[Launched] The all-new Toyota Corolla Altis: A Legend Redefined

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Toyota – the world’s best selling car, has taken yet another step up in the automotive world. Wednesday saw the launch of the all new 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis – the 11th in it’s series, a long way since it’s the first Corolla rolled out of the factory in 1966.

A while back, I was honoured to be invited for a “blind feel test” of the new Corolla Altis. You see, Toyota has revamped the entire design of the Altis in a bid to attract the younger generation of drivers. So as part of their marketing and awareness campaign, we (some other bloggers and automotive personalities) were brought for a “mission” to “guess the car”. We were filmed during the entire process, and the end product/video was subsequently launched and screened during the Altis’ official launch last Wednesday.

When I first met the peeps from Cohn and Wolfe, the car wasn’t revealed to me at all – no brand, no make, no model, no category, no hints at all. So on the day of filming, we were brought to this super ulu industrial area and blindfolded. Yes blindfolded.  Macam kenna kidnapped. Like that.

Blindfold

Photo courtesy of Abigail Ng

Sidetracking, that’s Rosalind next to me. Rosalind is the President of the Sports Car Club Singapore.

Anyway, we took turns to “feel” the car, and in order to guess the make and model, we had to rely on our sense of touch, feeling our way through. It wasn’t too difficult to tell that it was a Japanese car, even though I must say the quality was solid and beyond my expectations.

During the filming process at the Toyota warehouse

During the filming process at the Toyota warehouse. Photo courtesy of Abigail Ng

I’ll keep you reading for a while more about the Altis, and I’ll post up the video at the end of this post :P

Coming back to the car, the 11th generation Altis is indeed a legend re-defined. The Altis is one of the most popular sedans on the road, and Toyota’s move away from it’s old traditional ah pek design will definitely attract more younger drivers.

Exterior

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The car adopted much of it’s design from the new Camry, housing bulky rear bumpers and rather extreme edges. However, the sweeping crease in the body, together with the flares in the wheel arches, all adds up to a more refined sense of luxury and at the same time, sportiness.

LED

Daytime running lights come standard now as part of the package, as well as LED headlamps. I’m extremely pleased with this feature – the first in it’s class to offer it as a standard equipment instead of an option.

Keyless entry on the Altis is now standard. Simply touch the handle's sensor to lock and unlock your car.

Keyless entry on the Altis is now standard. Simply touch the handle’s sensor to lock and unlock your car.

The Altis encompasses a wide range of technology, including keyless entry. Sensors located on the handle of the car doors allow you to lock/unlock the car just by tapping on it – you don’t even need to push any buttons.

Rims

Interior

Now if you think the exterior is impressive, the interior would probably make you go “wow” a second time. Features and technology you’d never imagine being offered as standard equipment in a car this class now becomes a reality.

Interior

The interior of the Altis is leather-wrapped, with intricate carbon fibre trimmings on the centre console to boost it’s sportiness. Features making your Altis worth the money now include a Start-Stop button, auto climate air conditioning, automatic headlamps and rain sensing wipers, as well as DVD Infotainment system complete with GPS fitted into your center console. (PS: Their GPS map comes from Garmin, by the way :P)

Small but reasonable centre armrest.

Small but reasonable centre armrest.

And for those who require more space for luggages or big items, you’d be glad to know that the rear seats also offer a 60-40 split. This isn’t a new feature – something that’s already very common but still a good to have!

Splitfold

Engine

Gear

The new Altis also comes with Toyota’s well-known Dual VVT-i engine, with the 1,591cc engine generating 121 bhp and 154 Nm of torque. I cannot really comment much on the engine and ride as I have yet to bring this beauty out for a spin, but I’m gunning my hopes on the new 7-speed Super Continuously Variable Transmission with intelligence (CVT-i). It is said to be more fuel-efficient, and at the same time, allows for a more comfortable and/or sportier ride, however you want it.

Conclusion

Rear

Based on just looks and feel alone, I dare say the new Corolla Altis easily wins the Honda Civic hands down. It is definitely an eye-opener, but the hefty price tag of slightly above S$130,000 might put some potential buyers off. With the car priced at the same level as a Volkswagen Golf or even a Mercedes Benz A Class, the new Corolla Altis has to prove it’s worth.

Toyota has brought quality, design and innovation to another level with the launch of this new sedan, and for now, let’s just hope that the drive would be justifiable of it’s accolades till date.

For now (as I’ve promised), here’s the video of our “blind feel test” of the new Toyota Corolla Altis. Enjoy :)

Check out the other videos here on the Corolla Altis! Firstly, the one by prominent blogger Bubbamama

And a blind test drive by automobile journalists Hong Tsui (http://www.9tro.com), Azafar Hisham (http://www.Burnpavement.com) and Singapore’s top female motorsports consultant Cheryl Tay (http://www.cheryltay.sg).

What I like:

  • Sportier and sleeker design
  • Technology and a lot of features now come as standard equipment
  • Enhanced Dual VVT-i supposedly reported to be more fuel-efficient

What I don’t like:

  • The ever bulky rear bumper (not a good mix especially with the small tail lamp assemblies)
  • Looks like a scaled-down Camry from certain angles
  • The price

The all-new Toyota Corolla-Altis is now available at approximately S$132,988. All information and prices are correct at time of publication of this post.

*Special thanks to the peeps from Cohn and Wolfe and Toyota Singapore for the invitation!

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