Hot on the wheels of the new 11th generation Corolla, Toyota South Africa Motors is pleased to announce the launch of the Corolla Quest, a no-nonsense, sensible, spacious and, above all, affordable family car that is set to put the vehicular cat among the pigeons by creating a whole new sub-C segment. (The new Corolla Quest will be in Toyota showrooms from 5 May 2014.)
As Glenn Crompton, Vice President for Sales and Marketing, explains: “When a new model arrives, the previous car is usually consigned to the history books. Not so for the outgoing Toyota Corolla. Launched in 2007, this model was the most successful Corolla to date and helped this motoring icon achieve best-seller status as the world’s most loved car - the nameplate amassed a record 40.72 million cumulative sales by the end of February this year.
“So, rather than phase the 10th generation out completely, it’s been reinvented as the ultimate value proposition. Of course this is not a first for Toyota - the tremendously popular Tazz, which was produced as a prolonged lifecycle model, was a budget hatchback based on the fifth generation Corolla five-door. For at least a decade, it continued to offer South Africans great value long after the model on which it was based was discontinued elsewhere in the world.
“Now it’s the turn of Corolla Quest. What makes this newcomer unique, though, is that it’s the only sub-C segment contender. And, with prices starting from just R174 900, it’s got winner written all over it. Buyers that are looking to upgrade their vehicles, but aren’t in a position to make the financial leap from the B- to C-segment, now finally have a choice.”
Question: How many models in the Corolla Quest line-up?
In the interests of simplicity and affordability, the line-up has been restricted to three models with just two trim levels: the standard variant – available in manual or automatic guise – and the Quest Plus, available solely as a manual.
Question: With such an affordable price tag, isn’t the Corolla Quest just a stripped-out Corolla?
On the contrary, all cars in the range come standard with an immobiliser and alarm, remote central locking, dual front airbags, Isofix anchor points, air-conditioning and rake/reach adjustment for the steering wheel.
The primary differences between the two trim levels are the wheels – alloys for the Plus version versus steel–, body-coloured door handles for the Plus model, and the inclusion of an audio system for the Plus, which offers radio/CD playback as well as a USB port and auxiliary jack. (Incidentally the regular model does come pre-wired to accept an audio device and speakers.)
What is noteworthy is that Toyota SA has been able to contain costs and ultimately offer the Corolla Quest at a low entry price point due to four main factors: i) the amortisation of the investment that was made in the 10th generation Corolla; ii) economies of scale i.e. the more you build, the lower the cost; iii) the commonisation of selected componentry between Corolla Quest and new generation Corolla eg: engines and front seats to name just two; and iv) intelligent editing of features.
With reference to the latter, the minor changes to the exterior and interior have not compromised quality, durability or reliability in the least and Toyota is pleased to have been able to retain aesthetic and comfort features that are still important to customers.
Case in point is the switch to matt black exterior trim for the grille and numberplate garnish as well as the relocation of the side indicator lamps from the side mirrors to the fenders.
Moving indoors, the carpeting and the roof headlining treatment are derived from IMV-based models (also built at Prospecton), thus reducing costs. As mentioned, the Corolla Quest now also shares the same seats as the NG Corolla resulting in a cost saving and, while on the subject of seats, the rear seat has been simplified – it’s now fixed as opposed to asymmetrically split. Other minor revisions that impact on price include the deletion of the overhead console, reading map light and vanity lamp in the sun visor. Lastly the front and rear cloth door inserts have been replaced with a textured vinyl material. The fact that all these engineering mods were developed locally has also been to the benefit of the consumer’s back pocket.
Question: What differentiates Corolla Quest cosmetically from the 10th Generation Corolla?
The new Corolla Quest is brought bang up to date with a number of exterior refinements that not only provide a fresh take on the classic Corolla; some of these changes also provide an innovative way to contain costs:
• New design headlights
• Redesigned rear combination lamps
• Side indicator lamps are relocated from the door mirrors to the fenders
• Radiator grille changes from a grey colour to black and the license plate trim changes from body colour to black.
Question: What engine powers the new Corolla Quest?
Simplification and rationalisation is the key to keeping costs down and so the Corolla Quest will be offered with a single engine option. The sole powerplant is an all-aluminium 1,6-litre in-line four which incidentally also sees service in the new 11th generation Corolla.
Most notable of the 1,6-litre’s features is a dual VVT-I system. Under control of the engine’s ECU, the system varies the timing of the inlet and exhaust camshafts to alter valve overlap at various engine load conditions. Maximum power is rated at 90 kW of power at 6 000 r/min, and maximum torque of 154 Nm delivered at 5 200 r/min, though much of the torque is available from much lower down the rev-range. Buyers will have the option of a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.
Acceleration figures* are pegged at 10,4 seconds for the obligatory 0-100km/h dash and on to a maximum velocity of 192km/h. Consumption and emission figures will be confirmed closer to launch.
*Corolla Quest with manual transmission.
Question: What’s under the skin of the new Corolla Quest?
A tried and trusted recipe of MacPherson strut front suspension, with coil springs, combined with a compact torsion beam arrangement at the rear, provides a pliant ride quality and contributes to the Corolla Quest’s capacious boot volume.
There’s no skimping on active safety features either – brake discs are fitted at each corner (the front items are ventilated while the rears are solid) and controlled by anti-lock braking system incorporating electronic brake-force distribution and emergency brake assist.
Question: How much will it cost to maintain a new Corolla Quest?
Underpinning the quality, reliability and durability of the new Corolla Quest is the three-year/100 000 km warranty, three-year/45 000 km service plan, not to mention the support of TSAM’s extensive dealer network (192 franchises across the country).