The Toyota Corolla is unmistakeably one of the best selling vehicle in the world. In its latest iteration, the 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis is hell-bent on taking a slice of the pie from the local C-segment market. The local C-segment scene is long dominated by the ever popular Honda Civic (8th and 9th). So with the newly introduced 11th generation Corolla Altis making its way to our local shores, we managed to grab the handsome car for a quick spin.
|Name||Toyota Corolla Altis 2.0V|
|Engine||2.0L INLINE-4 DOHC with Dual VVT-i|
|Price||RM136,015.30 (+RM3,900 for Safety Package)|
The product planners at UMW Toyota reckons that 3 trims levels should suffice to cater to our local needs. There is the 1.8E priced at RM114,015.30. As we move higher, there is the 2.0G, priced at RM123,015.30. The top of the specs Corolla Altis, the 2.0V is priced at RM136,015.30.
If safety and airbag count is high on your requirement, you can opt to go for the additional Safety Package provided by UMW which increases the number of airbag count to 7. Behold, that comes with an additional cost of RM3,900 and only applicable to 2.0V model. Seriously UMW? Make the the safety package available across all trim levels please!
All the hoo-haas seem to be concentrated at how the 2014 Corolla Altis looks. Many is surprised that Toyota is able to penned some fine lines out of the Corolla Altis. Let’s begin with the front fascia for instance. The long, low-angled front lamps gives an outward aggressive look, where the line continue to flow to the front grill. The top of the range Corolla Altis comes with automatic levelling LED projector headlights and Daytime Running Lights (DRL), whereas the lower range 2.0G and 1.8E gets halogen headlamps with manual levelling.
Moving sideways, you will find 4 striking 17-inch rims, adorn with a low profile 215/45 Michelin PS3. Though the 4.6 metre long car is longer and wider than it’s predecessor, I don’t find it big and cumbersome. The designers did a great job of masquerading the bulkiness of the car by playing with the curves really well. One could see how the C-pillar flows gently through the trunk.
More LEDs fill up the rear brake lamps, providing a clear and bright message saying red-means-stop to any pesky tailgaters. And if you opt for the Aerokit Package like our test car, the spoiler that you are getting comes with yet another LED brake lamp! Other than that, there aren’t any prominent beltline that runs across the Corolla Altis’s side profile.
With the top dog 2.0V Corolla Altis, you will also get a keyless entry. Yes, you won’t find a keyless entry button on the handle, but a dodgy, cool looking touch sensitive sensor to lock the car. To unlock, just put your hand on the handle and pull like you normally would. I couldn’t have realized it myself, if GC Mah did not show it to me personally!!
Step into the cabin, and you will be greeted with an uncanny feeling telling you that you are not in a Corolla Altis. Yes, the interior cockpit is given a total rework, just like the exterior. There is a lot of soft touch materials all around the cabin such as elbow rests, side doors, steering and the dashboard. Black leather seats that fills the entire cabin with, well, smell of leather.
Move to the driver seat and that is where all the gadgets starts to entice you. The blueish speedometer shines brightly in your face giving a clear readout of your RPM & speed. Then there is the MID (Multi Information Display) that sits in between the speedometer and tachometer. Cycle through the MID and you will get real-time fuel consumption, distance to empty readout, cruise control settings just to name a few. Lest not forget, there is also electro chromatic rear view mirror that darkens the rear view mirror to minimize glare.
There is faux carbon fibre trim that surrounds the 2-DIN 7-inch touch screen head unit. The faux carbon fibre adds a certain touch of luxuriousness and sportiness. The head unit doubles as a reverse camera, GPS unit and voice recognition system. Yup, give the lady some commands and she will do the rest. Toggle the radio, make a call to your wife? No problem at all.
The seats for both the front and back passengers are good, no faults there being a Toyota. The only complain for the seats so far is that there is no electric seat adjustment for the front passenger! Yes, there is only electric seat adjustments for the driver. Food for thought Toyota? Rear passenger seats is 60:40 foldable and reclinable. The trunk space is a mighty 470 litres. Cup holders and cubby holes are abundant, so you will never have to worry about stowing your smartphones, smart tag and keys.
There are a few complains though from me. I can’t fathom why can’t Toyota put a better digital clock since they did a good job inside and out to just to impress buyers. The clock reminds me of the Proton Saga from the 80’s. Also gone is the 2 tier glovebox and dual zone automatic climate control. There is only single zone automatic climate control in the 2014 Corolla Altis. The glovebox is however is not a big problem, as it is big enough.
At the heart of the Corolla Altis 2.0V, is the same 143hp 3ZR-FE Dual-VVT-i, carried over from previous generation Corolla. It is not the most powerful mill amongst seas of C-segment contender but thanks to the brilliant CVT transmission, it pulls gently and confidently and brings you up to speed in no time.
And if you want to unleash the boy racer in you, feel free to pull the lever into manual mode and shift the car yourself via the 7-speed Sports Sequential Shift. Overall the performance is adequate for any road conditions, be it in the city or outstation drive. Many would complain why the same engine and transmission, but I wouldn’t. It is pleasant and I wouldn’t trade the CVT for any torque converter unit.
I would say the overall feel and drive is pretty good. It is comfortable, and carries 5 adults without a problem thanks to its generous wheelbase of 2,700mm. This is by the way a Toyota, and NVH is absolutely top notch. It is quiet and it absorbs bumps pretty well.
The steering may be an electric (EPS) unit, but it gives a good feedback of the road. In terms of driving dynamics and handling, it is still not comparable to the Honda Civic nor the Mazda3, but it is getting better with each iteration of the Corolla Altis. It goes around corner confidently. If you are too overconfident and manage to fling the car out of control, the traction control (TRC) and electronic stability control (ESP) will kick in and pulls your car back in the right direction.
IS IT FOR YOU?
If you are looking for a long term car that gives you no trouble, the Corolla Altis is yours to take. All generation of Corollas is well known for its robustness and long lasting lifespan, so you will be safe hands and your investment is guaranteed. However, if you are expecting something special from this C-segment car, then maybe not.
As our fellow writer Najdi mentioned in his previous review on the Mazda3, the C-segment is very tightly contested. With so many offerings in this segment, the Koreans seems to have the edge with the Kia Cerato due it’s long list of impressive specifications. Still when it comes to built quality, refinement and driving dynamics amongst other Japanese offerings, this would be the best comparo I would pick.
|Toyota Corolla Altis 2.0V||Honda Civic 2.0S||Mazda3 2.0 SkyActiv|
|Type||4-cylinder, DOHC 16V Dual-VVT-i||4-cylinder, SOHC 16V i-VTEC||4-cylinder, DOHC 16V Direct Injected|
|Compression Ratio||10.0 : 1||10.6 : 1||14.0 : 1|
|Max Power||hp/rpm||143 / 6,200||153 / 6,500||162 / 6,000|
|Max Torque||Nm/rpm||187 / 3,600||190 / 4,300||210 / 4,000|
|Carburetion System||Fuel Injection||Fuel Injection||Direct Injection|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||L||55||50||51|
|Type||Electric Power Steering (EPS)||Electric Power Steering (EPS)||Electric Power Steering (EPS)|
|Transmission||CVT with 7-speed manual mode||5-speed A/T||6-speed A/T SkyActiv Drive|
|Type||MacPherson Strut (F) / Torsion Beam (R)||MacPherson Struts (F) / Multilink (R)||MacPherson Struts (F) / Multilink (R)|
|Front||Ventilated Disc||Ventilated Disc||Ventilated Disc|
|Rear||Solid Disc||Solid Disc||Solid Disc|
|TYRE & WHEELS|
|Tyres||215 / 45 R17||215 / 45 R17||215 / 45 R18|
|DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTS|
|Max Kerb weight||kg||1,300||1,270||1,220|
|Airbags||2 SRS airbags (7 with Safety Package)||4||6|
|Others||brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, traction control, vehicle stability control, GOA, front & rear parking sensors, ISOFIX||brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, vehicle stability control, front & rear parking sensors, ISOFIX||brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, traction control, vehicle stability control, emergency stop signal, front & rear parking sensors, ISOFIX|
|Grade||RON 95||RON 95||RON 95|
WILL I BUY IT?
Hard to say. The C-segment is getting really competitive. The Corolla Altis will have to fend off the hard-kicking Korean duos of Kia Cerato & Hyundai Elantra with their hard to resist specifications. Coming from the Western front, we will have the formidable VW Jetta and Ford Focus with their powerful driving dynamics & pure European refinement. Their Japanese brethren on the other hand, mainly the Honda Civic, Mazda3, and the upcoming Nissan Sylphy will give the Corolla a tough fight with their competitive pricing.