All-new Toyota Corolla Altis vs. the competition, is it good enough?

Adrian Chia · Oct 09, 2019 01:01 PM

UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) has just launched the all-new 12th-generation Toyota Corolla Altis. Interestingly, the company pulled off the wraps of their new C-Segment sedan competitor in Sky Avenue, Genting Highlands.

According to UMWT’s marketing materials, the company choose the winding roads of Genting Highlands as the backdrop for the Corolla Altis to highlight the dynamic prowess of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform.

However, the sad reality is that to most buyers, driving excitement is the least of their concerns. What matters more to consumers is whether they are getting their money’s worth. After all, you are parting with RM 128,888 to RM 136,888, so the Corolla Altis better be worth every penny, on paper at least.

Let’s see how the Corolla Altis stacks up against its closest Japanese rivals – the highly anticipated Honda Civic facelift and the very expensive all-new Mazda 3.

First up, engine performance. The Corolla Altis uses the tried and tested 2ZR-FE 1.8-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder Dual VVT-i petrol engine paired to a CVT automatic carried over from its predecessor. It develops a modest 139 PS and 172 Nm of torque, making it the least powerful after the Mazda 3 1.5-litre (120 PS/153 Nm).

The Civic is available with a 1.5-litre four-cylinder V-TEC turbo petrol engine that develops 177 PS and 220 Nm of torque paired to a CVT automatic. In a straight line, it can hit 100 km/h from a standstill in 8.2 seconds.

On the Mazda 3 which is available with a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder SkyActiv-G petrol engine option has a healthy output of 165 PS and 213 Nm achieved through direct injection and high compression technology. It comes with a conventional 6-speed automatic transmission.

Not off to a great start but things pick up for the Corolla Altis from here on out. Riding on the brand’s much raved TNGA platform (shared with the Toyota C-HR and Camry), the Corolla Altis is the only car in the segment to adopt double wishbone suspension at the rear which promises superior ride and handling.

The Civic uses a multi-link set up while the Mazda 3 has rear damping sorted out by torsion beams.

It’s also good news on the safety side of things for Toyota with the range-topping Corolla Altis 1.8G comes with the full suite of Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS). Toyota Safety Sense, as they call it, bundles Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with Lane Tracing Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Having said that, while the Civic facelift does not come with BSM, it makes up for it with the Honda Lane Watch camera which projects a live footage of the passenger-side blind spot area to the infotainment screen. There's no blind spot monitoring for driver's side though but Honda argues that blind spot is more critical on the passenger's side.

On the upside, Lane Watch works really well when your passenger's side windows and mirror are blurred by rain drops in heavy rain. The camera continues to feed clear video even in very bad weather. 

Other features available in and outside of the Corolla Altis is par for the course with Bi-LED headlamps, keyless entry and start, 7.0-inch LCD TFT multi-info display, 6.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 6-speakers, leather upholstery, 8-way powered driver seats and a 360-degree surround-view camera.

Unique to the Corolla Altis is Qi Wireless charging tray, manual rear sun blinds as well as built-in front and rear Digital Video Recorder (dashcam). However, it lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Both the Civic and Mazda 3 have it, which is why my colleague will not put his money down for the Toyota.

The largest wheel size available on the Corolla Altis measures 17-inches in diameter (225/45 R17 tyres) which one inch down from its rivals.

For the number of features and its fully imported nature (from Thailand), RM 128,888 for the 1.8E and RM 136,888 for the 1.8G is a fair price to pay. You are getting quite a generous amount of kit coupled with promising driving experience. Not to mention the reliability and assurance of the Toyota badge.

However if straight-line performance is more of your thing, the Honda Civic 1.5 V-TEC Turbo would still be a better pick. Or if you fancy a more premium interior, the Mazda 3 is where your money should go to.

Read our review of the all-new Toyota Corolla Altis here.