I’m not a fan, but the fact is that some of the most popular cars in South Africa are spruced up, modernised versions of older cars. Just look at the way the Volkswagen Polo Vivo hovers at the top of the sales chart month after month. A few years ago it was the Conquest, a 6th generation Toyota Corolla which soldiered on for years after that model reached its demise overseas.
It seems we love a good quality bargain, as long as its dependable, and specialists in such vehicles is Toyota. The brand has been a mainstay in our market through thick and thin, and the perennially popular Corolla is no exception. We reviewed and filmed the 11th generation Corolla recently, and then Toyota sneakily announced that soon there would be two Corollas to choose from.
Value for moneyEnter the QUEST. I just love writing it in capital letters. What an epic name. But all Toyota did was take the 'con' out of it and here we are: a new bargain for cash-strapped consumers. And my goodness, what a bargain it is.
I didn’t want to like the Quest, but it is very difficult to fault a car which offers this much value at this price. For a starting price of R174 900, the Quest features the all-new 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol from the brand new Corolla. They’ve changed the interior a little, fitted some new seats, some new headlights and changed the chrome strip on the bootlid to black plastic. It actually looks a lot better, besides looking like a very thin moustache, like you’d find on a French mime.
Toyota Corolla Quest Build qualityThe Quest feels bulletproof. Like it was chiselled out of one piece of metal and rubber, and not assembled from various bits. And the engine, while rather dull, is perfectly up to the job of moving you around, while consuming a claimed 6.6 litres/100km. I can’t tell you what I achieved, because there’s no readout, one of the things you miss, like steering wheel radio controls, from the latest Corolla.
The car we drove was the Toyota Corolla Quest Plus, which comes in at R197 900. However, as you’ll see in the video, all that buys you is some exterior body trinkets and a CD/radio. I’ve worked out a clever way of saving you a tonne of money, so be sure to give the video a watch. Cheeky hey?
Class of its ownRight now, the Toyota Corolla Quest seems to be in a class of its own. The Polo Vivo sedan is smaller and dull, the Nissan Almera offers very decent space but is technically a car from the segment below, being built on the Micra chassis. The Geely Emgrand EC7 is about the closest rival, it offers 4 star EuroNCAP safety and much more kit than the standard Quest, for R10 000 less.
It’s a big future fight that; China vs Japan, and with the EC7, I think its sooner than we realise.
Conclusion and summaryIn the meantime though, it almost doesn’t matter what I say about the Toyota Corolla Quest. Its insanely good value, still quite stylish even though its dated, and has that badge on the nose that many, many South Africans know and trust. Hotcakes, anyone?
Toyota Corolla Quest Price in South AfricaThe Toyota Corolla Quest range starts from R174 900. Tested here is the Toyota Corolla Quest Plus, which retails for R197 900.
Toyota Corolla Quest Quick Specs
|Engine||1.6-litre four cylinder petrol|
|0-100km/h||10.5 seconds (claimed)|
We like: . Value for money . Build quality
We dislike: . Dated styling
Also consider: . Nissan Almera . Volkswagen Polo Vivo sedan . Geely Emgrand EC 7