In a launch with something for everyone, Toyota has unveiled a raft of new or improved vehicles for 2022. An all-new small SUV and new battery electric SUV are flanked by the updated Mirai fuel cell hydrogen sedan, the GR 86 sports car, and two new versions of the Tacoma truck.
The most interesting and detailed launch is Toyota’s second vehicle in the entry-level compact utility segment this year. The Corolla Cross will arrive in the third quarter as a competitor to the company’s own C-HR CUV.
As the best selling nameplate worldwide, building on the Corolla family is a low-risk marketing move for Toyota. More than 50 million Corollas have been sold in 150 countries since the car was launched in 1966.
The new Corolla Cross CUV will take advantage of that brand recognition to target millennial couples, who Toyota Canada’s vice-president, sales and marketing Cyril Dimitris characterized as “sensation seekers and enlightened optimists.” He said the CUV will be positioned as an “adventure halo vehicle” for buyers who want just a bit more than the sedan or hatchback can offer.
To that end, the Corolla Cross will be available in three trims, with AWD available on all of them. It is projected to have class-leading cargo space, but the exact volume was not available at the launch. Canadian content will include standard heated seats on all models, and a heated steering wheel on the mid-level LE and higher.
The ute will be powered by the same two-litre engine that makes 169 horsepower, paired with a continuously variable transmission, that are found on the Corolla sedan’s sporty S grades. Its AWD will divert power to the rear wheels only as needed, helping to improve fuel economy, which is currently estimated to be 7.4 L/100 km for the two-wheel drive models and 7.8 for AWD models.
The exterior design is boxy and upright, reminiscent of a Volvo or Subaru SUV body. LED lights are standard. Interior design cues will follow its Corolla siblings, with available moonroof, power adjustable driver seat, and powered, height adjustable liftgate.
Toyota’s new battery electric SUV was first announced at the Shanghai Motor Show in April this year. The bZ4X Concept should be arriving in mid-2022, and will be about the same size as a RAV4, but beyond that details remain scarce.
It will have an AWD option and it is one of the 70 new, electrified vehicles the company aims to bring to market by 2025. The bZ nomenclature, standing for beyond zero, will be applied to seven of the 15 news BEVs in that number.
Also playing a part in Toyota’s aim to offer a low-emission vehicle in every category, is the redesigned Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), said Stephen Beatty, Toyota Canada’s vice-president, corporate. First available in 2018 in Canada, the 2022 Mirai now boasts a 642 km range, which is 30 per cent better than the previous edition.
The new sedan is longer, lower and lighter than its predecessor, and has undergone extensive Canadian cold weather testing, said Vinh Pham, Toyota Canada’s manager of product planning. The Mirai has been proven to start at minus 30C.
Hydrogen fuelling infrastructure is still in the developmental phase in Canada, which means the Mirai is only practical in parts of British Columbia and Quebec, where the fuel is available. However, Beatty noted that Canada is now home to the largest hydrogen electrolyser in the world, and Toyota is ready with the Mirai to position the country as a “leader in the uptake of hydrogen fuel cell technology.”
On the opposite end of the emissions spectrum, the manufacturer announced a sportier version of the Toyota 86 sports coupe, from its motorsport division, Gazoo Racing. The second-generation GR 86 was developed in consultation with the car’s drivers and fans, said Pham, resulting in a number of updates in this 2022 model.
A 2.4-litre four cylinder boxer engine replaces the two-litre power plant, with an increase from 205 to 228 horsepower and from 156 to 184 lb.-ft. of torque, on the manual model. A more rigid frame, wheel-well air vents and lightweighting all contribute to the car’s zero to 100 km/h time, which improves from 7.2 to 6.3 seconds.
More supportive seats, better information about driving modes, and an upgraded sound system continue the upgrades on the inside. Outside, there are new colours, LED lighting and the Premium model gets a ducktail. While pricing is not yet available, Pham said it will be established to appeal to the car’s grassroots enthusiasts.
Toyota didn’t forget the truck lover in the spate of announcements. It revealed the next generation Tacoma TRD Pro and Trail Edition receive several performance tweaks for the 2022 model year. Most significant is increased suspension lift both front and rear, along with new upper control arms to provide better off-road capability.
The trucks also both get a fresh appearance package with new wheels. The TRD Pro will continue to be offered with the popular six-speed manual or automatic transmission.