Sharp styling and a 1.2 turbo engine for new generation Corolla Hatch. Picture: NETCARSHOW
Sharp styling and a 1.2 turbo engine for new generation Corolla Hatch. Picture: NETCARSHOW

The second State of the Motor Industry (SOMI) event hosted by Toyota South Africa Motors in Johannesburg last week provided a preview of the car maker’s busy 2019 product campaign.

First up in Toyota’s vehicle onslaught is the all-new Corolla Hatch, which is being launched this week to replace the Auris in SA as the brand’s C-segment hatchback.

The new-generation car has a more eye-catching design and introduces a 1.2l turbo engine, as used in the C-HR crossover. Customers will have the option of a six-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 improved ride comfort. Three derivatives will be on offer — 1.2T XS Manual, 1.2T XS CVT and the flagship 1.2T XR CVT, priced respectively at R336,800, R347,400 and R367,100.

All models offer a generous specification level including LED headlamps and DRLs, smart entry, sport seats, dual-zone climate control and vehicle stability control with a hill-assist function.

New fifth-generation RAV4 dons more muscular sheet metal. Picture: SUPPLIED
New fifth-generation RAV4 dons more muscular sheet metal. Picture: SUPPLIED

See next week’s Motor News for a full story and driving impressions on the new Corolla Hatch.

Shortly following in its footsteps will be the new fifth-generation RAV4 that had its global reveal at the 2018 New York International Auto Show. Toyota’s midsize SUV adopts a striking look inspired by the American "truck" design languag,e including a prominent trapezoidal honeycomb front grille and upswept LED headlamps.

The range-topping VX version will come fully loaded with features that include Toyota Safety Sense; a nucleus of active safety systems including adaptive cruise control and pre-collision system. Two all-new petrol engines (2.0l and 2.5l-guise) will power the range, driving either front or all four wheels. The full model line-up and detail will be released when the newcomer hits local showroom floors in a few weeks.

It will be followed around mid-year by the Hilux GR Sport. This limited edition of SA’s bestselling vehicle will have bespoke Gazoo Racing-themed decals, a unique front-grille design, two-tone colour scheme and GR Sport-specific 17-inch alloy wheels.

A racy image and souped-up suspension for this special Hilux. Picture: SUPPLIED
A racy image and souped-up suspension for this special Hilux. Picture: SUPPLIED

The main party trick, however — and no doubt to counter competition from the soon-to-be-introduced Ford Ranger Raptor — is special off-road biased suspension, which will give the Hilux GR-S even greater off-the-beaten-track prowess. The bakkie will be based on the 2.8 GD-6 4x4 six auto derivative and includes tailored interior treatment.

The much-awaited Supra sports coupe is expected here around the middle of 2019. The fifth-generation Supra is based on the new BMW Z4 in a collaboration between the Japanese and German automakers, and uses BMW’s 3.0l turbocharged inline six-cylinder petrol engine that produces 250kW of power and 500Nm of torque. Transmission duty is performed by an eight-speed automatic with racing-style paddle shifters.

It has been confirmed that the rear-wheel-drive two-seater will be available in two grades: 3.0 and 3.0 Premium.

Both grades will come standard with serious performance features including adaptive suspension and an active rear differential. With the assistance of a launch control function the car takes 4.3 seconds to sprint from rest to 100km/h, says Toyota.

The long-awaited Supra heads here around midyear, flexing 3.0l turbo muscles. Picture: SUPPLIED
The long-awaited Supra heads here around midyear, flexing 3.0l turbo muscles. Picture: SUPPLIED

The car has a Sports mode that changes the engine sound and response, shift pattern, damping, steering and active differential. The vehicle stability control has a special “track” setting that can be selected, reducing the level of system intervention.

Later in 2018, Toyota will bring in its updated Prius hybrid which has gone under the cosmetic knife with revised front and rear-end treatments and a cabin refresh. The proven 1.8l petrol-electric hybrid powerplant continues unchanged and claims to sip just 3.7l per 100km.

On the Lexus front, a racy F version of the recently facelifted Lexus RC coupe range will be introduced. Lining up alongside the existing 3.5l V6 derivative, the RC F will be hustled along by a thundering 5.0l V8 with outputs of 351kW and 530Nm.

The even more adrenaline-focused RD F Track will use the same V8 in a body lightened by 80kg thanks to the use of carbon-fibre body elements, lightweight aluminium racing wheels and titanium exhaust.

The new V8-engined Lexus RC F boasts a 270km/h top speed. Picture: SUPPLIED
The new V8-engined Lexus RC F boasts a 270km/h top speed. Picture: SUPPLIED