Honda Civic petrol and diesel: Road Test Review
- Jun 10, 2019
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Ask somebody who really knows about transportation design how difficult it is to redesign a next-generation car bearing a strong brand name and he’ll probably start sweating like he’s been thrown in the middle of the Amazon. Take the Toyota Corolla for example. When the Corolla Altis raised its head to be the replacement of the Corolla, it would have been a pretty daunting task for sure – but the end results were pretty good. They had come up with a car that carried on with the previous legacy of the Corolla and still added a fresh twist to the car’s design. But there’s a problem with any design – it ages, fast. Three years after the Corolla Altis was big news in its segment it has now got itself a facelift and accompanying the cosmetic job is a new transmission as well.
On the outside, the Corolla Altis gets curvier all round. While the body itself hasn’t been altered – in keeping with the basic laws of facelifting cars (if there existed anything as such), it’s the individual elements that have been subject to the redesign. For starters, and the part of the car that most people will immediately notice, is the reworked front end. The headlamps now retain their intrinsic shape but instead of the straight rulers, their lines are now governed by a set of French Curves. The front bumper gets a slight revamp as well, though it isn’t really noticeable at first glance to someone who hasn’t been told that the bumper has been redesigned in the first place!
The Corolla Altis’ grille gets some treatment as well and now helps distinguish between the gasoline and oil burning powerplant choices. While the Altis now gets a front grille that is more reminiscent of the bigger Camry, the petrol variants get chrome edged slats while the diesel car gets a single solid matt black bar running across its breadth. There isn’t much to write about in terms of changes to the right so we skip straight to the rear end and instantly our jaw drops in amazement – and disappointment. It’s hard to believe that the same team that came up with such a fabulous job to the front end also did what they’ve done to those tail lights. The less we say about them the better, and even more so because we can hardly look at them long enough to describe what’s going on there – judge for yourself! On the inside, Toyota has made the Corolla Altis more liveable for everyone. The dash gets a darker shade of the same beige colour that has adorned the previous car, but in being so, it makes it a lot more appealing and classy. The wood grain used all round the insides also gets darker and lest we forget, it now also has a funky touch-screen display audio system!
But far from being just a cosmetic job, the engineers at Toyota have added some muscle to the make-up as well – at least on the petrol car. The 1.8 litre engine’s cubic capacity has been bumped up by 4cc to now make it 1798cc. But it isn’t the mediocre rise in cc that we’re raving about – it’s the head surgery that really impresses. The Corolla Altis petrol now gets Dual VVT-i and if that sounds a little too complicated to you, it’s not. While most variable valve timing engines use the same mechanism to operate the intake and exhaust valves, the Dual VVT-i system employs two separate variable timing mechanisms for the exhaust and the intake valves, thus enabling even more precise control of the valve timing.
This now allows the petrol Altis to churn out 140PS @ 6400 rpm and torque is also up to 173Nm. With the increase in power also comes new transmission. Making their way into the Corolla Altis petrol armoury are a choice of a 6-speed manual and a CVT-i. The diesel Altis always came with a 6-cog manual and with this configuration on the petrol variant now, the Altis will be able to make better use of those extra horses not only on the performance, but also on the fuel efficiency fronts. The CVT brings in pure convenience for those looking at a hassle-free commute around the city in their Altis. But this isn’t just another hard-on-the-fuel-bills CVT if that’s what you’re thinking, because this gearbox maintains its revs between 1500 and 2000 rpm as the vehicle speed increases, thus resulting in better efficiency. And if you want to be more in control of your car’s gearing, it also comes with a 7-speed sequential shiftmatic mode – manual mode for those who don’t work in a Toyota showroom!
Overall fuel efficiency is up on both versions of the car as well – the ARAI claimed figures for the petrol car being at 15.22 kmpl and those for the diesel car at 21.45 kmpl. And then there’s a new colour that simply looks fabulous on the Corolla Altis – a nice sparkling metallic blue! All this surely puts a sting in the Toyota Corolla Altis’ now-ageing tail and should get it ready for the Renault Fluence onslaught of which you can read elsewhere in this magazine. Ready for another few years of sales success then, Toyota?
Recommended Variant : Corolla Altis 1.8 G
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