The latest model to receive the GR treatment in Toyota’s line-up is the ever-popular Corolla Cross. This locally-built crossover was brought to market in the final quarter of 2021 and became an instant success story – frequently topping the passenger-vehicle sales charts, while also being crowned as South African Car of the Year (SA COTY).
As part of the continued expansion of the Gazoo Racing (aka GR) brand, the Corolla Cross is the latest model to be adorned with the GR badge.
GR Brand Hierarchy
The GR product hierarchy comprises four levels; represented as a pyramid, the first layer is GR Parts (currently under investigation for SA) which allows customers to inject their normal model variant with GR flavour, followed by the GR-Sport moniker which offers cosmetic and dynamic handling enhancements (Hilux and Land Cruiser 300). The third tier is occupied by fully-fledged GR performance models (GR86, GR Yaris, GR Supra), while the fourth and final layer is GRMN – which represents the highest level of performance tuning.
The Corolla Cross GR-S features a bespoke exterior package with a revised front grille, finished in gloss black, which now extends towards the headlamp assembly. The lower apron too is finished in gloss black along with the signature ‘GR Mesh’. A further differentiator from the ‘normal’ Corolla Cross, are the vertical air ducts which incorporate compact fog lamp units. A strong horizontal cross bar and large Toyota insignia complete the bold façade.
Black exterior mirrors are paired with a black roof and black roof rails to craft a sporty bi-tone design. The rear calls upon a black roof spoiler, black tailgate trim and blacked-out rear bumper diffuser to echo the GR theme. The package is completed by a GR badge affixed to the rear.
Three exterior colours are offered, which match the GR brand colours: Arizona Red Bi-Tone, Chromium Silver Bi-Tone and Glacier White Bi-Tone.
The elegant simplicity and superb ergonomics of the Corolla Cross cabin are retained, while adding a dose of flair. The interior features stylish black leather trim throughout (replete with GR embossing on the front headrests) which plays perfectly to the GR theme with the addition of red contrast stitching and red perforation. These details are complemented by a red accent stripe on the instrument panel and piano black surface detailing. A chunky 3-spoke steering wheel with red stitching and piano black inserts finishes off the package.
Ride & Handling
Under the skin, new shock absorbers and revised coil springs amp up the dynamic performance without detracting from ride comfort. This is supplemented by a recalibrated power steering module (EPS) – to deliver more responsive handling, steering wheel feedback and cornering prowess.
The rolling stock comprise unique 18″ black alloy wheels shod with 225/50/R18 tyres.
Engine & Drivetrain
The Corolla Cross GR-S employs the existing 1.8-litre 2ZR-FE petrol engine, coupled to a CVT transmission with seven pre-programmed ‘steps’ to simulate a close-ratio transmission in manual shifting mode. It delivers 103 kW and 172 Nm while sipping just 6.8 l/100 km on the combined cycle.
Specification & Features
Using the Xr grade as a base, the standard specification is substantial. Keyless entry, power-adjustable and auto-retractable exterior mirrors, all-round one-touch power windows, LED lighting units, Cruise Control, TFT Multi-Information Display (MID), dual-zone climate control, reverse camera, Park Distance Control (PDC), rain-sensing wipers and LED interior Illumination are all on-board. The infotainment system is of the touchscreen variety, while supporting smartphone connectivity and offering multiple USB inputs.
Safety & Security
The Corolla Cross GR-S is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), which offers a full suite of active safety aids including Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Lane Trace Assist (LTA) and Pre-Collision System (PCS). These are joined by the obligatory ABS, VSC, EBD, Hill Assist Control (HAC) and Brake Assist systems, as well as passive safety aids such as ISOFIX and a full airbag array.
Model Line-up & Pricing
Corolla Cross 1.8i GR-S – R 453,200
Peace of Mind
All Corolla Cross models are sold with a 6-services/90 000 km service plan (intervals set at 15 000 km) and 3-year/100 000km warranty. Service and warranty plan extensions can also be purchased from any Toyota dealer (220 outlets).
All Toyota models come equipped with Toyota Connect, including a complimentary 15 Gb in car Wi-Fi allocation, vehicle telematics and enhanced user features via the MyToyota app.