New Corolla hatch spearheads big product onslaught from Toyota SA

Rav4 and special-edition Hilux GR Sport are also on the 2019 menu

19 February 2019 - 16:32 By Denis Droppa
New Toyota Corolla hatch arrives in SA next month. Picture: SUPPLIED
New Toyota Corolla hatch arrives in SA next month. Picture: SUPPLIED

The second State of the Motor Industry (SOMI) event hosted by Toyota South Africa Motors served as the perfect platform to provide a sneak preview of the carmaker’s 2019 product campaign.

At the sharp end of Toyota's vehicle onslaught is the all-new Corolla hatch, which replaces the Auris in SA next month as the brand's C-segment hatch.

The new-generation car has a more eye catching design and introduces a 1.2-litre turbo engine (as used in the C-HR crossover). Customers will have the option of a six-speed manual transmission or Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with 10 pre programmed shift steps.

The Corolla Hatch is underpinned by Toyota’s TNGA platform – which promises to deliver an engaging drive along with improved ride comfort. Three derivatives will be on offer – XS Manual, XS CVT and the flagship XR CVT.

All models offer a generous specification level including LED headlamps and DRL’s, smart entry, sport seats, dual-zone climate control and Vehicle Stability Control (with hill-assist function).

Shortly following the Corolla hatch in local showrooms will be the new Rav4, which adopts a striking look inspired by the American ‘truck’ design language including a prominent trapezoidal honeycomb front grille and upswept LED headlamps.

Rav4 sports more muscular styling. Picture: SUPPLIED
Rav4 sports more muscular styling. Picture: SUPPLIED

The range-topping VX version will come fully loaded with features that include Toyota Safety Sense; a nucleus of active safety systems including Adaptive Cruise Control and Pre-Collision System. Two all-new petrol engines (2.0-litre and 2.5 litre-guise) will power the range, driving either front or all-four wheels. The full model line-up and detail will be released in March when the newcomer hits showroom floors.

A racy image and souped-up suspension for this special Hilux. Picture: SUPPLIED
A racy image and souped-up suspension for this special Hilux. Picture: SUPPLIED

This will be followed around mid-year by the Hilux GR Sport. This limited edition of SA's best-selling vehicle will have bespoke Gazoo Racing-themed decals, a unique front grille design, two-tone colour scheme and GR Sport-specific 17-inch alloy wheels.

The main party trick however - and no doubt to counter the competition from the soon-to-be-introduced Ford Ranger Raptor - is the special off-road biased suspension which will give the Hilux GR-S even greater off-the-beaten-track prowess. The bakkie will be based on the 2.8 GD-6 4x4 six auto derivative and also includes tailored interior treatment.

Toyota's hybrid Prius has also gone under the cosmetic knife with revised front and rear-end treatments and a cabin refresh.

X