Driven - Feb 2020

Corolla Quest Facelift – Fresher, beefier, and more vuma!

Back in 2014, the Corolla Quest moniker hit the South African market as an interesting perspective into affordable and Uber reliable transportation for fleet and passenger buyers. It provided transport that offered a great badge in the nose that stood for a brand with some serious ability to tug at the emotions of South Africans and enough credibility to bring out the typical book of Toyota review words, ‘Dependable’, ‘Reliable’ Great dealer support’ and boot space. Based on the 10th generation of the Corolla the Polo Vivo effect meant, the basic shape, design and engines remained in a new guise that is designed for a local market and thusly the 1.6 from the Auris, and everything else from the corolla with more copy past friendly door cards, bumpers, seat designs with less plush feeling trim birthed the quest of old. The ‘Cheapness’ of a vehicle is typically an Achilles heel of sorts but given the competitive pricing that the quest offered and the bigger 11th gen Corolla serving as the true model to buy if focused on anything other than pricing, Quest makes sense, it some serious cents if you catch my drift.

The Current 11th Gen Corolla range has always been a rather interesting option for the South African market given it offered one of the better 3 box sedan options on the market, in a market that prefers SUV’s and chases the term ‘elevated driving position’  when making vehicle purchases. Toyota is aware of this but once again combats this with numbers that simply can’t be trumped in terms of value. Using the same formula that worked so well the first time the new model takes the existing platform, with the 103kW and 173Nm 1.8litre engine and mates it to either a six-speed manual or a CVT and that’s about it. Three trim levels are offered Quest, Prestige and Exclusive with contrasting equipment levels

Cosmetically the changes are slight with the model looks almost identical to the outgoing facelifted model, with the addition of the slight tweaks to the front bumper to make clear denotations between trim levels, with the lower-spec models making use of black grill pieces and the rest of the line up now featuring colour coding and losing the front fog lights.
At the Rear, the number plate guard now is body colour and not chrome platted and the addition of the quest and exclusive badging respectively. Internally again changes are few and far between with the only major difference I was able to note on the Top Spec exclusive models on test was the foam wheel which now replaces the leather which preceded it. All the materials have been altered and fettled with local suppliers taking presidencies to achieve the goal of decreasing the price of the Older Corolla, while seamlessly making it the New Quest.

Spec levels on the new quest are impressive and the standard model features, dual front airbags with drivers and passenger knee airbag protection, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with Hill Assist Control (HAC), ABS, EBD, Isofix, LED daytime running lights and rear fog lights are standard across the board. Radio with CD/USB and AUX integration and 4 door-mounted speakers. 15-Inch steelies with hub caps, remote central locking and follow me home lights. The Prestige model adds the upgraded Touch Screen interface with Bluetooth and DVD interface with 6 speakers. Creature comforts line, Cruise control, reverse camera, fabric and leather combination seats and larger 16-inch alloy wheels. The top-spec Exclusive gains LED headlamps, keyless entry and start, automatic single-zone climate control leather seats and rains sensing wipers.

Dynamically the Quest is refined enough to make communing even over long distances effortless, which with the CVT option is the most accurate depiction of the performance. The Drone is dampened well and the NVH is very low and makes the Corrolla feel very well put together. Overtaking is swift enough and the engine does enjoy being revved with the power being up top, With the 4000Rpm peak torque. The manual has a very light clutch with a very early engagement which takes a second to get used to, but obviously with the comfort bias is not going to be an issue for more fighting their way through traffic. Fuel consumption even with the larger engine is low with the route combining city, open road and intense traffic a 6.9L/100 in the CVT and 7.2 in the manual makes the car frugal enough for a car of its class.

In summary, the pun about the 2020 Corolla Quest making cents remains true, and the large boot, decent performance and great road dynamics make it feels more of a car designed to be better than it is or feels, though a bit dull it’s not intended to set your world on fire just get you around rather comfortably and with very little in the way of complaints. The lack of Sat-Nav is an irritation at times but later models will have better app integration sorting that out.

2020 Toyota Corolla Quest Pricing in South Africa
Arriving in dealers March of 2020, All models come standard with a 3year/45 000Km Service plan and 3year/100 000KM warranty.
QUEST R249 900
QUEST CVT 270 400
QUEST PRESTIGE R286 500
QUEST PRESTIGE CVT 296 800
QUEST EXCLUSIVE R307 400
QUEST EXCLUSIVE CVT R314 700