New Corolla hatch spearheads big product onslaught from Toyota SA
Rav4 and special-edition Hilux GR Sport are also on the 2019 menu
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.
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.
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.