Remember when Toyota revealed the Corolla Cross GR Sport over in Taiwan? Featuring a sportier-looking exterior and interior, Taiwan was the first market to receive the dress-up kit for the popular crossover.
At the time, there was no word if it would be available in other markets, particularly in Southeast Asia. Thankfully, Toyota has decided to make it available to one of our closest neighbors, Thailand. Does this mean it will be heading to the Philippines next? But before we get to that, let's take a closer look at the more stylish Thailand-spec Corolla Cross GR Sport.
Like the model revealed in Taiwan last September, the Thai-spec Corolla Cross gets a makeover from Gazoo Racing. The new aero package consists of new bumpers, side skirts, and a custom grille exclusive to this particular Corolla Cross. As an added touch, the crossover also comes with 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 225/50/R18 tires unique to this variant, clear LED taillights, and a black-painted roof with an electric moonroof.
The changes aren't limited to the exterior. Inside, Toyota updated the cabin with black leather on the front and rear seats. Meanwhile, the GR symbol is embossed on the front headrests, as with most GR Sport models. The shift knob is also finished in leather which further adds to the vehicle's sophisticated look. There are even GR-branded floor mats that give the crossover a sportier appeal over the regular models.
Other key changes made to the interior of the vehicle include a GR Sport engine start/stop button, upgraded 9-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay, and new piano black/silver trim accents for the cabin.
Aside from receiving an exterior and interior makeover, Toyota also made sure the Corolla Cross GR Sport handles better. Instead of the factory shocks and dampers, Toyota installed a newly-tuned suspension for “a more exciting driving experience”. It gets new coil springs and shock absorbers that will supposedly provide better traction, balance, and cornering.
Complementing the upgraded suspension is a retuned electronic power steering (EPS). While Toyota did not go into specifics, they did say that the revised EPS is only available for the GR Sport model of the Corolla Cross.
Under the hood, the Corolla Cross GR Sport uses the same 1.8-liter hybrid powertrain. The engine alone makes 98 PS with 142 Nm of torque, while an electric motor provides an extra 72 PS and 163 Nm of torque. Combined, the entire system generates 122 PS and is paired with an E-CVT. It has three selectable driving modes that include EV, Sport, and Eco.
So we already know what the Corolla Cross GR Sport will offer. But the question now is this: Will Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) offer the stylish crossover locally? With TMP already offering GR Sport models of the Hilux and Fortuner, we won't be surprised if they have plans to bring it here sometime next year. However, they're keeping quiet for now.
We're keeping our fingers crossed we won't have to wait that long for the Corolla Cross GR Sport to arrive in the country.