Published on January 31st, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Toyota Corolla Altis 2014 Model Test Drive
The first thing to get clear is that this Toyota Altis is not just a face lifted version of the current Altis. It is an all new model with improvements in its mechanical specification, cabin layout and exterior panels. As the world’s best selling sedan, the engineers and designers of this latest 11th generation Corolla were under even more pressure than ever before to ensure its sales success around the globe as the segment competitors have risen to the Corolla challenge.
New Corolla Altis Exterior
At 4,620 mm long, 1,775 mm wide and 1,465 mm high, the new Toyota is 80 mm longer and 15mm wider, yet 5 mm lower, than its predecessor. The rear overhang has been reduced by 25 mm, the front overhang increased by 5 mm and the wheelbase extended by a substantial 100 mm. The new Corolla features an evolution of Toyota’s new design language. The chrome-plated horizontal trim bars of the upper grille are visually extended into narrower, more expressive headlamp clusters to emphasise the width of the vehicle.
The new headlamps now incorporate 4-LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) giving the new Corolla greater road presence and a unique visual signature.
The two uppermost bars of the upper grille and the headlamp clusters extend along the curve of the low bonnet lip deep into the front fenders to emphasise the elegance of a unique, rounded edge bonnet design devoid of sharp angles. The trapezoidal shape of the lower grille is defined by character lines which run up through the bumper to define the junction of headlamp and upper grille before flowing seamlessly across the bonnet and into the A pillar.
New Corolla Altis Interior
Inside, you’ll notice that this Corolla benefits from a 100 mm increase in wheelbase length from 2,600 mm to 2,700 mm, the all-new, high quality interior design offers customers a superior cabin environment. It features a more spacious and comfortable cabin including a substantial increase in rear seat legroom, more comfortable seats and a greater boot capacity.
The driving position has been comprehensively revised. The seat height adjustment range has been extended by 15 mm to 60 mm, and the slide adjustment range expanded by 20 mm to 260 mm. The front seat hip point has been moved forward by 5 mm. The operating force required for the seat slide, lift and recline functions has also been reduced for ease of operability. With a reduction in seat height of 10 mm, the steering wheel angle has been lowered from 24 to 22 degrees and these measures offer drivers greater ergonomic flexibility for improved comfort.
Additionally, the rear passenger room has been made more spacious and comfortable , the rear seat hip point moved back by 70 mm, increasing the front to rear seat couple distance by 75 mm. Allied to a new, thinner front seatback design, this has increased rear seat leg room by 92 mm, to a class-leading 706 mm. The seats themselves have been redesigned, and feature a longer cushion with an ergonomically curved front edge offering comfort to the widest possible range of physiques. New, thinner seatbacks proved superior lumbar and lateral support, whilst the headrests have been shaped to combine comfort with excellent whiplash protection. Despite a 25 mm reduction in the new Corolla’s rear overhang, the boot capacity has also increased to 452 litres.
The new Corolla is not only more spacious and comfortable, but also quieter than its predecessor, and the interior has been designed to offer customers class-leading quietness.
Smart Entry & Start system is available via a new, foldable key fob design featuring a simplified layout with larger switches. There is a new 2-Din 7-inch Touch screen audio system which is DVD ready. It will accept all your portable devices, it is Bluetooth ready, Smartphone ready (selected popular models only) and with a SD card slot. Navigation comes standard and reverse camera for ease of parking.
New Corolla Altis Drive
With 145 bhp to play with in the 2-liter Altis, I was looking forward to driving this new Corolla on the highway and some back roads of Selangor. The weather in the morning was sunny and dry. Perfect for extreme driving where this Corolla will possibly never see its owners doing. Yes, the typical Corolla owner is a mild mannered driver with little or nil extreme driving intentions. Of course, we had different ideas. Travelling at 100-120km/h on the highway, all I wanted to do was push this new Corolla as the engine was smooth, quiet and somewhat too docile. Yes, it was purring with negligible effort as we progressed for another 60 kilometres on the open highway. There was no wind noise, very little tire noise (despite the wider larger tires) on the coarse tarmac and we enjoyed the more weighted steering wheel feel. Off the highway and on the small town roads things were different. Initially the ride felt a little too firm but as I started to up the pace, things all made sense. This Corolla responded to whatever I asked of it, went exactly where I pointed it, with great feel as to exactly what was happening through the steering. This was just as well and when I found the first tight bend and the second and the third, we worked the Corolla hard and with even more progress and surprisingly never got thrown off line and it just gripped and did as it was asked.
Some of this behaviour was quite surprising and some credit has to be given to the wider tyres also. The more we drove this car the more we were enjoying doing so. As we pushed harder, this Corolla just gripped more and more allowing me to hold a tight line all the way round.
Back to more sensible driving, I had more time to look around the inside of the car. Packaging is good and due to increased dimensions all around, there seems to be more than enough space for everyone. The cabin floor is totally flat with no hint of any central tunnel, and this combined with the tall body and short nose of the car, allows the passengers space that would compare favourably with many larger cars.
I had already noticed that the inside gave a very high quality impression with the materials used looking and feeling good, and of course, no hint of any rattles or squeaks. Looking around the outside of the car, set off by its new signature metallic oyster grey paintwork, the impression again was of a car built to very high quality standards with a deep sheen to the paintwork and tight, consistent panel gaps.
Toyota Corolla Altis 2.0L Specifications
Engine: Inline-4, DOHC, 16V, Dual VVT-i
Transmission: 7-speed CVT, FWD
Max Power: 145PS @ 6200rpm
Max Torque: 187Nm @ 3600rpm
Top Speed: 180km/h
Price: RM139,900 with Insurance
Nearest Rival: Volkswagen Jetta TSI
Toyota Corolla Altis 1.8L Specifications
Engine: Inline-4, DOHC, 16V, Dual VVT-i
Transmission: 7-speed CVT, FWD
Max Power: 139PS @ 6400rpm
Max Torque: 173Nm @ 4000rpm
Top Speed: 185km/h
Price: RM114,000 with Insurance
Nearest Rival: Honda Civic