Home / Reviews / Altered Burning – Toyota Corolla Altis


For a long time we had been looking forward to Toyota’s diesel variant of the Corolla Altis. Harmaan had told me about the hatchback version, powered by a 1.4-litre diesel, that is sold abroad. From what he told me, there was no doubt this one was going to be an exciting car. At the same time, I haven’t been a fan of the Altis’ petrol variant. So, both these factors had given rise to a mixed set of presumptions in my mind before actually getting behind the wheel of the new Corolla Altis’ diesel iteration.

Nurturing presumptions about a car before actually driving it is nothing short of a grave mistake for an automotive journalist. So, as soon as the car arrived at the office, I took the key and went out for a spin.

The engine comes to life with the typical diesel feel. However, the gruff of the diesel vanishes as soon as you get going. The refinement levels of this motor are unbelievably good. And so is the feel of the powerplant. Pulling smoothly and linearly from as low as 1,000 revs, the Altis comes into its element about the 2,000 rpm mark and from there on it puts a smile on your face.

It was totally unexpected of the Corolla Altis to pull that well and keep pulling all the way until over 175 km/h, especially considering that it has just a 1.4-litre engine that puts out a maximum of 88.4 PS. However, it’s the 205 Nm of torque that makes you smile and the linearity of its delivery is the real hobgoblin that makes you fall in love with the way the engine responds to the movement of your right foot. Naught to 100 km/h in just 13.3 seconds tells us the story. Compare this with 11.5 seconds of the Altis’ 1.8-litre petrol version and you realise how impressive the much smaller and much less powerful diesel motor is.

But it’s not just the pedal-floored condition alone that delights you. An even greater surprise is in store during the city traffic drive. The strong pull and torque delivery from low revs to higher ones calls for lesser gearshifts. In fact, during my hour’s drive through the hugger-mugger of Pune streets and traffic, I could stick mostly to the fourth cog, barring a couple of times when I had to drop speed drastically either to stop for a red light or to move slowly on for a bus to give me way.


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