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Previous Corolla to return, for R175K

Johannesburg - Toyota's previous-generation Corolla, which was replaced by an all-new model earlier this year, is set to rise from the dead to offer South Africans a more affordable entry into the C-segment.

A Toyota SA spokesperson told IOL Motoring that the Corolla Quest will go on sale around mid-May, with prices starting at R174 900. This vastly undercuts other cars in its size bracket. Just consider that a new Kia Cerato starts at R237 995 and a baseline Chevrolet Cruze sets you back by R228 000.

Styling changes have been kept to a minimum, with the most notable difference being blackened headlight housings. The high-spec version will have alloy wheels as standard.

1.6-LITRE ENGINE

Despite its lower price tag, the Corolla Quest makes no compromises in the engine bay. The previous Corolla's 1.6-litre engine will be fitted to all versions, with a manual gearbox as standard and an autobox available as an option. The 16-valve VVT-i motor delivers 90kW at 6000rpm and a healthy-enough 154Nm at 5200rpm.

Two trim levels will be offered and our contact tells us that even the base model will have all the mod-cons that you’d expect in a modern family car, including air conditioning, airbags and ABS brakes. A service plan will also be included in the price.

South Africans are no strangers to previous-generation cars that have been given extended shelf lives. Just think VW Citi Golf, Toyota Tazz and Mazda 323/Midge. Even today, VWSA tops the car sales charts with its previous-generation Polo (Vivo) and Ford SA does rather well with the Indian-built Figo - a facelifted last-generation Fiesta.

While these have become known as sub-B segment cars, the Corolla Quest will be the only offering in what Toyota SA calls the sub-C segment, essentially offering a Corolla for the price of a Yaris.

MADE IN SA

Of course, the Corolla Quest will be built in South Africa at Toyota's Prospecton plant, on the same line as the new Corolla - which starts at R214 900 for the 1.3 and R225 900 for the 1.6. Though we don't know what the difference in margin is, the fact that the tooling costs for the previous Corolla have been amortised by now, would surely have helped in reducing the cost of the resurrected sedan.

TSA will also be exporting the Corolla Quest into other African regions.

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