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Launching in Malaysia in 2020: The CKD Toyota Corolla Cross will fight the Honda HR-V, Subaru XV

Hans ยท Mar 31, 2020 02:08 PM

Image for illustration only. Corolla Cross will have a different design from Corolla hatch

Image for illustration only. Corolla Cross will have a different design from Corolla hatch

After over half a decade of sitting at the sidelines and watching the Honda HR-V going from strength to strength, Toyota finally has a product to rival the overachieving HR-V, it’s called the Toyota Corolla Cross, and yes it will be coming to Malaysia.

Recall that we recently ran a post saying that UMW Toyota will be launching three new SUVs in the near term? The first candidate is obvious, that’s the Toyota RAV4.

Launching in Malaysia in 2020: The CKD Toyota Corolla Cross will fight the Honda HR-V, Subaru XV 02

Toyota RAV4

The remaining two models are less clear but today we can confirm one of it will be the Toyota Corolla Cross, according to Filipino website autoindustriya. However, wapcar.my did some further checks on our own and the information we got is a little bit different.

Sources familiar with Toyota’s regional operations told wapcar.my that the Corolla Cross will be a regional product, and it will be launched across all major markets in the ASEAN region, including Malaysia.

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With lower prices, the Corolla Cross will do what the C-HR couldn't - to break the Honda HR-V's dominance

What is a Toyota Corolla Cross?

Despite using the Corolla name, the Toyota Corolla Cross is not a jacked up version of a Corolla hatchback.

Yes, it will be based on Toyota’s venerable TNGA platform, TNGA-C to be specific, but it will have a different torsion beam rear suspension instead of the Corolla hatchback’s (available in Japan and Europe) or our local Corolla Altis sedan’s double wishbone rear suspension.

Launching in Malaysia in 2020: The CKD Toyota Corolla Cross will fight the Honda HR-V, Subaru XV 01

The switch to torsion beam is necessary not just because the Corolla Cross needs to be priced lower than the Toyota C-HR, but also to save space.

Powertrain details are still unclear but it will most likely share the Corolla Altis’ 1.8-litre naturally aspirated 2ZR-FE engine paired to a CVT-type automatic. A full-hybrid variant, powered by a 1.8-litre engine shared with the Prius, could also be offered, but this is subject to the government providing greater clarity with regards to tax incentives for locally-assembled hybrid cars.

Launching in Malaysia in 2020: The CKD Toyota Corolla Cross will fight the Honda HR-V, Subaru XV 02

Recall that back in February, UMW Toyota Motor confirmed that it is looking to launch a hybrid model, but the vague new National Automotive Policy is not helping. 

Like all recent Toyota models that are underpinned by the TNGA platform, the Toyota Corolla Cross promises to offer far better ride and handling than any of its peers. The fact that it uses torsion beam is unlikely to make any difference – remember that Toyota’s good friend Mazda (which Toyota owns 5 percent of) also uses torsion beam for its Mazda 3 but its handling remains peerless.

Launching in Malaysia in 2020: The CKD Toyota Corolla Cross will fight the Honda HR-V, Subaru XV 03

The Toyota Corolla range currently comes in three body types. Wagon and hatchback - which are not sold here - have a similar front-end. The sedan (Corolla Altis) has a different design. Corolla Cross will likely have a different front-end too.

How will it look like?

Details are still unclear as the model has yet to make its global debut. There are a lot of rendered images based on a Corolla wagon or hatchback, but we have been told that the actual car will look very different from Corolla hatchback or wagon.

Remember that the Corolla Altis looks quite distinct from the hatchback and wagon.

The cabin however, will be similar to our Corolla Altis.

Launching in Malaysia in 2020: The CKD Toyota Corolla Cross will fight the Honda HR-V, Subaru XV 04

Toyota Corolla Altis, Malaysian specifications - different infotainment head unit

When will it be launched?

The Corolla Cross was originally planned for a global debut in Thailand sometime in the mid-2020 but at the rate things are going with Covid-19, the launch timing is likely to have been pushed back.

We expect the Corolla Cross to be launched in Malaysia sometime in end-2020 or early-2021.

What’s the price? What are the competitors?

The objective is to compete against the Honda HR-V, so expect prices to be around RM 100k to RM 130k, which also puts it within the firing range of the Subaru XV, not forgetting the aging Mitsubishi ASX (yes it's still on sale). The hybrid Corolla Cross variant, will of course be more expensive. 

It won't trouble the Mazda CX-30 because that's a more premium product, aimed at a different clientele. 

Launching in Malaysia in 2020: The CKD Toyota Corolla Cross will fight the Honda HR-V, Subaru XV 05

Prices might be higher if the Toyota Corolla Cross is imported from Thailand (the Thailand-made Toyota C-HR is priced at RM 150,000), but we think that’s unlikely.

For Malaysia, the Toyota Corolla Cross will most likely be locally-assembled (CKD) at UMW Toyota Motor’s new plant in Bukit Raja, which currently only makes the Vios and Yaris. Surely the company didn’t invest in a new 50,000 units per year capacity plant just to make two B-segment models right?

But the Proton X50 and Perodua D55L SUV will be much cheaper right?

Launching in Malaysia in 2020: The CKD Toyota Corolla Cross will fight the Honda HR-V, Subaru XV 06

Geely Binyue shown - donor car for Proton X50

Being a Proton, yes the Proton X50 will certainly be cheaper since it enjoys greater excise tax exemptions. The Proton X50 will also be a lot more powerful – 177 PS from a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine, but it’s a three-cylinder, and will be paired to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.

But nevermind the Proton X50, even the bigger Proton X70 is cheaper too.

The yet to be named upcoming Perodua compact SUV, codenamed D55L will also be priced lower. Like the Proton X50, it too will use a three-cylinder turbocharged engine, but with a smaller 1.0-litre capacity, paired to a CVT-type automatic.

Launching in Malaysia in 2020: The CKD Toyota Corolla Cross will fight the Honda HR-V, Subaru XV 07

The Japanese market Toyota Raize/Daihatsu Rocky will serve as the donor car for Perodua D55L

However, both the Perodua D55L and Proton X50 are also positioned one segment lower than the C-segment Corolla Cross.

The Honda HR-V is technically also a B-segment model since it is based on the Honda City/Jazz’s platform, but it has been widened and lengthened to be closer to a C-segment Subaru XV/Mitsubishi ASX class of vehicle.

Hans

Head of Content

Over 15 years of experience in automotive, from product planning, to market research, to print and digital media. Garages a 6-cylinder manual RWD but buses to work.

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