2022 Toyota Corolla Cross GRS review

Image: Toyota

Image: Toyota

Image: Toyota

Image: Toyota

Image: Toyota

Driving ImpressionsBy: Ryan De Villiers

With the likes of the indomitable GR Yaris and equally alluring GR Corolla perched at the summit of Gazoo Racing’s fleet hierarchy, the Corolla Cross GRS comes as a less high-strung and layman friendlier GR Badge carrier.

Image: Toyota

Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division has 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐭𝐡ed some incredible cars as of late. Their signature black and red badge signifies an inclination to high-performance driving and spirited passenger transportation. The latest crossover SUV addition to this division is a little step in the opposite direction not only in its performance capabilities but also it’s styling.

The brutish face of the Corolla Cross GRS

Alongside a lovely GR badge, a few slight changes have been introduced to the Corolla Cross’s exterior. While at a glance not much different to the standard models, it’s the devil in the detail that sets the GRS apart from the rest of its clan. The Corolla Cross GRS receives a unique front grille finished in gloss black that seeps into the headlamp assembly. Curtailing the grille is a gloss black lower apron adorned in the GR grille mesh design. It’s a slight touch-up that doesn’t immediately jump out at you, but it echoes the GR badge’s more aggressive design DNA.

Image: Toyota

There are a few others adjustments made to the Corolla Cross’ appearance that are the cherries on that cake so to speak. Black mirror caps, a black roof accompanied by roof rails, a black tailgate and a rear diffuser are all elements of the Corolla Cross GRS that aren’t in your face changes but tastefully elevate the mundane appearance of the standard Cross. The entire GR badged passenger carrier is punctuated by the unique 18-inch black alloy wheels.

The interior doesn’t stray too far from the Corolla Cross standard, however, a generous helping of black leather and red stitching throughout the interior are an immediate elevation of the Corolla Cross’s insides. Piano black inserts and a unique steering wheel are welcomed driving experience refiners, but the rest of the interior remains fairly standard with the exception of GR logos on the seats.

Image: Toyota

A real GR product or just badge treatment?

Although bearing the famous red and black GR badge, the Corolla Cross isn’t as endowed as the GR Yaris or GR Corolla. The Cross has received Gazoo Racing’s lowest lying tweaks and tuning. The GR treatment in the Corolla Cross has resulted in upgraded suspension and an upgraded power steering module. This results in less body roll through corners and less disturbance in the cabin when hitting speed bumps. The new power steering module does wonders for the driver and car connection as it gives a greater feeling of assuredness when driving.

Image: Toyota

The GRS badge that accompanies the Corolla Cross is only relevant to handling and ride adjustments. As far as pure power and performance, the Corolla Cross GRS still employs the existing 1,8-litre 2ZR-FE petrol motor that produces 103 kW and 172 N.m. The power plant is mated to what can be thought of as a seven-speed CVT which is said to mimic close-ratio manual shifting but at times can feel a little disconnected.

Subtle styling and smooth sailing

As a whole, the Corolla Cross GRS isn’t as ludicrous as the Gazoo Racing stablemates, but to the layman, it’s not as memorable as the rest of the GR badge bearers and the mechanical adjustments effects are negligible to the average driver. With that said, the asking price for this R453 200 is a bit more than the 1,8 XR variant and a few hairs less than the Hybrid XR model.

Image: Toyota

Driving the Corolla Cross GRS was not the most heart-rate elevating experience, but it’s a well-put-together iteration of a popular nameplate. Alongside the Corolla Cross GRS comes the GR Hilux, which is another Toyota nameplate to receive some suspension tuning and handling refinements.


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