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Toyota Corolla Altis Review: Toyota Corolla Altis - Now in Diesel

Toyota Corolla Altis - Now in Diesel

By Payal Pathak; 30th July, 2010
Introduction

Toyota launched its diesel variant of Corolla Altis in the Indian market last week. Toyota customers have been asking for diesel model of the car for some time and this time the company was more than happy to oblige, which means that the Altis is now available in CNG, petrol and diesel. The new variant has been launched with a tag line of “Designed to Inspire Envy”.

While designing the car, engineers have paid a lot of attention to fuel efficiency. As a result, there has been some compromise on the engine’s power. The question is whether fuel efficiency will win over performance amongst Indian users.

Toyota Corolla Altis

 

 

Exterior

Toyota Corolla was always a sleek sedan car with a sophisticated sedan look. The new diesel model is no different. Apart from the front grille, there are no changes on the exteriors. In the petrol model, the front grille is quite metallic and linear in design while the diesel model features a mesh type front look. The attractive Toyota logo is embodied in front in both models. Toyota states that the new mesh portrays a sportier look, but that is not very noticeable. The car has smooth and flowing lines with an aerodynamic build which ensures heads will turn.

Toyota Corolla Altis

Outside, rear view mirrors are electrically adjustable and retractable in top two models while in the base model they are only electrically retractable. The headlamps with sharper looks are definitely something to admire. They are present in the petrol model as well and offer three-step inner illumination. All models of Toyota Corolla Diesel have headlamps washers which are manual in base variant and mid-variant while they are automatic in the top end model.

It is available in seven striking colours of White Pearl Mica, Black Mica, Dark Red Mica Metallic, Super White II, Silver Mica Metallic, Light Blue Metallic and Champagne Mica Metallic. 

Interior

If sleek design and aerodynamic design is flawless outside, then plush interiors are in line too. The car has plush interiors with wooden finish on the doors, steering and dash board and the interiors been thoughtfully designed. The front dash board has a waterfall cascading look that sleekly curves into the gear box. There is enough space around the gear and the hand brake to keep your stuff, CDs, etc.

Toyota Corolla Altis

The dashboard carries elegantly designed controls and the Optitron 3D meter gives a precise reading of the speed. The MID shows detailed information on temperature, fuel, speed and lot more. There are audio and MID controls on the steering wheel apart from a remote control to operate the audio system. The 6-CD changer with remote control makes driving a melodious experience. These features are absent in the base variant. The top end model comes with leather upholstery while the lower variants have fabric base.

There is ample of storage space in the car with cup holders for both front and rear seat passengers, side pockets in the doors and a double door glove box. Apart from dual glove box in front, there is 475L of boot space for organised storage. Rear seats can also be folded into 60:40 ratio to get additional storage space. Tilt and Telescopic features of the steering wheel offer good control to the driver.

Toyota Corolla Altis

The seat can be manually adjusted but height adjustment is lacking. So if you are tall, you cannot sit upright and drive with seat adjusted forward. You can have to recline a little to have enough leg space for driving. 

Performance

The new Toyota Corolla diesel is powered by 1.4L 4-cylinder D-4D diesel engine with variable Nozzle Turbo and Intercooler. It delivers maximum output of 88.4PS@3800 rpm and maximum torque of 25Kgm@1800-2000 rpm. The Corolla diesel sports a six-speed manual gearbox and is tuned more for efficiency and driveability rather than outright acceleration and performance. The new Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel carries an ARAI certification of 21.43kmpl under test conditions, which is impressive by any means.

Toyota ’s modestly powered engine has been a matter of scrutiny by the industry experts as well as the customers. Today, even the small hatchbacks like Fiat Punto deliver power of 90PS with a 1.2L engine. So why has Toyota tuned down its diesel engine? The new model has more to do with fuel efficiency rather than acceleration or performance. Toyota aims to generate numbers from the new diesel model with target audience of people driving through thick urban traffic to long distance work like travelling from Delhi to Noida every day. Who wants to accelerate through that traffic and needs power? It remains to be seen how the model fares against customers expectations. 

rom the comparison, it is clear that the Altis stands out in terms of fuel efficiency, which means that for people making long trips, the Altis is definitely an attractive car. However, examining all criteria, each car clearly has a unique point in which it stands out.

Toyota Corolla Altis 

The new Toyota Corolla Diesel comes with a new age diesel engine, which makes the car very quiet. During our testdrive, we could barely hear the engine. Also, the car does not carry a typical smell of being a diesel car. These things add to the luxury and ambience!

The car gives a comfortable driving experience and the MacPherson Strut suspensions in the front and torsion Beam at the rear handle tough roads conditions quite well. The car has a minimum turning radius of 5.3m and it is easy handling and turning around the corners. A unique feature of the car is its six speed gearbox. Shifting through all the gears is initially new experience, though the usage in our busy cities are limited.

While driving in the city, the limited power of the Corolla is not very noticeable. But, as we left the city, the lack of pick up became quite noticeable. One of the striking features of the new Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel is its wheelbase of 2600mm which is equivalent to that of Innova. This means that you can enjoy the driveability of an MPV while sitting in a sedan. Such ground clearance spells into smoother travelling experience for the rear seat passengers as well.

 Toyota Corolla Altis

Toyota has learnt its lessons from the recent recalls and safety breaches in its cars. When you open the hood, you can see small curves on the right and left where the hood closes which are said to be crash resistors. So if the car collides head on, these small groves lower the impact of a crash. Moreover, the engine is also far away from the radiator. In case of a collision, the radiator can crumply but the engine is far behind to get the minimum damage.

The base model does not have SRS air bags but the other two models have driver and passenger safety air bags. However, anti-braking system and EBD is present in all three variants. Front fog lamps are present in the top end model only. There is an inner rear view mirror for day and night in base variant and mid-variant but the top end model comes with additional auto-anti glare mirror. The mid and top variant also feature keyless entry and there is jam protection in all three variants. Thus, if you are rolling up the window and there is an obstruction, the glass will roll down automatically once again.

Tech specs
Technical Specifications
 Make Toyota
 Model Corolla Altis
Variant
Fuel Type Diesel Petrol CNG
Engine CC 1364/4cyl 1794/4cyl 1794/4cyl
Power in PS 88.4 132 132
Torque in NM 205 173 173
Transmission 6/M 5/M&4/A 5/M
Ground clearance in mm 175 175 175
Gross vehicle weight in kg 1670 1670 1670
Turning circle radius in Meters 5.3 5.3 5.3
Length 4540 4540 4540
Width 1760 1760 1760
Height 1480 1480 1480
Boot Space in Litres 475 475 475
Tyre rating 195/65 R15 tubeless 195/65 R15 tubeless 195/65 R15 tubeless
Features
Features D4-DJ D4-DG D4-DGL 1.8J 1.8G 1.8G
Power windows Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
SRS Airbags No Yes Yes No Yes Yes
ABS with EBD Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Head Lamp leveling Manual Manual Automatic No Yes Yes
Keyless entry No Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Immobiliser No Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Rear defogger Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Wheel Steel Alloy Alloy No Yes Yes
6 CD audio with MP3 No Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Driver seat height adjust Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Rear seat center arm rest No Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Leather interiors No No Yes No No Yes
Ex showroom price Bangalore 1102300 1281100 1383400 1009210 1180100 1313310
Competition
Specifications
Toyota
Corolla Altis Diesel
Chevrolet
Cruze Diesel
Chevrolet
Cruze Diesel
Skoda
Laura Diesel
Skoda
Laura Diesel
Variant D4-DGL LT LTZ 1.9 TDI MT 2.0 TDI CR MT
Engine capacity 1364/4 cyl 1991/4 cyl 1991/4 cyl 1896/4 cyl 1968/4 cyl
Power in PS 88.4 150 150 105 110
Torque in NM 205 327 327 245 245
Transmission 6/M 5/M 5/M 5/M 5/M
Length 4540 4597 4597 4569 4569
Width 1760 1788 1788 1769 1769
Height 1480 1477 1477 1485 1485
Ground clearance 175 165 165 164 164
Tyre rating 195/65 R15 205/60 R16 205/60 R16 195/65 R15 195/65 R15
Fuel efficiency Average 21 16 16 16 12
Transmission 5/M 5/M 5/M 5/M 5/M
Alloy wheels Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Electric sunroof Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Rear seat with arm rest Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Leather upholstery Yes No Yes No No
Power steering Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power windows Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Integrated audio system Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
6 CD Changer and steering mounted controls Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Rain sensitive wiper No No Yes Yes Yes
Passive entry/push button start/off No No Yes Yes Yes
ABS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dual airbag Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Emergency exit system No No Yes Yes Yes
Ex show room bangalore 1383400 1161968 1324965 1374237 1379613
Conclusion

Toyota has definitely addressed the needs of the modern day urban driving conditions. Though some may argue on the engine power, the car has been designed to give a strong competition to models like Chevrolet Cruze and Skoda Laura, especially with its outstanding mileage.

Since Honda does not have any diesel models, brand Toyota definitely has the power to lure customers on to its side. The car has the desired features of modern day premium sedan including brand value.

Though Altis diesel has bold styling, large interiors, and excellent features, what will make people think twice is the engine selection. The people who criticised Fiat Linea with its 93PS will be surprised to see Toyota come up with an even bigger sized car with similar power.

The boosting factor Altis diesel however remains the Toyota Quality, luxurious interiors and exteriors and the mileage. It will be interesting to see customer response for the same.