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Old 30th January 2011, 19:52   #1
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Default My New Toyota Altis : Sharing the shortlist and ownership story so far

Dear BHPians, Thank you for all the advice and guidance provided directly or to others on this site , I finally homed in and purchased the Corolla Altis in on 1st October 2010. So , the next obvious question is, what took you so long to write about this?? Valid question, but I wanted to actually get a first hand feel of the driving, the pros and the cons myself before I wrote in this forum. ‘cause I believe the content on this forum is taken seriously by a lot of people .

The Selection process : My selection process would beat the most confusing one that you folks would have read so far. I owned a Hyundai Accent since 2002 and was a very satisfied owner, but it was time to move on. I was sure I wanted on my new car a few safety features like ABS and Airbag, there would be no compromise here; it had to have a reasonably large boot ;it had to be reliable ; have reasonably low running and maintenance costs and be comfortable for a family of 4 to travel on the Indian highway in comfort and safety . Well by the way, I was not complaining if it also provided some social image. Barring the minimum safety option every thing else could be compromised on a case to case basis.

My initial short list ( if this can be called one at all!!) began with Tata Safari, Mahindra Scorpio Automatic, Innova, Verna ( Both Manual and Automatic), SX4, Honda City, Honda Civic, Cruz, Volkswagen Jetta Corolla, and Skoda Octavia. The 3-4 month long evaluation involved 3 distinct steps.

1. Read up the Forums on Team BHP for the particular Car

2. Test Drive the Vehicle

3. Try and speak directly to some owners to reinforce your resolve for that vehicle

As, you would imagine , this was not an easy task and a lot of times I almost finished the process and found myself as undecided as I was at the beginning of the process. But rather than take you through the entire rigmarole, let me put a quick synopsis on my take at that time on each of these vehicles

Tata safari- Have always aspired to own one, the owners of Safari are very passionate and possessive about their vehicle. The test drive was great, the feeling of being the king of the road was thrilling. Reading the Team – BHP forums made me realise that what I was evaluating was more of a cult machine than a mere car. Every thing looked perfect, then, I met a couple of colleagues who owned a Safari, very proud owners who insisted that this would be the best decision, however I did not feel comfortable with some of the details like the niggling electrical glitches, the Krrr sound that came as a feature, the squeaks from the tail gate section and one BHpian who had to replace his Safari’s engine since some workshop blotched up. I was not mentally ready to tolerate this uncertainty after spending close to 1.3 million bucks of my hard earned money. I was from the Hyundai and Maruti Era where reliability and quality were a given even at a third of this spend.

Scorpio : I loved this beast, I suddenly figured out why this was the getaway car of choice. The road presence, the power…it was amazing and the automatic took this to a new levels, The Mahindra dealer who gave me a test drive of the automatic created the first question mark, to me they knew nothing about the automatic and how the whole blessed thing worked, they offered to give me a copy of the manual to discover this myself!! I did get advice on this from team BHP, it was encouraging and realistic. There is this thread by a Bhpian, who went to Ladak in his 4x4 automatic scorpio, he damaged his ATF reservoir and the rest of the story was heart rending for any car lover. While all did end well, thank fully in his case, this set in the second question mark. I was refered to 3 owners by the dealership, I spoke to 2 of them, they were very helpful, but suggested that if I’m going to drive most of the time in the city, Scorpio may not be the best choice- At this point the Mighty, Muscular Scorpio got off my list.

Innova : This car does not need any introduction in this forum, it is a really large sized Sedan, atleast it rides like one, however the family was of the opinion that this was too much of a taxi image, while I tried to convince them with statistics, which is on the contrary, I decided to drop this from a long term peace perspective; no point in buying a car which the family feels apologetic to travel in.

Verna : I loved my Accent and Hyundai was a company I would trust with my eyes closed. The Manual Petrol was nothing much to talk about , but the automatic diesel was a different story, it was a hoot to drive, however, my son who was the passenger in the back bench during the test drive felt that it was a sort of too bumpy for comfort a ride, also the Verna did not have airbags even as an option, so Verna Dropped out.

Maruti SX4 : The SX4 had every thing that I had listed out as requirements , both in safety features as well as reliability, but the a pillar really got me uncomfortable with the blind spot, I spoke to a few owners , they said one would grow over it in a matter of few days, however this confidence was not infectious enough for me to make that choice.

Honda City : Wonderful car to drive , talked about a lot by the auto journalist fraternity, but I did not see why I was paying such a premium for the Honda badge, sorry Honda fans , the car did not measure upto justifying why I was paying almost as much as I would for a car of the upper segment
Honda Civic : Dream to drive, futuristic design, the snob value of a Honda Badge ,a great driver’s car , this car travelled all the way along in my list, On team BHP I have read a lot on a driver who is performance oriented vs Family oriented, frankly, I can understand the first part on performance if I were in Germany, US or any other country which afforded high speeds , but frankly I believed , Civic was the best compromise between the two ( performance and family), but the Honda folks had not factored in the famous humps in Sarjapur in Bangalore, she scrapped 2 out of the 3 humps and having a lot of experience doing this with my accent for 8 years, this is not something I really cherished. Civic owners loved their car, but complained about way too expensive spares if at all they were needed; it was a Honda after all you see…

Cruze : I drove the pocket rocket and for all that is worth I endorse this line, it is brilliant, the kids too loved the jazz and bells it provided, I tested the manual one though. The test car had the anti-lock brake warning lights on all the time, on asking the sales guy he told me something like, it is an error and that was caused when the car had to go of the road during a test drive and the brakes were applied!! Excuse me sir, I’m not going to drive around my portico, and at 17 lakhs + on road , I expect something which operates better than a Chinese toy. The sales man also told me that service intervals were 5K kms , cars that cost ( read Linea, Manza…) half that have a 10-15 K service interval, the rocket perhaps could also get my service bills to sky rocket in a 5year ownership cycle, I thanked the dealer for the test drive and that I thoroughly enjoyed the ride , but I did not think I would like to own one.

Jetta : Again great to drive, true German engineering in motion, but tad too expensive for the budget I was looking at, the expensive spares bit combined with this put me on the back foot here, may be this would be a car I would look for my next replacement

Skoda : The feeling was similar to that of the Jetta minus the premium factor that I felt when I was driving a Jetta, the feedback on after sales service from a neighbor and another colleague ensure I did not look that way again, I really was hoping that all that I heard was wrong, but that first hand feed back was way too powerful to ignore or overcome.

Corolla Altis : I had read ad nauseum that you cannot go wrong with a Toyota, the bullet proof quality , resale value…blah blah, did this tilt my decision?? Frankly I do not know, but I would like to believe that it did not, to me this was a car that was Spacious, had good boot space, they had service centers both close to home as well as my office; a plus point . It had very good GC,( it had Sarjapur in mind) had fairly good fuel efficiency for its size, was put together well and I liked the drive. While it was not like the one with the Civic or the Jetta, I thought it was fairly decent for the money you paid. My opinion folks , you are free to agree or otherwise. The other bit I loved had nothing to do with the car, it was the tenacity of the dealership to keep me abreast, provide multiple test drives and do all of this with a smile and letting me decide rather than pushing me to decide. An example , a month before my final decision, The Altis diesel was launched , the dealership called me and offered to send a car over the weekend for a test drive. Who would not feel good about a treatment of this sort?? The Civic was still ahead as far as the driver in me spoke, and believe me, it will be. But hey, this is family man talking so let us get to what looks more practical for a comfortable travel for a family.

Corolla Altis Diesel : In mid September , Nandi Toyota offered me the Altis diesel for test drive, I had read a lot of hue and cry on the puny engine that this car was launched with in India. The story was consistent across various auto sites. I drove the car and felt this was brilliant. Never felt wanting for power, was silk smooth and claims were that it would be frugal on the fuel. The 6 gear box is brilliant for daily city driving and some for the highway, however, for a 10-12K per year usage I figured out that Petrol would be a better choice for me.
I know there are fan clubs for each of the cars I have kind of pronounced a verdict upon, but , this is my opinion and this could change with time or with more interactions with various owners, so no offence meant to anyone out there, but if this is a help as many of the threads in there were while making a decision, I have succeeded.

The Decision…

I had two Toyota dealers in fray, Nandi Toyota and Ravindu Toyota, frankly I believe , the former dealership is a tad more perceptive, proactive and hungry for business than the latter. The courtship with the two dealerships went on for over 4 months, it surely would have flustered other sales men but not the Toyota guys, being a sales man myself, I love that never say die attitude.

I finally decided to go with Ravindu, as , post my decision making, I wanted the car fast, Golden Champaign was my choice of colour, but Nandi only had this colour in Diesel , the only colour they could offer immediately in petrol was white. Ravindu was luckier I must say, they had Silver and I settled for the same. Ravindu agreed for a 5k cash discount and 10K worth of accessories, I had a friend at Toyota and he help me get another 10K of accessories so, 20K worth of accessories apart from 3M sun Film and reverse Sensor and 5K in cash. The Accessories I choose were chrome Wheel Arches, chrome Front Lip, Corner Rub Strips, Window Visors ( If you are wondering if this is all you get for 20K well that is all you get for the price mentioned at the dealership!!)
The car was delivered to me at my home on 30th September at the promised time, the Toyota Team, gave me a walk through of the features, handed over the keys, got a few signatures and dropped in a small box of homemade chocolates before they left. So after all those searches, uncertainities and vacillations, here I was with a commitment to the end result. She looked brilliant with the chrome and had 15 Kms on her Odo. The kids were rearing to go on their first ride and we did to a place near Hosur. The engine was silk smooth, the seating position high compared to an Accent and I could go over humps without getting up out of the fear of the bottom of the car scraping. So we had a round ride of about 120 kms and very body loved it, I was happy, it seemed money well spent after all.

On 7th October, we decide d to test her out on a long trip, the trip was from Bangalore to Trivandrum and back in 7 Days. This was a trip that really let me understand this Machine in a short time span. We started from Bangalore early in the morning and headed to Trivandrum via Madurai, this was a 763 km drive. Most part of this had some lovely roads.

Some of my observations from my ownership so far are as below

The engine is silk smooth, but does not like to be revved high, gets coarse beyond 3500 RPM. The gears slot in well, reverse sensors are immensely helpful.

The steering gives no feedback what so ever, it is was quite unsettling to begin with . The car used to weave with the slightest input to the steering , since the engine had still not run in we maintained speeds below 100kmph, but believe me, it was scary and would rate this the weakest aspect of the car.

After having driven on Indian highways for over 15 years now and having driven premier padmini, 800’s, Wagon R’s, Esteems and Accents, I found that on a high way the Altis hardly required a gear change and there was plenty of reserve even in the 5th to pull her from 40 to 120kmph; incidentally , I have now got a hang on
the vague steering wheel, and manage to do short spurts of 150kmph, hope I will master the steering bit better over the next few months.

Fuel efficiency has been decent for the Bangalore Traffic I drive in and was very respectable on my first highway trip. In city I have been able to get about 10.2kmpl while on my tvm trip I managed 13.6 kmpl. I thought I would better this post the run in, but then guess I got pedal happy and on the last long trip a month back I managed only 12.8kmpl.

While driving through open stretches which have a strong cross winds I find that the strain can be felt, I felt this on the section between Nagarcoil and Madurai which has strong cross winds.

The rides are fatigue free both for the driver and driven, the automatic climate control is brilliant and so are the
thoughtful cubby holes to store mobile phones , and other gew- gaws. The retracting OVRMs with indicators on them I thought were a nice touch. So are the self illumination face mirrors provided for the passenger and the co passenger in the front.

The automatic day night rear view mirror is a nice touch, it is really effective at night, I say this out of first hand experience

The near flat floor in the center at the rear of the car means that 3 adults can sit comfortably, but be warned that the one sitting in the center seat is likely to get a back ache due to the seat contours, so this is best for short rides.

The brakes are good and since my earlier car did not have ABS, I believe it inspires a lot of confidence when handling sticky situations, having discs in the front and the rear does make a difference. I have had a couple of them so far, and I do not believe I would have managed to handle this as elegantly in my Accent.

The music system is decent with the 6 CD changer , we found this a blessing on the 12 hour journey, the Music controls on the steering, I must say I guess I got to get used to it as land up either changing the channels or mode or volume during sharp turns.

For a family with little kids a beige interior is not a great option to go for if one has a choice, unfortunately we had none.

I had my first service at 1000 K done at Nippon Toyota in Trivandrum, this is only a poka-yoke check for any deficiencies that may have been there when the car got shipped out, so they ask you for any rattles or squeaks and simply wash the car and return it to you, it is a 2 hour job.

The actual service is every 10K kms or one year whichever is earlier, so guess I will have the service closer to September 2011.

Today my odo reads 4150, and I know there are many more experiences to share, many more learnings to be had as the odo rolls on. I intend to be back with more of these as they happen, till then I would continue surfing Team BHP for learnings, nuggets of wisdom or for other Bhpians who could benefit from my knowledge and experience.

Last edited by GTO : 31st January 2011 at 15:46. Reason: Adding spaces between paragraphs. Please do NOT cut-copy-paste from other word softwares
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Old 30th January 2011, 20:47   #2
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Default Re: My New Altis- Sharing the Shrtlist and the ownership story So far.

Congratulations on your Altis! An excellent option for the family.
Not sure if I have missed this while reading - did you get the AT version?

Enjoy your new companion on road, and drive safe
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Old 30th January 2011, 21:17   #3
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Congratulations!
The reasons you mentioned are spot on. It would serve all that you listed as your requirements pretty well.
I am into my 5th year with a Corolla (45K km) - it has been a hassle free experience thus far, just the usual (1 year/10K which ever is first) service.

The only part I have replaced is the brake pads(+ evening out the disk) - a morning to afternoon job. Apparently they are 12mm(if I remember correctly) and had come down to 5mm through use. Toyota recommnds at-least 3mm. I changed this on the 40K service. I asked the service folk what is the recommended time to change this, they said it depends vastly on usage.
What I like about the service is that each of my services have been late morning to afternoon/evening affairs, not having to leave the vehicle overnight.
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Old 30th January 2011, 21:23   #4
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Congrats Gops on the Altis. Can i request some interior as well as exterior snaps please. That would make the post more interesting.
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Old 30th January 2011, 21:27   #5
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Default Re: My New Altis- Sharing the Shortlist and the ownership story So far.

Hey! Congratulations on the new ride. The Altis is indeed a very sensible car to own and drive, plus the famed Toyota reliability - always reminds me of the old ad with the girl looking under the Toyotas hood on the freeway and the boys almost pulling over to help her when says dude its gotta be a trap and the other one asks why to which he answers "have you ever seen a toyota broken down?" I guess this is one brand you can count on in the long run.

Happy & Safe Driving!
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Old 30th January 2011, 22:55   #6
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Default Re: My New Altis- Sharing the Shortlist and the ownership story So far.

Congrats Gops! I can never imagine buying a Corolla myself (in my mind it has "baw-ring" stamped all across it, sorry!) But it is certainly a fantastic car and Toyota sales and service is outstanding. In fact I did consider the Altis AT briefly because the DSK Toyota guys were damn nice to me,as opposed to the grumpy foks at VW ) Reminds you that this is a people business after all!
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Old 31st January 2011, 00:09   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gops2009 View Post
Fuel efficiency has been decent for the Bangalore Traffic
In city I have been able to get about 10.2kmpl while on my tvm trip I managed 13.6 kmpl. I thought I would better this post the run in, but then guess I got pedal happy and on the last long trip a month back I managed only 12.8kmpl.
I expect the car to return better figures, a 1.4 diesel with a six speed box should return something like 17+ on highways
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Old 31st January 2011, 05:44   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vigsom View Post
I expect the car to return better figures, a 1.4 diesel with a six speed box should return something like 17+ on highways
Yep but what I have is an Altis Petrol 1.8 G and given that my accent gave me similar and maybe a tad lower mileage in city, I believe this is pretty decent

Quote:
Originally Posted by vigsom View Post
I expect the car to return better figures, a 1.4 diesel with a six speed box should return something like 17+ on highways
Quote:
Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
Congratulations on your Altis! An excellent option for the family.
Not sure if I have missed this while reading - did you get the AT version?

Enjoy your new companion on road, and drive safe
No Vb-san, I went in for a 1.8 G the AT though really great to drive around in city was 3Lakhs more on road and was out of my set budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
Congrats Gops on the Altis. Can i request some interior as well as exterior snaps please. That would make the post more interesting.
Sure will snap send and send it across soon

Last edited by GTO : 31st January 2011 at 15:48. Reason: Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another!
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Old 31st January 2011, 15:07   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gops2009 View Post
however, for a 10-12K per year usage I figured out that Petrol would be a better choice for me.
I guess I was half asleep and missed reading this line ; petrol is a "gooder" choice -and those FE figures are decent

Quote:
Originally Posted by gops2009 View Post
Yep but what I have is an Altis Petrol 1.8 G and given that my accent gave me similar and maybe a tad lower mileage in city, I believe this is pretty decent
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Old 17th October 2011, 17:46   #10
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Smile Toyota Altis 10050 Km completion report

Hi BHpians,
I has started this thread in Jan 2011 and yesterday the 16th october ; roughly an year and 18 days since I got the car I crosed the 10K mark, that is roughly what many of you cover in 2 months.

Had drivento trivandrum on the 5th of october 2011. The first service was completed within 16 days of ownership, this was at Nippon Toyota, Trivandrum, during the maiden journey, I had with great caution managed to refrain from crossing the 100 mark and got an average of 13.6 kmpl, which I thought was decent for a car this size and also given the ARAI figures are 14.7 kmpl as stated on the brochure and the website. The first service is more of a wash and polish affair and was done free of cost.
Post this, I have had over eight 700Km round trips and all the time the average has been in the range of 12.8 to 13.1 depending on the traffic conditions as well as the uncontrollable urge to floor the pedal when you get a nice stretch of asphalt. Last month , I finally took her back for the 2nd service at Ravindu Toyota, Rajajinagar. I had not booked an appointment, but the service folks were gracious enough to accommodate my request for service. I was charged for the consumables and was charged Rs 2650/- for replacement of oil , filter , topping up of the washer fluid etc. The Service engineer also assured me that I could get a slight increase in mileage post this service. I did not take that too seriously though.
Two days ago, I had to visit a family friend at Vellore and this was the first time that I was taking my Altis out on a long drive post the 2nd service , I was in a bit of a hurry during the onward journey and did some enthusiastic driving and got an average of 13 kmpl, thanks also to the stop and go traffic upto Hosur and the chaotic traffic in Vellore. However on the return Journey, I started back at around 7:20 PM and not being much of a night driver, maintained a staid 80-100 kmph range for most part of the journey and got a great average of 15.7 kmpl. Im simply thrilled as I have not managed to get this during 8 years of owning an accent. I really do not know if I should believe the figure as this number is from the average displayed by the onboard system and was not calculated using the traditional tank fill to tank fill method. Any body out there who could comment on the accuracy of these readings?
On my return journey, there were two cars, one was a Santro and the other was a Figo I guess which flashed their headlamps several times , on second thoughts was it by any chance a BHpian who did this to get my attention seeing the Got BHP sticker on my car? Do let me know if you are reading this
Some of the observations that I have during this year long ownership experience , which I thought people who may be evaluating or looking around for information on Altis ownership would care for are

1. For optimum mileage on the Altis, maintain the RPM between 2500-3000 Range, this translates to 80-95 kmph. Crossing the 3k mark on the taco can see your consumption go up by 5-15% depending on the speed , it is about 5% lower if you decide to be cruising in the 110-115 kmph range beyond which there is a perceptible drop
2. When there are heavy cross winds you can feel the strain of the car cutting across in the Altis and the wind noise is also perceptible ( Im talking about the case with the windows all wound up
3. The brakes on the Altis with discs on all four corners and ABS is very confidence inspiring , while, like I mentioned in my first post, the ultra light steering does require some getting used to- guess now I have adapted to this and do not find this a bother
4. While the specs of the Altis shows a GC of 175 mm and makes you beleive that you are immune to scraping the humps the craters on the roads and the speed ( read Car) breakers on our roads can still manage to get you scrape them unless you are ultra careful on some of these , especially those near level crossings and near border check posts
5. During these 10K kms I have only used premium fuel 3-4 times , it does result in better mileage, but does not really make any difference in city driving.
6. I have found the gap between the leg rest and the clutch pedal a tad narrow with formal shoes on ( size 9) and the shoe tends to scrape the clutch pedal every time you try moving it from the rest position on to the pedal.
Overall, the ownership experience so far has been good, will revert and update this thread with more details as more miles are covered , but in the meantime I would look forward to views , comments and experiences of other Bhpians
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Old 18th October 2011, 11:04   #11
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Default Re: My New Toyota Altis : Sharing the shortlist and ownership story so far

Congratulations on owning the Toyota brand for years of trouble free ownership experience.
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Old 18th October 2011, 14:31   #12
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Default Re: My New Toyota Altis : Sharing the shortlist and ownership story so far

Congrats on a no non-sense car ownership. Am sure the bullet proof reliability is the biggest advantage with the big T. Please do share some of the pics of your car.
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