Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 Elegance Review : Simple. Not Basic

By Clifford Chow, 07 April 2022

Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 Elegance Review : Simple. Not Basic

Singapore - I believe that the word could always do with cars which are simple. The Corolla is Toyota’s gift to the world. A car built to move the masses. Simple, reliable and surely no-nonsense. 

While more buyers are making a switch to SUVs (which also prove to be more expensive, both to buy and to run), the humble compact sedan seems to always have a place here in Singapore. The Corolla has been etched in stone as the benchmark to emulate, or the one to beat.

Now in its 12th generation, the humble Corolla now receives a little more flair in its design. The most important change here, is that Toyota has gone back to a double-wishbone setup at the rear, which better sorts out jiggles over humps, and greatly improves the compact sedan’s road behaviour. 

The car here is the higher-spec ‘Elegance’ model, which gets fancier 17-inch rims and the brand’s safety suite, Toyota Safety Sense (TSS). This adds goodies like Dynamic Cruise Control, Pre-Collision System (PCS) and the common Lane Departure Warning with Steering Wheel Assist.

Toyota Corolla Altis - interior

The exterior may be prettier, but Toyota does have a little catching up to do on their interior quality. While it is decently good, both its Honda and Mazda Japanese rivals have upped their game, and so have the Korean competition. But the areas where your fingers poke and your hands go, are decent enough. 

My gripe about quality aside, the 12th generation car has plenty going for it, though this is a mixed bag. All-round visibility has improved, in part thanks to the addition of the tiny front vent windows. Drive info is now provided by a larger 7-inch Multi-Information Display, which sits between a set of analogue dials. The infotainment screen, I feel, could be larger, but it is adequately functional, and supports Bluetooth connectivity. There is also a wireless charging pad for you to charge your mobile device.

The air-conditioning features a Nano-e purifier system which feeds clean air to front occupants through a dual-zone setup, while rear passengers get a simple twin blower. All windows have one-touch functionality. You also get a driver’s side electric seat, with electric lumbar support, but you get no memory. 

Passengers at the rear get a good amount of legroom, easily more than the Mazda 3, but also easily less than the Skoda Octavia. Its generous 470 litre boot is a little too deep for my liking, and the rear seats, though they fold 60:40, leave a kerb when dropped.

Toyota Corolla Altis - the drive

The 12th generation car gets the same engine as the previous car, which is a 1.6 litre NA four-cylinder, which develops 129hp and 159Nm. This is like in the previous car, linked to a CVT. Toyota claims that their 12-gen car does 6.4l/100km combined, and we were not too far away from this figure, managing 6.9l/100km.

The Corolla, which sits on Toyota’s New Generation Architecture (TNGA), which is also used on the larger Camry, does a decent job of taking on Singapore’s patchwork of lumpy road surfaces. Overall, the Corolla feels composed, and as mentioned earlier, that rear double-wishbone has done its part to tame that previously wallowy rear-end. There is also a fair bit of interior insulation, ensuring that conversations within, are not done with raised voices.

Slip the sedan into a bend, and it inspires confidence which we have never felt in the past. The new Corolla sits lower, which contributes to how well it sticks. 

It may be far from being a driver’s car, but it is fair to say that Toyota has brought it closer to being one.

PHOTOS Clifford Chow

Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 Elegance
Engine 1598cc, inline4
Power/rpm 129hp/6400rpm
Torque/rpm 159Nm/4200rpm
Transmission CVT
Top Speed 190km/h
Fuel Consumption 6.4/100km
CO2 145g/km

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