Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel Road Test Review


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Akash

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With fuel prices rocketing to new heights everyday, more and more car buyers are switching to diesel engine options. The premium sedans however continue enjoying the monopoly of petrol hearts. After the introduction of a solid competitor like Chevrolet Cruze in India, every manufacturer in this segment is eyeing to give a dose of diesel to their models as well; As a result, Toyota has at last launched the world’s best seller – Altis with Diesel engine in India. Although, where other cars belonging to same segment sport at least 1.8L unit, this sedan from Toyota’s stable is equipped only with a small 1.4L engine. But still, has Toyota managed to keep the combo of drivability and performance good? Let’s find out.
 
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Akash

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Looks and Design.

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New Corolla Altis Diesel looks almost identical with its petrol sibling; only change on exteriors is the front grill and D4D badges. This oil burner gets mesh grill unlike the chrome garnished vertical grill seen on the petrol variant. The swept back headlamps look elegant and remind us of Camry, but they feature automatic washers too, which always ensure that the headlamps remain clean and dirt free to provide proper illumination.

Shift to the sides and you will be impressed with the bodyline. Smooth, flowing lines and an aerodynamic build would definitely attract any person's second glance, the rear silhouette may not look as futuristic as Cruze or Civic, but still has its own charm, Thanks to the round fashion tail lamps that beautifully house the rear fog lamps, brake lamps, reverse lamps and the indicators but the round reflectors find their place down at the rear bumper. Seven spokes 15” inch alloy wheels compliment the looks of Altis as a sophisticated car, which continues to follow the same DNA when it comes to styling as of previous generation model.

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Akash

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Interiors and Comfort.

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Wooden finishing on the dashboard along with steering wheel looks chic and complete beige interiors make a really pleasing combination providing a plush as well as an up-market car feel. The quality of plastics is top notch too and you will not find a single bit of bad patch or bit around, Steering wheel gets mounted audio controls so that you can pump up the volume at a press of button with hands on steering itself. The instrument cluster is attractive; it has grey background and orange dials dancing with the drive. The analog dials provide speed information and RPM while the couple of digital display units give information of Fuel amount, Distance to empty, Time, Odometer and trip distance. Precisely the Optitron 3D meter with MID provides all the details which a driver must be knowing about.

Being original equipment manufacturer's fitment, integrated music system yet sounds nice and offers a great audible experience for a basic listener and less thump. It gets the Aux-In support so that you do not need to involve yourself in the hassles of ripping CDs. However, it lacks the USB feature, which is a lot common in today’s generation cars. Inside rear view mirror gets automatic reflection dimmer feature that means the driver need not adjust the mirror more often. The mirror automatically dims the headlamp reflections from the rear glass, which is a very useful touch.

Identical to some of the rival sedan, Corolla Altis gets flat floor at the rear making the comfort levels high even for the middle passenger, and there's no complain about storage space either. Altis offers plenty of cup holders here and there.Not just this, but they are well-designed too, and shows Toyota's dedication towards minute details. Front seats get armrests that too with height adjustment feature. The rear seats just like other Toyotas provide ample thigh support with a luxurious feel of the leather.

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Akash

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Engine and Gearbox.

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Initially, when Toyota unveiled plans of launching Altis Diesel, many were excited but afterwards the 1.4 Liter suddenly engine came as a turn off and made people disappoint, considering that this car would be extremely underpowered, But now it's time to think again, Do you still feel so? We do not.

The moment after cranking the engine, Diesel motor made a comparatively high audible cry, However, to our surprise; the engine sound was hardly noticeable later. In fact, after a few seconds of idling it was as silent as its petrol sibling. A passenger on the back seat can hardly guess whether he’s sitting in the Petrol car or a Diesel one. I engaged the first gear, and pressed the throttle expecting a delayed response but this did not happen. The initial pickup was as peppy as of a usual midsize sedan. Toyota has quite successfully tuned the 1.4 Liter D-4D engine under hood to provide smooth drive along with fuel efficiency. The size of the engine planted in this premium sedan has been since its launch raising question about its drivability and performance in minds of most of the diesel heads. While most of the cars in this segment has bigger engines (1.8 or 1.9L except Civic, which still doesn’t, lacks the diesel heart), Toyota has given it a heart which seems to be much smaller when compared to the car’s size. However, this has nothing to do with the performance of it. Though drive isn’t as exciting as the Cruze, but still it managed to impress with its super refined motor which is probably best in class if we take size (1.4L) into consideration as well.

The 1.4L heart pumps out 87BHP, which is lesser than its competitors. Toyota has used Flexible variable geometry turbocharger in order to improve the power. However, on papers the figures are a bit disappointing. The maximum torque generated is just 20.9kgm which is far lesser than most of the cars in segment which easily stand out in the range of 30kgm. Coming to the drive, we find the initial response a bit leggy but then considering the small 1.4L it was acceptable. There is fair amount of Turbo lag until 1800-2000rpm. Nevertheless, beyond this mark, Turbo splurges to give ample amount of power needed and expected from a Premium sedan. The lag has been compensated by the butter smooth gears, which get excellent gear ratios. The gearbox is now six speed, Tall overdrive gears give an added pleasure to the drive. Wise use of these gears makes reaching high speeds in decent amount of time. Altis is fun to drive in city traffic only when driven in proper gears or else one would be left waiting for the power to come in, where as, on highways Altis performs absolutely well. Thanks to the addition of Sixth gear, this does not let the engine run out of breath any soon.

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Akash

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Performance and Safety.

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Corolla was always been loved for its powerful drive, thanks to the 1.8L petrol engine. The 1.4L heart did disappoint us to an extent because we expected the car to carry a much powerful heart. However, for a 1.4L on such a big sedan, the performance is not disappointing at all. If driven in proper gears, the drive is surely fun filled. The handling at high speed is undoubtedly excellent. The Diesel Altis is simply a great highway cruiser and the experience can be further enhanced by enjoying the rear seats which are wrapped with leather all around.

Apart from the engine behavior, there’s a few more aspect of this beauty which one must be advised of before buying. Although the high-speed handling may be impressive but sharp turns could be a different story, thanks to body roll which makes you brake down the speed while cornering sharp turns. The steering is precise and lets you maneuvers with ease. Whether its jam packed traffic or open highways, you do not need to apply an extra effort for its controlling.

Also, In world-class product like Corolla, safety is not compromised; SRS Airbags (Driver + Co Driver) and Anti Lock Braking System (with EBD) are on offer even on its base model. The headlamps have the HIDs with retractable washer to avoid any illumination hassles. The Immobilizer with alarm onboard prevents any Unauthorized entry in the car.

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Akash

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Fuel Efficiency and Verdict.

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Fuel efficiency is an aspect where Corolla actually comes out as a clear winner in the league. Toyota claims an ARAI certified mileage figure of 21.43kmpl. This 1.4L D-4D engine is perhaps the most fuel-efficient engine in its class, especially given its capacity. In fact, a few real owners have even managed to attain figures similar to 24.3kmpl. In the nutshell, Toyota Corolla Altis is a refined and Ultra smooth luxury diesel sedan which, although, has smaller engine capacity, but in return, delivers exhilarating mileage figure. Also, if driven in optimum gears, the drive remains lag free and pretty decent. There's no doubt, that there are chances of new Altis quite easily finding its way in luxury taxi market due to proven reliability, mileage and Diesel engine, but for chauffeur-driven individuals, who are more concerned about maintenance costs, cutting fuel bills without compromising on sheer quality and comfort levels of a Toyota, Altis definitely makes a car worth taking the look at.
 
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Akash

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Likes, Dislikes and Ratings.

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What We Like about Toyota Altis Diesel?
[thumbsup]

  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Refined Engine
  • Excellent Comfort
  • Proven Product
What We Dis-Like about Toyota Altis Diesel? [thumbsdown]

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Less capacity Engine
  • Turbo Lag upto 1800-2000 RPM
The Automotive India Star Ratings

  • Design and Quality:
    (4/5)
  • Comfort Levels:
    (4.5/5)
  • Performance:
    (4/5)
  • Ride Quality:
    (5/5)
  • Handling:
    (4.5/5)
  • Fuel Efficiency:
    (5/5)
  • Safety:
    (4.5/5)
  • After Sales Service:
    (4.5/5)
  • Value For Money:
    (4/5)
 
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Awesome review there.
Whatsoever the mileage may be, I still feel this is not a value for money product from Toyota. [anger]
 
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Akash

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excellent review Akash!! i find the interiors a bit on the bland side but maybe i am spoiled by the Civic! LOL
Thanks Archit. Yes you are used to Civics interiors which is why you feel so.
But when its comes to the quality of plastics and the color combo used, Toyota has not compromised on it.

Awesome review there.
Whatsoever the mileage may be, I still feel this is not a value for money product from Toyota. [anger]
Thanks Marun.
 

vijay

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Excellent review buddy, surely this was the segment Toyota was missed, and finally they came out, and out with that tiny pot, not what was expected from them.Yes its not a rocket but also not to down boring, with perfect gear ratios to maximise the fuel efficiency this country dies for.Thats what i guess Toyota kept in mind.
Price is on the higher side comparing to the engine they are giving, also some of the features available in their petrol models are not available on the diesel ones.But what all may, it would still sell hot cakes, Its toyota, superb brand value, good ownership, good service backup plus toyota's good quality which lets it enjoy its premium.
 
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Good work again guys.

Though Corolla altis is an excellent car, but even I feel it is priced on very higher side. Nothing is present in this which is not available in other competitor diesel sedans at pretty low price. But again since it comes from Toyota, reliability is guaranteed.
 
Thread Starter #14

Akash

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Excellent review buddy, surely this was the segment Toyota was missed, and finally they came out, and out with that tiny pot, not what was expected from them.Yes its not a rocket but also not to down boring, with perfect gear ratios to maximise the fuel efficiency this country dies for.Thats what i guess Toyota kept in mind.
Price is on the higher side comparing to the engine they are giving, also some of the features available in their petrol models are not available on the diesel ones.But what all may, it would still sell hot cakes, Its toyota, superb brand value, good ownership, good service backup plus toyota's good quality which lets it enjoy its premium.
Yes vijay, Toyota did disappoint us with the the small disel mill, but then, Toyota had already indicated this before that the car has been given the mill for better fuel efficiency and not intended for enthusiasts.

Good work again guys.

Though Corolla altis is an excellent car, but even I feel it is priced on very higher side. Nothing is present in this which is not available in other competitor diesel sedans at pretty low price. But again since it comes from Toyota, reliability is guaranteed.
Thanks RSM, The main USP of this car is the Toyota Brand image and the excellent drive inspite of the small 1.4 D-4Dengine. You will never feel likeyou are overstraining the engine.
 
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as usual..gret report guys [thumbswink] but i will not buy altis for some reasons

it is very very common
its price is very steep

cruze has better design, price and features but rightly said that altis has reliability..can you compare its performance with cruze??
 
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