The Velo Città racetrack in the interior of the state of São Paulo was the stage chosen by Toyota to present its new models that carry the GAZOO Racing concept.

By corporate definition, Toyota vehicles that receive the GAZOO Racing seal must have attributes that improve dynamic behavior, either through a more powerful engine, or if this is not possible, the vehicle must receive improvements in the suspension and steering system so that the sensation”fun to drive” (fun to drive) appears right around the first corner. In addition, aesthetic modifications are adopted internally and externally to enhance the sporty look of the vehicle.

Click on the photos with the left mouse button to enlarge them, read the captions and compare with the new GR-S version

The migration of consumers to the suves segment is a reality that shows no signs of slowing down, on the contrary, it has only increased, and manufacturers cannot miss this wave to surf. And that’s exactly what Toyota does when it launches the sporty version of its medium suve, the Corolla Cross. The option was to use the top version with an internal combustion engine, the XRE, and create a new level with the addition of more content.

Black painted roof, discreet stickers on the underside of the doors and new wheels make up the side look.

The engine that equips this new version is the same as the XRE and XR, the Dynamic Force 2.0 flex, four-cylinder in-line, 16-valve with dual chain-operated camshafts and variable opening time in the inlet that produces 169 / 177 hp at 6,600 and maximum torque of 21.4 m·kgf at 4,400 rpm, which coupled by a torque converter to the 10-speed CVT Direct Shift gearbox is not the most suitable for sporty driving, but that is what Toyota engineers do. they had to offer.

Engine and gearbox set is the same as the XRE version

There were two laps of the race track and I decided to do the first lap in automatic Drive mode with the Sport function activated and disabling the traction control, so that there was no loss of power on corner exits. Acceleration and reacceleration responses have to be anticipated because that gear shift delay that doesn’t appear in city-highway use ends up being evident on the track. But the general behavior was satisfactory.

10-speed CVT gearbox and serial number plate on center console

On the second lap I used the transmission in manual mode with the gear changes by the butterflies behind the steering wheel. My perception is that it is not the best option for the CVT gearbox. When braking and approaching a curve, when commanding the downshift, the audible warning appears indicating that the rpm is still high, and the downshift does not take place. When looking for reacceleration, the car is without power because the shortest gear was not engaged. I aborted and finished the ride in Drive mode because it’s more enjoyable for such a short review.

Roof deflector and new rear bumper frame

As the power increase was not possible for the Corolla Cross GR-Sport, Toyota engineers decided to make the body stiffer in order to have a firmer suspension. A correct decision, because if they had only increased the stiffness of the suspension, the body would have suffered greater torsional stresses, which could compromise the durability of the unibody and even cause noise in the internal components. the undesirables squeaks and rattles (squeaks and rattles).

Elimination of chrome friezes is seen from all sides

Metallic reinforcements were introduced in the central portion of the bodywork, connecting the two sides of the central tunnel. And at the rear, under the rear bumper, a cross member was added to increase torsional rigidity in the region.

The coil springs of the front and rear suspensions had their elastic constants increased and the pressurized dampers were recalibrated to the new suspension frequency. The objective was to leave the suve with neutral behavior in curves and with little body roll, an objective that was achieved.

Steering wheel and gearshift carry red stitching details; on the left, well away from the brake pedal, parking brake pedal

The electrically-assisted steering system has also been recalibrated for greater precision and that feeling of greater ownership of the vehicle. There was no change in the steering ratio, but the recalibration through the control software. Speed-indexed effort progression is fine-tuned and the center feel has become more positive, giving greater comfort for longer journeys.

The model’s exclusivity starts with the bumpers, both front and rear, new and exclusive to the GR-Sport version. While the front incorporates a new grille and new fog light moldings, at the rear there is an air extractor simulator that helps cover the controversial rear exhaust muffler that is now painted black. The 18” wheels also bring an exclusive design to the version.

Click on the photos with the left mouse button to enlarge them and read the captions

The roof received a deflector at the rear end, the painting has the option of being bicolor with roof, columns and mirrors in metallic black. Adhesive stripes in white, black or red were added to the sides – according to the vehicle’s color. And the GR logo appears on the trunk lid and sides. The headlights also receive a black mask.

Black bezel on tailgate opening bar and GR logo only on rear to identify version

Inside, the seats are in leather and UltraSuede® with red stitching and a low-relief GR emblem on the headrest. The same stitching detail was applied to the steering wheel, and a unit number identification plate was installed on the console.

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In addition to the standard content of the XRE version, the new GR-Sport receives Toyota Safety Sense consisting of the following systems: Forward Pre-Collision with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Lane Departure Alert and Adaptive Cruise Control, in addition to the Blind Spot Alert and Lane Keeping Assist System with Lane Departure Alert function.

In the whole of the panel, the same comfort and functionality of the top versions of the Corolla Cross can be noticed.

The new Corolla Cross GR-Sport is available in three colors: lunar white (pearlized), garnet red (metallic), both with an eclipse black (metallic) painted roof.

  • Corolla Cross GR-Sport (Monotone) – BRL 188,490.00
  • Corolla Cross GR-Sport (Dualtone) – BRL 189,990.00

In its third generation, the pickup comes with a turbodiesel engine 20 hp more powerful than the other versions, allowing better performance on off-road terrain. And associated with the more powerful engine, the suspension was also improved by receiving new pressurized monotube dampers and a calibration better suited to mixed use.

New bumper and front grille

The longitudinally mounted 1GD 4-cylinder in-line 2.8-l turbodiesel engine features a variable geometry turbocharger, intercooler and starts to deliver 224 hp at 3,000 rpm with maximum torque of 55 m·kgf at 2,800 rpm. The 6-speed automatic transmission with epicyclic gears is coupled through a torque converter and allows gear changes in manual mode through the lever or the butterflies behind the steering wheel. The ECO and Power driving modes modify the throttle curve, in order to obtain more powerful reactions (POWER mode) or with more controlled consumption (ECO mode).

Reducing the size of side stickers is appreciated

The 4×2, 4×4 and 4×4 reduced traction system has electronic drive and active traction control and rear differential lock. The system is equipped with active descent control that limits the vehicle’s speed to 7 km/h without the need for the driver to use the accelerator or brake.

Interior is comfortable and has several exclusive items from the GR-S version

In addition to the increase in engine power, the new Hilux GR-S received improvements in the suspension system through greater stiffness of the front (helical) and rear (spring bundle) springs. The shock absorbers have a diameter 30% larger than the other Hilux models, allowing a greater volume of oil and giving more life to the rod seals as the fluid works at a lower temperature.

Loses the 4×4 sticker on the side of the bucket, but it is still a 4×4 version

The power steering system was recalibrated to give greater control at high speeds, but it brought increased effort for low-speed maneuvers on dry ground. It’s time for the Hilux to receive a steering system with electric assistance as its main competitors already offer (S10 and Ranger).

The “santantonio” is a standard item on the GR-S version, which does not have options

The design of the Hilux GR-S stickers was already outdated and got to be tiring, deserving a new look. And that’s exactly what Toyota presented in this new version. The stripes in the lower area of ​​the doors are simpler and contrast with the color of the vehicle. The fender flares have a reflective insert at the top of the arch. The 17” aluminum alloy wheels are uniquely designed and use mixed-use 265/60R17 All-Terrain tires.

Exclusive aluminum wheel design and reflective wheel housing moldings make trails safer

Inside, the highlight is the leather upholstery and perforated Suede® seats, with red stitching. The GR brand is highlighted on the headrest and the instrument panel and door panel are enhanced with plastic moldings that imitate carbon fiber. The pedal shoes are made of aluminum and the mats are exclusive and alluding to the GR-S version.

Click on the photos with the left mouse button to enlarge them and read the captions

The Toyota Safety Sense package of safety features comprises the Forward Pre-Collision Warning Systems with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection; lane deviation alert; adaptive cruise control; Blind Spot Alert and Lane Keeping Assist System with Lane Departure Alert function.

GR logo on the tailgate is another visual identification of the pickup

In the short off-road stretch evaluated in dry conditions, it was possible to observe the good angle of entry and exit of the model, since other stretches of water tank, sandbank, steep ascents and descents are designed to increase the difficulty in wet floor. And the greater power should be better perceived at higher speeds, especially with the bucket loaded.

Good angle of attack provided by the front bumper design

Exterior color choices remain in line with the colors that identify Toyota GAZOO Racing, offering Attitude Black, Volcano Red and Pearl White. The last two options have an alternative in two tones (dual tone) with a roof, hood and mirrors in Attitude black.

  • Hilux GR-S – BRL 348,790.00

Both models presented are already in the brand’s dealerships and complement the GAZOO Racing line that already had available the Corolla GR-S sedan and the SW4 GR-S suve.