There are battles and then there are iconic battles which rage on for decades. One such battle is the one between the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla who have been fighting for the top spot since the past two decades. Toyota launched the Corolla in India in 2003 amidst much fanfare as the best selling car in the world. The car struck all the right chords of the Indian buyer with its attractive looks, punchy and frugal engine coupled with bulletproof reliability. The car was pretty much a best seller in its segment until Honda launched the radical new Civic in 2006 and spoilt Toyotas party. Come 2008 Toyota has retaliated with the launch of the all new Corolla Altis which hopes to regain the top spot. Read on to find out whether it does or doesn’t. Check for Toyota Carolla Altis price in Bangalore
DESIGN AND STYLE ;
The new Toyota Corolla Altis 2017 now looks much more sharper and even more aggressive than its predecessor. It is definitely one of the best looking sedans from the Japanese manufacturer. The front grille has two horizontal chrome slats. The top slat seems to continue into the headlamps. It gives the car that mean look which forms the basic character. The headlamps are projector ones and offer very good illumination. These headlamps also get daytime running LEDs, which are placed on the outside bottom corner of the headlamps. A new redesigned front and rear bumpers also make their way into the facelift.
There is no change in the side profile of the car. The rear of the new Toyota Corolla Altis 2017 has a very European feel to it. The tail lamps are longer this time and are sleeker just like the headlamps. The new Toyota Corolla Altis 2017 looks much more appealing now. Toyota has transformed the styling of the Altis with minimal changes to the already radical design. Though one may not notice it instantly, the front look definitely is worth turning heads.
Space was never in short supply in the old Corolla, and there’s even more of it now, courtesy of the lengthened wheelbase and better packaging. From behind the wheel, the long range of steering wheel adjustment and a good amount of travel to the electrically adjustable seat means people of all frames won’t have a problem getting comfortable. And thanks to the large glass areas, visibility is great too. The seats themselves use foam that’s a touch
on the soft side and feels really comfortable. Spread before the driver is an all-new dashboard which ditches the T-shaped design for a vertical layout and imparts a feeling of spaciousness, but it looks a bit too block-like. To break the monotony, Toyota has divided the design into multiple layers of textures and shades. The black top surface is made of rich, soft-touch materials (but it reflects a bit on the windscreen) while the facia employs a light beige shade. However, on the lower bit of the dashboard, the overall plastic quality and finish feels quite patchy for a car that strives to be an upmarket luxury sedan.
A seven-inch touchscreen takes centre stage on the dash and apart from the climate control settings, every other function is digitally controlled through this interface. This means you have to take your eyes off the road and navigate through a bunch of sub-menus for pretty much everything. Luckily, the large audio control buttons on the steering wheel save the driver the trouble of hunting for the volume control. The aftermarket-looking, low-resolution display isn’t especially pleasing to look at and neither is it easy to read on a sunny day. Additionally, the tacky pseudo-carbonfibre panel surrounding the screen and the overall selection of fonts don’t do much to defend the near Rs 17-lakh price of our top-trim test car. On the plus side, pairing your phone and streaming Bluetooth audio is fairly intuitive and the audio system sounds surprisingly good. The cubbyhole just under the climate control console is especially useful to keep your phone in. All door pockets get bottle holders and there’s a useful XL-sized glovebox, but it isn’t cooled.
Our test mule was the petrol 1.8 VL — the top trim with the petrol engine, featuring the super CVT-i automatic gearbox with seven-speed sequential shiftmatic, It is a trustworthy, refined engine paired with an efficiency focused gearbox. The transmission is a bit slow to respond to throttle inputs in the default ECO mode, but shows more spirit when the simple ‘Sport’ button on the centre console is chosen.
The 1,798 cc, four-cylinder petrol engine features Toyota’s dual variable valve timing tech and produces 140 PS of power and 173 Nm of torque. Though the powertrain prefers to stay a sedate, steady performer, the big plus to the feature list offered in the new Corolla Altis is the addition of paddle shifters. So, in any mode, if you find the need for a quick boost in performance, one simply needs to flick the paddle to shift down and power up.
The other engine on offer is the D-4D, four-cylinder, 1.4-litre diesel engine which produces 88 PS of peak power and 205 Nm of peak torque. This engine is offered only with a six-speed manual transmission. In addition to the automatic, the petrol engine is also offered with a six-speed manual gearbox.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
As with everything else in the brochure, the Altis is made for comfort rather than speed. It absorbs all potholes and bumps with a muted thud and nothing else. Nothing gets translated to the cabin, and external noise is kept external. The flip side is usually loss of handling prowess, but the Altis exhibits a surprising level of grip, and can be pushed hard on a winding road comfortably. Of course, there is body roll, but it is well contained. It is also willing to change direction, but the overly assisted steering offers no feedback, even when the front tyres start singing around a bend. The light steering is great in traffic and for parking, but it simply doesn’t weigh up enough at speed. That said, the Altis, especially in petrol guise, will offer enough enjoyment in a straight line to overcome the steering’s lack of ability.
The 2014 Toyota Corolla has already been crash tested by Euro NCAP and it gets a full five star rating for its safety. Adult occupant gets 94 percent, child occupant gets 82 percent, pedestrian gets 67 percent while the safety assist features score 66 percent. However, the India spec Corolla Altis gets dual airbags only for front passenger and driver, which is a letdown considering the fact that even lower segment cars offer more airbags and safety awareness in India is increasing. Other safety features include ABS, EBD and Brake Assist. The Corolla tested at NCAP gets seven airbags and Electronic Stability Program (ESP).
The highlight of the new Corolla Altis has to be its body design. It looks a lot better than the earlier model. The comfort inside also scores great points and with features like rear reclining seats and great legroom, very few cars come close to it.
The engine s also feels refined now and Toyota claims them to be more efficient than before. It is just finishing levels where the Corolla Altis could have done better. We are sure with the new Corolla Altis, Toyota can breathe a sigh of relief as this one will make the competition think for sure.