Now that Toyota’s formerly flooded Durban factory has started churning out cars again, it has wasted little time in launching a new derivative of its popular Corolla Cross.
Named the GR-Sport (GR-S for short), this meaner-looking car is the latest model in Toyota’s line-up to receive the sporty GR treatment. It’s mostly cosmetic, but the suspension also gets a tweak to make this crossover handle better.
The exterior package comprises three bi-tone colour options, with black roof treatment, black 18-inch alloy wheels, GR badging and unique GR-themed interior accents.
Revised suspension componentry and tuning are complemented by a recalibrated power-steering module (EPS) to deliver more responsive handling, steering-wheel feedback and cornering prowess.
Power stays the same, as supplied by the 1.8l petrol engine, with outputs of 103kW and 172Nm, coupled to a CVT transmission with seven preprogrammed steps to simulate a close-ratio transmission in manual shifting mode.
The GR-S comes with the same specification level as the Xr grade, which includes seven airbags, rain-sensing wipers, blind-spot warning, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and LED daytime running lights, to name a few. Like all Toyota models, it comes with Toyota Connect, which includes complimentary 15 Gb in-car Wi-Fi allocation, vehicle telematics and enhanced user features via the MyToyota app.
The GR-S becomes the sixth variant of the locally built Corolla Cross line-up, which was an instant hit for the carmaker and scooped the SA Car of the Year title. The Corolla Cross became SA’s best-selling passenger car range shortly after its introduction late last year and the four-month closure of Toyota’s Durban factory has left long waiting lists for it.
Toyota’s GR product hierarchy comprises four levels, starting with GR Parts, which allows customers to inject their normal model variant with GR flavour; followed by the GR-Sport, which offers cosmetic and handling enhancements; the fully fledged GR performance models (GR86, GR Yaris, GR Supra); and GRMN, which represents the highest level of performance tuning.
The Corolla Cross 1.8i GR-S is R453,200 and sold with the standard three-year/100,000km warranty and six-services/90,000km service plan.