| Launched internationally in 2006, the new Corolla is finally here! More aggressive in its styling, with updates in several other areas, the all-new Altis takes the game forward for Toyota.
Says AutoCar (Oct. ’08), “The new Camry-like Altis has a youthful and attractive look with hard-line details and surfaces. The most modern bits of the design are the sharp ‘V’ cut bonnet and a belt-line that starts low from the edge of the headlights and arches to the rear of the car. Both the head and tail-lights are elongated and tapering, protruding from the body to extend over the sides of the car. Under the skin, the new Altis is more evolutionary. The chassis is a major advancement in terms of stiffness and safety; it also has a wider track, giving it a more planted stance.”
The suspension though identical to the previous Corolla, has been given greater ground clearance and higher 65-profile tyres make low-speed rides pliant. The Altis uses a newly-designed ‘L’ arm that provides better control over the front wheels while the rear torsion-beam type suspension remains non-independent. The steering on the car is an electric unit and is light at low speeds. However the steering remains light at higher speeds too and doesn’t weigh up as well as it should.
“From the inside, the Altis is roomy with more width in cabin space and a compact dashboard so as to make maximum utilisation of space” states AutoCar (Oct. ’08). The front seats are good; the driver gets powered seats and can adjust the steering for reach as well. Space and comfort at the rear are even better. Features like a sunblind; remote control for the audio system, auto anti-glare rear view mirror, steering wheel mounted audio controls, headlamp washers, self-leveling HID headlamps and a trip computer (Optitron) means Toyota has not stinted on costs as far as features are concerned.
On the downside the design of the dash and the central console are not as modern as the exteriors and though some of the buttons have improved, a lot of the plastics have not been upgraded from the economy class.
The Altis has Toyota’s responsive and powerful 1.8 VTi motor with an upgraded ECU. Its instant acceleration makes city driving a pleasure. A static third gear allows the motor to spin at a higher engine speed and is faster in the third gear than the previous Corolla and Civic. The power comes from Toyota’s variable value timing system that gives a short torque. The motor is comfortable upto 5500rpm but thereafter power tails off fast.
The Altis can maintain speeds upto 180kph and achieve a top speed of 205kph by keeping your feet planted. The Altis’s cabin insulation is not perfect and the aluminium engine is not so silent. The gearbox functions well but the gears do not shift comfortably.
The Altis is more fuel-efficient than the Civic giving 10.5 kpl as opposed to Civic’s 9kpl. Moreover it gives 15kpl on highways.
Summing up says AutoCar (Oct. ’08), “The new Corolla Altis is a competent, well-engineered car that comes from a manufacturer reputed for its high levels of reliability and long-term robustness. The aggressive new look is attractive and the interiors are spacious and comfortable. What’s missing however is that all-important luxury car feel and refinement but a very capable car, it gets the job done and does it well.”