|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
Okay, I kind of lied.
Kitted with the White Pearl paint, the 1.6 V tested costs P 1,014,000. But removing the special paint, the Corolla Altis is still a looker. I’ve seen my fair share of new model Corollas going around, but the design doesn’t get tiring. The Corolla Altis, sans the wrap-around aero kit (standard on the 2.0 V), balances elegance with sportiness. Squint hard and you’ll see bits of Camry, RAV4, and 86 thrown in (which is a good thing). Like the rest of Toyota’s models of late, there’s much angularity to the design with a front-end that does a Storm Trooper proud and a rear that’ll get the thumbs up from Donald Trump. The side profile reveals the additional girth put on by the newest model which has been disguised well otherwise. The 1.6 V rides on smaller 205/55R16 tires which, surprisingly, still look fine; though the same can’t be said with the large wheel well gaps.
Inside, the Corolla Altis 1.6 V takes a completely different approach to its range-topping sibling. Instead of going sporty, it does luxury. From a monotone black interior, the 1.6 V swaps it for a two-tone black-and-beige number. The upper and lower portions of the dash are still black (along with the Cybercarbon inserts), but the middle portion gets beige inserts. This simple color palette swap does wonders in creating a much airier feel and makes the 1.6 V feels homey and welcoming. It also visually enlarges the already cavernous cabin making it look even bigger. More than once, passengers were left with the impression that they rode a Camry instead of a Corolla Altis. Among all other compact cars, if you plan to fit five adults regularly, this is the best choice, bar none. However, ff there’s one gripe about the beige portions is that they’re tough to keep clean. This is evidenced by the “mysterious” stains on the seats as well as the scuff marks on the dash panels.
The entirety of the Corolla Altis 1.6 V driving experience is best summed in two words: Camry Light. While the 2.0 V, with its sporty body kit and 17-inch alloy wheels, may create expectations of a four-door 86, the 1.6 V doesn’t have to deal with such pretense. On paper, it gives up 23 horsepower and 33 Nm of torque against the 2.0 V (122 horsepower, 154 Nm), but in reality, it doesn’t feel all that underpowered, well at least initially. Despite losing 13-percent horsepower per metric ton to the 2.0-liter (96.44 vs 111.5), the 1.6 V feels just as responsive from the get-go. A bulk of the credit goes to Toyota’s unique CVT transmission that integrates a torque converter that keeps the engine at optimal revs during take-off. There’s absolutely none of the rubber band-like sensation commonly associated with CVT transmissions. Once you pass the confines of the city though, you’ll start wishing for the additional 400-cc of displacement. Though the 1.6-liter engine and CVT transmission combo has little problem cruising on NLEX at a steady pace, overtaking requires more careful planning as top-end power just isn’t there. But for as long as you’re driving relaxed rather than attacking corners, the power is more than enough. As for fuel economy, the 1.6 V does 10.75 km/L in city traffic, figures which are, oddly enough, equal to the 2.0 V (10.66 km/L).
The rest of the Corolla Altis package falls among similar lines: it’s a relaxed, smooth, and quiet cruiser. The steering is precise but vague; the brakes bite well but require some pedal force; and there’s pronounced body roll through corners. On the flipside, it manages to soak any sort of road undulation, big or small, low speed or high speed. Comparing the 1.6 V to the 2.0 V, the 1.6 V’s suspension feels better tuned with less over the overdamped feel of the 2.0, due perhaps to the taller tires. In short, the Corolla Altis 1.6 V behaves squarely in line with the traditional sense of what makes for a great ride; certainly a no-brainer if you have picky travel companions.
Priced at P 202,000 less than the 2.0 V, the 1.6 V is certainly budget-friendly for both personal or corporate purchase. And yet, it’s backed up with all sorts of goodies you won’t come to expect in a car of this price: push button engine start/stop; automatic climate control; USB audio with Bluetooth hands-free; rear sunshade; back-up sensors—clearly, Toyota’s pricing and spec-ing of this car is a guaranteed hook more so than any other Corolla Altis. Though I’d personally still shell out the additional cash for the 2.0 V, those who’re penny-pinching should look no further than the 1.6 V. This is one car that drives reasonably well, founded on solid values and now backed up with great features at a very competitive price point.
2014 Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6V
|Ownership||Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6V|
|Body Type||4-door sedan|
|Engine / Drive||F/F|
|Under the Hood|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||I4|
|BHP @ rpm||122 @ 6,000|
|Nm @ rpm||154 @ 5,200|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Gasoline / 91~|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||1,265|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, MacPherson Strut|
|Rear Suspension||Torsion Beam Axle|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||No|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Tilt/Telescopic|
|Steering Wheel Material||Leather|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 60/40|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|No. of Speakers||6|
|Steering Wheel Controls||Yes|