2017 Toyota Corolla Altis Test Drive Review – Frugality with Flair

What is it?

This is the facelifted version of the 11th Generation Toyota Corolla Altis.  The current generation has been on sale in India since May 2014, but has been facing heat from the new Hyundai Elantra and the Skoda Octavia. This new 2017 model brings about changes to the styling and minor updates to the interior as well. It continues with the same set of engine and transmission options. This particular model you see here is the diesel variant in GL trim. Toyota does not offer the diesel in the top-spec VL trim. We spent some time with the sedan to find out what’s new. And we’ll tell you all about it in our 2017 Toyota Corolla Altis Test Drive Review here.

2017 toyota corolla altis test drive review front angle

Also See – 2017 Toyota Corolla Altis Facelift

What’s New?

On the outside, there is a new nose complete with redesigned headlamps, new grille and a new bumper. The headlamps appear much sleeker now and give the front a rather sporty look. They are full LED units that also feature daytime running LEDs. Towards the lower end of the new bumper is a much wider air dam stretching from end to end. This being the GL trim, there are no fog lamps on offer.

2017 toyota corolla altis test drive review front angle

Only people with a very keen eye will be able to spot changes made to the rear. Apart from new detailing for the tail lamp, there isn’t much new here. A thinner chrome appliqué above the number plate and new alloy wheel design just about wrap up the changes Toyota has made to the exterior of the new Altis. Top end VL trim gets new 16-inch dual tone rims, as opposed to the GL’s smaller 15-inch alloys.

2017 toyota corolla altis test drive review rear angle

Once inside, you will be hard pressed to spot what’s new. In terms of the dashboard design, the centre console and the aircon controls have restyled. Also new are the circular aircon vents placed at each end of the dashboard. In terms of the colour scheme, the beige now seems a shade brighter. Rather shockingly, none of the Corolla Altis Diesel variants get an audio system or a touchscreen. In the case of the petrol variants, a touchscreen is a standard across all trims. What makes the absence of an audio unit even weirder is the presence of speakers and steering mounted audio and telephony controls.

2017 toyota corolla altis test drive review interior dashboard

Aside from that glaring omission, even the GL trim is fairly feature loaded with kit like an electrically adjustable seat and ORVMs, auto dimming IRVM, LED headlamps, climate control, high res MID and the works. Like most Toyotas, the Corolla Altis too is solidly put together with not much to complain about in terms of quality, and fit and finish.

Also See – Toyota Innova Crysta Review | Toyota Fortuner Off Road Review

What about the Specifications?

There aren’t any changes in this department. It continues with the same 1.8 L Petrol and 1.4 L Diesel as the car it replaces. As mentioned earlier, for our test drive review, we had the diesel Altis. The overall performance is as underwhelming as the 1.4 L engine’s specs suggest. The gearbox needs to be worked a fair bit to extract the most out of this unit. Turbo lag is very prominent as the car struggles under 1800-2000 RPM.

2017 toyota corolla altis test drive review engine

That said, there are instances when it shines. The six-speed transmission mated to this engine lets you cruise along the highway effortlessly with the engine hovering around the 2000 RPM mark.  True, overtaking high-speed traffic does take some planning and working the smooth shifting 6-speed manual gearbox, but the Altis D can easily cruise at speeds of 140-150 km/h all day long. Toyota claims an average figure of around 21.3 KMPL for the diesel.

Is it Comfortable?

Yes, very comfortable. We have always liked the way the Corolla handles bad patches of road and the new 2017 model is no different. Those of you looking to hand the keys over to your chauffeur, which is highly recommended if you’re buying the diesel variant, will be happy to know the rear offers good legroom and headroom. Also, unlike its competitors, the rear seats recline to make the backseat experience even more rewarding.

2017 toyota corolla altis test drive review front angle

When it comes to handling, the Corolla Altis, again, does well. Body roll has been contained well, despite the suspension being tuned for comfort rather than handling. The steering feels nice to hold and has the right amount of weight depending on what the situation warrants – light and easy at slow speeds, heavier as the speeds build up. We reckon the petrol variant with the more powerful 1.8 L unit will be more of a hoot to drive.

Should I Buy One?

While we have no qualms about recommending the petrol variant, it’s the diesel Altis, the one we tested, that is a bit of a hard sell. If you’re looking for a diesel powered sedan in the 15-20 lakh space, then there are better options out there. For roughly the same amount of money, you can opt for other sedans that offer more equipment and better performance. Using a smaller engine hasn’t really given Toyota a price advantage over its chief rival, the Hyundai Elantra. However, there are certain aspects of car ownership that have made Toyota products so popular and these factors work in favour of the Altis as well.

2017 toyota corolla altis test drive review 3

The Toyota Corolla is a really handsome and a stylish car to look at. It offers a really spacious cabin, with a set of really comfortable seats. Like most Toyotas, the Corolla Altis too is very well put together. This car also offers a really comfortable ride, with the suspension being suitably tuned to tackle worst of the road conditions. Toyota Corolla Altis, then, comes across as a car that makes for a really great commuter that can also handle the occasional highway jaunts.

2017 Toyota Corolla Altis Test Drive Review Images

2017 Toyota Corolla Altis Test Drive Review – Specifications

Engine Type/ Displacement1.8 L Petrol1.4 L Diesel
Power138 BHP87 BHP
Torque173 Nm205 Nm
Transmission (Gearbox)6-speed Manual/CVT6-speed Manual
Mileage (claimed)16.7 KMPL21.3 KMPL
Length4620 mm
Width1775 mm
Height1475 mm
Wheelbase2700 mm

2017 Toyota Corolla Altis Test Drive Review – Pricelist

ModelPrice (ex-showroom Delhi)
2017 Toyota Corolla G 1.8 Petrol ManualRs 15.88 Lakhs
2017 Toyota Corolla G 1.8 Petrol AutomaticRs 17.53 Lakhs
2017 Toyota Corolla GL 1.8 Petrol ManualRs 18.31 Lakhs
2017 Toyota Corolla VL 1.8 Petrol AutomaticRs 19.92 Lakhs
2017 Toyota Corolla DG 1.4 Diesel ManualRs 17.36 Lakhs
2017 Toyota Corolla DGL 1.4 Diesel ManualRs 19.05 Lakhs

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