With the arrival of the new Toyota Corolla Altis, the Japanese marque is certainly upping its game in the highly competitive C-segment sedan market.
The 11th generation Corolla Altis (the model has been around since 1966!) now boasts a cutting edge exterior design which, quite honestly, makes it one of the most exciting looking Toyotas to hit the road in a long time.
Not only does it look sharp and sporty, the new Altis is now longer by 80mm and wider (by 16mm) compared to the previous generation.
The wheel-base has also been lengthened by 100mm to 2,700mm for even more room in the cabin.
The CBU (completely built-up) model from Thailand comes in three variants: the 2.0V, the 2.0G and the 1.8E.
This review unit is the top-of-the-line 2.0V and looks even sportier as it is fitted with the optional Aerokit which consists of a front and rear bumper spoiler, side skirts and bootlid spoiler.
This car has an athletic stance with the lower profile at the front and lines that run high towards the rear.And check out those wheel arches, it is really pronounced here.
The curved front fascia (which resembles a crescent moon) features an intergrated grille and headlamp design (notice how the smoked-finish slats continue into the headlamps) which looks cool and is very sleek-looking overall.
And the Altis 2.0V does not stinge on equipment either as you get LED projector headlamps with automatic levelling and LED taillights and some very sporty-looking 17-inch alloy wheels.
Under the hood you will find a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve engine with Dual VVT-i (variable valve timing with intelligence) mated to a CVT (continuos variable transmission) with seven-speed sports sequential shift.
And this car is no slouch either with 145PS at 6,200rpm and 187Nm of torque at 3,600rpm.
Now, if you are still wary of CVT transmissions and the continuous drone that is often associated with it, well, you can put your mind at ease here.
The Altis simulates the gentle shift shock just like you would get from a traditional transmission.
Driving the Altis is pretty effortless in the sense that the leather-wrapped steering wheel is light, responsive and sporty too what with the thumb rests at the 10 and 2 o’clock position.
The seating position is nice and low for the driver and the car is, literally, fun to drive.
The throttle has a progressive feel.
The ride is comfortable and the Altis handles well through the corners without much body roll.
And if your foot feels a little heavy, just step on it and enjoy the excitement the car brings.
Plus, external noise is kept to a minimum, so it’s quiet in the cabin.
And when night falls, the cabin is radiated by a warm blue light which is also the same type of blue you will find emanating from the meter panel and climate control panel on the centre dash.
I mention this because it does have a calming and pleasing effect.
Gone are the wood trims in the interior like the previous Altis.
Instead, you’ll find silver coloured accents on the dashboard, doors, centre console and steering wheel.
There is even a carbon fibre-like motif (Toyota calls it ‘Cyber-Carbon’) surrounding the 7-inch touchscreen display which houses a 2DIN head unit with CD/DVD Player, MP3, Bluetooth connectivity as well as jacks for AUX, USB and an SD card slot.
Other conveniences include keyless entry and push start button, reverse camera, automatic air conditioning, the rear view auto electro chromic mirror which reduces glare.
Safety features include dual airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), vehicle stability control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRC).
All-in-all, the new Corolla Altis, priced around RM136K, offers a complete package (with or without the bodykit) and we like its brand new looks, engaging drive, functionality and versatility (its 470-litre trunk can fit four golf bags).