Through unofficial sources, reports had surfaced a couple of months ago, suggesting that Indus Motor Company (IMC) was planning to launch a brand new variant of Toyota Corolla in the Pakistani market i.e. the Corolla Cross.
The news was revealed in a briefing by IMC, where officials stated that they will be introducing the Corolla Cross in Pakistan and that it will be a Complete Built-up Unit (CBU) brought in from Thailand.
In an interview with Dawn, it has recently been confirmed by the boss at Toyota IMC, that the Corolla Cross will officially be launched in Pakistan by the end of this year.
The Chief Executive Officer of Toyota IMC, Ali Asghar Jamali further said in his statement that a few of the vehicles have already been brought in for testing on the Pakistani roads and traffic conditions.
A lot of speculations are being made as to which segment would the Corolla Cross go up against. Most of the speculations suggest that the vehicle will compete with the Kia Sportage and the Hyundai Tucson. However, since it is classified as a subcompact crossover SUV, its most natural competitors are most likely to be the likes of Honda Vezel/HR-V, Nissan Juke, and Toyota C-HR.
Reportedly, in all the markets where it’s been launched, the Corolla Cross is equipped with two versions of the company’s 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine.
One is a standard, naturally aspirated, petrol-powered engine that generates 140 horsepower and 175 Newton Meters of torque.
The other one is a hybrid engine that generates 98 horsepower and 142 Nm of Torque. However, the hybrid assist bumps that power figure up by a significant margin, as the electric motor makes an additional 72 horsepower and 163 Nm torque.
Both engines are mated to a 7 speed CVT automatic gearbox that sends power to front wheels only. Although there are 2 main variants of the vehicle, it is yet to be revealed which one the Pakistani market will get.
However, all Corolla Cross variants have seven airbags, rear-seat air vents, 9.0-inch infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a proximity key with push-button start, and reclining rear seats as standard. Additional features include LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, extra exterior brightwork, inbuilt navigation, leather seats with the front ones being power-adjustable and heated, a sunroof, bigger 7.0-inch instrument display, 18-inch alloys, ambient interior illumination, auto-dimming interior mirror, and a power tailgate.
However, because the Corolla Cross is a CBU, the expert opinion suggests that it will be priced between Rs. 5.5 million and Rs. 6.5 million, which poses a couple of questions; Whether or not the vehicle would be offered as a CKD in the near future? And if it would be offered with all the features of the international market?
As we have seen with the Suzuki Ciaz as of late, it too was a CBU. Despite that, it had no features or engine options that had been offered in the international market, yet, it was more expensive than all of its competitors that were evidently the same in all aspects. Hence the low demand, owing to which, the Ciaz had to be discontinued.
But one could argue that even though the Corolla Cross would be a CBU, it would still be a Corolla. People here have a tendency to develop an infatuation with the brand names, and in the Automotive market of Pakistan, there isn’t a name quite as popular as ‘Corolla’. Plus, the Crossover SUV market in Pakistan is becoming immensely popular, which tips the odds even more in the Corolla Cross’s favor. Whether or not Toyota IMC would be able to capitalize on the aforementioned elements, remains to be seen.