The new Corolla Altis has been given a few critical changes that aim at making it a bit fresher and more appealing to a younger crowd. However, one should note that the cosmetic changes are marginal and Toyota has gently evolved the Corolla’s design. Small tweaks to the headlamps and the front bumper along with alterations to the fog lamp housings lead to a more appealing look.
New gadgetry inside the car includes a keyless-go system with a start-stop button, motorised adjustments for the front seats, parking sensors and a touch screen DVD/Media player.Toyota has given the 1.8-litre engine a few adjustments too, resulting in a 7bhp increase that bumps the tally to 138bhp. It all translates to a smoother, more responsive mill that’s more free-revving.
What makes the improvements better is the fact that Toyota has plonked an all-new slick six-speed manual gearbox that has its ratios set slightly taller in the interest of fuel economy. As a result of all this, the Altis hits 100kph from a standstill in 9.5 seconds, up 1 second from the previous generation.Also on offer is a seven-speed CVT-i (for intelligent constantly variable transmission). Even though the rubber band effect is still felt, the car does 0 to 100kph in 11.2 seconds, which is a fair bit faster than most other CVTs.
It does, however, offer you a very refined and smooth drive; ideal for that chauffeur-driven, back seat long drive.
In other areas the Altis feels largely unchanged. The suspension is similar to the previous car, which means the Altis is a bit stiff-kneed and doesn’t feel settled over bad roads. Straight-line stability at high speeds is respectable; it’s no sporty saloon and the steering, though well weighted, doesn’t offer much feedback, nor does it encourage you to fling the car through corners.
Though the exterior changes to the new Altis are mild and merely cosmetic, the changes in the power train have made a substantial difference. The refreshed Corolla may still not be exciting but better driveability and a smoother engine have made it a much nicer drive. The CVT option is far better than the four-speed torque converter transmission it replaces, and should be much more efficient as well.
Toyota corolla Altis
Price: Rs 13.7-14.7 lakh
Ground clearance: 175mm
Kerb weight: 1180-1270kg
Engine: 16V dohc, 4 cyls
in-line, 1798cc, petrol Installation: Front, transverse
Power: 138bhp at 6400rpm
Torque: 17.6kgm at 4000rpm
Fuel tank: 55 litres
Trunk volume: 470 litres
Despite the increase in price, the new Corolla Altis makes a strong case for itself as a competent executive saloon that’s just gotten better.