PROSPECTON, Durban – Toyota’s Corolla Quest claims to have established itself as a formidable player in the South Africa medium sedan market since its local launch back in 2014.
At that time the Corolla was into its 10th generation in South Africa; the Quest followed the arrival of Generation 11, reaching Africa back in 2014 and this is what I wrote then as editor of Wheels24…
The cars arrived with the support of the by then established credentials of the 10th-generation Corolla but as a ”value-focused” package and this is how the prices have ballooned in six years:
PRICES BACK IN 2014
1.6 Quest – R174 900 (incl. VAT)
1.6 Quest a/t – R198 900
1.6 Quest Plus – R197 900
PRICES IN MARCH 2020
1.8 Quest – R249 900
1.8 Quest CVT – R270 400
1.8 Quest Prestige -R286 500
1.8 Quest Prestige CVT – R296 800
1.8 Quest Exclusive – R307 400
(Toyota SA delivered 63 966 units during first Quests’ lifespan. This time around there will be six ,instead of three, models.)
Back in 2014 that meant losing some good stuff but still, Toyota said then, it was ”coming with the space and comfort of a C-segment sedan at a B-segment price”.
‘AFFORDABLE STILL NEEDED’
Sticking to the same proven recipe, the 2020 Corolla Quest has the outgoing 11th-generation Corolla platform in a quest (sorry!) ”to continue the legacy of value-minded motoring with comfort, space and style”.
Glenn Crompton, Toyota SA’s marketing boss, told The Corner in a media release: “Understanding that there is still a need for an affordable sedan in our market was one of the driving factors in developing the new Quest.
”We ran a number of product clinics to understand what our customers wanted and how we could adapt our product to meet market needs,”
The result, Toyota says, ”is modernised styling, improved specification, and enhanced safety features”. They’ve also deployed a proven 1.8-litre engine across the range and expanded the line-up to three grades, six models.
There was much speculation back in 2014 about the then Quest being a de-specced Corolla. Very likely it was – it was a long time ago. This time, TSA says, the Quest was put through a development programme to maintain the Quality, Reliability and Durability but still rein in retail prices.
So, Toyota handily offers: ”What differentiates the Quest cosmetically from the 11th-generation Corolla?”
First, a new nose on which the bumper (some models) has been updated to replace gunmetal accent trims. The standard and Prestige models have a black lower apron, the Exclusive ”partial colour-coding”.
The headlights’ trim is matte black; the foul-weather lights have been deleted. The registration-plate garnish has been changed from chromed to body colour and three standards of cabin trim will be available: base units use a combination of black and blue (maybe it should have been branded Bruiser?) cloth; the rear seat doesn’t fold.
Prestige units get fabric and leather, also in Bruise, second choice also grey with red accents.
PRICES IN CHECK
Exclusive (bit short here on imagination for nomenclature, hey? units will also come with fabric/leather with the same grey/red accents but also all-black leather interior with silver stitching and a folding/splittable rear seat.
So how have prices kept in check, Toyota volunteers, and why the change to a 1.8 (103kW /173Nm engine? Crompton explained: ”This was one of the key research areas.. Simply, the 1.8 is, globally, standard across more Toyota models than the previous 1.6 – TSA harvested the cost-saving and benefit.”
Fuel consumption is listed as seven litres/100km (14.3km/litre) manual and 6.3/100km (15.9km/litre) for CVT ”auto” models.
The 2020 Quests’ platform/suspension are identical to the 11th-generation Corolla; the brakes are ABS-equipped, all-disc (ventilated front, solid rear). Base units ride on 15” steel wheel-rims shod with 195/65-R15 tyres, the mid and high-grade Quests on 16” alloys and 205/55-R16 rubber. All models carry a full-size spare.
All grades have either a six-speed manual or a constantly variable ”auto” transmission.
Crash mitigation upgrades include driver, passenger, and driver-knee crash bags; Prestige and Exclusive add side bags. Vehicle stability control, hill-start assistance, IsoFix kiddieseat anchors, daytime running lights and rear bright foul-weather lights are standard.
But wait, there’s more… every unit will have auto door-locking with remote operation, power window lifts, air-con, supplemental switches on the steering-wheel, follow-me-home headlights (headlights stay on for a while after exiting the car), radio/CD with USB, Aux and a at least four speakers.
Prestige models add a touchscreen DVD audio system with six speakers, reversing camera, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering-wheel, combination fabric/leather upholstery and alloy wheel rims.
Exclusive adds auto air-con, push-button start with keyless entry, TFT (thin-film transistor) colour instrument cluster, leather upholstery, automatic screen wipers, and diode headlights.
All units will be delivered with a three-services/45 000km service plan and a three-year or 100 000km (wcf) warranty.