Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Review: 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis 2.0 V

Photos by Ulysses Ang
I can’t remember the first time I felt so excited about driving a Toyota Corolla. After all, its reputation precedes it; it’s been the butt of jokes over its dull as cardboard driving experience. But, it’s cemented its reputation as a no-nonsense, ultra-reliable-until-the-world-ends type of car that’s created a following of over 40 million user-choosers. For all intents and purposes, Toyota could have continued churning out Corollas in the same recipe as the original, but instead they injected some new flavors. The question is: is this tangy new twist going to do wonders to the Corolla formula or is this simply the automotive equivalent of New Coke?

Checking my watch, it was exactly 10:27 in the evening when the red Toyota Corolla Altis 2.0 V arrived. With just its headlights visible from afar, it certainly looks like an 86 with the horizontal LED park lamps sandwiched by the round projector headlamps. As it approached and made its way up the curb and into my gate, I actually cracked a smile. Corollas normally don’t cause my pulse to quicken, but this one made my heart skip a beat. It pushes all the right buttons with its sporty yet elegant demeanor. It’s the best interpretation of Toyota’s new design language in sedan form with the standard aero kit (front bumper extensions, side skirts, rear diffuser, and ducktail spoiler) serving as the perfect exclamation point. After that, the Corolla goes from strength to strength to strength with the nifty aero detailing (the “sakana” stabilizer fins on the door mirrors and lamp assemblies to name two) and the consistently small panel gaps. Plus, the doors, most especially the trunk, close with a solid chug.



As with any other test drive, I give the Corolla Altis a once over—check all the car’s vitals, clean the interior, and personalize what I can before driving off the next day. And immediately, this Corolla Altis impresses with its massive interior. Forgetting that this is a compact sedan outside, you can easily mistake it for a Camry when you slip inside. Upfront, there’s good amount of room—enough for me to spread my legs without banging into anything. A welcome bonus is the supportive seats with cushions that extend almost to my knees and aggressive side bolsters that mimic sport seats. But in as much as it’s great upfront, it’s stunning at the back. Of the class-leading 2,700 mm wheelbase, 706 mm of that goes to the rear. Couple that with supportive seats, a flat rear floor, headrests and three-point seatbelts for all passengers, and you’ve got the undisputed space king right here.

Fiddling with the powered seat and tilt/telescopic steering wheel, I’m surprised that the Corolla Altis has a very Honda-like driving position, and I mean it in the best way possible. It’s most comfortable with the seats low with the legs stretched out and the steering wheel angled to the elbows at almost 90-degrees. I didn’t expect Toyota to get the man-machine interface right, but they did. The three-spoke steering wheel is thick with nice, built-in thumb rests. Most controls are perfectly positioned and within easy reach, the two exceptions being the power windows switches which are obscured by the large door handle and the engine start/stop button which is partially covered by the meaty steering wheel.



The next day, it’s time to take the Corolla Altis out for a spin. With the sporty demeanor inside and out (it’s got an aero kit and carbon fiber accents for crying out load), I expected a four-door version of the Toyota 86. Instead, it turned out to be a miniaturized Camry.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s just about managing expectations. Pushing the starter button, the 2.0-liter Dual VVT-i engine purrs to life and no amount of prodding will make it roar. The drivetrain’s so quiet and refined; I honestly thought the Corolla Altis is equipped with idle start/stop when it’s not. At any speed, it’s a beacon of serenity keeping unwanted noise outside. And despite being short of anywhere between 5 to 25 horsepower against the competition, the Corolla Altis’s engine and transmission make a great combo; giving a lively and refined performance at even the slightest tap of the accelerator. It even comes with steering wheel paddle shifters that emulate a 7-speed gearbox, though the car is responsive enough to keep the transmission alone. What’s more, the Corolla Altis lives up to Toyota’s reputation for returning stellar fuel economy, doing 10.66 km/L in the city and 16.67 km/L on the highway (11.63 km/L combined).

As the straights turn to curves and the curves to corners, the disconnect between the Corolla Altis’s looks and driving behavior becomes obvious; it’s more comfort cruiser than 4-door go-kart. First, the electric power steering is not only light and vague, but requires more turns than I’m normally comfortable with. This is likely because Toyota wanted to improve high speed stability, which they have, but at the expense of some agility. Second, the suspension is way too soft for my taste. Clearly, Toyota’s prioritizing ride comfort in the most traditional sense, but again, it makes the Corolla Altis understeer and have pronounced body roll through corners. Lastly, the brakes have an initial vague bite. Though the stopping force ends up being surefooted, I had to step on the brakes with more than my usual force once or twice. That said, as long as you expect the Corolla Altis to behave like a Camry, then expectations match reality.



Going back to where I started, does the Toyota Corolla Altis present a brand-new formula? Yes and no. Yes, because at P 1,201,000, the 2.0 V is wading close to executive car prices. But it looks mighty good, is equipped to sell, and offers practical spaciousness. In short, the price difference is, in my opinion, justified if you can fork out the extra cash. No, because if you’re looking at something sporty and fun to drive, it’s not. It pretty much still behaves like how a Corolla should, but with the styling and refinement factors dialed way up. In short, this isn’t New Coke. It’s the very same Classic Coke formula but in a snazzy, sexier package.





2014 Toyota Corolla Altis 2.0 V
Ownership 2.0 V
Year Introduced 2014
Vehicle Classification Compact
The Basics
Body Type 4-door Sedan
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration NA
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 145 @ 6,200
Nm @ rpm 187 @ 3,600
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control No
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,620
Width (mm) 1,776
Height (mm) 1,460
Wheelbase (mm) 2,700
Curb Weight (kg) 1,300
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires 215/45R17
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 2
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control No
Parking Sensors Yes
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes
Auto Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electric (driver)
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat No
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes
Audio System Stereo
CD
MP3
Aux
USB
Bluetooth
No. of Speakers 6
Steering Wheel Controls Yes

54 comments:

  1. Is the black interior only available in the 2.0 variant?

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    1. As far as I know, the black interior is only for the 2.0 V. The other variants get a two-tone black and beige interior.

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    2. does altis 2.0 2014 have 7th gear in automatic transmission?is it smooth?thank you

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  2. does it really have all LED headlights? or just the DRL?

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    1. This is a question repeated again and again, but yes. Confirmed after taking a look at it. The Corolla Altis 2.0 V has LED headlights (low beam) and LED DRL's. This makes it the first in its class to use this technology. Anyone who tells you they're HIDs is wrong.

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  3. Ulysses if you will decide to get a 2.0 altis top of the line 2014 or a camry 2014 base model. both AT trans

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    1. Good question. This is often the case when it comes to a range-topping compact car and an entry-level executive car. The price difference is so small that some cross shopping eventually happens. In this case, the Corolla Altis 2.0 V is P 1,201,000 while the Camry 2.5 G is P 1,455,000.

      The question now is: what are you looking for in a car? If you need a larger interior, bigger trunk, and a plusher ride--no question, the Camry's best for you. But take note...though you're getting a larger car, the Camry 2.5 G doesn't even have leather seats. Basically it's designed as a fleet-friendly model. I'd realistically go for the 2.5 V but that's already P 1,685,000.

      The Corolla Altis 2.0 V is smaller but has much more toys and is very well equipped. I'm also quite surprised that the ride is also pretty good and is actually very comparable to the Camry. Fuel efficiency is pretty excellent and there's more than enough performance where you need it. The space is good, but not as large as the Camry and the trunk space also isn't as big but one of the largest in the compact car class.

      Bottom line: I'd get the Corolla Altis 2.0 V if you drive yourself everyday. It's more than enough car. It's great value and rides beautifully. I loved it. If you're chauffeur-driven though, opt for the 1.6 V at P 999,000. It's more than enough car.

      If your heart is decided on a Camry though, skip the 2.5 G and go for the 2.5 V instead whether or not you drive yourself or not.

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    2. wow i've never seen a toyota corolla/corolla altis this bold design is incredible....comparing it now to the ford focus and the honda civic it looks energetic and futuristic. Ulysses i have a question....if you were to buy a new compact car, What will you buy? Let's say Between the Focus, Impreza, Mazda3, Civic, or the new Altis. What will you pick?

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    3. Among the current crop of compact cars available, I'd pick the Corolla Altis...in 2.0 V trim. It's a well-rounded car that's comfy, spacious, has got the proper features.

      In fact, if I were the rate the current compact car crop, it will go something like this:

      1. Toyota Corolla Altis
      2. Subaru Impreza (assuming '14 model is same as '13)
      3. Ford Focus
      4. Honda Civic
      5. Hyundai Elantra

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    4. How does the corolla 2.0V trim compare to VW Jetta?

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    5. Hmmm...in terms of equipment level, they are way, way, way apart.

      Yes, the Volkswagen Jetta does get you German engineering, but take note--the Jetta is developed and made in Mexico, so it's not exactly a Golf.

      But the Jetta handles well and as a very comfy ride. It's just that next to other compacts out there, the VW is simply blown away in terms of features. Again, this is based on initial impressions I had when I drove it around the block. I've yet to drive the Jetta in a more in-depth manner. Once I do, I'll give you feedback.

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    6. I agree with you...mas maporma nga ang new altis than impreza and elantra.....it looks sharp....sana maisipan ng toyota gumawa ng ala Type R, STI, Ford ST branding for their cars. Lalo ako tuloy nagddrool for a compact car hehe...thinking of waiting for new mazda3 or getting the altis :P

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  4. altis #1? but it uses torsional beam for its rear suspension? i prefer civics and focus independent rear..Nissan is the authority in beam suspension design..galing ng links ng nissan before yun sana nasa toyota..then i will love altis..\m/

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    1. It's not the type of suspension you employ, but how you use it. IMHO.

      I voted the Corolla Altis as my Number 1 pick because it's an all-rounder. The Civic is just plain boring and expensive for what you get while the Focus is just too cramped.

      If I were to spend my own money, it will be on an Altis. 'Nuff said.

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  5. Sir, tanong ko lang kung may horizontal blue light din ba sa dashboard ng Altis dito tulad ng Altis sa Europe?

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    Replies
    1. No horizontal blue light on the dashboard, but there are foot well lights.

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  6. Whats the mileage for altis 1.6 with cvt? 2014 altis

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    1. We've yet to test the 1.6 V with CVT, but once we do review it, it will be posted here.

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  7. Sana next review comparison test between new altis, elantra, impreza, civic, focus and if dumating na ang mazda3 2014....para exciting hehehe

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    1. Hmmm...sounds like a great idea. Watch this space!

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  8. Sir Ulysses rear sunshade ba yung nakikita ko sa pic? Is It power rear sunshade

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    1. Yes. The Corolla Altis 2.0 V has rear sun shade. It's not powered through, it's manual.

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  9. Buy this now or wait for the Mazda 3?

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  10. I've read a review about the 1.6v variant of the altis and it says there that the fuel consumption of the 1.6 engine on the highway is 10.1kms/l, and 7.8kms/l with moderate to heavy traffic and 8.9kms/l in light traffic. average is 9.4 kms/l. does this mean the 2.0 engine consumes less fuel?

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  11. Meron din bang LED headlights, push start button, power mirrors, climate control, auto lights/wipers, electric seat adjustment, rear disc brakes yung 1.6v variant?

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    Replies
    1. You can get all that information in the toyota site

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  12. A non-independent torsion beam rear suspension on a 1.2M+ car is inexcusable. And I don't get why people say it's very good-looking. Compared to the previous model or the current Civic maybe, but this model still has that dull, detail-less, slab-sided door panels. Binihisan lang ng wrap-around body kit at large rims eh kaya medyo nabawasan yung tall-boy look. I would still choose the new Mazda 3 overall in this compact car segment. 2nd would be the Ford Focus, 3rd would be this one.

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  13. Hi sir Ulysses,

    I always read your reviews and it is really helpful and great! I'm a honda and toyota guy, my first car is honda city 2009(satisfied), second is toyota fortuner 2011(best ever car I owned), third is honda 2.0 2012(fair enough) and I tried Chev trailblazer 2.8 my fourth (but im not happy and disappointed). And now I'm planning to buy our fifth car and looking between for Altis 2.0 and Mazda 3 2.0R. I read your review both altis and mzd3 honestly its hard to pick, because Im more on off-roader power not speed. Can I ask your personal opinion what will you pick between those two?

    Thank you!

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    1. If you don't have a family (single or newly married), I'd get the Mazda3 2.0 R. Great value, great handling, and very good engine.

      If you do have a family and need the space, I'd get the Toyota Corolla Altis because it's indeed roomier and quieter.

      Here's a link to the Mazda3 review:
      http://www.carguide.ph/2014/06/review-2014-mazda-3-20-skyactiv.html

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  14. Hi Sir Ulysses. I've been reading your blogs this past few weeks and I find it very helpful and informative. One request lang, can u compare the 2014 Toyota Altis 1.6V and 2014 Mazda3 1.5 V? I'm having trouble on deciding which car I should buy as I am confused which is better among the two. My preferences are riding comfort, safety for my child and of course fuel efficiency. Thank u very much.

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  15. Toyota fortuner 4x2 2.5G m/t or corolla altis 2.0v?

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    1. Very different animals. Why would you consider the Fortuner or the Altis?

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  16. Is this the best I can get?, in terms of NVH with a max budget of 1.3m.

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  17. Great new car! Cool interior and elegant dashboard. This is the best Altis I've driven
    (1.6G M/T).

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  18. Mazda 3 or altis? Been contemplating with the two cars for a week now... can someone give me a good advice? :)

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  19. Ano po ang brand ng rubber tires niya

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  20. What's the best buy for a 1M budget? Priorities are comfort and safety for a lady driver, wide space for out of town travel and nice "porma" look.

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    1. Lady driver? Dear Lord. Wigo lang dapat para sa mga lady driver! Malalaspag lang agad ang sasakyan, sayang lang kung tag 1M.

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  21. Are you saying that this corolla has bad driving dynamics?

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    1. Yes. It has subcompact-class non-independent torsion beam rear suspension, just like cars below this segment That is inexcusable for a 1.2M car. Of course, some people would make the excuse that "hindi ko naman pang-kakarera eh". Eh kung ganun pala then don't get obsessed over horsepower and torque din dapat pala for consistency, hindi mo naman pala "pang-kakarera" eh diba? :P

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  22. Uly is bad at math, unit figures or is intentionally being misleading:

    QUOTE: "What’s more, the Corolla Altis lives up to Toyota’s reputation for returning stellar fuel economy, doing 10.66 km/L in the city and 16.67 km/L on the highway (11.63 km/L combined)."

    But based on pic #7 above of the information display between the dials, the average FC consumption is "10.7 LITERS per KM., not KM. per LITER". If you want to get the FC in km/L, divide 100 by 10.7, which gets you== 9.3 km/L." So it's not 10.7 km/L, the mileage for this Altis 2.0V model is 9.3 km/L. That's why you got the weird and physically impossible FC consumption of the 1.6L & 2.0L being the same in your reviews, because you failed to notice the units the MID is using to measure FC. It is in LITERS per KM, not KM per LITER.

    Gets na Uly? Next time remember to convert your units and have them read the same way for consistency.

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    1. Correction: 10.7 LITERS per *100* KILOMETER pala. So divide 100 by 10.7 to get 9.3 km/L. All the rest is the same above.

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    2. You're bad at assuming. The photos don't reflect the final consumption figures. Photos may have been taken any time when I have the demo units. I understand how to use L/100km.

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    3. That's what occurred to me as well, but you could have posted a pic of the actual FC din diba? So, have you finally figured out why your FC figures are the same for the 1.6L & 2.0L variants? :P It's been months since this review. Other reviews aren't even close to the figures that you got.

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    4. Well, as mentioned time and time again, fuel consumption is based on a slot of factors: traffic, road conditions, route, etc. In my case though, since travel the same route pretty much every single day, my figures would be consistent across the different vehicles that I drive. Even if it's higher than what other reviewers come up with, you can use my figures to compare them to other vehicles, say the Mazda3 or the Honda Civic.

      As to why the 1.6 and the 2.0 comes out with almost the same mileage? Perhaps down to power to weight. Again, that's my hunch. But then again, Ferman Lao of Top Gear / Speedlab / Kotse did mention to me that he also got similar figures between the 1.6 and 2.0 Altis.

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  23. Aside from the non-independent rear suspension, Toyota also skimped out on the safety features even for this top-of-the-line model: only 2 airbags (competitors have anywhere from 4-7), no stability control (competitors have some form of VSA/VSC/ESP/ESC), no traction control (different from stability control in that it aides traction when under acceleration). The funny thing is that both stability and traction controls don't entail any new hardware/equipment, it simply utilizes the existing individual wheel speed sensors that the ABS already uses; in short, it's just additional software/firmware programmed on the ECU/TCU. Toyota should fix these glaring issues and lower the price somewhat to reflect the fact that these units are merely made in Thailand unlike some of its competitors that are fully Japan-made CBUs (ex: Mazda3).

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  24. Hi Ulysses,

    Hope you could help me here. I own an altis 2.0v 2015 model. My topspeed is only 180KPH at 4500RPM. I turned off the ECO Indicator but still the same. I tried the manual mode and still the same! Does this car have speed-limiter?? I cant believe the 2.0 engine will only run at 180KPH max! I'm really disappointed! I feel I should have bought the 1.6 instead.....

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    1. I'm not sure. It could be a speed limiter. It can't be the gearing since you still have a couple of thousand RPMs to go and I don't think the Corolla's aerodynamically limited to just running 180 km/h.

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  25. Thanks for your response. I know that Cars made in Japan like the new mazda 3 are speed limited to 180KPH. I am just not sure for Corolla 2.0...

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  26. Hi, I just driven my new Toyota Altis 1.6V and I am quite satisfied except for one thing. Like mine gusto ko lang malaman kung ang Altis nyo ay malikot din pag umabot ang speed over 120KPH and Up? Its fast but im not feeling comfortable unlike my Mazda 3 2L which is 7 years old now kapag matulin ay mas stable sya.... Im planning to change the mags for 17" w/ wider tires, do you think this could help to make it stable?

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    1. Nope, wag ka magpalit ng mags. Try mo magpawheel balance at wheel alignment.

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