Evolution of the Altis
By Tessa R. Salazar INQUIRER.net AFTER SATISFYING over 32 million owners around the world and undergoing nine "generational" changes, the Toyota Corolla is ready to take another step up in the evolutionary ladder. So, 42 years after the first Corollas came out of the assembly line worldwide, the 10th generation Corolla Altis makes its debut in the Philippines in March. And basing on raw measurements: the overall look can now be described as sportier, but roomier. That seems contradictory at first, but read on and you'll get the picture. It may not look as sporty as the 5-door Corolla Auris hatchback, the one that you will see in Europe and Japan, but at least the 10th generation Altis is sportier than its local predecessors. It is longer, wider and with an about-to-pounce lower stance than the current model, albeit its platform (the 1.6- and 1.8-liter) are the same. With some modifications in suspension, steering and key engine parts, it shows new overall dimensions: length of 4,540 mm (from 4,530), width of 1,760 mm (from 1,705), and height of 1,465 mm (from 1,480). It now has a wider footprint as well: 1,520 mm at the front from the previous 1,480, and the rear at 1,525 mm from 1,460. Surprisingly, reduced external measurements have resulted in a more spacious interior: length of 1,890 mm (from 1,850); width of 1,450 mm (from 1,380). The exception here is the interior height, which has been slightly reduced (1,195 mm from 1,230). Still, Toyota designers have sworn that they made sure the headroom at the front and rear have not been sacrificed. Performance-wise, the new Altis promises more excitement for the driver. From hydraulic steering, the 10th-generation Altis features electric power steering. EPS is supposed to make sharp turns on narrow streets easier. All grades of the new Corolla Altis have as standard the anti-lock brake system and airbags. The current available entry model J Grade has no ABS, and only a driver's airbag. All the automatic transmissions come with super ECT (electronic controlled transmission). It is programmed to utilize the best gear in relation to the road conditions. This feature in the current model is only available in the 1.8 variant. All automatic models have multi-mode transmission (sequential transmission), with 4-speed gate-type automatic transmission (the multimode sequential) is available in the 1.8 V-grade. The new full-model change Altis starts with 15-inch rims, with the 16-inch rims for the high grade. The current entry level and midgrade variants have 14- and 15-inch rims, respectively, for the high grade. The new Altis has three grades, two engines and five variants: The high-end V grade in 1.8- and 1.6-liter automatic transmission, the G grade at 1.6-liter automatic and manual transmissions, and the entry level E grade at 1.6-liter manual transmission. Color options are gray metallic, medium silver metallic, silver metallic, beige metallic, black mica and super white. It features 8-way power seats that can be adjusted down to the millimeter, combined with the tilt and telescopic steering. It has steering switches for control for the audio system and multi-information display (MID). The MID shows current and average fuel consumption, cruising range, average speed, elapsed time and fuel unit changeover. The V-grade has a DOT matrix feature for the MID for the standard reminders. It has a two-level glove box, drink holders for the front and rear passengers, and as much as 21 separate storage compartments placed throughout the cabin. Trunk spaces guarantee the storage of as much as four golf bags, which can be maximized further if 60:40 split rear seats are folded completely. The 4-cylinder, in-line 16-valve DOHC VVT-i engine offers maximum output of 132 ps/6,000 rpm and maximum torque of 170Nm/4,200 rpm for the 1.8-liter variant. While the 1.6-liter variant offers maximum output of 109 ps/6,000 rpm and maximum torque of 145 Nm/4,400 rpm. MacPherson Strut Type front suspension and rear torsion beams are implemented for better handling stability and driving comfort. Sporty 10-spoke 16-inch alloy wheel design is available for the V-grade while 7-spoke 15-inch alloy wheels are available for the G and E grades. Active safety features include Antilock Brake System with Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist, combined with the 15-inch front and rear disk brakes for better braking response. Passive safety features include standard Toyota Global Outstanding Assessment (GOA) body structure, dual SRS airbags (for V-grade), and Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) Concept front seats. The 2008 Corolla Altis will be available in the 26 Toyota dealerships by March. In its 42-year history, the Corolla has been the sedan of choice for 32 million owners in over 140 countries. In the Philippines, the Corolla was one of Toyota's first models to be sold. It has become one of the country's biggest-selling vehicles, with over 170,000 units sold since 1989. The Corolla is manufactured in 16 countries.
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