The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross and the 2022 Mazda CX-30 prove even small crossover SUVs can be fun and stylish. Which is better?
- The Toyota Corolla Cross’s structure is related not only to the Corolla but also to the C-HR and the Lexus UX.
- Mazda CX-30’s 2.5-liter turbo makes 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque on 93-octane fuel.
- Both offer all-wheel drive (AWD).
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross
Base Price: $23,410 / Find out more about the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross
What we like: Solid standard safety feature set; standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; AWD available on every trim.
What we would change: Offer more than one engine choice; improve base model included equipment; spice up the exterior.
Overview: The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is a small crossover SUV aimed at the intersection of compactness and usefulness. Its core formula is based around a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) sending power to the front wheels by default. However, AWD is an available upgrade, even on base models. The upgrade from front-wheel drive (FWD) to AWD also upgrades the rear axle from a torsion beam to a multi-link.
What’s new for 2022: The Corolla Cross is all-new for the 2022 model year.
Features and technology: The 2022 Corolla Cross comes in three trim levels: L, LE, and XLE. Whichever version you choose, all Corolla Crosses come with Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of active safety features, including forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and more.
The L includes standard equipment such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 7-inch touchscreen, and a 4.2-inch gauge cluster display. The LE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, an 8-inch touchscreen, Qi wireless device charging, a Smart Key with pushbutton start, and body-colored heated side mirrors. The top-of-the-range XLE adds or upgrades to 18-inch alloy wheels, a 7-inch digital gauge display, 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, rear cross-traffic braking, dual-zone climate control, and more.
What does the future hold: While the Toyota Corolla Cross is all-new to the U.S. this year, it has been produced elsewhere in the world since 2020, so Toyota may bring some significant updates to the Corolla Cross family within the next year or two.
2022 Mazda CX-30
Base price: $23,000 (est.) / Find out more about the 2022 Mazda CX-30
What we like: Premium interior; great handling; lots of power.
What we would change: A bit tight in the back; complicated infotainment; most features unavailable in lower trims.
Overview: The 2022 Mazda CX-30 is among the most powerful and fun to drive subcompact crossovers. The steering is excellent, the transmission always knows how to shift, and handling is superb. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder base engine makes plenty of power, although there’s also a 2.5-liter turbo if you want even more juice. The standard setup is FWD, although either engine can be paired with AWD.
We love the sharp exterior looks, and the interior has a luxury feel, with high-quality materials and an elegant style. The front row is spacious and comfortable, although the rear legroom is a bit tight. All controls fall easily to the hand, with the infotainment screen on the dash. There are 20.2 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, expanding to 45.2 cubic feet folded. Standard features are decent, although even some safety features are reserved for the higher trim levels.
What’s new for 2022: Given that the CX-30 was brand-new in 2020 and added the new turbo engine last year, we don’t expect much in the way of changes this year, aside from maybe some new paint colors or wheel options.
Features and technology: There is a choice of 2.5-liter engines in the 2022 Mazda CX-30, with the turbocharged variant making 227 hp and a robust 310 lb-ft of torque on regular 87 octane fuel. Either engine can be paired with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The base trim is exactly that, with keyless entry and ignition, cloth seats, 60/40 split-fold rear seats, two USB ports, and sport front seats. Infotainment comes via Mazda Connect with an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Bluetooth, HD radio, Wi-Fi, and an 8-speaker audio system. Safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assistance.
The next trim adds simulated leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Above that, the Preferred adds an 8-way power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, and a powered moonroof, with the Premium trim adding a head-up display, leather upholstery, satellite radio, navigation, and a 12-speaker Bose audio system.
Premium Plus adds automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic braking, and a 360-degree monitor.
What does the future hold: Our biggest complaint about the CX-30 is the availability of driver and safety aids, so we would like to see more of those added as standard equipment. Other than that, we don’t expect too many changes until the next refresh. See 2022 Mazda CX-30 models for sale
Corolla Cross vs. CX-30: Strengths Comparison
Corolla Cross benefits: Slightly more front legroom; smaller turning diameter; resale value; brand reliability reputation.
CX-30 Benefits: More fun to drive; considerably more rear legroom; base power; more luxurious interior.
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross vs. 2022 Mazda CX-30: Which Is Better?
The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross serves a different buyer than the 2022 Mazda CX-30, so determining which is better is really more a matter of determining which is best for you. The Corolla Cross favors the more practical-minded buyer, with a more economical drivetrain and the usual array of modern driver aids. The CX-30 favors the buyer who enjoys driving and doesn’t mind that the CX-30 doesn’t offer as many driver aids as the Toyota.