When Toyota launched the Corolla Cross almost exactly a year ago, it was a noteworthy occasion for the brand. Not only were they adding to the already successful Corolla brand, but they were offering South Africans a great value proposition.

What is the Corolla Cross?

Let’s start by telling you where the Corolla Cross fits into the Corolla range. You get the Toyota Corolla sedan and Corolla hatch, the Corolla Quest (aimed at fleets and taxi services). The latest addition to this growing family was the Corolla Cross. It came as the crossover of the family and is now available in three variants - a standard Corolla Cross 1.8, a Corolla Cross Hybrid, and the latest, a Corolla Cross GR-S.

 

With the Corolla Cross GR-S being the newest addition to the range, let's look at what sets this apart from all the other Corolla Cross variants. You have to view the Corolla Cross GR-S as the sporty version of the lot. The GR label is used only on Toyota’s sporty variants, and the acronym stands for Gazoo Racing. In this version, GR-S stands for Gazoo Racing Sport. 

 

Does the Corolla Cross GR-Sport have a body kit?

While many may expect the Corolla Cross GR-S to don a body kit, Toyota has kept it tasteful with the exterior enhancements. You’ll find a revised front grille, finished in gloss black. Its lower apron is finished with the same treatment, while the ducts on either side of the front bumper now house compact fog lamps. A lot of blacks were utilised to make this variant appear more sinister, you'll see it on parts such as the exterior mirrors, mags, roof, spoiler and roof rails. The diffuser on the rear bumper has also been finished off in this colour. Of course, GR badging can be found all around to remind you that this isn’t the average Corolla Cross.

 

Corolla Cross GR-Sport interior

There are subtle cues in the cabin that hint at its GR pedigree. Toyota has upholstered the seats in black leather with red stitching. Red accents on black surfaces are found in other parts of the cabin as well, and to finish things off, the front headrests are embossed with GR badging. Aside from these aesthetic tweaks, everything else remains the same in this interior. 

 

How does it drive?

The unit beneath the bonnet has also remained unchanged - a 1.8-litre coupled to a CVT box is standard across the Corolla Cross range, producing 103 kW and 172 Nm. Toyota has, however, made some upgrades to the way the GR-S handles on the road. It’s fitted with new shock absorbers and revised coil springs to give it a more dynamic ride and handling. The power steering module has been revised to give it more responsive handling and feedback through corners. To handle all the lateral forces, the GR-S rides on 18-inch wheels.

 

 

Corolla Cross GR-Sport price

Where Toyota got it right with the Corolla Cross crossover was its pricing, offering South Africans bang for buck and undercutting the competition through local production. This is still the case in the new Corolla Cross GR-Sport, which slots in beneath the Corolla Cross Hybrid and priced at R452 200. Should you be looking for a used Corolla Cross for sale, you'll be spoiled for choice in our ChangeCars selection.

 

Words: Gugu Masuku