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Old 23rd September 2011, 11:23   #1
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Default Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

If this comparison looks completely loony to you, then I request you to hold on and read the rest of the post, before you declare it so.

I am a happy Scorpio user, driving a vehicle from the first batch of early 2003 vintage. I have liked the Scorpio and had good times in it but now that the vehicle (and me) are 8 years older, I am looking for something more comfortable to drive. Though I waited for an year for the Scorpio to launch turning a blind eye to other tempting vehicles at that time and was mighty thrilled to have one of the earliest ones in Bangalore, I am no gearhead. So, I if had to list the few things that I would definitely want and a few "nice to have" features these would be:

* Must have
- Auto transmission
- Comfortable ride )
- A seating position that's not low (for my 6'2 frame)
- Bluetooth phone connectivity
- Electrically operated/retractable ORVMs
- Climate control
- Airbags
- Decent audio system
- Low NVH
- "Feel good" interiors
- fit a budget of 15-18L OTR (at the obscene prices prevalent in Bangalore )

* Nice to have
- Rear AC vents
- Parking camera
- Touch screen audio/display
- Good fuel efficiency
- Good space and rear seats

And to complete the picture,
# Not a big deal (I know this borders on blasphemy and hope this won't get me banished to the wilderness beyond t-bhp)
- Raw BHP/Torque numbers
- 0-100KMPH timing
- Behavior and handling at speeds greater than 120KMPH

I TD'ed the Laura Elegance, the Cruze, the Corolla and the Fluence Petrol - AT versions of all. I drive about a 1000KM a month and hence the diesel vs petrol conflict doesn't impact me as much. I had to eliminate the Cruze early from the race due to the quality of the interiors and as having the least comfortable seats and ride amongst the four. The Laura was very tempting but the Ambiente/Ambition was rather featureless while the Elegance crossed 20L even after the discounts.

That left the Corolla and the Fluence as the contenders - and hence the thread title. The cars are both petrol vehicles, fairly close in price (17.83 for the Fluence vs 18.06 for the Corolla), neither have discounts on offer and specc'ed out similarly.

Both have all the Must Haves and while the Fluence has a Dual Zone Climate Control, rear vents, the so-convenient sunscreens for the rear windows, rain sensing wipers the Corolla Altis has a touch screen audio system, 7-way electrically adjustable driver seats, HID lamps and washer. The Corolla looks better on the inside and the Fluence though not bad looking is let down by the rather plain console and the weird controls. The Fluence looks much better from the outside compared to the Corolla. The biggest difference though is the legendary reliability of the Toyota brand and predictable service costs vs the completely unknown Renault and the untested service center.

So there lies my dilemma and I come to the trusty team-bhp forums to seek wise counsel. Help! Thanks in advance.

PS:I would have loved a SUV-like vehicle (with the decidedly higher seating) if I could find one in my price range with all the Must Haves some of the nice to haves. But no joy there.
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Old 23rd September 2011, 15:58   #2
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Default Re: Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

I am in the similar dilemma although not considering Fluence and also looking for manual. I have driven almost all the cars in this price range and have liked Laura Tsi, Altis and Civic.

One thing that's pulling me towards the Japs is i can be assured that the car would run problem free for the next 10 years (or 100,000 Kms, which is what i will probably take 10 years to complete), and in the Japs the Civic has a fairly low GC which is giving us some worry and Altis looks like the best of the lot (Probably not a drivers car, but i lay more importance on trouble free long ownership over plain driving pleasure).

Now that being said i am still not signing the dotted line as what worries me is no discounts from Toyota for Petrol Altis, Chances of Merlin Launch which would enable me to move to a bigger size car (Which is what i need) at the same price. What will put me off in case of Merlin is if i don't see the QC improvements.

The other most important reason we are holding up on our purchase is getting the finances right so as we can think of increasing our budget and get the Fortuner instead which will serve us for the next ten years as a highway cruiser.
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Old 23rd September 2011, 16:09   #3
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Default Re: Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

If the choices are restricted to the Altis and Fluence, the Altis is a safer bet for obvious reasons - better A.S.S., better reliability and hassle free experience. I would imagine the Fluence is better built than the Altis. Its a new car though with hardly any ownership feedback. Its a bit of a risk IMO. And I'm sure there maybe just one Renault service center in your area.

The 7 speed AT box in the new Altis and the dual VVT-i technology are good additions to the earlier Altis. Expect FE of around 8-9 kpl or lower in traffic with an AT box.

If only you had found the Cruz comfortable, it would have been the most VFM option. And it has a stonker of an engine. And its also a diesel.
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Old 23rd September 2011, 16:22   #4
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Default Re: Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

The Fluence looks very tempting and is really well kitted out and has a better trim level in it's petrol avatar and has been given good reviews in the press. The fly in the ointment is after sales service and how it's going to be. Given that other Europeans aren't that good in the A$$ dept, in India. There is just one dealer in Chennai or may be the whole of TN, dunno about Bangalore. That's a bad scene and if you have a grouse with the dealer where do you go?
Toyota Corolla although a little spruced up in it's Altis avatar is the 'Plain Jane' here compared to the Fluence, but you will definitely not go wrong with it. To top it resale will be better for the Toyota any day, I guess. Goes without saying A$$ will be a given anywhere in India.
Herat says Fluence and head says Corolla Altis... One look at the Renault website (very nice) may be a deal breaker and also a TD.

Last edited by Durango Dude : 23rd September 2011 at 16:24.
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Old 23rd September 2011, 16:49   #5
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Default Re: Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

Might be off topic but you can read my driving impression (way down there in the thread on 1st page) on my TSi. Putting this since you did consider the Laura.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...ra-1-8tsi.html
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Old 23rd September 2011, 17:40   #6
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Default Re: Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

Hi there astatine, I am sure post driving a SUV driving a sedan will be quite different, I am fan of the new Tata Aria - It has all the features that you have been looking for in your car + space. The only downside is that it does not have auto gearbox. Its a monster on the road & I have seen it blast around the mumbai roads at a pretty quick pace. This is the only TATA vehicle I have ever recommended to anyone. Check out their website...

Tata Aria - The first Indian crossover - About 15L ex showroom

As for your choice between the Altis & the Fluence, I would go with the Fluence as it looks & feels like a more mature car to me. Renault makes good cars and the Logan users can vouch for that although their body structures are usually a hit & miss for many people. Not that the Toyota Altis has less on offer, just that it has been around for quite sometime & now the design as per me is dated.

The other available option is also the Ford Endeavour. Has got features to your liking & looks pretty mean on the road ! Well now the choice is yours...
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Old 23rd September 2011, 19:00   #7
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Default Re: Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

@fuel_addict - the Altis does look like a safe bet. The FE of both are very similar. The Fluence has a 6-speed CVT II and the Altis has a 7 Speed CVT. Not sure if there is anything to distinguish between them.

@Durango Dude - my wife and daughter like the Fluence. It is a distinctive car, at least for now. There is just one dealer in Bangalore (and none in the rest of Karnataka) and just one service center in the state too. That causes me to pause and think.

Thanks abhi1309.

@90BHP - I did check out the Aria. The primary drawback was the lack of the auto transmission. I was hoping the rather curiously named XUV will make its way with an auto variant as it looks like it might fall in this price range. But the reports say that the auto variant is for the international markets only.
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Old 24th September 2011, 10:40   #8
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Default Re: Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

Why isnt the new jetta in the wish list?My cousin had test driven it and was mightily impressed.Please take a test drive of the jetta just for the sake of it.

I was bent on sx4/vento diesel until i test drived the city and but the drive changed my mind.Awaiting my city now.

Wondering if the OTR in Ban is past your budget.
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Old 24th September 2011, 11:03   #9
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Default Re: Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

Quote:
Originally Posted by revintup View Post
Why isnt the new jetta in the wish list? ...
Wondering if the OTR in Ban is past your budget.
I did consider it - but did not proceed for a few reasons. The OTR for the AT variant is 22L in Bangalore. The GC is 139, significantly lower than any of the others. And lastly, the dealer said that he is still waiting for the TD vehicle (for the AT variant)!
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Old 24th September 2011, 19:56   #10
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Default Re: Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

Hey astatine,

Your opening post suggests that the scales for you are clearly tilted in favour of Corolla on account of Toyota reliability and service factor. I was wondering what the issue is till I read this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by astatine View Post
my wife and daughter like the Fluence.
Now, you cannot ignore your wife, and you will not ignore your daughter! Well, I did face similar situation some time ago. How did I wriggle out?

In case this is the key issue for you too, my practical suggestion would be, provided you are inclined towards the Corolla, try explaining patiently to your family your reasons for opting for it. They might well understand it. In case you've already tried and failed, well, let me now find an escape route!
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Old 24th September 2011, 23:10   #11
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Default Re: Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

A curious thing happened - one I haven't heard off from others or seen on t-bhp earlier. I was talking today to the sales reps of both the Toyota and Renault dealers and getting a few more details. The Renault guy offered to let me have the test vehicle for a day. Sounded good and I took him up on his offer. And guess what - I already have the Fluence with me since evening and it will be picked up again tomorrow evening! This will let me try it out real thoroughly. As you can imagine, this has already left a strong impression of willingness to go the extra distance.

Will let you know how things go.
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Old 25th September 2011, 00:44   #12
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Default Re: Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

Quote:
Originally Posted by astatine View Post
A curious thing happened - one I haven't heard off from others or seen on t-bhp earlier. I was talking today to the sales reps of both the Toyota and Renault dealers and getting a few more details. The Renault guy offered to let me have the test vehicle for a day. Sounded good and I took him up on his offer. And guess what - I already have the Fluence with me since evening and it will be picked up again tomorrow evening! This will let me try it out real thoroughly. As you can imagine, this has already left a strong impression of willingness to go the extra distance.

Will let you know how things go.
Okay this sounds awesome. Might be the Fluence then finally I have a feeling
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Old 25th September 2011, 01:15   #13
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Default Re: Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

Quote:
Originally Posted by astatine View Post
@fuel_addict - the Altis does look like a safe bet. The FE of both are very similar. The Fluence has a 6-speed CVT II and the Altis has a 7 Speed CVT. Not sure if there is anything to distinguish between them.

@Durango Dude - my wife and daughter like the Fluence. It is a distinctive car, at least for now. There is just one dealer in Bangalore (and none in the rest of Karnataka) and just one service center in the state too. That causes me to pause and think.

Thanks abhi1309.

@90BHP - I did check out the Aria. The primary drawback was the lack of the auto transmission. I was hoping the rather curiously named XUV will make its way with an auto variant as it looks like it might fall in this price range. But the reports say that the auto variant is for the international markets only.
How was the power of the car dude ? Was it fun to drive coz it really feels so to me man !
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Old 25th September 2011, 11:38   #14
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Default Re: Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

Quote:
Originally Posted by astatine View Post
A curious thing happened - one I haven't heard off from others or seen on t-bhp earlier. I was talking today to the sales reps of both the Toyota and Renault dealers and getting a few more details. The Renault guy offered to let me have the test vehicle for a day. Sounded good and I took him up on his offer. And guess what - I already have the Fluence with me since evening and it will be picked up again tomorrow evening! This will let me try it out real thoroughly. As you can imagine, this has already left a strong impression of willingness to go the extra distance.

Will let you know how things go.
That sounds cool. Well, the petrol Fluence is indeed a nice car, but the only part I dislike is the all beige interiors (including the steering wheel).
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Old 25th September 2011, 12:03   #15
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Default Re: Fluence Petrol vs Corolla Altis AT

Hi Astatine,
I bought a diesel Fluence 2 weeks back. I am happy with their sales team,and the service team follow up. They called me often,and they came home a week later to again explain all the features to me. They seem keen to bring abut a good image,that said, it is all too early to say. They are still selling in few numbers,hence they can have good customer relationship. They seem keen to establish in India,with their new launches. But people are skeptical, and i have taken a gamble.

But Renault engines have been around for some time,and generally trouble free.

Yes,both the cars have similar features. Apart from the features you mentioned,Fluence has keyless entry. I found the handbrake and start stop button positions comfortable.

So it finally boils down to the ride,and some basics(music and cooling).

What i would suggest is ,take your family in both the cars. See in which you all are comfortable (seating and suspension and car feel) . The fluence at present is fully CKD kit,and nice soft feel.

Also check the audio in both (play the same cd). And check the cooling too.

Some cars have a peculiar smell within (maybe the leather) and some may not like it,so it is better to TD with the family before the final decision.
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