TOYOTA COROLLA QUEST – born again bargain will be a godsend to many

Kanniedood. That’s Afrikaans for cannot die. It also so aptly describes a unique South Africa motoring habit. The one where we like to keep on building cars so long beyond their sell-by dates.

They’re not just bargains. These ‘kanniedood’ cars lure more feet into new car showrooms. High value slightly older models sold brand new off the dealer floor are more attractive than the used and abused tyre kickers on the corner lot, are they not?

It’s evolved too. VW pulled the ring out of it keeping Citi around for six Golf generations. By when most used cars were a better buy anyway. But as a marketing success? Wow! it worked a treat.


Soon every man and his dog followed with a Midge or a Sting. Or Tazz, as Toyota called its first foray into the old car sold as new market. It’s still at it. The first Corolla Quest was a bargain basement family car and rental favourite. I’m sure your one of your neighbours drives one too.

Now that there really is an all-new Corolla, you guessed it, there’s a ’new’ Quest too. It’s even cleverer this time round. This one keeps the old Corolla line ticking over down Durban way. New Corolla is fully imported.

Before we tackle the new Quest, what did we think of old Corolla? Well, my original Corolla 1.8 Exclusive test went something like this: Bolder and more refined than the frumpy old one, the sophisticated new Corolla has superior handling and a comfy, spacious and feature-rich cabin.

Seems like I pinched that passage from my old test, Toyota’s Quest press kit did much the same. There’s no real difference between new Quest and the old Corolla. No. Wait! Look — a new part-colour coded front bumper that’s lost the fog lamps. And fresh headlight trim. Yup, and new rear number plate garnish too.

Enough oomph to confidently overtake

Road holding remains great, even if well-damped. It’s quiet too. And the free-revving 103kW 173Nm lump delivers decent performance. Enough oomph to confidently overtake. The big-bore 1.8 shouldn’t be breathless up at the Highveld either.

I don’t like CVT gearboxes. But Quest’s is certainly not the worst I’ve driven. It will make life a synch for those who spend hours in the traffic everyday.

Oh, yes — the Corolla this Quest once was, took its Gumtree’s Pre-Owned Car of the Year class again last year. But you should know that Toyotas like this hold their value.

All of which means that the new Toyota Quest is a neatly turned out, well specced car. It will cope with the daily grind and the annual long-haul to the coast without a problem and keep in perpetuity. It’s a very good car.

That’s also one hell of a caveat to the brand new Corolla we tested a few weeks back. That car is a quantum shift — albeit upmarket — to this one.

So if you can’t afford the latest Corolla, Toyota has a damn good compromise. It’s this latest bargain Quest. — Michele Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Toyota Corolla Quest 1.8 Exclusive auto
Engine: 103kW 173Nm 1.8-litre petrol I4
Drive: CVT FWD
0-60km/h: 4.15 sec
0-100km/h: 8.83 sec
0-160km/h: 22.99 sec
400m: 13.3 sec @ 139km/h
80-120km/h: 6.01 sec
120-160km/h: 10.74 sec
VMax: 195km/h
Fuel: 6.3 l/100km
CO2: 150 g/km
Warranty: 3 years 100Kkm
Service: 3 service 45Kkm
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