“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is not the kind of thinking that sits well with today’s consumer society. Instead, we’re urged to buy the latest and greatest. Yet Toyota SA believes that its Corolla Quest can make a virtue out of being last year’s model. Its trump card: price.
The Quest goes on sale 5 May at a starting price of R174 900. The automatic and Plus versions cost over R20 000 more.
The key to the competitive price, says Toyota, lies in four areas. These are the amortisation of the previous-generation model’s investment costs; economies of scale; common componentry with current models; and smart feature choices. As an example of points 3 and 4, the 2014 Corolla has an engine and front seats in common with the Quest.
It was 20 years ago that Toyota reinvented a previous-generation Corolla hatchback (as it was then) as the hugely popular Tazz – which itself adopted the approach taken by VW with its Citi Golf. The 10th-generation model that provides the basis for the Quest is Toyota’s most successful Corolla to date. Could it be that South African buyers might find a revamped previous-generation Corolla a more palatable option than the equivalent-priced new, smaller, or “developing world” model?
The Quest comes in just three varieties: a standard version in 6-speed manual or 4-speed auto and the manual-only Quest Plus. The all-aluminium 90 kW 1,6-litre in-line four used in the 2014 Corolla is the only engine available.
Standard fitments across the range include an immobiliser and alarm, remote central locking, dual front airbags, Isofix anchor points, air-conditioning, audio system pre-wiring and steering wheel rake/reach adjustment. In addition to this, Plus versions get alloy wheels, more upmarket trim and an radio/CD audio system with USB/Aux functionality.
There is some simplification. The rear seat is fixed, not 60:40 split and the door cloth door inserts have been replaced with textured vinyl. There’s no overhead console, reading map light and vanity lamp in the sun visor.
The Quest is no slouch. Official Toyota figures list 10,4 seconds for the 0-100 km/h dash. Braking is by discs all round (ventilated in front) with anti-lock braking system incorporating electronic brake-force distribution and emergency brake assist. The price includes a three-year/45 000 km service plan.