Johannesburg - Toyota’s Corolla is not going to be a quarter-mile king anytime soon, but it does do the sensible sedan gig rather well, and now it does so more stylishly with the release of the facelifted model in South Africa.
Nothing radical here, just a redesigned bumper, housing a smaller grille and flanked by new headlights. Yet whereas you could have accused the previous one of looking a bit fussy and inharmonious, the facelift just seems to make the sedan easier on the eye. At the rear you’ll see a slimmer chrome garnish above the number plate and 1.8-litre models get LED taillights.
Cabin changes are minimal, but include a new layered structure designed to hide the joins, a redesigned climate control panel and the touch-screen (fitted to Prestige and Exclusive models) has been upsized from 15.5cm to 17.8cm.
Not much changes on the technical front, except a revised suspension with larger-diameter shocks, improved mounting rigidity and additional NVH measures.
The engines carry over from the previous range, these comprising three normally aspirated petrol units in the form of a 73kW/128Nm 1.3-litre, 90kW/154Nm 1.6 and 103kW/173Nm 1.8, and as before there’s also a frugal 1.4-litre diesel option with 66kW and 205Nm. A six-speed manual gearbox is available across the range, while 1.6 and 1.8 petrols can be equipped with a CVT transmission.
The equipment list also remains unchanged, except that stability control and hill-start assist are now standard on 1.6-litre models, although this does result in a rather hefty price increase of between R8800 and R11 100, versus R3100 – R3200 for 1.3-litre models and R2500 – R3300 for 1.4 diesels.
The range kicks off with the Esteem grade, featuring air conditioning, electric windows, audio system with Bluetooth and steering wheel controls, front and side airbags and ABS brakes. Prestige adds 16-inch alloys as well as cruise control, leather seats and a touch-screen with reverse camera. Exclusive tops the range with automatic climate control, keyless start, rain sensing wipers as well as curtain-level and knee airbags.
1.3 Esteem - 73kW/128Nm - R261 300
1.6 Esteem - 90kW/154Nm - R280 200
1.3 Prestige - 73kW/128Nm - R281 300
1.4 D Esteem - 66kW/205Nm - R294 400
1.6 Prestige - 90kW/154Nm - R299 900
1.4 D Prestige - 66kW/205Nm - R307 500
1.6 Prestige CVT - 90kW/154Nm - R314 000
1.8 Prestige - 103kW/173Nm - R313 500
1.8 Exclusive - 103kW/173Nm - R336 300
1.8 Exclusive CVT - 103kW/173Nm - R349 400
Ford Focus sedan 1.0T Ambiente – 92kW/170Nm – R254 900
Ford Focus sedan 1.5T Trend – 132kW/240Nm – R307 900
Honda Civic sedan 1.8 Elegance – 104kW/174Nm – R370 000
Kia Cerato sedan 1.6 EX – 95kW/157kW – R299 995
Mazda3 sedan 1.6 Original – 77kW/144Nm – R257 200
Mazda3 sedan 2.0 Individual – 121kW/210Nm – R331 300
VW Jetta 1.2 TSI Trendline – 77kW/175Nm – R314 400