2020 Toyota Corolla Altis: The pros and cons
Long ago, before the fire nation attacked, sedans ruled the land. Then everything changed with the introduction of the crossover SUV. In the global market, SUVs and crossovers sold twice more than sedans in 2019, just four short years after outselling them for the first time. This trend shows no signs of changing anytime soon.
Despite the sedan’s waning popularity, car manufacturers still put in massive efforts into making sure their saloon offerings remain competitive. Case in point: the Toyota Corolla, indisputably the world’s most popular car, still manages to check all the right boxes when it comes to modern car buying needs: stylish looks, advanced tech, not to mention a new hybrid variant that’s basically a necessity for any popular vehicle model these days.
1. Stylish exterior
The 2020 Toyota Corolla Altis possesses a sporty style a low stance, and the sleek and contemporary grille. It also features standard LED headlights and taillights with a low profile design. The stylishly subdued sheetmetal is sure to earn the approval of many car buyers looking for an attractive ride without drawing too much attention.
2. Five trim levels
Car buyers have five Corolla Altis variants to choose from, and the respectably wide variety allows buyers to choose their own set of equipment to suit their budget. The base model Corolla Altis 1.6 E M/T is loaded with standard features like a non-touchscreen display audio, keyless entry, key integrated remote open trunk, and power windows and mirrors. From there the buyer can choose from the 1.6 G M/T, 1.6 G A/T, 1.6 V CVT, and 1.8 Hybrid CVT trim levels.
3. New Hybrid model
New for 2020 is the Corolla Altis Hybrid CVT, the first-ever Corolla Hybrid offering. Combining a 1.8-liter gas engine with a 1.3kWh battery, the system yields a total system max output of 168hp (97hp engine, 71hp electric motor). With this Hybrid option, Corolla Altis owners can now enjoy unprecedented fuel savings. For those who prefer a straight-up internal combustion engine, there’s the 1.6-liter Dual VVT-I 4-cylinder in-line equipped in the rest of the trims, good for 121hp.
4. Modern interior amenities
The Corolla comes with a standard color display audio mounted high in the center of the dash, which helps keep driver’s eyes from straying too far away from the road. An 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat (Hybrid only)is further enhanced by a powered lumbar support feature. A Hybrid System Indicator helps drivers monitor the state of charge of the vehicle. Most of the cabin surfaces are covered in synthetic leather, while genuine leather upholsters the seats (Hybrid only). The car also comes with dynamic radar cruise control. All these features are housed in sleek, minimalist interior design.
5. Advanced safety features
The top-of-the-line variant comes with the utmost benefit of the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) driver assistance suite that includes Pre-Collision System (PCS), Automatic High Beam (AHB), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC). An immobilizer also comes standard in the Hybrid and 1.6 V CVT variants. Common across the range are SRS airbags (driver, passenger, side, curtain shield, knee) anti-lock brake system with electronic brakeforce distribution (ABS-EBD), vehicle stability control, hill start assists, and seatbelts.
6. Fun-to-drive factor
The ride quality is one of the most improved aspects of the new Toyota Corolla Altis. An updated undercarriage, comprising a MacPherson struts (front), double wishbones (rear), electric power steering, and a tilt/telescoping steering column, helps make the ride quality smoother and more comfortable than before.
Unfortunately, ‘acceptable’ is the best word to describe the Corolla Altis engine’s power. While the gas engine’s 121hp and the Hybrid’s 168hp works well for most situations, those looking for more power will wish the car came with a more potent 2.0-liter engine.
2. Rear cabin feels cramped
While the Corolla Altis can seat five people, adults may feel uncomfortable in the backseat, especially during long trips.
3. CVT is an acquired taste
Not everyone is going to enjoy the level of responsiveness of the continuously variable transmission. There’s a more robust 6-speed manual gearbox option, but it’s only available to the two lower trims.
Yay or nay?
With all the goodies stored in the 2020 Toyota Corolla Altis, it’s clear that the Japanese car maker doesn’t intend to abandon its former bread-and-butter out on the roadside. And the addition of a Hybrid option means the car remains relevant in a world over-occupied by crossover SUVs. With the renowned Toyota reliability and affordable price tag (PHP999,000 to PHP1,595,000), the Toyota Corolla Altis remains a tough contender in the Passenger Car category.
Photo/s from Toyota Motors Corporation