Words by Angel Rivero Photos by Ardie O. Lopez
There is nothing quite as phenomenal as the Toyota Corolla. After its humble beginnings in the mid-1960’s, the car has earned its title as the world’s best-selling nameplate beginning in 1997, surpassing the highly popular VW Beetle. The car is convenient, practical, and offers fantastic value for money. Although through the years, many have begun to criticize the model as being mundane and lacking in excitement. If these were ever any of your concerns, then the latest rendition – the 2014 Corolla Altis – is bound to change your mind! When Toyota announced that they were bringing in the 11th generation model with ‘heart-pounding excitement’, they knew exactly what they were talking about, and had successfully infused that essential spice into the tried-and-tested Corolla formula.
Indubitably, the latest Corolla Altis is far more provocative than its previous-generation sibling. To add more personality, it has more character lines and more complex surfaces; plus it comes with a segment-first – LED headlamps in the premium models. Furthermore, the headlights come with those ‘eyebrows’ which I love to see in cars, here comprised of 4 small LED’s per brow; and the taillights are likewise in LED. This is a great thing because LED’s light up faster and are more energy-efficient than xenon or halogen bulbs. They also look a lot nicer and more upscale.
Prominent inside the car is significantly more space – thanks to its 100mm longer wheelbase, that paves the way for especially generous legroom. The near-flat floor in the back further makes the rear a pretty good place to be, while the driver gets to enjoy an 8-way adjustable power seat that includes seat height and lumbar support. There is a general feeling of increased overall occupant comfort compared to its predecessor; and the soft-touch interior panels combined with the matte chrome and faux carbon-fiber accents add a nice touch of class to the vehicle. Furthering this more premium feeling is the new, horizontal layout of the instrument panel – adding more elegance to the orientation of things. The leather-clad steering wheel is a firm, meaty grip, while the dark-blue-illuminated Optitron gauges provide an attractive sight for instrument monitoring. There is also a small LED screen located between the tachometer and speedometer, to provide the driver with warnings or simple trip computer information. Meanwhile, the car stereo can connect to external music sources via auxiliary cable, USB or Bluetooth.
The 2014 Altis uses a handy keyless entry system, and also includes subtle creature comforts such as a trusty manual rear sunshade, and Isofix child seat anchors. It struts a full-size spare tire in the trunk, while its bumpers all have convenient parking sensors – 2 in front and 4 in the back. Furthermore, this V model gets disc brakes on all 4 wheels, while strutting standard safety features such as ABS.
The car is wider by 16mm and lower by 10mm compared to its predecessor, and comes with nice, 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels on the 2.0V. The boot is deep and wide at 470L, and can accommodate up to 4 golf bags. On the overall, these are generous dimensions for a c-segment sedan.
This locally available 2014 Altis uses the same engine as its predecessor – a top-spec 2.0-liter DOHC 16-vave VVT-I 4-cylinder engine – but with a different transmission. It is now mated to a 7-speed CVT (continuously variable transmission) with a new shift-logic system that accounts for the delightfully responsive and lively engine performance. As a matter of fact, while driving within the city, I was more than happy with its throttle response (even coming from a full stop), and was likewise very pleased with its precise and smooth shifts. On the highway, there was always ample power on tap, for quick overtaking or simple highway sprints. And as a benefit of the CVT, fuel economy is also laudable.
Moreover, the car never hesitated going up steep climbs, even with a full load of passengers and was always kind in providing good riding comfort, exploiting the benefits of McPherson struts up front, and a torsion beam rear axle. Steering the wheel was effortless and like a dream; no bothersome engine noise could be heard from the inside – thanks to its Acoustic Control Induction System. Perhaps also contributing to the good NVH is the car’s overall improved aerodynamic efficiency (thanks to its design), consequently reducing potential wind noise.
Therefore, the 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis keeps the crown as a strong and iconic player in its segment, only with bigger surprises and exciting improvements. It certainly doesn’t stray from the proven formula of Toyota – it is functional, convenient, frugal, and practical – except this time around, it has plenty of new-found style and space! Its all-new dynamic design language is leaps and bounds more attractive than its previous styles, and the classy interior, quiet commute, and lively engine make it a completely sensible choice for an everyday car! Only drawback is a more expensive price tag. But hey, value for money is still a complete win!
Engine: Inline-4, 1987 cc, Dual VVT-I, dohc 16V with ACIS, 7-speed CVT
Max power: 143 bhp @ 6200 rpm
Max torque: 138 lb ft @ 3600 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 9.2 sec.
TOP SPEED (MPH ): 195 km/h ( 121 mph)
FUEL MILEAG E: 11.7 km/L City & 13.5 km/L Highway
Price as tes ted : PhP 1,201,000.00
+: Stylish, aerodynamic exterior; LED headlamps; responsive engine; gas-frugal; generous interior space.
-: Pricier than before.
Editor’s rating: 9.5/10