New Corolla Quest

Last Corolla gets the classic SA treatment

The latest Toyota Corolla Quest follows the same pattern as the original that was launched back in 2014 by taking the basis of the outgoing model Corolla, adding even more local content and adjusting specification to end up with a budget-conscious family sedan.

The big news for 2020 is the engine capacity has been upped to 1,8-litre.

With global production of the outgoing Corolla having stopped in December of last year, the Quest is not only a good model choice for the South African market but, this unique derivative played a vital role in keeping production numbers up at Toyota South Africa Motors’ plant in Prospecton near Durban, so no jobs were in question.

“Understanding there is still a need for an affordable sedan in our market was one of the driving factors in developing the new Corolla Quest. We conducted numerous product clinics to gain a better understanding of what our customers wanted and where we could adapt our product offering to better suit the market needs,” says Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing.

Yours in March
The all-new Corolla will arrive locally in March and in its new guise is pitched higher up the segment food chain with the Corolla family being split into three distinct entities – sedan, hatch and Quest – where each will have trim, luxury and performance elements tailored specifically to its customer target base.

The new Toyota Corolla Quest adopts the outgoing 11th-generation Corolla platform so has modernised styling, improved specification levels and enhanced safety features. 

John Oliver, head TSAM’s research and development operation says the Quest went through a thorough development programme that aimed to maintain the Quality, Reliability and Durability (QDR) level whilst implementing cost reduction – to the ultimate benefit of the customer. 

“Likewise, the switch to a three-grade strategy, enables us to offer three distinct variants with distinct specification levels, thereby catering to different customer needs.”

To achieve cost reductions, Oliver says: “A three-prong approach was followed here. Firstly, comprehensive studies were performed on how to make the production line more efficient; secondly component part modularity and sourcing were re-looked in order to implement savings and thirdly, vehicle specification was tweaked to match customer requirements.

Hilux cred
“For example, Corolla Quest makes use of the Hilux and Fortuner colour palette (assembled in the same factory), to improve economies of scale and simplify production processes. Other non-aesthetic componentry is now also the same between the two model ranges with additional localisation further contributing to cost savings.

“Examples of such measures are a common headliner material and seat fabric with IMV, as well as localisation of the seat cross braces, floor silencers and seat bracketry.”  The front bumper is also updated to replace gunmetal the accent trims previously employed, while  standard and Prestige models utilise a continuous mat black lower apron, whereas the Exclusive model boasts partial colour coding.

The headlight trim matches the radiator grille treatment with the front fog lights now phased out. At the rear, the number plate garnish has been changed from chrome to body colour. 

Inside, Corolla Quest is equipped with three bespoke interior trim combinations. The standard model makes use of a Black and Blue combination textile with a fixed rear seat. Prestige variants are equipped with a fabric and leather combination – available in either Blue/Black or Grey with red accents. The range-topping Exclusive, features a black leather interior with silver contrast stitching and a 60/40 split rear bench.

The change to the bigger engine also formed part of the overall cost plan as the 1,8-litre is standardised across more Toyota models globally versus the previously fitted 1,6-litre engine – providing cost and sourcing benefits for TSAM. The 1,8-litre mill produces 103 kW and 173 Nm at 4 000 r/min. 

One of the advantages of the engine is the torque figure is not only higher but also produced 1 200 r/min earlier, compared to the 1.6-litre. 

Toyota claims consumption at 7,0 l/100 km for manual models and 6,3 l/100 km for models equipped with the CVT option – which is actually better than the outgoing 1.6-litre mill. A full road test will tell the whole story but, on our launch drive that included a monster Highveld hailstorm, the on-board computer on both the variants I drove showed between 7,3 l/100 km and 7,8 l/100 km (CVT).

Safe & efficient
The Corolla was – and is – designed provide safe and efficient transport. It never has, nor will be, a trendsetting design, ground-breaking performance and rip-snorter of a car. Driving one, it must be taken in the context of who it was designed for and what it was intended to do.

In that context, the new Quest is a neatly turned out, well specced car that will cope with the daily grind in the traffic and the annual long-haul to the coast with no problems and repeat this procedure year-in and year-out.

Definitely the extra ‘oomph’ from the bigger engine meant the car was not breathless at the Highveld altitude and there was that extra bit of confidence while overtaking. I do not like CVT gearboxes but will say the unit fitted to the Corolla is not the worst I have experienced and does have some advantage for those many buyers who do spend long hours in the traffic each day.

Toyota aims to conquer a wide audience with this Quest (remember the new Corolla heads quite a long way upmarket) so the product range to cater to a wider spectrum of buyer and allow the new Corolla Quest to appeal to the values of the traditional Corolla buyer and comes in Standard, Prestige and Exclusive grades.

No frills
The standard model is a no-frills variant, the Prestige grade offers a blend of value and style and the top of the range Exclusive a touch more class too. All Quest models come with driver, passenger and driver-knee crash bags, while Prestige and Exclusive add side bags and Vehicle Stability Control with Hill Assist Control, ABS, EBD, Isofix, LED daytime running lights and rear fog lights are standard across the board.

All models feature auto door-lock with remote operation, power windows, air-conditioner, steering wheel switches, follow-me-home headlamps, radio/CD with USB, Aux and a minimum of four integrated speakers. 

The Prestige models receive an upgrade to a touchscreen DVD audio system with six speakers, reverse camera, cruise control, leather steering wheel, combination fabric and leather seats plus the 16-inch alloy wheels. 

The Exclusive grade adds auto air-conditioner, push start with keyless entry, TFT-colour instrument cluster, leather seats, rain-sensing wipers and LED headlamps.   

All Corolla Quests are sold with a 3-services/45 000 km service plan with intervals pegged at 12 months/15 000 km. A 3-year/100 000 km warranty is included. - Colin Windell

Toyota Corolla Quest Pricing .
1.8 R250K
1.8 CVT R270 K
1.8 Prestige R286 K
1.8 Prestige CVT R297K
1.8 Exclusive R307K
1.8 Exclusive CVT R318K