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Toyota Corolla Cross prototype spotted in Thailand

To debut early next year, slotting between the C-HR and RAV4

Thai car spotter Passakorn Leelawat caught what is suspected to be a prototype for the coming Toyota Corolla crossover on traffic-clogged roads around Bangkok, posting the photo on the Thai Car Inside Facebook page and catching the attention of Motor1. The angle and the camouflage make it difficult to be certain, but comparing certain details with the Corolla hatchback and Corolla Sport Touring wagon, elements like the side mirror, fuel filler cap, shark fin antenna and rear wiper line up. Even the character line from the lower rear fender into the bumper makes sense as a stylistic cue taken from the Touring. The recent dealer presentation leak said the high-riding compact is on the way next year, apparently planned for production from next September in the new Alabama facility Toyota is building with Mazda, so it's the right time for such a prototype to be out, too. The model's name, if an Australian trademark application is accurate, will be Corolla Cross

Said to sit on the TNGA-C platform, a Road & Track report from February said the Corolla Cross will compete against vehicles like the Subaru Crosstrek, a category that also includes the Honda HR-V, Nissan Rogue Sport, Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-30. That RT piece said the new people mover is "likely to replace the CH-R," where other reports slot it into the lineup between the CH-R and the RAV-4; Motor1 characterized positioning as "a more practical and traditional alternative to the C-HR ... simpler and more affordable than the RAV-4." Our CH-R is 172.6 inches long, the RAV4 180.9 inches; we'd expect the 172-inch Corolla Cross to grow some, placing it in between its stablemates. For a taste of how long the Corolla gets, the Corolla Touring wagon sold in Europe is 183.1 inches long.

As a member of the Corolla family, we don't know how generous product planners will decide to be when it comes to engine choice. The U.S. market hatchback only comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 168 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque, but the sedan expands the menu with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder hybrid producing 121 hp and 105 lb-ft, and another 1.8-liter four making 139 hp and 126 lb-ft. All-wheel drive is a shoo-in for the options sheet, but we wouldn't expect the standard Corolla's six-speed manual transmission to come anywhere near the Corolla Cross.

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