First Impressions – Toyota Corolla Altis
Yes, these are a few accolades that Toyota’s Corolla achieved in its 44 years of existence. Simply amazing!
Back home the story doesn't change one bit. Launched in 2003, the Corolla has done more for brand Toyota than any other product that has come and gone. It is the segment leader and after after a few tense moments post launch of the Honda Civic, the Corolla is back to the top spot and is looking good to continue its dominance in 2012.
Currently the 10th generation or Corolla E140 carries the blood forward. But it has been about three years since the last design review and that was starting to show. Time for a facelift? Hell yeah!
Face-lifting an existing design isn't as easy as it sounds. You have to make sure the car looks new while preserving the essence of the old design. However, a mere glance at the new Corolla Altis is enough to understand the designer’s intention – Make it sporty!
Walk up to the new Corolla and the first thing you notice is that the finer and more swept back headlamps. They get new HID bulbs capable of providing near perfect visibility at night. A set of washers neatly tucked away below the headlamps make sure that the visibility is not obstructed if the lamps are dirty
If you have a very keen eye, you will notice that the front bumper has been redesigned. It gets a taller air dam, fatter fog lamp surrounds and has an overall sculpted appearance. The new grill gets chrome slats which are only available in the petrol variant. The diesel gets a single solid matte black bar.
The front is sportier than the outgoing model but still fails to win second glances.
Moving to the side, you notice not much has changed from the outgoing model. The alloys wheels completely annihilates the designer's idea of 'making it sporty'. Whereas competitors like VW Jetta don the 'Navarra' wheel design which melt your heart, the new Corolla follows the KISS philosophy (Google it if you don’t know what we’re talking about!). The Bridgestone Turanza tyres have a pretty simple groove design. Nothing exciting over here.
One key difference is that the OVRMs now come with integrated indicators giving a more up-market appeal. The top variant gets keyless entry so there is a black button on the driver’s door
The rear reveals something very startling. The rear bumper is chiseled as if it has just gone a Botox treatment
There is so much going on in the tail lamps design it is very difficult to concentrate. The tail lamps get overly-treated with LEDs and a pair of reflectors on each side. Toyota’s obsession with chrome makes sure that there is a huge bar across the boot. A strip of red light is also available below the head rest. A set of parking sensors complete the rear design changes. This lot doesn't do rear spoilers.
As a facelift, the designer has done a commendable job of refreshing the old design with minor touches. But my root concern is that it is a very forgettable design. There is no art!
But then, I guess that was the point. Because most important of all changes have happened to the interiors and the mechanical components. Do tune in tomorrow to find out what they are.