A COUPLE of weeks ago we reported that Toyota had continued with the production of the previous generation Corolla which is now known as the Quest. The new model has received a number of changes aimed at reducing costs. I recently had a chance to sample the Quest to ascertain whether there’s genuine consumer value in this package or whether it’s a nasty cost-cutting exercise.
On the face of it, the Quest is truly a value-filled proposition with a starting price of R174 900. It offers best in class interior space and power while still offering a reasonable amount of standard features. The Base model is really for fleet purposes and the Plus model more adept at catering for the everyday consumer. I drove the Plus which retails for R197 900 and adds features like alloy wheels and a radio/CD player with USB and AUX compatibility.
Driving the Quest around the changes made by the local Toyota R&D team is barely perceptible which is what the brand was aiming for when reducing costs. The interior noise levels have received some attention with more affordable local materials being used for insulation which still provides the Quest with a solid, refined feel on the road. Other interior changes include new headliner and door card inserts which save money and are not noticeable when driving
We also had an opportunity to go on a drive with a Toyota test driver while testing a Quest and after putting the car through its paces it would appear that the build quality is of a high standard. It’s also nice to know that some 22 percent of components in the Quest and new generation Corolla are common. These include the new generation seats and the 1.6-litre petrol engine.
In conclusion, is the new Toyota Corolla Quest a good value product or simply a cost-cutting exercise? I have to say, after driving one, visiting the plant where it’s made and hearing the research and development engineers discuss the cost-saving implementations, the Quest is a thoroughly well thought out product that - considering its value and quality - may just lure fleet owners and the public towards one of the 1 000 units produced every month.