Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted May 30, 2014 15:00
Designed for excitement
After 10 generations, Toyota promised a new Corolla Altis with 'heart pounding excitement’ in line with their drive for waku-doki. Now, after testing out the 2014 Corolla Altis 1.6V, we try out its bigger engined brother and see if it can deliver.
Judging by looks, the Japanese automaker seems to have taken a page from Mitsubishi's book for the top trim of the new-generation Corolla Altis, having equipped the car with factory-installed body styling kits and larger wheels. For starters, the latest heir to the world's best selling nameplate gets a dynamic and sophisticated exterior for the ASEAN and European release. This is further accentuated with aggressive ground effects on the top-spec 2.0 V. In place of standard park lights, Toyota has decided to equip with top-trim with LED daytime running lights and LED projector headlamps. Furthermore, 17-inch alloys wrapped with low-profile 215/45R17 tires complete the sporty profile.
The interior is rather minimalistic in design, featuring an all black theme with a mix of soft-touch materials, faux carbon fiber, leather and strips of chrome for accents. Controls are ergonomically and intuitively placed for ease of use. The entertainment system is similar to the 1.6 V we tested recently with iPod, USB, Bluetooth and Auxiliary connectivity with CD/MP3/WMA functions and good radio reception despite the lack on an external antenna. Audio quality is good having a nice balance across the high, mid and low frequency range with the six-speaker system. Similar to the previously tested variant, the instrumentation looks out of place as if the design of the dials was an afterthought after having exhausted all efforts in designing everything else. The airconditioning was just cold and colder, good for Philippine summer, but difficult to work with in the cooler months.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter engine mated to a 7-speed CVT; these are carried over from the previous generation. The engine is rated at 145 PS with 187 Nm of torque. While the number may seem conservative, the power and torque feel more than enough for the car despite being heavier and larger than its predecessor. The CVT is however not as precise as it was on the 1.6 version.
Fuel mileage on the highway resulted to about 10.5 kms/liter with some spirited driving; with a good amount of power to play with. In the city, with moderate to heavy traffic, I got about 7.1 kms/liter, while going up to about 8.6 kms/liter in light traffic. Combined figures resulted to around 9.4 kms/liter. I am not lightfooted nor lead-footed, so these should be indicative enough.
Engineers have retuned the damping and spring rates to achieve a proper balance of comfort and stability on the MacPherson front suspension and torsion beam rear setup traditionally used for the Corolla. Furthermore, the longer wheelbase benefits ride comfort and stability. The electric steering however feels a bit too light for my liking and does not tighten as much at higher speeds.
On the road, it handles the usual bumps and ruts with ease in a refined manner. It takes on corners with impressive precision despite the light steering feel. I guess the car was destined for far less dynamic duties, but it still does the job. In traffic is where you’ll truly appreciate its lightness as you try to maneuver your way out of a jam.
At PhP1,201,000; it seems a hefty price to pay for the Toyota Corolla Altis 2.0 V, but its design, refinement, and overall package gives justification to the price.