The Toyota Corolla recently celebrated a milestone, with the 50-millionth unit having rolled off the assembly line. This makes it the world’s best selling car of all time, if we’re talking multiple generations. The original Volkswagen Beetle remains the best-selling single-generation car, having achieved 21 million sales in its lifetime.
The First-Generation Toyota Corolla was launched abroad in 1966, and if you think the original 1966 Toyota Corolla looks completely unfamiliar, you would be correct as the first two generations were never sold locally. The local market had to wait until 1975 for the first taste of what’s arguably the best selling brand. This was the third generation and was built for the first time in South Africa.
Third-generation: Introduced in 1975 and it was clearly worth the wait as this Corolla, which was sold in two-door, four-door and wagon guises, was more comfortable, efficient and aerodynamic than its predecessors.
Fourth-generation: Introduced to the southern African market in 1980. The E70 generation Corolla ushered in Toyota’s market leadership. It was also available in a wider array of petrol engines, from 1.3- to 1.8-litres.
Fifth-generation: This was the first front-wheel drive Corolla and it also introduced a five-door hatchback body style for the first time, which became known as the Conquest, as well as a liftback called the Avante. On a more exciting note, gen-five also gave birth to the GLI and RSI pocket rockets, powered by Toyota’s iconic high-revving 4AGE engine.
Sixth-generation: This Corolla hit the scene in 1988 with increased dimensions and a much more rounded design than its boxy predecessor and it has become affectionately known as the Kentucky Rounder in Mzansi. It also offered more luxury than before, thanks to the GLS and Executive trim grades. This Corolla enjoyed an extended production life, with the Conquest hatchback having survived until 2006 as the budget-friendly Tazz.
Seventh-generation: This new Corolla took another big step forward in terms of size and refinement. But you won’t have seen many of these on the street (apart from the odd grey import) as Toyota South Africa skipped the seventh-generation Corolla, opting instead to introduce a face-lifted version of gen-six in 1993.
Eighth-generation: Toyota introduced gen-eight in 1996, alongside the aforementioned Tazz as the first new Corolla in eight years. Beneath the skin it wasn’t all that different from the gen-seven model that we missed out on. It also saw the reintroduction of the 4AGE engine, this time in 20-valve format, in the RSI and RXI models.
Ninth-generation: With the millennium Corolla, launched locally in 2002, the southern African market could once again have a modern hatchback variant, this time wearing a RunX badge. Feeling every bit like a baby Camry, the E120 Corolla also saw its predecessor’s outdated engines being replaced by more modern 1.4-, 1.6- and 1.8-litre units, featuring variable valve timing. There was also a high-revving Run X RSI variant, which offered 141kW.
Tenth-generation: Introduced in 2007, this Corolla upped the ante in terms of luxury, safety and boring design. It also enjoyed an extended production life, having lived on until 2020 as the Corolla Quest that Uber drivers love so much. The hatchback version was spun off into a completely different, MPV-inspired model called the Auris.
Eleventh-generation: Launched in 2014, this was the last Corolla sedan model to be produced locally, although it still lives on for now in the form of the ‘new-generation’ Corolla Quest. As with its predecessor, this Corolla was offered with 1.3-, 1.6- and 1.8-litre motors, although today’s Quest model is only available with the latter.
Twelth-generation: The first generation to be fully imported, the latest Corolla was introduced in hatchback form in 2019, with the sedan following in 2020. The hatch also ushered in turbo power, as well as a more edgy design and modern cabin electronics.
Corolla Cross: The latest evolution of the Corolla has just gone into production in South Africa and was expected to go on sale in November. With this model, which shares its TNGA architecture with the twelfth-gen hatch and sedan, Toyota is aiming to make the Corolla nameplate relevant again in a world that has come to prefer SUVs and crossovers. Buyers will get to choose between a normally aspirated 1.8-litre petrol engine and a hybrid powertrain – a first for Toyota SA production. Pricing has yet to be announced.
TECHNOLOGICALLY PREGNANT VOLKSWAGEN T-ROC REVEALED
The Volkswagen T-Roc has been freshened up for 2022, with the Golf-sized crossover gaining subtle exterior design revisions as well as a plusher cabin and new semi-autonomous driving tech.
The external nip and tuck includes a redesigned bumper, with the R-Line trim now resembling the R performance model more closely. It also sports a new grille with honeycomb patterning and an illuminated central light strip as per the facelifted Polo. The midlife makeover is even more apparent in the cabin where you’ll find a new dashboard panel that is said to improve the feeling of quality in the cabin. Complementing the new dashboard is a redesigned multi-function steering wheel. New fabric trimmings can be found throughout the interior.
Central to the upgraded cabin is a new tablet-like infotainment display that’s paired with a standard digital instrument cluster. Technologically, the model has been upgraded to the third-generation Modular Infotainment Toolkit, which enables a variety of online-based services and functions.
The new Volkswagen T-Roc is also available with some advanced driver assistance gizmos, and the new IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist package with Predictive Cruise Control allows for assisted acceleration, braking and steering at speeds of up to 210km/h.
Speaking of speed, Volkswagen has not made any changes beneath the bonnet, with the 2022 T-Roc soldiering on with a variety of TSI turbopetrol and TDI turbodiesel engines. These range from an 81kW 1.0 TSI to a 110kW 1.5 TSI and 140kW 2.0 TSI, while the increasingly un-PC diesel option continues in the form of a 2.0 TDI in 85kW and 110kW configurations.
IT CAN ONLY BE A PORSCHE
On Wednesday last week, the German sports car maker Porsche pulled the wraps off the 718 production Cayman GT4 RS and race-ready GT4 RS Clubsport. The same came with the announcement of its Nürburgring lap time ahead of the official launch.
The 718 Cayman GT4 RS shares the naturally aspirated heart with the latest 911 GT3 whilst flat-six power production unit is the same 4.0-litre unit used in the 911 GT3 Cup cars and the road-going GT3. Power in the road car is quoted as 368kW with 450Nm of maximum torque. The 718 Cayman GT4 RS will be offered exclusively with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (PDK). Word from Porsche is that the 718 Cayman GT4 RS can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds. Pinnacle speed is quoted as 315km/h.
Apart from the new engine, there are several other changes to earmark the hard-core RS version from the ‘regular’ GT4. Most obvious external change is the adoption of a massive rear wing. Among the other changes are air intakes. RS-specific air intakes in the rear quarter panels supply more cool air to the engine. There is also an aerodynamically optimised underbody with a rear diffuser and a new front spoiler lip with flow-around side-blades. All these aero changes mean that the GT4 RS generates up to 25 percent more downforce in the racetrack-only performance mode than the GT4.
Part of the 718 Cayman GT4 RS’s mass-saving measures include front fenders and bonnet that are made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). Lightweight door panels with fabric door opening loops and storage nets round off the model-specific diet.
ASTON MARTIN F1 TEAM CONFIRMS 2022 DRIVER LINE-UP
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and Canadian Lance Stroll, son of the owner, will race for Aston Martin next season in an unchanged driver line-up, so says the Formula One team.
Vettel, who won his titles with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013, joined at the end of last year from Ferrari. Executive chairman Lawrence Stroll had assured reporters this week that the German was set to stay after media speculation he might not. Stroll senior said also that he saw Lance (22) as a potential champion.
The Mercedes-powered team are building a new factory at Silverstone and hiring staff with the aim of positioning themselves as title contenders within three to five years. Stroll will be starting his sixth season in Formula One next year after making his debut with former champions Williams in 2017. He said the line-up blended youth and experience while team Principal Otmar Szafnauer hailed Lance as “one of the most gifted drivers in modern Formula One” and Vettel as “a massive asset”.
Formula One faces a major shake-up in 2022, with new aerodynamic rules aimed at making racing more competitive.
Aston Martin, the renamed Racing Point team that was previously Force India and started out as Jordan in 1991, are currently seventh of 10 in the constructors’ standings. They finished fourth last year, despite being docked 15 points that would have put them ahead of McLaren, but have been less competitive this year due to regulation changes over the winter.
Vettel, disqualified from second place in Hungary in August for not having enough fuel left in his car, has scored 35 points from 14 races and Stroll 24, although the Canadian has had more top 10 finishes.