The past few decades have witnessed an increasing demand for C- segment cars among people across the globe. The Corolla was Toyota's answer to this strong call for a good C-segment sedan. First introduced in 1966, the car emerged as the largest selling car across the globe by 1974. However, it took Corolla a few more decades and generations to make its Indian debut. But once introduced, the car gained immense popularity among the Indians. All the facelifts turned out to be well accepted. The car had thus been the uncrowned king of the segment till recent times when models like Hyundai Elantra and Skoda Octavia appeared at the scene with better looks, better equipment levels, and better drivability. These models almost threw the poor Jap out of the competition. So now, in 2014, Toyota has come up with the eleventh generation of the car to regain their lost reign in the segment. We, the AUTOGADGET team had a short drive of this new avatar, to find out if its worth your penny.
On the outside:
The 2014 COROLLA has undergone total make-over on the exterior as well as in the interiors. The car has really GROWN BIG now... It is now longer and wider than ever before. You can really feel the difference at the first glance itself.
The front fascia now looks more sporty, yet premium with the abundance of chrome. Now take a second look and you will find chrome strips integrated even into the headlamp unit. The chrome plated grille now has Toyota's family grille design. The car now shows more influence of the Lexus brand in its overall design.
The headlamps have a magnificent design and get LED Projector beams with LED park lamps. The chrome strips in them add to their elegance.
The car also gets a pair of DRLs, which are well placed above the fog lamps.
The low bonnet with its prominent character lines and the new, redesigned bumper with the large air dam give the front fascia a sporty and aggressive look.
Now you can't just object if one calls the new COROLLA's rear the prettiest one in the segment. It indeed is one of the prettiest ones in the segment. The rear design is simple, yet prepossessing.The new bumper with its cuts and creases along with the well sculpted tail lamps give the rear a premium look rather than an aggressive one. You can see the use of chrome in the rear too, the most prominent being the one that runs between the tail lamps.
Now if you take a closer look, you can see that the company has smartly integrated a rear fog lamp into the tail lamp unit on the right hand side.
We must say... the tail lamps are just brilliant with their LED lighting technology.
The new ALTIS rides on R15 (R16) Tubeless radial tyres. They now get an entirely new set of alloys, which look stunning and suits the overall design of the car very well. The car gets ventilated discs in the front and solid discs in the rear.
The paint quality is excellent.
To sum up, the new ALTIS looks pretty tempting on the outside and comes in 7 adorable shades.
Now when you open the door, the car welcomes you with its pleasant, eye cooling interiors. The dash has fully been redesigned. The interior now gets a black- beige dual tone color scheme.The new layout of the dash is simply smart. You wont find a sea of switches and controls here. Everything has been well placed with no compromise on the aesthetic front.
The dash is finished in a non-reflective black plastic and has a beige band running all the way from the left air vent to the right most one.You can also see a Silver strip, lining the beige portion. These give a premium feel to the interiors. It may also be noted that Toyota has totally avoided the use of faux wood in the cabin. The general fit is good. The plastic used is soft. But we don't think it is of the best quality in the segment. The AC vents at the centre have the classical rectangular design while the other two have a really cool design.The company has provided a digital clock , that sits between the two AC vents at the centre.
What you notice first when you look at the centre console is the touch screen interface of the entertainment system. It has USB and AUX connectivity and can also read memory cards.
The screen comes with a tilt function too.
Toyota has provided a number of storage spaces in the car. The COROLLA has illuminated cup holders which will be of great use during night drives.
The gear knob is easily accessible.
The car offers two 12 V power supplies, one for the front row and one for the rear. You also get other features like vanity lamps, sunglass holder etc. The car also comes with illumination for the foot compartment of the front seats. The side view mirrors are electrically adjustable and foldable. The company has provided an ECM for better visibility at night.
The 3-spoke steering wheel is chunky and offers good grip. The Silver inserts impart a premium feel to it.It gets audio and telephony controls on it.The overall design is good. But the qualities of plastic used for the audio controls and the one used for the wheel itself are not so impressive.
The seats offer great comfort. The leather and its stitch are of superior quality.The driver seat is electrically adjustable.
The rear seat needs special mention. It is really cozy and offers ample thigh support. The increase in wheelbase now gets reflected in the interior as more space. The car offers best in class legroom for the rear seat. For further comfort, the rear seats can be reclined. And you wont find any central tunnel in this car. That makes it a pure 5 seater. The seats are 60:40 split foldable.
The back- seaters do get an armrest, but without audio controls on it.To add to the comfort, the car also offers a rear sunblind (manual).
And now, how many strolleys can it store in its boot? Well, as you can see the car offers a pretty good boot space.When put in figures, it is a massive 470L boot which we think, is more than enough for normal use.
To sum up, the 11th gen COROLLA is pretty good in terms of comfort and equipment levels.
Its Showtime... :
So now the question is... What is it like to drive this Japanese chick? Well here is what we felt:
The COROLLA despite having so many changes, haven't changed much under the hood. The petrol variant still has the same old 1.8 L 4 cyl petrol engine that puts out 140 PS of power (6400 rpm) and 137 Nm (4000 Rpm) of torque. But this engine has now been modified for more efficiency and response. The 1.4 L D-4D Turbo Diesel engine, however has had no change at all and remains to be the same old "efficiency focused" one. It still delivers the same old 87 PS (3800 rpm) of power and 205 Nm (1800-2800 rpm).Obviously, the petrol engine is more fun to drive. The petrol version also offers a CVT transmission on the top notch variant. This model gets paddle shifts too.
The car we got to drive was the top of the range diesel model ( D-4D GL ).
The new COROLLA comes with a smart key and push button start. A mere push of the button and the motor is up and running. While idling some noise and vibration do sneak into the cabin. These may be neglected as the car has a diesel heart.
The car did quite well initially, as we were driving it quite the classic way. But we found her struggling for breath once we started to play a bit rough on her.The small little motor does not always turn out to be up to the mark.And obviously, 87 HP cannot do wonders on a car that weighs somewhere around 1700 kg.
You really feel the lag till the turbo kicks in at around 2000 rpm. Then the car performs well up to some 3500 rpm or so. After this, more engine noise and vibration penetrate into the cabin.
You wont feel much confident while overtaking. You will also have to work a bit with the gears for a smooth drive.You will have to shift down for overtaking, and use the higher ones for cruising on highways.
However the steering is neither too light, nor too heavy, but is well weighted and much more responsive than before. Thus the handling has improved a lot.The gear shift of the 6 speed manual transmission is precise.
The suspension of the new COROLLA is softer than that of the previous one.This makes the rear seat ride very comfortable. But on the other side, this soft suspension has badly affected the handling. You don't really feel much confident at high speeds.
The braking is accurate.
And now...What is it like to have a ride in this car?:
Well, to put it simply, you will just be lost in its comfortable rear seat. The well cushioned rear seat with abundant leg and knee rooms offer a great ride. The soft suspension just swallows the potholes and humps that you wont even know that you just came past them.The reclinable seat will not make long journeys tiresome. But the ride at 3-digit speeds is not so comfortable for the rear passenger either.
The new COROLLA offers all the basic safety features like ABS, EBD, and 2 Airbags. It also gets a Brake Assist system. So, obviously the car is promising on the safety front too.
How much does it yield per litre?
Well this is the most important question that needs to be answered as far as the Indians are considered. The new ALTIS gives you 14.5 Kmpl from its 1.8 L Petrol heart and a catchy 21.5 kmpl from its 1.4 L Diesel mill. Well these are quite impressive for a car of this segment.
- Appealing exterior styling and interior layout.
- Superior ride comfort at the rear.
- More leg and knee rooms.
- Better and more responsive steering.
- Impressive efficiency.
- Good Boot Space.
- Good performance at the mid-range.
- And most importantly, the trust on the brand and the perfect service offered by Toyota.
- The tiny 1.4 Diesel mill is under powered. ( Toyota could have come up with a new petrol motor too.)
- The car lacks rear AC vents.
- The quality of the plastic used is not up to the mark.
- The audio controls on the rear armrest are missing.
- The diesel variant doesn't offer cruise control.
- The soft suspension has cramped the handling.
- The diesel mill has a fair amount of lag.
- The car has only dual airbags while rivals like Elantra offer up to 6 of them.
Diesel: 13.31 - 16.92 lakhs
Petrol: 12.23 - 17.13 lakhs
Now here's our final verdict on this car:
" If you prefer the back seat and want your car to be mostly chauffeur driven, then the new ALTIS would be a good option. You can also go for this car if you are not too performance oriented in driving. But if you are of the more enthusiastic type, who really are looking for a car that can "perform", seriously this one is not for you.
This car is for people who are looking for a pocket-friendly premium sedan."
Vehicle courtesy: NIPPON TOYOTA, Nettoor
Drive : Neeraj Padmakumar
Maneesh T M
Report: Neeraj padmakumar
Photos: Akhil Raj J