantly turned off.
At a glance, the Toyota Corolla Cross has all the makings of an SUV – it gets signature SUV styling like flared arches, cladding, and a raised ride height. One could go as far as saying that the Corolla Cross looks like a mini Toyota RAV4.
Interior – Tough battle between the newcomer and the established one
The Toyota Corolla Cross brings with it an air of familiarity, as its interior is largely carried over from the Toyota Corolla Altis.
Yes, largely carried over, as some bits of the Corolla Cross are unique to the SUV – the Corolla Cross does not get the Altis’ electric parking brake (EPB), relying on a foot-operated parking brake instead.
It also carries over the rear air-conditioning vents from the Corolla Altis – a feature that is missing on the outgoing Honda HR-V.
The Honda HR-V, on the other hand, offers a plusher interior, seeing that the dashboard features a leather insert.
Both the Corolla Cross and HR-V offer support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but the Corolla Cross offers a much larger 9-inch unit against the HR-V’s 7-inch unit.
Powertrain – More or less identical
Under the hood, both the Toyota Corolla Cross and Honda HR-V are powered by 1.8-litre petrol engines, with identical torque figures. The Subaru XV offers the largest engine here, coming in with a 2.0-litre unit.
Toyota Corolla Cross
But therein lies the difference, as the Corolla Cross is 115 kg more than the HR-V, coming in at 1,405 kg.
The excess weight over the HR-V means that the power-to-weight ratio of the Corolla Cross takes a hit. Off the line, the HR-V accelerates with more urgency than the Corolla Cross.
Power-to-weight ratio (PS/tonne)
Toyota Corolla Cross
Safety – Corolla Cross showing HR-V how it’s done
Where the Corolla Cross loses in power-to-weight ratio against the HR-V, it claws back with its superior safety equipment.
The range-topping Corolla Cross 1.8 is UMWT's latest model to offer the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) ADAS suite, further separating itself from the HR-V and XV.
The Toyota Corolla Cross is no exception, even though it is fitted with a simpler torsion beam rear suspension.
Even with 18-inch wheels, the Corolla Cross offers a much more pliant ride than the HR-V RS, as the latter’s ride comfort is best described as mediocre.
Pricing – Make or break for Toyota
As reported earlier, prices of the 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross is largely similar to the Toyota Corolla Altis, with prices starting from RM 124k and tops out at RM 134k.
Indeed, the Toyota does cost a fair bit more than the Honda HR-V, which is priced from RM 104k to RM 118k.
While the Honda HR-V still remains as the cheaper alternative, keep in mind that the Honda is a much older product, having been on sale since 2015, almost reaching the end of its lifecycle.
By comparison, while the newer Corolla Cross packs more safety equipment than the Honda HR-V, it is actually not as practical as the HR-V, despite being larger than the HR-V.
The Honda HR-V, despite its compact dimensions, still reigns as one of the most practical SUVs in its segment. However, if you can overlook the minor disadvantage of the Corolla Cross' practicality, then the Toyota is a much better option, as it includes the all-important Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) ADAS suite - a small jump in price but a massive step-up in terms of safety.
That said, this battle will shift into high gear some time next year upon the introduction of the snazzy-looking, all-new Honda HR-V.
Conclusion – A much-needed catalyst for UMWT to reclaim the top spot
For now, the Toyota Corolla Cross is more than a worthy alternative over the long-standing Honda HR-V, nevermind the slow-selling Subaru XV, as the HR-V that's still on sale in Malaysia is in the last legs of its model life and thus won't be able to put up much of a fight.
The Toyota Corolla Cross, alongside new Toyota Camry, all-new Toyota Harrier, updated Toyota Alphard / Vellfire (final hurrah before the model retires), will be the much-needed catalyst for UMWT to reclaim its number one non-national spot from Honda Malaysia.