If you are a keen observer of the local motoring scene you would have noticed a steady increase of the Corolla Cross onto our roads. The model was destined for success. An SUV/crossover with a familiar nameplate produced right here in SA with a competitive price is going to be hard to resist. A few days ago Toyota expanded the range to include a Corolla Cross GR-S. 

Follow Double Apex on Facebook and Instagram, where we share more car content.

Buy now and take advantage of free delivery in South Africa on orders over R349.

A Sportier Option

The Corolla Cross GR-S is the sportiest model in the line-up. The GR-S aspect is the opening salvo of the company’s performance orientated products. Increasing levels of focus are: GR-Sport moniker, GR performance models (GR86, GR Yaris, GR Supra) and the final rung is the GRMN. As a GR-Sport derivative the Corolla Cross GR-S differentiates itself with cosmetic and dynamic handling enhancements. 

Click here to read more about the plant rehabilitation that Toyota undertook at its Prospecton facility.

Key Mechanical Changes

The main changes under the skin are revised spring and damper rates. These are accompanied by a recalibrated power-steering system and additional under-body bracing. The GR-S version of the Cross has the same 1,8-litre petrol engine as its siblings. The 2ZR-FE unit produces 103 kW/172 N.m and is mated with a CVT. 

During our brief time behind the wheel we noted that the GR-S is quicker to turn-in and has a more focussed feel when compared to its more relaxed siblings. Special mention to the Bridgestone rubber that provides good dry grip with no protest. 

Click here to read our driving review of the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.

Bespoke Appearance

The most notable change to its appearance takes place up front. There we see a revised front styling treatment that is more reminiscent of the Hilux. Lower down we see a gloss black airdam with a ‘GR Mesh’ as well as vertical vents on the outer edges of the bumper.

Other telltale markers are black exterior mirror caps, a black roof with black roof rails and a roof spoiler in the same shade. 18-inch alloys are painted in the same contrasting shade. A GR badge on the rump rounds off the package. Incidentally, the Corolla Cross GR-S is only available in three exterior colours: red, silver and white.

Read our GR Yaris launch report by clicking here.

New Interior Treatment

Occupants in the cabin can also tell the Corolla Cross GR-S apart thanks to a few key changes. The black leather front seats feature GR embossing on the front headrests. In addition there is red and red perforation along with a stripe on the instrument panel of the same colour.

Standard Features

The Corolla Cross GR-S has the same standard feature list as the Xr grade versions. This means that it has keyless entry, power-adjustable and auto-retractable exterior mirrors, one-touch power windows and LED lighting units. In addition it has cruise control, dual-zone climate control, a rear-facing camera, parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers. 


Corolla Cross 1,8i GR-S – R453 200

The price includes a six-services/90 000 km service plan and three-year/100 000 km warranty.