The Toyota Corolla is probably one of the best-known badges in the South African context. This venerable sedan has been the vehicle of choice for SA families for decades. Now the Japanese automaker is introducing a new variation on the theme in the shape of the Toyota Corolla Cross. Corolla Cross will slot in above the CH-R and below the RAV-4 in Toyota’s SUV pecking order.
While the Corolla Cross has already been introduced to some markets, the big news is that the newcomer will be produced right here in Toyota’s production facility in Prospecton, Durban. The Cross is the fourth variation of the Corolla badge that local buyers will be able to choose from. Others in the range include the Quest, Hatch and Sedan (read our sedan driving review here).
Local is lekker
It is always good news when a large corporation announces such an undertaking on local soil. Localising Corolla Cross production means that Toyota South Africa Motors has invested R2,43 billion in the project. Even better is that the project will generate an additional 500 jobs at Toyota and a further 1 000 in the local automotive chain. Corolla Cross production will also generate around R 2,85 billion a year in local component purchases. Cross models will be produced here for the local and export markets.
SUV sales rise
The move to such a body style is a no-brainer for Toyota as we’ve seen a steady decline in traditional shapes (ie hatch and sedan) in favour of crossovers and SUVs.
Corolla Cross shares its TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) C platform with its sedan namesake Corolla. Overall length is the same as a Corolla sedan, but the Cross version is 185 mm taller. Higher ground clearance and added versatility/practicality are the obvious benefits. The new model will make its debut towards the end of the end of 2021 so Toyota SA has not given away too much info.
However, spokespersons at a recent video conference did reveal that the newcomer will be available locally in 1,8 litre petrol and 1,8 litre hybrid versions. Incidentally, this will be the very first time that Toyota SA will produce a hybrid model. Info gleaned from international sources show that the hybrid version puts out 90 kW of power while the naturally aspirated version delivers 103 kW. Those numbers were not confirmed for the SA-spec cars but we cannot imagine them to be much different. In both cases the power unit is likely to be mated with an automatic transmission.
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