What is popular on Nigerian roads is the main Toyota Corolla. But in South Africa, the Toyota Corolla Quest, which was launched in 2014, shares almost 50% of Total corolla sale, which explains why Toyota Motor Corporations was encouraged to roll out an all-new Quest.
[dropcap]C[/dropcap]oming out with this, the maker was said to have employed the established credentials of the 10th-generation Corolla in a value-focused package – offering the space and comfort of a C-segment sedan at a B-segment price point.
Sticking to the same proven recipe, the new Corolla Quest is said to have adopted the outgoing 11th-generation Corolla platform in a quest to continue the legacy of value-minded motoring with comfort, space and style.
But be that as it may, Toyota buyers around the world still wonder how the new Quest is different from the previous edition, why the change to whopping 1.8-litres engine and whether or not they won’t need to pay more to acquire the new Quest..
In this interview, Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing, Toyota Motor Corporation provides insight into what the world should know about the new Toyota automotive baby. Have a ball…..
Question: What informed your decision to roll out the new Quest?
Understanding that there is still a need for an affordable sedan in our market was one of the driving factors in developing the new Corolla Quest. We conducted numerous product clinics to gain a better understanding of what our customers wanted and where we could adapt our product offering to better suit the market needs.
Question: So how does the new Quest differ from the previous one?
As mentioned the new Quest is based on the outgoing 11th-generation Corolla. This brings with it modernised styling, improved specification levels and enhanced safety features. We’ve also switched to a new 1.8-litre engine across the board and expanded the line-up to offer three grades for six models in total.
Question: Is the new Quest then just a de-specced Corolla?
Not at all, the Corolla Quest went through a thorough development programme which aimed to maintain the Quality, Reliability and Durability (QDR) level whilst implementing cost reduction – to the ultimate benefit of the customer. Likewise, the switch to a three-grade strategy, enables us to offer three distinct variants with distinct specification levels, thereby catering to different customer needs.
Question: What differentiates Corolla Quest cosmetically from the 11th-generation Corolla?
On the exterior front, the most noticeable difference is the front fascia. The front bumper has been given an updated treatment (grade dependent), replacing the gunmetal accent trims previously employed. The standard and Prestige models utilise a continuous matte-black lower apron, whereas the Exclusive model boasts partial colour coding.
The headlight trim too matches the radiator grille treatment (matte black vs colour), with the front fog lights now phased out. At the rear, the number plate garnish has been changed from chrome to body colour.
On the interior front, Corolla Quest is equipped with three bespoke interior trim combinations. The standard model makes use of a Black and Blue combination textile with a fixed rear seat. Prestige variants are equipped with a fabric and leather combination – available in either Blue/Black or Grey with red accents. The range-topping Exclusive, features a black leather interior with silver contrast stitching and a 60/40 split rear bench.
Question: You mention cost reduction, how was this accomplished?
A three-prong approach was followed here. Firstly, comprehensive studies were performed on how to make the production line more efficient; secondly component part commonisation and sourcing were re-looked in order to implement savings and thirdly, vehicle specification was tweaked to match customer requirements.
For example, Corolla Quest makes use of the IMV (Hilux and Fortuner) colour palette (assembled in the same factory), to improve economies of scale and simplify production processes. Other non-aesthetic componentry has also been commonised between the two model ranges with additional localisation further contributing to cost savings.
Examples of such measures are communized headliner material and seat fabric with IMV, as well as localisation of the seat cross braces, floor silencers and seat bracketry.
Question: Why the change to a 1.8-litre engine?
This was one of the key research areas when we started the development brief. The reason for this is quite simple, the 1.8-litre is standardized across more Toyota models globally versus the previously fitted 1.6-litre engine – providing cost and sourcing benefits for TSAM.
The 1.8-litre mill produces 103 kW and 173 Nm at 4000rpm. One of the advantages of the 1.8-litre engine is that the torque figure is not only higher but also produced 1200 rpm earlier, compared to the 1.6. This offers an enhanced driving experience – one of the key attributes customers identified in the research. Fuel consumption is listed as 7.0 l/100km for manual models and 6.3 l/100km for models equipped with the CVT option – which is actually better than the outgoing 1.6-litre mill.
Question: What underpins the new Corolla Quest?
The platform is identical to the 11th-generation Corolla, with a McPherson strut layout in the front and torsion beam design in the rear, offering a perfect balance of ride comfort and body control. The torsion beam design also contributes to a large flat boot space.
Four-wheel disc brakes, with ventilated front and solid rear discs provide solid braking performance. Standard models ride on 15-inch steel wheels with 195-65-R15 tyres, whereas the mid and high-grade Quests roll on 16-inch alloy wheels shod with 205-55-R16 rubber. All models feature a full-size spare wheel.
Question: How many models are there in the new Quest range?
The new Quest has been designed to appeal to a broader target audience compared to the outgoing model. With this in mind, we’ve expanded the product range to cater to a wider spectrum of buyer and allow the new Corolla Quest to appeal to the values of the traditional Corolla buyer. Using a singular engine, we’ve created three grades; ‘Standard’, Prestige and Exclusive.
The standard model is a no-frills variant, catering to the business user and focusses on value-for-money motoring. It makes use of a functional matte-black grille and bumper finishes, with 15-inch steel wheels and core specification features. The Prestige grade offers a blend of value and style, with colour-coded exterior treatment, 16-inch alloy wheels and added comfort ‘spec’. At the top of the range is the Exclusive model, which adds chrome exterior elements, a colour-coded front bumper treatment and a high-standard specification set.
All three grades are offered in both 6-speed manual and CVT transmission guise – creating a matrix of 6 models. The standard features list echoes the exterior grade strategy and provides a significant ‘spec’ upgrade versus the previous model (even on the ‘standard’ grade).
Question: What are the safety upgrades you mention?
This is one of the standout features of the new Corolla Quest. In response to customer feedback, we’ve amplified the safety features considerably. All Quest models now come with Driver, Passenger and driver-knee airbags – while the Prestige and Exclusive models receive side airbags too.
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.
Question: How do the other specification features rack up?
All models feature auto door-lock with remote operation, electric windows, air-conditioner, steering wheel switches, follow-me-home headlamps, radio/CD with USB, Aux and a minimum of four integrated speakers.
The Prestige models receive an upgrade to a touchscreen DVD audio system with six speakers, reverse camera, cruise control, leather steering wheel, combination fabric and leather seats plus the aforementioned 16-inch alloy wheels.
The Exclusive grade adds auto air-conditioner, push start with keyless entry, TFT-colour instrument cluster, leather seats, rain-sensing wipers and LED headlamps.
Question: What about the service plan and warranty?
All Corolla Quests are sold with a 3-services/45 000 km service plan with intervals pegged at 12 months/15 000 km. A 3-year/100 000 km warranty is included.