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Toyota Corolla Cross gains Gazoo Racing flair

What’s not to like about the all-new Toyota Corolla Cross GR-Sport? It's the Corolla Cross you know and like, enhanced by a catalogue of sportier elements, writes Prashirwin Naidu.

The Corolla Cross, built at the Prospection plant in KwaZulu-Natal, was launched to market in 2021. It took little time to gain traction in the market and accounts for a healthy chunk of Toyota’s new vehicle sales.

Further praise came when it was declared the 2021 South African Car of The Year.

Part of the growth of the Gazoo Racing (GR) division entails nurturing aspiration among buyers of the more mainstream Toyota offerings.

If your requirements or budget doesn’t align with the prospect of the full-cream GR Yaris, Supra or 86, offerings like the Corolla Cross GR-S represent an attainable solution.

Pricing starts at R453,200. The upgrades are limited to cosmetic add-ons and suspension tweaks.

It uses the existing 1.8-litre 27R-FE petrol engine, with a continuously variable transmission (CVT); incorporating seven “steps” simulating a conventional gearbox.

The CVT manages a good job of shifting the 103kW and 170 NM output. Claimed consumption is 6.8l/100km. I had achieved about 7.0l/100km.

Great off-road capabilities. Sophisticated appearance 

Underneath, revised springs deliver a more dynamic feel, without sacrificing day-to-day comfort. Toyota claims to have recalibrated the electric power steering system, for a more responsive feel. You may have to drive a standard Corolla Cross and get GR-S back-to-back to fully appreciate such differences.

There is no denying the sporty intent of the exterior.  You feel proud behind the wheel, with others noticing the differentiation brought by the GR badge.

Notice the mesh front grille, finished in black. A horizontal cross bar and sizeable Toyota badge compliments the arrangement, garnished by a GR badge of course.

The wheels are licked in black paint, as are the side mirrors, roof rails and roof. The theme continues at the rear, with black tailgate trim and bumper diffuser insert. The icing on the cake is a lovely little GR badge, just to remind the public.

The interior of the car is simplistic, but has a great sense of quality. It has tasteful black leather trim throughout, with red stitching for contrast. Front headrests feature the GR badge.

On the dashboard, your eyes will be immediately fixed towards a red character stripe, horizonal and across. The chunky three-spoke steering wheel also features red stitching.

Standard features are plentiful. Keyless-entry, power-adjustable exterior mirrors, all-round one-touch power windows, LED daytime-running lights, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, reverse camera, park distance control and rain-sensing wipers are all on-board.

The touchscreen infotainment system supports smartphone connectivity and offer multiple USB inputs.

The infotainment system is of the touchscreen variety, while supporting smartphone connectivity and offering multiple USB inputs.

South African consumers appreciate limited edition variants with sporting appeal, even in cases where said appeal is created by cosmetic enhancements alone.

There is no doubting that the Corolla Cross GR-Sport will strike a chord with buyers and compact SUV lovers wanting a C-segment crossover with a little more flavour.

*For the latest motoring news updates across the globe and sizzling all new car models launching in South Africa, make sure to visit NOWinSA/Automobile page daily!

Prashirwin Naidu
Prashirwin Naidu
Aspiring scribe, Prashirwin Naidu is a writer focusing on cars and the arts.
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