With the spotlight back on petrol cars it is not strange to see demand picking up for automatic premium executive sedans. The buyers for these cars typically are upgrading from a midsize sedan or an SUV thus wanting a more premium experience. The newest entrant is the Toyota Corolla Altis which strikes back with an aggressive new look along with the famed reliability and comfort that its predecessor has been known for. Also the automatic variant of the new Corolla Altis is in demand and that is why we have that model on test here.
Looks sharp eh?
The new Altis looks much more attractive than before and shares nothing with its predecessor here. The new car features wide twin slat chrome grill which merges nicely into its even wider and up-swept projector headlamps with day time running LED lights. The broad air-dam and sharp cuts on its front bumper further adds to its aerodynamic appearance. The rear profile gets its styling cues from the elder sibling Camry in the form of bold chrome bar joining its stretched taillights which makes it a real eye-grabber.
From side ways, its grey finished 16-inch alloy wheels look sporty with its wide profile tyres while the large doors indicate towards its sheer length. In terms of looks the new Corolla Altis has the wow factor with its overly aggressive lines and no doubt is now among the best looking cars in its class
What about the interiors?
Toyota has completely revamped the interiors of the new Altis. Ditching its old school interior styling the new Altis has new dual tone interiors which add premium touch to the car while the silver accent gives it a sporty touch. The dashboard layout is modern featuring small A.C vents placed just above the new 7-inch touchscreen system in its central console which gets carbon surrounding for the contemporary look. The controls are very easy to use but lack the premium feel you expect from a car of this class.
However where the Altis matches its predecessor is the incredible amount of space inside. Despite being less wider than some rivals, Altis is the one which would attract chauffeur driven people and is more happy to carry three passengers at the back.
Moreover to enhance the rear seat comfort, Toyota has added the first in-class reclining seat in the new Altis which further enhances comfort while traveling on long journeys and offers you brilliant under thigh and back support. The stretched wheelbase of Altis (2700 mm) and flat floor also results in better legroom than some rivals.
What about features?
Automatic climate control, In-Dash Touch Screen Audio with Bluetooth & SD Card USB & Aux-in Port, steering mounted phone and audio controls, cruise control, electrically adjustable ORVMs, powered driver seat, rear parking sensors, start/stop button, auto headlamps, reverse camera display and leather upholstery. In terms of safety driver and passenger airbags are standard along with ABS, EBD and Brake Assist.
How does it drive?
The Corolla Altis immediately feels more sporty than its predecessor. The 138 bhp 1.8 petrol engine, which is devoid of turbos actually feels quite responsive with a CVT gearbox. Contrary to what you think- this CVT gearbox equipped car is actually quite fun. Yes there is the rubber-band effect but is minimal compared to others. You have to rev it to extract the best out of this and it is an exciting process plus it does not sound as bad as other CVT petrols.
The Corolla Altis which has a softer suspension concentrates on giving its occupants a better ride. The new Altis then is much better than its sloppy predecessor. Efficiency wise it depends a lot on your driving especially the Octavia- do expect it to deliver around 9-10 kmpl.
Final thoughts then?
The new Corolla Altis in this trim level comes at Rs 17.10 lakh- plus you can have another even cheaper AT variant with less equipment.
In the end the Corolla Altis is for those who mostly sit at the rear seat but also occasionally take the wheel themselves. Overall we like the new Corolla Altis Automatic as it is much more exciting than the plain-jane previous version yet still carries the plus points of that car. Then factor in the Toyota sales and reliability back-up then you have a car that appeals to the head but also to the heart, somewhat.
Words- Nitesh Sharma Photography- R.Bhendwal