The second State of the Motor Industry (SOMI) event hosted by Toyota South Africa Motors served as the perfect platform to provide a sneak preview of the carmaker’s 2019 product campaign.
Cool Corolla [Hatch]
This sleek new C-segment hatch replaces the outgoing Auris, and features an eye-catching angular head – and tail lamp treatment, a wide stance and modern, high-quality interior. The Corolla hatch eschews the previously employed 1.3 and 1.6 litre engines in favour of the technologically advanced 1.2-litre turbocharged mill (as utilised in the C-HR crossover). Smooth mid-range torque, quiet operation and excellent fuel efficiency form part of the engine’s characteristics. Customers have the option of a 6-speed manual transmission or Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with 10 pre-programmed shift steps.
The Corolla Hatch is underpinned by Toyota’s TNGA platform – which promises to deliver an engaging drive along with excellent ride comfort. Three derivatives are on offer – XS Manual, XS CVT and the flagship XR CVT. All models offer a generous specification level including LED headlamps and DRL’s, smart entry, sport seats, dual-zone climate control and Vehicle Stability Control (with hill-assist function).
Definitely the talk-of-the-town, Toyota’s medium SUV offering has become a familiar sight on South African roads. The all-new RAV4 adopts a striking look – inspired by the American ‘truck’ design language – and boldly announces its arrival on the ultra-competitive SUV market. A prominent trapezoidal honey-comb front grille and upswept LED headlamps form the front façade.
Shown in range-topping VX-grade, the RAV4 features a raft of convenience and safety specifications – including Toyota Safety Sense; a nucleus of active safety systems including Adaptive Cruise Control and Pre-Collision System. Two all-new petrol engines (available in 2.0 and 2.5 litre-guise) will power the range, driving either front or all-four wheels. Full model line-up and detail will be released in March when the newcomer hits showroom floors.
Heroic Hilux GR Sport
The next product iteration in the Gazoo Racing line-up is the Hilux GR Sport. The GR Sport builds on the rock-solid foundation that the Hilux Double-cab has established for itself, and amplifies its already impressive street and off-road credentials. The limited edition Hilux GR Sport features bespoke Gazoo Racing-themed decals, a unique front grille design, two-tone colour scheme and GR Sport-specific 17-inch alloy wheels.
The main party trick however is the special off-road biased suspension – affording the Hilux GR-S even greater off-the-beaten-track prowess. It will be based on the 2.8 GD-6 4×4 6AT derivative and also includes tailored interior treatment. The Hilux GR-S will reach showrooms mid-year.
Toyota’s Hybrid pioneer has gone under the proverbial knife, and emerged sharpened and refreshed. The 4th generation Prius debuted in 2016 with an unashamedly flamboyant exterior design and futuristic interior layout. For 2019 the hybrid-hero inherits rounder, more engaging lines with revised front and rear-end treatments, headlamps, tail-lights, wheel design and colour choices.
Inside, the cabin’s sensory quality is even more refined with new upholstery, along with revisions to the centre console and some of the controls on the instrument panel. The proven 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid powerplant continues unchanged and boasts an impressive thermal efficiency of over 40 per cent and a combined fuel index of 3.7 litres per 100 kilometre.
Lexus’ latest model is the eye-catching UX Crossover which reached showrooms earlier this month. Infused with dynamic attitude, the Lexus UX is engineered to deliver quick and engaging driving with a Lexus-smooth demeanor, making it a unique entry in the luxury compact crossover segment. A unique-to-UX spindle grille, curved front headlamps and a low-slung sporty profile create a distinct visual identity for the luxury crossover.
Inside, the materials and workmanship are pure Lexus, combining Japanese traditions in craftsmanship and hospitality with innovative production techniques. The Lexus UX offers a wide choice of interior colour combinations, each of which conveys a specific mood and accentuates the premium design. The UX is available in three different configurations; UX 200 EX, UX 200 F Sport (powered by a 126 kW 2.0-litre mill) and the Hybrid UX 250h.
Ravishing RC 350 F Sport
The fresh new RC 350 F Sport retains all the virtues of what RC is renowned for, and builds upon this, adopting the latest evolution of Lexus’ signature design language and sharpened driving dynamics inspired by the brand’s flagship luxury coupe, the LC. The exterior styling remains as sporty as the preceding model, but subtle changes in the details, inspired by Lexus LC design cues, imbue it with a new-found elegance.
Inside the cabin, everything from the high-quality materials to the precise layout of controls and gauges has been crafted to maximise driving pleasure. New headlamps and taillights, visually- arresting 19” alloy wheels – complete with orange F Sport brake calipers – and revised bumper ducting create a striking appearance. The silky smooth 232 kW 3.5-litre V6 engine paired with an 8-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission provides propulsion.
Racy RC F
Exciting news is the addition of the F model to the RC coupe range. F is the performance arm of Lexus and was introduced on the IS F model in 2012. So what does ‘F’ mean? Well the answer is rather simple; the elegant RC Coupe receives an injection of some serious muscle in the form of a high-revving 5.0-litre V8 engine and suitably adapted 8-speed sports transmission. The thundering V8 engine serves up 351 kW of Power at 7100 rpm and a hefty 530 Nm.
The standard features list is naturally very comprehensive and includes a 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, power-adjustable semi-aniline sports seats, seat heating and cooling, smart entry, lane-keeping system and advanced multi-information display.
Tantalising RC F ‘Track’
Taking the already adrenaline-infused RC F coupe and then fortifying it with proverbial automotive steroids, results in the RC F Track. The Track model amplifies all the inherent dynamic qualities of the RC F with a bespoke enthusiast-focused package. This package includes Carbon fibre body elements, a fixed carbon-fibre rear wing, lightweight aluminium racing wheels and titanium exhaust – which not only sheds 80kg of dry weight but also aids aerodynamic performance to boot.
LS F Sport
Continuing in the theme of F Sport models, Lexus’ luxury flagship saloon is also set to receive the F Sport treatment. The exterior incorporates exclusive F Sport design features and distinctive F Sport 20-inch alloy wheels. The interior receives unique F Sport front seats and instrument cluster with special interior trim options (including a bi-tone grey and black option) – allowing customers to further differentiate their vehicle. A suede headliner and aluminium door trim additionally elevate the interior space.
The exceptional twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 engine delivering 310kW and 600Nm continues to reside up front, driving the rear wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission.