Yuppies, single studs, working moms, taxi drivers, well-off students, first-car owners: nearly everyone had driven/wanted to own/craved an Altis.[firstpara] The adulation given the car was brought about by its being both a working class vehicle and a pamporma one.
As in: capable of satisfying those addicted to automobile aesthetics and on-road ability.
But that was 3 long years ago. And around late 2009 to early 2010 newer sedans were already eclipsing the once-mighty Altis—well, at least, performance-wise.
And then came the deathblow: The Altis became bland for its class.
The workmanlike looks and engine competence weren’t both enough to warrant a second look. Like a fledging film franchise (think Batman before Christopher Nolan), it needed a reboot.
Welcome the 2010 Toyota Corolla Altis. Unveiled late last year, the new and improved Altis is actually more of a facelift than a new model. But, who cares? Again, the old model badly needed an upgrade of whatever kind.
First, the looks, which is the most noticeable innovation in the new Altis. A bar type front grille lined with mesh on the inside has smoked headlamps and a pair of foglamps. There’s not much difference on the rear—rear combination lamps—but the side spoilers and the five-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels spells P-O-G-I.
The insides are filled with what we’d like to call standard issue “for-comfort’s sake” advancements: optitron meter gauges, an integrated 2-DIN In-Dash sound system with six speakers and auxiliary input, an automatic climate control with a digital push-type control panel with clean air filter. Basically, it looks new and you’ve got a whole lot more to tinker with.
But the new Altis’ has an added oomph. For those who bother with the technical mumbo-jumbo—like our brothers in Top Gear, who explained to us the next few bits— know that “the Corolla Altis is still powered by a 2-liter engine now equipped with an Acoustic Control Induction System that increases the engine’s air intake for better fuel combustion.”
Translation: When we drove the new Altis we found it to be freaking fast (albeit not Fast and the Furious fast, but “will-leave-the-buses-in-EDSA” fast), comfy (we brought the wife and kid to Tagaytay, they slept half the way), spacious (with leg space almost comparable to Toyota’s luxury sedan, Camry) and fuel efficient (about 12-15km/l).
“Beat that [again],” we imagine the Toyota think-tanks saying.