The Toyota Corolla is the most popular nameplate in the world of cars. Japanese carmaker Toyota has shipped over 44.1 million cars bearing the name Corolla across the world since the car was first introduced in 1966.
Toyota entered India in 2003 and it came as no surprise that the first car to roll onto India roads from the Japanese carmaker was the Corolla. Toyota renamed the car — Corolla Altis — when the 10th-generation car was launched in India in 2008.
The current generation Corolla Altis was introduced in India in 2014 and it continued to strengthen the car's dominant position in the segment. Earlier this year, Toyota gave the Corolla Altis a minor cosmetic upgrade to help it keep up with newer rivals like the Skoda Octavia and the Hyundai Elantra.
We drove the top of the line petrol variant of the Toyota Corolla Altis for a couple of days to see if the updates have made it a better car and if it is still the king of the executive sedan segment in India.
2017 Toyota Corolla Design, Features & Safety
At first glance, the refreshed Corolla Altis looks sharper than before with its narrow and longer headlamps which lineup with the chrome central grille.
The front bumper, on the other hand, is quite interesting with an almost wing-like design. The new front bumper along with two large air intakes make the car look bigger than it is from the front.
Speaking about the updated headlamps, they are now LED units and feature integrated DRLs which help accentuate the headlamp cluster.
The same sleek design lines continue around the side to the back, which now, has a much sharper profile. The rear gets sleeker and distinctive LED tail lamps which makes the new Corolla Altis look less bulky compared to its predecessor.
Step inside the Corolla Altis and the airy and comfortable cabin welcomes you inside. The interior of the Corolla is typical Toyota - ergonomic and well built. Moreover, the car we were driving had its seats wrapped in faux white leather, which added to the luxurious feel of the car.
The Corolla's reclining rear seat is as comfortable as ever and offers great under-thigh and back support. The seating position is slightly higher which means ingress and egress is better than before.
Sadly, the car lacks two important features which are available on car in this segment — rear AC vents and a sunroof, which, will be disappointing for some buyers. The rear seats can be flipped down in 40:60 ratio to expand the 470-litre boot.
The general layout of the dash remains unchanged though the central console's design has been altered slightly. The new 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is a considerable improvement over the one found on the pre-facelift Corolla. It brings features like satellite navigation, voice recognition, Bluetooth & MirrorLink connectivity. The infotainment system is connected a 6-speaker audio setup.
Other changes include new circular side aircon vents, new steering-mounted controls, and the replacement of the rear 12V socket with two USB ports. On the whole, the Corolla's ambience has improved by a fair amount.
The facelifted Corolla comes with a host of features including an electrically-adjustable driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support, automatic headlamps and wipers, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, electrically-folding and adjustable wing mirrors.
Toyota has packed the Corolla Altis with safety features galore including seven airbags, ABS, EBD, brake assist, vehicle stability control, hill start assist, cruise control and ISOFIX mounts for child seats.
Toyota Corolla Engine & Performance
The 2017 Toyota Corolla Altis remains unchanged mechanically, which means that under the bonnet sits the familiar 1.8-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine.
The Corolla's engine pumps out 138bhp @ 6,400rpm and 173Nm of torque @ 4,000rpm. The engine is mated to a seven-speed CVT automatic gearbox.
Paddle shifters are provided to allow drivers to change gears manually. Gearshifts using the paddles are sharp without any noticeable lag as the gearbox moves through the gears. Corolla owners can also opt for a manual six-speed gearbox.
The Corolla Altis features tow distinct driving mode — the factory default setting and 'Sport' which is activated by pressing a button situated behind the gearbox on the front passenger's side.
The throttle response of the Toyota Corolla in everyday driving conditions is tuned to improve fuel economy. Switch the Sport' mode on and the throttle response becomes crisp and sharp thanks to a revised ECU setting.
The ride quality of the Corolla is excellent as always and the car glides over most minor road defects and handles larger bumps and potholes easily.
Through corners, the Altis feels really composed and stays hunkered down to the ground, allowing you to take the bends at a quicker pace than you usually do.
Promeet Ghosh Thinks!
With a price tag of Rs 19.91 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the petrol automatic Altis is not the most expensive sedan in its segment, but it certainly is on the pricey side. The facelift brings only minor changes, most of them cosmetic and a few functional, which leaves the car at almost the same place as it was before.
But, on the contrary, the facelifted 2017 Toyota Corolla Altis is still a balanced, comfortable and reliable executive sedan that puts passenger comfort and safety before all else. So, if you have that kind of money to spare, then the Corolla Altis should be the best choice for you.