People are hard to please. When a car is too comfort-biased and sacrificed handling, people complain. When car manufacturers are using a decade old but reliable powertrain and transmission, people grumble. When a kind of veggie's price drop, people whine. It's hard to find the balance between two things. Toyota is trying hard to provide the best of both worlds with the all-new 11th generation Toyota Corolla Altis.
The previous two generation of Altis have been bombarded to have conservative styling, only elders will drive one. I'm happy to say that Toyota has successfully changed the perception with this new Altis. The younger generation in the mid twenties (my colleagues and myself) are attracted by its design. This shows that Toyota is ready to gain a stance in the competitive C-segment. Too bad the daytime running LED lights are only available for the 2.0V variant.
Many would never expect such dynamic and sporty looking 17-inch rim will make it to the Corolla Altis! (The rim design below is only for the 2.0V variant)
The 1.8E and 2.0G variant will have to make do with a more executive looking 16-inch rim. Some small gripes: The thin stripe of chrome on the exterior door handles look a little stingy, and both of the emblems on the tailgate are on the right side, resulting a slightly unbalanced outlook. Boot space measured at 480 litres looks slightly smaller than the 9th generation Corolla Altis (the one with 1.6 and 1.8 VVT-i engine).
The cabin is where the Corolla Altis excels. As an Altis, comfort is essential (especially in the rear seats). Wheelbase now measures 2700mm, an increment of 100mm over its predecessor. As a result, more usable legroom at the back, something its predecessors are lack of. Rear headroom is more generous than in the old one too. Did you know that the rear seats can be reclined too?
Being a typical Toyota, you can have a peace of mind when it comes to build quality. Every panel in the cabin felt solid and built to last. Good tactile feedback from the buttons, soft touch materials covered the entire top and middle part of the dashboard as well as the door panel, even the fabric seats in the 1.8E and 2.0G are nice to the touch. Love the meaty leather-wrapped steering wheel too!
Despite all the aces, the safety features allocated for each variant are 'incompatible' to their price. Toyota is asking for quite a huge sum of money, especially the top-of-the-range 2.0V variant (RM136k). Even so, the 2.0V comes with only 2 airbags and Vehicle Stability Control, while the 1.8E (RM114k) and 2.0G (RM123k) doesn't have any assistance in stability. Want to make the airbags count to 6? Get the 'Additional Safety Package' which is only available for the 2.0V for an extra RM3k.
VSC should at least be standard in the 2.0G, while 2.0V get 6 airbags as standard. Or make the 'Additional Safety Package' available as an option for all variants. Kia Cerato 2.0 is a good example where it is packed with safety features and priced under RM120k.
Oh well, it's still difficult to get the best of both worlds...
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