The Toyota Corolla is no ordinary car. First manufactured in 1969, the Corolla has grown from strength to strength to become the world’s best-selling nameplate in 1997 with global cumulative sales exceeding 22.65 million units.
The Corolla accounts for one in every five vehicle sold by Toyota in the 76 years history and today, there are more than 40 million Corolla owners worldwide spanning 150 countries.
We had first seen the 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis in flesh at the Delhi Auto Expo held in February this year and the vehicle is presently in its 11th generation.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) recently launched the New Toyota Corolla Altis with prices starting from Rs 12,52,021 for the base petrol and Rs 13,60,344 for the base diesel (ex-showroom Kolkata).
The new Toyota Corolla Altis will be available in 9 trims levels - 5 in petrol – J(S), G, G-CVT, GL and VL (CVT) and 4 variants in diesel - DJ, DJ(S), DG and DGL.
We got behind the wheel of the GL (petrol) trim to discover how the new Corolla Altis has fared.
Design & Engineering
The new Corolla Altis sports a whole new design that represents Toyota’s new design philosophy. The 2014 Altis not just looks better than the outgoing model, but also appears much more dynamic, stylish and contemporary in design in comparison to its earlier sober but Plain Jane appearance.
In fact, if you take a closer look at all the 11 generations of the Toyota Corolla that have been launched over the last 33 years; this beyond doubt will come across as the most aggressive and masculine looking Corolla of all times.
At the front, the new Toyota Corolla Altis sports a bold new design theme created by the stylish and newly designed swept back headlamps which blend into the Lexus-inspired aggressive front grille. The wide bonnet with strong character lines also help in further accentuating the masculine look. The double barrel cluster headlight also come equipped with LED daytime running lights on the top trims like the Toyota Corolla Altis GL that we tested.
The 2014 Toyota Corolla is based on the existing platform but the wheelbase has been stretched by 100mm which translates into a roomier passenger cabin. External dimensions has also been altered with the 11th generation Corolla Altis stretching 80mm more in length, 15mm in width and sits 5mm lower than its predecessor in height. These changes to the external dimensions are aimed at improving the aerodynamics and lend the car wider and lower sports car like stance.
The well-tuned suspension set up comprises of McPherson struts (commonly used on front wheel drive vehicles) at the front and torsion beam at the rear while prompt braking is ensured by a combination of ventilated disc doing duty at the front with disc brakes at the rear. NVH levels are well contained with negligible amount of exterior noise filtering into the passenger cabin resulting in a refined experience.
The updated Corolla Altis is available in an array of 7 colours – White Pearl Crystal Shine, Silver Mica Metallic, Grey Metallic, Blue Metallic, Champaign Mica Metallic, Super White II and Celestial Black.
Interiors & Comfort
Step inside the 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis and you will be welcomed by an all new interior. The most noticeable change the newly designed dashboard. The earlier dashboard and central console have been replaced by a more visually appealing and stylish design finished in piano black with the horizontal centre band of the dashboard sporting beige colour scheme.
The instrument cluster is contemporary in design with blue illumination and easily legible dials. The centre console houses medium-sized touch screen (7-inch LCD) that controls many of the functions of the car including the music system with Bluetooth, USB, auxiliary input and SD card, telephony, and the display for the reverse parking camera. Below that, in a pod, are the controls for the air-conditioning system. Chrome touches have been added to the dials to lend a touch of class.
Thanks to the elongated wheelbase (up by 100 mm), the new Toyota Corolla Altis boasts of a roomier passenger cabin with increased leg and knee room. Boot space, however, has been cut down by 5 litre (from 475 to 470 litre) but wouldn’t prove to be a deal breaker. It still has ample space to accommodate luggage for your weekend getaway or family picnic.
The front seats are comfortable and well bolstered. The rear seats can be reclined and offer good back and thigh support. And since there is no intrusion from a central tunnel on the floor, the 2014 Toyota Corolla can comfortably accommodate three adults at the rear.
Performance & Handling
The 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis continues to be powered by a 1.8-litre dual VVTi petrol engine with is also available with a CVT-i with 7 speed sequential shiftmatic with the newly introduced paddle shift, or the standard 6-speed manual transmission.
The Toyota Corolla Altis diesel variant is powered by a 1.4-litre 1ND D-4D engine with variable nozzle turbo, and intercooler mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.
The diesel engine produces 88.4 PS of maximum power at 3800 rpm and 205 Nm of peak torque at 1800-2800 rpm while the Toyota Corolla GL that we tested develops 140PS of peak power at 6,400rpm and 173Nm of torque at 4,000rpm.
The engine is silky smooth from start and offers linear power delivery. It is very responsive right from the word go and delivers power at the touch of the pedal making overtaking seem like a walk in the park. The noticeable change in the 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis is the re-engineered electric power steering, which now feels heavier than before and offer better feedback.
The McPherson struts up front and the torsion beam suspension at the rear have been re-tuned to offer plush ride quality and good stability. The suspension setup is on the softer side designed to offer comfort in city driving conditions. It cushions bad patches of roads with ease, but tends to wallow a bit over bumps. The new Toyota Corolla handles pretty well with body roll being very well contained. Even at high speed, the Corolla remains firmly grounded and inspires confidence.
The 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis boasts of an ARAI-ratified mileage of 14.36 kmpl for petrol and 21.45 kmpl for the diesel model. Although, we didn’t get an opportunity to conduct a proper fuel efficiency test, however, logic dictates that these figures will be hard to emulate in real world driving conditions.
Safety features in the 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis includes brake assist with EBD and ABS, rear fog lamp, dual front airbags and engine immobilizer as standard across model range. The top-of-the-line manual petrol trim that we tested additionally gets rear parking camera with audio screen display.
The main highlight of the 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis is the aggressive and masculine exterior styling with Lexus-inspired front grille, sweptback stylish LED headlamps and clearance lamps, new design wide rear LED combination lamps, new R 16 alloy wheels (on top-trim only) and rear chrome garnish.
Peak inside and you will find a carbon piano black instrument panel cluster, new 3 spoke leather steering wheel with bluetooth control, new design optitron meter with illumination, chrome inside door handle, increased wheelbase by 100 mm resulting in roomier cabin, rain sensing wipers, new 7.0 LCD touch screen and voice command enabled audio with USB, Bluetooth, and rear reclining seat. Safety features includes rear camera with audio screen display, brake assist with EBD and ABS and dual front airbags.
The engine is silky smooth from start and offers linear power delivery. Ride quality is plush and handling doesn’t leave room for complaint. Re-engineered electric power steering now feels heavier than before and offer better feedback.
With all these improvements, Toyota has made a good product better. At Rs 12,52,021 for the base petrol and Rs 13,60,344 for the base diesel, the pricing strategy also seem to be in right place. Add to that the rich legacy of being the world’s best-selling name plate backed by Toyota reliability and durability and what you have in hand is a very competitive product which should continue to rake in the numbers just the way it has for 33 years.