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April 4, 2017

Review: 2017 Toyota Corolla Altis 2.0V

Step back and erase any notion you may have of the Toyota Corolla Altis. Often panned for its uncanny ability to be consistently, monotonously boring; it’s easily the fridge, the Nokia 3310, the Nicolas Cage of the compact car world. It’s reliable transportation that gets you where you need to go, but when people ask what you drive, you reflexively answer: “I don’t know, but I do know it’s white.” But while Mr. Cage is still longing for his next Leaving Las Vegas in his sea of B-films, Toyota’s been slowly chipping away at the Corolla Altis’s stodgy repertoire. Today, it’s managing to crank up the excitement just a little bit.

Like Robert Downey, Jr.’s Iron Man character, the 2017 Corolla Altis looks reasonably sleek. It’s got a strong techno vibe going, especially with the headlights and grille that look like it’s forming one cohesive unit; those shiny horizontal slats count as extra points too. The sides and rear don’t appear as radical as the front, but the fascia’s statement is strong enough to carry the rest of the car. Decked out with a standard sport aero kit and finished in Red Mica Metallic, it begins to look like Marvel’s Armored Avenger if you imagine hard enough.

Inside though, the Corolla Altis leaves little to the imagination with its abundance of room. It’s simply massive, feeling more like an executive car than a compact one. It’s a given that those seated in the front would give their Siskel & Ebert style two thumbs up the moment they settle in, but even more surprising is now the rear accommodations get a seal of approval from the XXXL Club. Plus, the seats are actually quite supportive, sporty even.

Getting comfy with the driving environment is easy thanks to the power adjustable driver’s seat and tilt/telescopic steering wheel. As with most compacts now, the seats are mounted low boosting the sporty feel though the three-spoke steering wheel does feel too big for this size of car. So while Toyota still needs work to nail down a percent perfect driving position, you can give them a certified fresh rating of say, 85 percent here. Plus, you have to give them credit for the improvements they’ve snuck in this Director’s Cut version. Fit and finish is clearly a notch up with the new gauges, padded dashboard insert with circular A/C vents on each end, and revised center console that also modernizes the multimedia and climate control systems.

Okay, now onto the action sequence. While it’s clear the Corolla Altis nails down the gorgeous looks (especially when compared to previous efforts), can it score a merit for its on-road performance or will it be another absolute dullard. Frankly, it’s more popcorn action flick than critic favorite, not because it provides mindless edge-of-the-seat excitement, but because it appeals to the widest audience.

The basic ingredients don’t really bode well: a 2.0-liter Dual VVT-i engine that’s down some 5 to 25 horsepower compared to the competition, a potentially fun-sapping CVT transmission, and a crude torsion beam rear axle suspension. Nonetheless, the total sum of these ingredients does manage to add up to a solid, commendable compact that’ll please a vast majority. It’s like how you have a strong distaste for Shia LaBeouf and Michael Bay, but put them together and you won’t think twice shelling out 3D IMAX movie tickets for a movie about transforming robots (okay, honestly I got 3D IMAX movie tickets because of Megan Fox).

As a daily driver, the Corolla Altis performs very well. The drivetrain is already known for being high on refinement and low in noise, and this 2017, it’s made even more so. The cabin’s absolutely a perfect place to hold an impromptu script reading while also managing to hushing out the busy character of Manila roads. It also feels zippy thanks to good low-end torque and quick response from the transmission. It’s only when you command it to do exciting stuff that its limitations show. And in a M. Night Shyamalan-kind of twist, it’s not the CVT that’s to blame. You can actually see it trying to shuffle its ratios as quick as it can, but the engine just doesn’t have the heave to deliver the response. It’s got a Sport mode now, but a couple of more horses could have helped more. Still, for as long as you expect a steady, leisurely drive, it’s alright.

So while its straight-line performance is still something left to be desired, one underappreciated aspect of the 2017 Corolla Altis is how it begins to feel un-Toyota like. It’s actually starting to feel *gasp* fun. Tweaks to the suspension have given it a better sense of balance and composure. Whereas it felt too soft before, plowing through anything that remotely resembled a curve, today it’s more stable. It still cannot hold a candle to cars equipped with independent suspension, but at least you know Toyota’s giving it all it’s got. It’s only when it goes through corrugated surfaces that the torsion beam rear end makes itself known. The increased heft on the electric power steering also aids in increasing that feeling of stability, especially at high speeds, though having to go through so many turns lock-to-lock does diminish the pointiness.

After all’s said and done, the Corolla Altis’s incremental improvements for 2017 are welcome news to those in the market for a new compact car. While it’s not yet ready to win the Academy Award for best actor or best supporting actor for that matter, at least it’s showing flashes of brilliance to get noticed once more. And though the typical Corolla buyer wouldn’t care about these improvements (they’ll likely opt for one because it’s painless to own), the enthusiast-minded ones will see the merits. Most likely though, the Corolla Altis’s biggest hurdle to car guys though is its price tag: 1,320,000 for the 2.0V; that’s A-lister talent free right there for a car that’s merely on the rise once more.

2017 Toyota Corolla Altis 2.0V
Ownership 2017 Toyota Corolla Altis 2.0V
Year Introduced 2014 (Refreshed: 2017)
Vehicle Classification Compact Sedan
The Basics
Body Type 5-door Sedan
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 145 @ 6,200
Nm @ rpm 187 @ 3,600
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / ~91
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 7.93 km/L @ 13 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,620
Width (mm) 1,775
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 Michelin Pilot Sport 3 215/45 R 17 W (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 7
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear, with Reverse Camera
Other Safety Features No
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electric (driver)
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
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
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Very nice review! But it has fallen way back from the New Civic. It may take them a decade to catch up.

    1. I agree with you completely, napag iwanan ng bagong Civic sa porma at dating

  2. I like the 1.6g mt..oooh lalala

  3. I don't like Toyota but I like this Toyota. My only gripe is the price, which should be around the 1.2m mark. At 1.3m, the Civic RS with its quick turbocharged engine and Mazda 3 Speed with the Bose sound system and luxurious interior are better options.

    1. True. And once the new​ Impreza arrives, game over for the 2.0 altis.

    2. That's a sane person would say, but you know Pinoys are so Toyota die hards that they would buy anything with its badge on it even at such a high price.

    3. I have sinced moved on from toyota but i now miss their abundance and parts and cheap maintenance. Subarus have sky high maintenance and lackluster styling, mazda has high maintenance cost and low resale value. I would only consider the civic over this

  4. In due fairness to the Altis, it has its solid inherent qualities that's very useful that's why it's still enjoying a pretty good precentage of sales.

    But in terms of power, technology, driving dynamics & interior design. It is undoubtedly been left behind by the Civic, Mazda 3 and the Impreza.

    1. So the Civic, Mazda 3, and Impreza do not have those said qualities? You mean the Toyota badge? lol

    2. 1. Executive sedan like interior space
      2. Electronic drivers seat w/ adjustable Lumbar Support
      3. Manually adjustable Rear Sunshade
      4. PROXIMITY sensors (absent in the Civic & Impreza, present in Mazda 3 speed)
      5. Of course as we all know, cheaper & easier maintenance with abundance of parts outside the casa.

      Clearly behind in terms of technology, power & interior design. I myself hate the ugly interior. But it still has some useful qualities that prevents itself from gathering dust in Toyota stockyards.

    3. ^ ask that to Millions of Toyota fans around the world ... peace bro

    4. And why would i do that? In the eyes of a real enthusiast, you have to scrutinize a car OBJECTIVELY in order to appreciate it or hate it based from facts. That's what you call constructive criticism.

      If im to be asked though, i won't buy it.

    5. The 1.8L Sylphy is better than any of your crap. Ultimate compact car in terms of comfort, fuel efficiency, price, and design.

    6. The Civic, Mazda 3 and Impreza all has electronic seat adjustment, dunno about the rear sunshade. And the Mazda 3, Civic, and Impreza has more equipment and features than the Altis. The Sylphy on the other hand is not fuel efficient. Toyota, Mitsubishi and Honda sells so much here because they are the deemed "safe" brands to Filipinos.

    7. Having a electronic drivers seat is one thing, having a Lumbar Support adjuster is another.

    8. The Altis is the only vehicle in its class that has a manually adjustable rear sunshade. Even some of mid size sedans doesn't have that, i.e. Mazda 6 and Hyundai Sonata

    9. So you're bragging a sunshade? How pathetic.

    10. Just pointing it out that it's the only car in its that has a rear sunshade. Simply because that's the truth based on facts. Specs people like you just keep on yapping based on fanboyism.

      There's nothing to brag in this car. It simply doesn't have what it takes to beat the Civic, Mazda 3 and the upcoming Impreza.

    11. So what you're saying is you're basically a talking brochure? Cool bro.

    12. Nope. It only means that your ignorance in some sort courtesy of fanboyism just got exposed.

    13. Nope. You're a talking brochure. What's exposed here is your incapability to actually drive and appreciate different cars. What you do have is the ability to look at spec sheets. Congratulations bro.

    14. You clearly can't see the objectivity of my comment starting from the first one. And how sure are you i haven't driven/ test driven these cars. You weren't even aware of some of the features in the Altis that's absent in other cars in its class.

      No, congratulations to you...for proving your ignorance. Take a bow!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. lols bakit nicolas cage, chuck norris sana

  7. The VW Jetta is better than this... driving dynamics, build quality, refinement & what not.

    1. The jetta offered here is a base model, the plastics are hard and spartan looking, as well as the interior. VW will not be a major player here if they can't price and equip their product the same with their Japanese counterparts.

  8. Need help, i cant decide kung anu ba ang better choice between altis 1.6g and honda city vx+, i know these 2 cars are in a diff category but ito lng ang alm ko n mdyo sulit at magkalapit ang price


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