Toyota Corolla facelift (2017)

The facelifted Toyota Corolla is now available in South Africa. Although it does not incorporate major technical or mechanical upgrades, Toyota’s top-selling sedan sports a much more distinctive front end, which ties in with the progressive styling of its C-HR compact family car sibling, and a tastefully updated interior.

The current iteration of the Prospecton-produced Toyota Corolla made its local debut in 2013, which positions this facelift at almost exactly the midway point of the popular family sedan’s lifecycle.

The most prominent detail is the bold refreshed front visage (said to amplify the firm’s Keen Look and Under Priority design motifs). The elongated, swept-back headlamp clusters, most reminiscent of the C-HR’s units, are adorned with LED daytime running lights and, in combination with a resculpted bumper, including an elaborate lower grille treatment and sporty swages, the Toyota Corolla looks immediately sharper.

Toyota Corolla
LED tail lamp clusters (on 1.8-litre derivatives) and a discreet chrome strip distinguish the facelifted Corolla from its predecessor.

Meanwhile, the rear styling has been enhanced through the adoption of LED tail lamp clusters (1.8-litre models) and a redesigned chrome garnish that further emphasises the sedan’s width and stance.

Inside, the instrument panel has been updated with a layered structure that hides joins, along with a redesigned climate control panel and circular air vents. As for the fascia, a piano-black centre-cluster surround and chrome-look trim have been added and, on Pestige derivatives, the width of the audio system’s touchscreen has increased from 6.1 to 7-inches.

The Corolla should also be notably quieter on the open road by virtue of additional NVH suppression measures. These include beading on the front fender liner (said to reduce turbulence inside the wheel housing), a thicker inner silencer for the dash panel and denser floor insulation material.

Toyota Corolla
Interior updates are subtle, although the touchscreen shown here won’t be exactly the same as in the SA model.

Moreover, Toyota claims it has improved the Toyota Corolla’s ride quality through the introduction of larger-diameter shock absorbers, while improved mounting rigidity for the upper body and suspension and an additional rear damper bush contribute are said to optimise handling performance

As for the rest, Toyota SA says the current range’s 1.3-, 1-6- and 1-8-litre petrol and 1.4-litre turbodiesel engine line-up is unchanged. However, the CVT automatic transmission has been retuned to deliver quicker, crisper and smoother “shifts” that are better matched to engine speed. The CVT helps generate engine braking when downshifting, including deceleration control that activates the fuel-cut system and holds the pulley ratio to maintain revs and enable easier re-acceleration. Stability control and hill-start assist systems feature on all derivatives from the 1.6 and up.

Specification levels of the respective derivative grades:

Esteem

  • ABS with brake assist and emergency brake-force distribution (EBD)
  • Auto door locking function
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Multifunction steering wheel, audio system with USB, Aux and Bluetooth
  • Stability control and hill-start assist systems (1.6 derivatives and up)
  • 15-inch Steel wheels
  • Driver, passenger and side airbags

Prestige

In addition to the specifications of Esteem derivatives:

  • Touchscreen audio system/DVD player
  • Reverse-view monitor
  • Cruise control
  • Leather-trimmed seats and steering wheel
  • 16-inch alloy wheels

Exclusive

The top-of-the-range specification includes:

  • Climate control
  • Keyless entry and start functions
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Curtain and knee airbags (in addition to dual front and side units)
  • Auto-headlamp levelling
  • Front fog lamps
  • Self-dipping rear-view mirror
  • TFT colour display in the instrument cluster

By Mike Fourie / cars.co.za