November 6, 2003

Toyota unveils new Corolla XRS sport sedan

Las Vegas, Nevada – The all-new Toyota Corolla XRS sport sedan made its world premiere at the 2003 Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) Show.

The Corolla XRS will feature a newly tuned version of Toyota’s 2ZZ dual overhead cam engine and six-speed manual transmission found in both the Celica GT-S and Corolla Matrix XRS. The increase in power will be complemented by improved ride and handling, thanks to a sport-tuned suspension and new steering improvements.

Toyota Corolla XRS

Toyota Corolla XRS
Click image to enlarge

“With the popularity of the sporty Corolla S, the logical next step was to match its youthful styling with a performance-driven powertrain,” said Don Esmond, Toyota Division senior vice president and general manager. “We expect the XRS to follow the course started by the S grade by appealing to younger customers, with an increase in single male buyers.”

The new Corolla XRS will be powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder DOHC engine that produces 170 horsepower and 127 pounds of torque. The engine will deliver a broader and stronger mid-range torque than the previous versions of the 2ZZ engine. And, it will feature a VVTL-i variable valve timing and lift system that produces a supercharged-like rise in power from 6,000 to 7,800 RPM. The result is a compact sport sedan that blends sub-eight-second zero-to-sixty acceleration with exceptional throttle response throughout its broad power band. Despite the increase in power, fuel economy is hardly compromised, said the company.

The XRS features a sport-tuned suspension that includes a front connecting rod damper developed by Yamaha. The damper is mounted between the shock towers to produce improved ride and handling without compromising NVH. In addition to the performance damper, the XRS features increased rate coil springs and shocks on all four wheels for improved roll and pitch, and a ride height that is lower by a full half-inch.

The suspension stands on larger 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels and Michelin performance tires, an upgrade from the standard 15-inch wheels on all other Corolla grades. It is complemented by a steering system that features a more rigid steering column, producing less vibration and improved response. A power steering rack specially developed for the XRS allows for better steering feedback.

The improved performance of the Corolla XRS is accompanied by performance-themed convenience enhancements including sport seats, colour-keyed bezel surrounding the grille, silver-colored center cluster and switch plates, a leather-like shift boot with a leather shift knob, and unique badging.

The Corolla XRS will be built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Canada (TMMC) in Cambridge, Ontario alongside the Matrix. It will reach dealerships on May 1st of next year.

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