The nameplate that started in 1966, and which has spawned over 40 million examples since—toppling the venerated original VW Beetle off its all-time-bestselling-car perch—is now on its 11th generation, and by looks alone seems to have recaptured the verve it once packed. Nothing wrong with the recent-gen Corollas in terms of styling, performance or bulletproof reliability, but they grew up to be more mature rides. The latest model, which was launched last week in the Philippines still tagged as the Corolla Altis, puts style alongside the traits the car has a built its reputation on.
Toyota Motor Phils. (TMP) President Michinobu Sugata said Toyota has given the world’s best-selling car an exciting change that promises to exceed customer expectations.
TMP unveiled the 2014 Corolla Altis in seven trim and drivetrain options with two engine and transmission alternatives. The lineup starts with the 1.6E, moves up to the 1.6G pair, then another two 1.6V choices, and finally the top-spec 2.0V variants. Their price tags range from a low P836,000 to P1.216 million.
As can be gleaned from their alphanumeric designations, the new Corolla Altis is offered in 1.6-liter or 2.0-liter engines, both of which are holdovers from the previous model. But the 1.6-liter 1ZR-FE mill, which makes 120hp at 6,000rpm and 154Nm at 5,200rpm, can now be paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that used to be offered exclusively with the 2.0-liter engine, discarding the previous model’s automatic gearbox. The 1.6-liter can still also come with a six-speed manual.
The 2.0-liter 3ZR-FE, rated to make 143hp at 6,200rpm and 187Nm at 3,600rpm, remains bolted to the CVT. Both engines have four cylinders, dual VVT-i variable valve timing systems and DOHCs that manage 16 valves, which promise to fuse performance with good fuel consumption and cleaner emissions. Electric power assist steering systems aid in this.
TMP offers the Corolla Altis in several paintjobs—super white, silver metallic, gray metallic, black, red mica metallic and dark brown mica metallic. A white pearl color option is also available for P15,000 more.
TMP said the new Corolla Altis is bringing with it “heart-pounding excitement,” and it’s obvious that the car’s styling has a lot to do with this. The company said that just like Toyota’s other newly introduced vehicles, particularly the 86 and RAV4, the Corolla Altis also “expresses a signature Underpriority and Keen Look” with its “new shape” and “assertive lower grille.” TMP also called out the car’s LED jewelry on its headlamps—the only vehicle in its segment that have them, the carmaker noted.
In the cabin, the new Corolla Altis’s higher variants distinguish themselves with the console trim finished in what Toyota calls “cyber carbon material.” They also have Optitron gauges with dark blue illumination, leather seats (with the driver’s power-adjustable), multi-information display, six-speaker multimedia player with aux and USB inputs, leather or fabric trim and smart entry, among other goodies. Because it sits on a new platform, the latest Corolla Altis boasts increased legroom—over 92 millimeters front and rear, according to TMP.
Nearly 50-year-old nameplate
In November 1966, Toyota opened a new plant in Aichi, Japan, that was dedicated solely to Corolla production. Two years later, the car’s production began in Australia and Malaysia. From 1965 to 1968, Toyota said it more than doubled its total annual production from 480,000 to 1.1 million vehicles.
Toyota first exported the Corolla to North America in 1968, with global cumulative sales of the car reaching a million in only four years after its launch. In 1997, the Corolla became the world’s best-selling nameplate as deliveries exceeded 22.65 million units.
More than a million units have been sold each year since 2002. In 2012, 3,180 Corollas were sold every day across more than 150 countries and regions. At present, the Corolla is built in 15 plants worldwide and accounts for one in five Toyota vehicles that are sold—heart-pounding stats indeed.