Sporty Toyota Corolla Cross GR-S
The Corolla name has stood the test of time. It is one of the most popular vehicles on a global scale and remains so to this day. The Corolla is basically the Hilux of the sedan segment, however with more customer interest invested in compact crossovers, it was time for the Corolla to evolve. This is the Corolla Cross and it is the first foray into the crossover segment for the Corolla.
A crossover Corolla… Why did it take so long to implement this truly fantastic idea? Since its introduction the Corolla Cross has become extremely popular, in fact, some 2384 were sold just last month. The Corolla Cross has the right name and the right badge, but what's it like to live with?
Toyota South Africa handed us the keys to their latest Corolla Cross GR-Sport. Toyota has recently moved into a very good spot where their cars are looking great, sporty, and angular. The Corolla sedan is an eye-catching thing and the Cross retains that appeal. The Corolla Cross GR-S features a bespoke exterior package with a revised front grille, finished in gloss black, which now extends towards the headlamp assembly.
The lower apron is finished in gloss black along with the signature 'GR Mesh'. A further differentiator from the 'normal' Corolla Cross, is the vertical air ducts which incorporate compact fog lamp units. The vehicle appears tall and long, in fact, its dimensions make the newcomer one of the biggest offerings in the segment; with a wheelbase of 2 640mm and an overall length of 4 460mm.
The rear of the car is neat, uncluttered, and with large rear lights and black cladding on the lower bumper. The latter runs the lower edges of the car, adding to a somewhat adventurous appeal.
Step inside and you are greeted by a familiar-looking interior that echoes that of its Corolla Hatch and Sedan siblings. It is not just visually appealing but also offers decent quality. The interior features stylish black leather trim throughout (replete with GR embossing on the front headrests) which plays perfectly to the GR theme with the addition of red contrast stitching and red perforation.
These details are complemented by a red accent stripe on the instrument panel and piano black surface detailing. A chunky 3-spoke steering wheel with red stitching and piano black inserts finishes off the package. Also like the large infotainment screen which offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the climate control is housed just below the screen and it all looks neat, uncluttered, and ergonomically placed.
The partially digital instrument cluster is also a nice touch as is the fact that the Corolla Cross offers around 440 litres of luggage capacity with a 60/40 split rear bench setup, making it one of the most versatile in the segment.
The Corolla Cross GR-S employs the existing 1.8-litre 2ZR-FE petrol engine, coupled to a CVT transmission with seven pre-programmed 'steps' to simulate a close-ratio transmission in manual shifting mode. It delivers 103 kW and 172 Nm while sipping just 6.8 l/100 km on the combined cycle.
The Corolla Cross GR-S is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense, which offers a full suite of active safety aids including Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Trace Assist, and Pre-Collision System. These are joined by the obligatory ABS, VSC, EBD, Hill Assist Control, and Brake Assist systems, as well as passive safety aids such as ISOFIX and a full airbag array.
At the end of the day, the Corolla Cross does what it is supposed to do. Sure, it’s not the fastest thing around but it is a Toyota, it is a Corolla and it is a crossover and you can’t seem to go wrong with any of those.