The Toyota brand in itself, let alone the various models produced over the years, has become an institution in this country. Practically every family has owned one or another model of this Japanese mark, known for its engine reliability.
I have very fond memories of several Corolla models I have owned over the years. The Toyota brand was born way back in 1966 and have become the tried and tested car manufacturer, not just here in South Africa but the world over.
Fast forward to 2020 and to the Corolla Rx model that I recently spent some time with.
The designers need that proverbial ‘pat on the back’ for improving on the shape of the vehicle when compared to the previous generation. Just when you thought they have produced an acclaimed model, they improve on this. Imagine this, the Corolla is now in its 12th generation, and counting.
You have to doff your hat to the very pleasing design of the Corolla, from bumper to bumper. It’s greatly appealing and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It grabs your attention. The front lower apron gives the Corolla that ‘aggressive’ look, with the arrow-shaped LED headlights set seamlessly into the moulding.
The lower front-end stance also adds to the appeal of the Corolla. The front bumper is accentuated with a trapezoidal lower grille, with black-moulded border and large mesh pattern. The grille is deliberately oversized to give the front end a super design.
Image by Naresh Maharaj
Here is a vehicle that is stationary but gives the impression that it’s moving. Thanks to the sloping C-Pillar that lends to a feeling of motion presence. The compact LED tail lights feature a bi-colour design, sharp outer edging and dark border, which extends to the centre of the boot lid. The rear bumper has been re-designed to allow maximum airflow from the wheel arches. It’s trapezoidal and painted in black adds to the aggressive stance.
Your choice of colour
The colour of any vehicle plays key to the buying process. Consumers will always choose a colour that has a story to tell about themselves. To this end, there are eight exterior colours to wrack your brain over. I drove (and loved) the new Crimson Red colour. Toyota has added six new colours namely Celestite Grey, Moonlight Ocean, Scarlet, Dark Blue metallic and Pearl White. Glacier White and Satin Silver remain the neutral tones on offer.
Let’s go inside
One of the notable features is the dashboard and instrumentation cluster. The design is simple, yet elegant with soft-touch finishes and smooth or brushed metal accent strips. The blue stitching adds glamour to the blue illumination instrument panel. The front seats have been rehashed slightly and adds to the bucket feel. I have to admit that it felt really good being in the drivers’ seat. The XR Model offers a choice of sporty blue or classic grey accent trim colours.
Image by Naresh Maharaj
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are a common offering these days and the Corolla XR is no different. The touchscreen interface is large and I would have preferred for it to be tilted more towards the drive, then in its neutral position. All the bells and whistles are standard viz climate control with Eco mode, a reverse camera, power seat adjustment, one-touch functionality for the electric windows, keyless entry, tilt & telescopic steering adjustment, steering switches and cruise control.
I am keenly watching the sales numbers as I believe that the Corolla has appeal as an everyday family sedan with lots to offer. The drive was most enjoyable, with average fuel consumption around 7.6 litres per 100 km. This includes both urban and open road driving. The gearbox and engines were synched to one another in perfect harmony.
Two grade options are offered, XS and XR. The XR model serves as the flagship and is available exclusively with the new 2.0-litre Dynamic Force engine with a choice of 6-speed manual or 10-speed Shiftmatic CVT. The 1.8 XS serves as the entry point to the range. Take off was smooth and gear changes to a more relaxed lower gear was seamless. Paddle shifters also added to the driving dynamics, allowing you to be in control of the gearbox. Safety is key and the Toyota Corolla has all the safety features one could ask for.
It’s no wonder really, that the Toyota Corolla has captured the global market and has become a household name.
- Corolla 1.8 XS CVT: R380,200
- Corolla 2.0 XR 6MT: R420,500
- Corolla 2.0 XR CVT: R433,700
Warranty & Service: All Corolla models include a 6-services/90,000 km service plan with service intervals at 15,000 km/12-months. A 3 year/100,000 km warranty is also included.