DRIVEN: 2012 TOYOTA COROLLA ALTIS

Yaaawn… oops! We’re supposed to review the 2012 Toyota Corolla Altis here. But before we get to it, one thing really bothers us. What is Toyota doing these days? Granted they have been recovering from the tsunami, are dealing with recalls (multiple times), manufacturing defects, but how did it come to all this? This is the same company that built the Supra, the 2000GT, the MR2, the AE86, used to race in Formula 1, races in Le Mans… they own Lexus that gave us the absolutely mindblowing LFA… what gives? If you are wondering why we are ranting so much, there is a reason. The cars we listed earlier are all so exciting, so… raw that they got your blood going and adrenaline pumping. It is hard to believe this is the same company that builds the Toyota Corolla. Could it be the case where the once mighty have fallen?
Plus: In all honesty, we found it really hard to pin point the good aspects of this car. After thinking hard (and really hard), we came up with a few points. Mileage. Toyotas are known to be very fuel efficient cars. That has not changed. The 140HP, 1.8L, 6 speed manual, petrol version we tested gave us about 12 kilometers per liter around town. That’s very good for a 1.8L engine considering the amount of stop and go traffic you have to deal with. The interior, while not luxurious, is well laid out and you get the impression the engineers have actually put some thought into the interior design. The stereo system is actually very nice and you get some cool features like an in-dash DVD touchscreen and a remote. The price is average compared to other cars in its segment (Honda Civic, Chevrolet Cruze etc.) It reminds us of a Jack of all trades.
Minus: Where do we begin!? They say every car has a soul. Drive the 2012 Toyota Corolla Altis and you will feel like the soul went out for a walk. It is that boring. Sure you have enough power to get you from Point A to Point B, but you most definitely don’t want to feel like a corpse getting there! They also say looks are subjective but we in our right minds cannot get ourselves to say this is a good looking car. Let’s just say it is functional. Toyota also had the reliability factor going for it in the past but with all the recalls lately, one has to question the quality control process at the plants for their current models.
Overall: Being automobile enthusiasts we wouldn’t recommend purchasing the Corolla. But we also realize several potential buyers will overlook the negatives and still purchase the Toyota just for the name. Years of marketing, brand management and delivering a reliable product does have its plus sides. Toyota definitely has that going for them. We just hope they are able to get out of this funk they seem to be in and step it up a notch. The other two big Japanese manufacturers (namely Nissan and Honda) have definitely cut into Toyota’s marketshare and this trend will continue unless Toyota can show why they were voted the most reliable car in the world. Over and over again.

The Toyota Corolla Altis is currently on sale in India at a starting price of Rs. 12,50,000 (~$25,000) for the Petrol version to Rs. 16,50,000 (~$33,000) for the Diesel version.

Take a look at the detailed specifications.

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