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Old 27th June 2014, 14:59   #1
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Default My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review

Hello fellow TBHPians. This is my first post, so kindly condone any mistakes. Feedback from mods and members is very welcome.

My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review-img_1793.jpg

The Car: 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis 1.8 (Petrol) VL A/T

Got the delivery end-June. I checked the month of manufacture using the rules given on Team-BHP. It’s a June 2014 model.

The Costs (without accessories):

Basic Price: Rs. 15,01,621/- ……….A
VAT (@12.5%): Rs. 1,87,703/- .……..B
Total Ex-Showroom price (A + B): Rs. 16,89,324/-
Road Tax + Registration + HSRP: Rs.1,79,896/- ...…..C
Insurance: Rs. 36,025/- .……..D

Total On-Road price in Delhi (Total Ex-showroom price + C + D): Rs. 19,05,245/-
Hell with Indian Taxes!

(Since we were looking for an automatic only, my views are only with respect to the top-end automatic variants of each car)
There isn't really a lot of competition in this segment as of today. Skoda Octavia, Volkswagen Jetta and Hyundai Elantra are the only worthwhile alternatives. Cruze, once a very tempting buy, now seems 10 years behind in time. Fluence, even after the update, wasn't considered due to lack of an automatic.
I’ll only talk about why the following cars were rejected. Shortcomings aside, each one is an excellent car in its own right!

Skoda Octavia
Initially, I was more in favour of this over Corolla. I'll admit I have a thing for Skoda cars (inexplicably), but repeated reminders from Dad about the obnoxious After Sales Service as well as DSG failures worked against it. Plus, there’s nothing groundbreaking really in terms of exterior design.
Not even the most trained eye can distinguish it from the Rapid from this angle (unless you see the badge, of course).
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Source: Team-BHP Official Review

VW Jetta
This car was on our radar since a long time but given our low running, going for the Diesel top-end didn’t make sense, which was anyway way too expensive, and a 1.4L petrol motor that too only in manual that too without a Highline variant is just a stupid offer. Vento-like looks didn’t help matters.
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Source: Team-BHP Official Review

Hyundai Elantra
Well you gotta admit, this gaadi from Korea is an excellent value-for-money proposition. But something about the Hyundai brand just didn’t let us spend 1.5 to 2 million rupees on it. Fact is, this segment and upwards, the question remains not only of value-for-money anymore, as brand value also starts to come into play. Yes, like everyone, we also want the most bang for our buck, but that bang also includes the value associated with a brand or model. For some goddamn unexplainable reason, the Hyundai, even with all its fluid-*ick styling and equipment offered for lesser money (though this isn't completely correct as I'll show you later), doesn't appeal any more to the heart than it does to the head. It feels more like a business decision rather than an emotional buy. It's yet to achieve legendary status like Corolla, Jetta and Octavia.
My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review-hyundaielantra03.jpg
Source: Team-BHP Official Review

Last edited by Severus : 23rd July 2014 at 21:28.
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Old 5th July 2014, 23:19   #2
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Default re: My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review

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And so it happened that my Dad booked the car in February sometime, a few days after having had a look at it at the Auto Expo 2014. As we had been looking for a D-segment car since more than one year, and hadn’t zeroed in on any of the available options due to the mentioned reasons, he booked the car immediately on the basis of first impressions and rumoured price, keeping the option of cancelling it open for later should we not like the car when it is officially launched.
Came May, and a proper feature list and prices were released. Although finding the prices a bit steep (particularly me), we decided to continue with our choice.

Galaxy Toyota, Chhatarpur, New Delhi

Buying Experience was okay, nothing great. However, a rather forgettable incident happened on the day of delivery. So on the afternoon of the day on the evening of which we were supposed to get our delivery, Dad received a call from the dealership. Exact conversation:

Some person: Sir 6 baje tak gaadi tayaar ho jayegi, abhi aapko accessories ke paise dene baaki hain. Amount hai 31,000 rupaye.
Dad: Okay.

Point 1. So basically, without even being asked about it, the dealer calls us up (which they have never ever done right since the day of booking until today, of course, when the question is of money; correction: their money) to tell us that there is a balance amount to be paid for accessories. Having visited the showroom previously and chosen the accessories to be fitted, obviously we knew we had to pay for them and there was no question about it. Anyway..
After one hour, another call from the dealership.

Some person: Sir, aapko itney paise dene hain accessories ke, lekar aana.
Dad: Haan mujhe pata hai.
Same person: Paise kaise dogey?
Dad: (perplexed by such a question, especially the way it was asked) Cash se.
*Conversation ended*

Point 2: So the dealer just called to cheaply remind my Dad to get the money, without any sort of respect or courtesy. This has never happened with us during any of our previous buying experiences. Calling twice (and how!) for the same thing just shows how the dealer was just anxious about getting his money, having no courtesy whatsoever for the customer. Abey, would we try to take delivery of the car without paying the money? And would someone compel you to give us the car without taking the money that you have to remind us so many times?

In the evening, we reach the showroom and meet with the SA and other people. My Dad asks to look at the bill of accessories, himself offering to pay the money this time before anyone reminded him. But alas, we were meant to be insulted that fateful day..

Dad: Mujhe accessories ka bill de do, main pay kar deta hun.
Shameless SA: (instead of handing over the accessories bill, he shows my Dad the ledger document and points towards the final amount) Sir ye itney paise dene hain aapko.
Dad: Haan haan main pay toh kar dunga, aap mujhe accessories ka bill toh dikha do.
Shameless SA: Sir jo bhi hai yehi hai, (and pointing at the payment counter) aap wahan jao aur pay kar do.

That was the moment when daddy completely lost it. Is this how you speak to a customer? Are you implying that we are trying to get away with the car without paying the money? I’m asking you to show me the accessories bill, and you are shamelessly asking me to go to the counter to make the payment. This was height of insulting the customer. $#!%^!*&$@

After a few minutes of my Dad shouting at him and he listening sheepishly, some more people gathered around us like the typical Indian crowd (complete with their blank faces), and a senior person at the dealership came and tried to calm my Dad down. The SA first kept defending himself but ultimately said sorry and handed us the accessories bill. Sir-, Sir-, Sir-, Nahi Sir-, Nahi Nahi Sir-, Ji Sir woh-, Ji main Sir woh-, Sir woh toh bas-, Ji Sir-, Sorry Sir. *Chapter closed*

Colour Choice: Grey Metallic

Forget the decision as to which car to buy, the decision as to “which colour?” was a whole deliberation in itself. I really think car companies need to offer more colour options in India like the US market. Can’t blame them though, as even when non-conventional colours are on offer, most of us Indians tend to go only for dull or sober colours or colours that will fetch a 'good resale value'. For instance, the vibrant Kinetic blue colour on the Ecosport looks so good, yet I have seen only 1-2 blue Ecosports till date. All I see on Delhi roads is white, silver, white, silver, white, silver and white.

Out of lack of choice, I was more inclined towards black, as for some reason I thought that the grey metallic would be the Etios grey, which is dull as ditchwater. After much debate between father, mother and son, colours such as super white, pearl white, champagne mica metallic and silver were rejected for being far too common on the previous generation Corollas as well as generally, and the blue metallic that is also available on the Innova was not to our taste. It should have been a darker blue ŕ la the Shadow blue colour on the Vento/Polo.

(A note for prospective Polo/Vento buyers: According to one dealer, the shadow blue colour is soon to be discontinued in these models as it has been launched on the Jetta (as Tempest Blue?). Polo/Vento will get a different ‘Night Blue’ shade.)

Ultimately, went for the grey as black is a tad difficult to maintain. Grey also compliments the carbon-fibre finish on the interior console, said Dad. But so would have black, I thought. To much relief, when I finally saw the car in person, it turned out to be a much classier shade of grey – not like the grey on Etios (called classic grey), but more on the lines of graphite grey. I may have still preferred black. Nothing like a clean gleaming black car!
Below comparison will help in understanding the difference.
The right one is the Corolla's colour:
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However, one thing I noticed with this colour: It can look very different in different kinds of light and from different angles. Sometimes it'll look very bluish, sometimes it will not at all. And other times it will look just like the Etios grey.

Last edited by Severus : 21st July 2014 at 18:34.
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Old 10th July 2014, 00:54   #3
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Default re: My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review

What I Liked:

1. Stunning exterior design. Very sporty, but not overdone.
2. Spacious interiors with first-in-class reclining rear seats.
3. Drivability is surprisingly fantastic. Smooth Super CVT-i, steering wheel with a good amount of feedback, and noiseless Yokohama's make for a very inviting drive.
4. Loaded with equipment like touchscreen audio system with navigation, reverse camera and parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, projector lamps, LED front and rear lamps, paddle-shifts etc.
5. My my, those alloy wheels!
6. The much discussed Toyota’s QDR (Quality, Durability and Reliability) and the trusted Corolla brand name.

What I Did Not:

1. Skips out on important equipment like Sunroof and rear A/C vents. Seeing that two out of the above-mentioned three alternatives do not offer sunroofs, this doesn’t really make me feel shortchanged. Lack of rear A/C vents does. No, A/C otherwise being a chiller doesn't make up for anything.
2. Only 2 Airbags, no ESP or TCS even in the Top VL trim. A big LOL at Toyota Kirloskar.
3. Feeling of plushness in the interior is definitely lesser than in the previous-gen car and in the competition.
4. That calculator-style clock!
5. This top variant is steeply priced. Lower variants are better VFM.


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Smoked out headlamp cluster
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Long length is apparent when viewing from the side. Great alloy wheel design! My other favourite are the 'Atlanta' alloy wheels on the Jetta.
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Yokohama Advan A-460 tyres on 205/55 R16 15-spoke alloy wheels. The alloys have a gunmetal-ish finish to them.
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Even though the design is completely new, it's unmistakably a Corolla.
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With the projector headlamps on. Yes, for reasons beyond me, Toyota did not think it right to advertise this when all manufacturers write 'projector lamps' in their main feature list. Note the LED parking lamps.
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Daytime Running Lights on. No, they aren't standard. Available only as accessory.
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Large double-barrel headlamp cluster with chrome eyelid.
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The projector bulb on the right (your) throws a bright white light and is for low beam. Lights up the road very well like Xenons but I don't think these are Xenons. I think they are LED. Or HID? Or HID with LED? The brochure and the manual don't specify, so I do not know. All that the brochure says is, LED headlamps. Don't know if that refers to Parking lights only or the actual headlamp as well. I'm really sorry, I'm a total noob when it comes to automotive lighting. In the middle is the high beam bulb that throws yellow light. On the far left are the parking LED lights and turning lights. Note how the chrome grille appears to pierce the headlamp cluster.

6 LEDs in the DRLs for each side. Fitted just above the fog lamp housing.
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LED taillamps in action
My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review-img_1843a.jpg

Just in from the showroom!
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'DUAL VVT-i' badging on both front fenders
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A whole 180 mm of ground clearance (according to Autocar India). That's even higher than the Innova's! Protection from those underbelly scrapes and thuds is guaranteed.
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Rear parking sensors as well as the rear camera (just to the right of the left taillamp). Too bad the parking sensors don't sit flush on the bumper, as in here, here or here. Cost cutting at work here I guess. (Sorry for my reflection )
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Last edited by Severus : 23rd July 2014 at 20:30.
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Old 13th July 2014, 13:23   #4
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Default re: My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review

Interior: Front

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My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review-img_1937.jpg

The interior of this car is not photogenic at all, trust me (hence the pre-launch attracted flak). Not that my photography skills are very great.
The interior uses high quality and medium quality materials and generally feels well put together. There are soft touch plastics on the dashboard and on all four door sills. However, there's no faux wood anywhere; instead, there's this carbon fiber finish around the Audio system area that I initially had mixed feelings about. But it's grown on me, and I realised it goes well with the overall sporty theme of the interior.

Fitment of parts is what you can expect of a Japanese - precise. Everything inside and outside the cabin feels durable and long lasting, but you do not get that indestructible (read: Jetta) feel when you shut the doors, for example. They do close with a thud though. One good thing is that a few buttons and switches seem lifted straight from the more premium Camry, such as the Start/Stop and Parking sensor buttons, electric seat adjustment switches, gear stick and rear armrest cupholder unit (sans the wood finish) and the whole ORVMs themselves.
One area where the quality could have been better, however, is the door area, which could have been better finished. Though it's not bad by any standards. To put things short, the overall feel inside the cabin is premium, yet still maybe half a notch below the Germans and the Czechs.

Steering wheel rim is wrapped in good ol' textured leather, not the smooth skinned one you get in Octavia, Jetta, Elantra and in some other cars. The latter provides a cleaner look but this one here offers more grip, I feel. In fact, this wheel is really grippy and feels great to hold. Big buttons for audio and phone controls on the steering wheel are easy to use, but nothing comes close to the convenience of the rotary knobs seen in Octavia and Superb.
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One observation: The horn pad is big enough for my thumb to just reach its edges while holding the wheel (I have medium-sized hands), but pressing it that way, particularly in the lower left and right part of the wheel, is unyielding for me. This is because it is quite thin at the extreme edges and bends under pressure from my thumb, resulting in not getting pressed successfully to sound the horn. Thus, for me, it is literally a stretch as I have to extend my thumb a little too much for comfort. "Cost cutting", I murmur under my breath. People with larger hands may not face this problem. One more thing, the horn sound is puny!

Right-hand stalk for exterior lighting control. Note the Upshift paddle.
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A closer look at the button for phone controls. Cruise-control stalk behind the wheel.
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Voice recognition works well, but weirdly, you have to first configure the voice commands. For example, you can't simply start saying "Play USB" the first time you use the system. You have to first go into the settings and record the voice command for USB. Do this once for all the functions like bluetooth, aux-in etc. and it will be fed into the system for ever. Once configured, it recognises the commands well.

Start/Stop function along with keyless entry. Control panel for electrically foldable and adjustable ORVMs is lifted straight from the previous-gen Corolla. ORVMs do not fold automatically. That feature is available as an accessory; I went for it. "P" marked button switches off/on parking sensors.
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Top layer (black) and the middle layer (beige) both are soft-touch.
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Automatic climate control unit is a chiller. No dual-zone or triple-zone or four-zone gimmicks though.
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7-Step Super CVT-i transmission, available only in petrol variants. Accompanied by manual mode as well as paddle-shifts. Shift stick is surrounded by chrome, piano black finish and silver inserts, and looks like Camry's unit (but without the wood accents)
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Front center armrest with two-stage storage space. Shockingly, it doesn't slide forwards! Even the previous-gen Corolla had a sliding armrest. Note the chrome lined cupholders.
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There are two levers under the armrest. Pull one to reveal just the top storage area; pull the other one to reveal the deep storage box inside.
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Look at that! Cupholders have blue ambient lighting in them!
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8-way electric adjust seats with lumbar support adjust. Passenger side seat doesn't even offer manual height adjust.
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A bit too much black in here, eh? Bottle-holder easily holds a 1-litre bottle and has a drain function too. If water spills into the bottle-holder by accident or water droplets formed on a cold bottle due to condensation start flowing into it, the water drains out through the bottom.
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ORVMs seem like a straight lift from the Camry. Suffer from the same problem - they are a bit small.
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Storage spaces aplenty:
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Glove box cover feels more durable than it looks.
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It opens up to reveal a huge space inside. There is a first-aid kit, two spare bulbs, two booklets, and a camera case in there. I can still put a 1 litre bottle in and close it comfortably.
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On the immediate left of the IRVM is the rain sensor unit.
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View out the back is very good
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Mirrors and Vanity lights for both the driver and front passenger; though the said lights have to be operated manually. Textured sun visor material looks very premium.
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How I wish there was a Sunroof here...
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... and a curtain airbag here. Not good omissions.
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Rather large dead pedal.
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Nice old-school dashboard design. Not to some people’s tastes though. Personally, I like it more than the modern sweeping and sliding dashboards. For some reason, it reminds me of our beloved Cielo and some other 90’s cars (and I’m a sucker for those designs).
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Last edited by Severus : 23rd July 2014 at 14:36.
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Old 14th July 2014, 16:19   #5
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Default re: My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review

Interior: Rear

To be honest, I didn't really focus on parameters like rear legroom, headroom etc. when I was comparing all these cars and taking test drives. Hence, no comments from my side on those things vis-ŕ-vis other cars. All I can say is that I find the back bench comfortable and there has been no complaint from whoever has sat in the backseat. One thing that everyone commends is the rear seat recline feature - it really lets you choose the perfect angle for your back. Coming from an ANHC, I find the front as well as rear seats much more comfy than in that. City's front seats give me a pain in the back due to their excessive lumbar support, which is non-adjustable.

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Really the star feature of the rear compartment. Pull this lever to adjust the recline angle of the seatback. Identical lever for the other bench also.
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Almost-flat rear floor means the 5th occupant won't have to sit with his knees in his face or his shoes on top of others' shoes.
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And I thought rear A/C vents was a standard feature for this class.
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Recently the family was travelling and it was really hot outside. I was sitting in the front passenger seat and my sister at the back. For a good 10 minutes I was just pullling and pushing away the blower direction controller to meticulously achieve that perfect position where we both could get a piece of the small pie that Toyota had given us. We could be travelling in an Alto..

Twin cupholder unit in the rear centre armrest looks the same as that in Camry (albeit in a silver finish, and without the foam pieces at the bottom).
No audio controls in the armrest for rear passengers.
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But who needs fixed controls, when you have a full-fledged remote to yourself!
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Large windows add to the airy feel in the cabin.
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Flaps behind the seatbacks attach to the rear tray by velcro, so as to prevent items falling into the boot when you recline the seatback forward.
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Sunshade for the rear windshield. This segment hasn't evolved so much yet as to provide sunshades for the side windows. Oh well, the Fluence has them.
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Using the same lever as for recline, you can completely fold down the 60:40 foldable seats. Those seatbelts don't have to stretch down with the seat like that; I forgot to remove them before folding down the seat.
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Plenty of lights. You can hold a small car-o-bar party here
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In-Car Entertainment System

The ICE is very feature-rich and plays whatever you throw at it - USB drive, SD card, Aux-in, Bluetooth Audio, and iPod, apart from the regular AM/FM (no CD/DVD). Navigation is available on this top-end VL only (Maps are loaded onto an SD card provided by Toyota). The large 7-inch display is equal to what most tablets offer, and the display is quite high resolution too. Graphics and font styling are pleasing to the eye. Touch is obviously nowhere near the 'capacitive' touch our fingers have so become used to, but it's sensitive enough to operate comfortably. Setup consists of 4 speakers and 2 tweeters.

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However, speaking of sound quality, it is a mixed bag. It can only just be called decent, but audiophiles like me will find it average, at best. There's plenty of bass, but the crispness (or sharpness) in the sound is missing. Honestly, I was a little disappointed overall as I expected the audio quality to be flawless. Nevertheless, I found some hope at the following settings after 15-20 minutes of listening and adjusting.
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The HU doesn't blend into the dashboard, and in that sense can be called as aftermarket-looking, but the reason it doesn't blend into the dash is because it has to flip out for the SD card slot, which is located in the bottom face.
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Still, better integration could (or rather, should) have been achieved. One glaring omission is the absence of a dedicated volume control knob on the HU. My theory is that this was done to keep a clean look and maintain uniformity of the dash. And uniformity it does achieve, but only at the cost of convenience and practicality. You have to press a button (the only physical button on the unit) on the side, and the 'home screen' shows up from where you can adjust the volume. It doesn't end there. You also want to go back to the previous screen, so again you have to press a button (this time, on the screen). So that's two steps extra. When it comes to user interfaces, even a single step extra is too many steps extra. Only the steering wheel has dedicated volume controls. My co-passengers prefer stretching their hands and using MY steering controls rather than going through three steps to adjust the volume!

That niggle aside, this is one of the most feature-rich stock systems I've come across, especially when it comes to Bluetooth and iPod audio.
Bluetooth playback screen below. As you can see, it shows all the song-album-artist info, you can Play, Pause, skip to next or previous track or re-start the current song, and even forward or rewind the current song by pressing down on 'next' or 'previous' buttons. Repeat (RPT) and Shuffle (RAND) can also be toggled from here. You can even open your tracklist and choose songs from there. All of this in bluetooth playback, without having to even look at your phone! This is by far the most functional bluetooth audio system I've ever seen.
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iPod (iPhone) functionality goes even further. In addition to all the things you could do with bluetooth, with iPod you can have full control of your entire music library, right down to browsing through specific playlists, genres, albums and artists. It even shows Album Art.
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The manual says iPod compatibility is upto iPhone 4S (mine is 4S). However, it's very much possible that newer iPhones like 5 and 5S are also supported as you use your own USB cable to connect your phone directly into the HU, and not some limited-functionality-cable provided by Toyota.

One problem I'm facing is that I haven't been able to play videos, whatever source I use. I can only hear the audio, there's no video. Manual talks about video playability, but I've been unsuccessful. This feature has probably not been enabled for India. Anybody know if it can be enabled?

This annoying screen shows up every time you start the car.
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Speed-sensing volume feature is present. You can choose wallpapers for the home screen from your USB drive or SD card:
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Last edited by Severus : 23rd July 2014 at 18:24.
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Old 21st July 2014, 23:24   #6
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Default re: My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review


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(These are only my views based on short 15-20km test drives that I took of the other cars, so pardon me if I make any wrong observations)

One word: Effortless. The Altis feels quite light to drive in the city. It isn't tiring to drive at all. This, I think, can be attributed to two things. First - the adequate power, that's always available right from a small dab on the pedal. You don't have to press the gas pedal too much to extract good acceleration from the engine as it starts making good pulling power from low revs. No, the 1.8 VVTi doesn't have that spine-tingling acceleration of the Octavia 1.8 TSI or the Jetta 2.0 TDI, but make no mistake, this engine is no slouch. And aided by the amazing Super CVT-i auto'box (improved over the last generation), which keeps the car in just the right gear, and which I found to be not less than DSG standards in terms of smoothness of the upshifts, the car is a pleasure to drive. This CVT doesn't have the characteristic rubber band effect associated with CVTs, which is something my 2013 Honda City CVT terribly suffers from.
Second - the steering wheel, which is quite light to turn around; but it's not overly light as to enable turning by your pinky finger. It's accurate, and heavy enough at high speeds, making you feel in control all the time. Speaking of the steering, this easily beats the Octavia's and Elantra's units when it comes to responsiveness, but maybe not the Jetta, which overall has the best driving attributes amongst these cars IMO. Feeling sorry and surprised, I have to say that Octavia has one of the most dead steering wheels I have ever come across. Even the Elantra's wheel offers more feedback.

I realised the importance of a good automatic gearbox when I drove the Elantra. On paper, its engine is supposed to be fairly powerful (148 BHP), but all that power isn't fully utilised due to the below average automatic gearbox. Ironically, this non-CVT suffers from the ill-famed rubber band effect which is not present in the Corolla's CVT. I accelerated a friend's Elantra a bit hard while cruising at 50-60 kmph and the revs immediately rose up, but the increase in speed came in disappointingly late, or so I felt.

Speaking about ride, I expected the Altis' suspension setup to be comfort-oriented, and in that sense soft, since Corolla has a reputation of being a chauffer driven car. But surprisingly, it is very balanced. It is sufficiently stiff to encourage some enthusiastic driving, but absorbent enough that bumps and irregularities in the road are well-damped. However, those bumps and irregularities do make their presence felt in the cabin, and they aren't dismissed as well as in the Octavia (even though the Octavia is supposed to have a stiff suspension). Still, it is the Jetta that has a near-perfect ride balance at low as well as high speeds. In this regard, I should mention that the Elantra also has a very balanced ride.
The only thing that asks for improvement in Altis is the brakes, which could do with more bite. A previous-gen Corolla owner also told me that he felt his car could do with stronger brakes.

All in all, I have been pleasantly taken aback by the Corolla's driving dynamics, and in terms of driving pleasure I will not rate it much below the Jetta, which still is the best driver's car. For me, Octavia comes in third (wish its drive hadn't been hampered by its lifeless steering wheel) as only pure acceleration isn't everything, and then comes the Elantra, which could seriously do with a better gearbox.

My (and only my own) Verdict:

Note: I speak only with regard to top-end Automatic variants of each car

I think the new Corolla is a force to reckon with. It’s stylish-looking, has a great combination of ride, handling, engine and gearbox, is sufficiently equipped with modern features, and of course it’s a Toyota. While it may not bathe you in luxury as the Octavia or the Jetta do, nor it may seem as value-for-money as the Elantra does, it presents a formidable competition nevertheless as in addition to the above-stated strengths, it boasts of reliability and peace-of-mind maintenance of a Toyota, areas which the others, particularly the former two, score low in.

The Elantra will make most sense to you if you’re on a tight budget or if you’re one of those who are coming into this segment after extending their budget from the C-segment. Other reasons you might like it is that you simply love the styling (it looks amazing, no doubt) and the well-advertised feature list. If a lower brand value and segment-trailing performance are things you can live with, go for it as otherwise it doesn’t really have a lot going against it.

Speaking of Octavia, it’s an excellent all-round vehicle with a luxurious interior, powerful engine, German-ish build quality, and is loaded with features. It didn’t make me fall in love with it though as the Mk-I Octavia did. An exterior design that tries to be classy but ends up being boring and the nightmare-inducing Skoda after-sales experience after paying almost 21 lakh rupees for it (in Delhi) were downers. I pay briefcase-loads of money, and still bear with being taken-for-granted by the company and its dealers? No, will not happen.

Coming on to the Jetta, this is IMO the most well-rounded car in this segment. Good feature list (especially after the recent minor update), absolutely solid build quality, best-in-class driving pleasure and the premium tag associated with Volkswagen are its strong points. What is not its strong point, however, is the very steep price (due to the absence of Highline as well as A/T variants in petrol, one is forced to go only for the Highline diesel if one wishes to buy an automatic, which goes into another territory). But good things come at a price, don't they? And though Volkswagen’s A.S.S. is better than Skoda, it’s still behind Toyota or even Hyundai (from what I read and hear). A little differentiation from the Vento in terms of exterior styling (barring the rear) would have been welcome too.

That said, I still think the Corolla will be outsold by the Elantra, which has the greatest advantage of being lower-priced. Moreover, a great deal of folk seem to regard Hyundai at par with Toyota. However, as I write this, I look at the June 2014 sales figures released by Team-BHP, only to find that Corolla has outsold Elantra by almost three times. A lot of this is due to new-car excitement, I believe, and we should wait a month or two before arriving at any conclusions. Although, I don’t think I should underestimate Toyota's selling capabilities. As for Jetta and Octavia, I predict their sales will be adversely affected.

Last edited by Severus : 23rd July 2014 at 21:00.
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Old 23rd July 2014, 16:52   #7
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Default re: My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review

Other Things:
  • Standard Warranty of 3 Years / 1,00,000 kms. Extended warranty also available.
  • At 4620 mm long, Corolla is shorter than Jetta (4644 mm) and Octavia (4659 mm), but longer than Elantra (4530 mm).
  • A host of accessories available, such as Auto-folding mirrors, Day-time running lamps, Head-up display, Illuminated Scuff plates, fabric as well as tray-style trunk mats etc., but everything is a bit on the expensive side. For the chrome-loving Indian, there are chrome garnishes available for the front bumper, rear bumper, boot lid, side mouldings, side visors and ORVMs! We only went for the front bumper garnish.

  • Fuel Efficiency is hovering around 9.5 to 10 kmpl with 100% A/C on and city use only. This is even before the run-in is complete. My year-old City gives about 9 kmpl.
  • Interior lights switch on automatically as soon as you come near the car with the key. If you don't open the car within a stipulated time period, the lights switch off.
  • Seatbelt reminder is enabled for the passenger side seat as well.

See those two grooves on front upper side of the handle? Touch them to lock the doors. To unlock, simply hold the door handle as you would to pull it, and by the time you pull the handle, the doors will already be unlocked.
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Windshield washers tucked away under the hood.
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Spare wheel is a full-size alloy.
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Boot-light has a protective grill, in case you load up stuff to the brim.
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Spare key is a full function key, just like the main key.
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Push the button on the side to reveal the mechanical key
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Rear windows roll down completely.
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Door-open indicator also shows if boot is open.
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Calculator-clock isn't so bad, after all.
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Front cupholders are separated by a removable plastic piece that can also be inserted into other provided slots to adjust for the size of the glass. As can be seen, there is also a three-pronged removable piece in one of the cupholders to provide a raised base for shorter glasses.
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Read about this little black piece on T-BHP's Ecosport review. It's to comply with the laws of certain countries which require a "certain percentage of the tyre to be covered by the wheel arch". But this one is very small compared to the Ecosport's. So maybe this is only an aerodynamic aid.
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That familiar name, but in a new avatar.
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Until next time..
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The End
Questions and suggestions very welcome.

Last edited by Severus : 23rd July 2014 at 20:53.
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Old 24th July 2014, 12:28   #8
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Default re: My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line section. Thanks a ton for sharing!
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Old 24th July 2014, 12:44   #9
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Default re: My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review

Brilliantly detailed review! Thanks for sharing. Also the pricing for this particular model is a revelation. I could never have guessed that a Corolla could cost 19 lakhs OTR and that too a petrol!
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Old 24th July 2014, 13:10   #10
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Default re: My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review

very nice, detailed & informative report.

many congratulations on the purchase. Wishing you many happy years of "mile-munching" !

Enjoy your ride and drive safe!
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Old 24th July 2014, 13:34   #11
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Default re: My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review

Congrats on your purchase. The corolla has changed drastically. INR 19 lakh on road is a high price for a petrol.

How is the rubberband effect of the CVT controlled?

Enjoy your ride. And as I say to many people: "A toyota will outlive you"
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Old 24th July 2014, 13:39   #12
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Default re: My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review

Thank You for such a detailed review! I don't read many reviews except the T-BHP official ones, but I went through each and every line of your review

Good choice of color there as compared to the usual white/silver. As extreme_torque said, its quite expensive, but worth the money nevertheless.

As you drive her more and pass the engine break-in period, do let us know how it performs. Many small but significant things you covered, although they are not a deal breaker but they add to the feel-good factor definitely at this price point.


Last edited by Octane_Power : 24th July 2014 at 13:44.
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Old 24th July 2014, 13:52   #13
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Default My 2014 Corolla Altis VL: A Sneak Peek

A very detailed review man. Congratulations on your acquisition. Looks beautiful, specially in this shade. My My My-those alloys on the car. If it was me, those alloys and only those alloys would have sealed the deal. wish you miles and miles of happy and a safe driving experience. Totally satisfied with all pictures, couldn't have asked for more. I'm not sure about the rubber band effect of a CVT from what you wrote I don't think it's a bother?

Regarding the VW 'Shadow blue' color you are right it is being discontinued and is being replaced with a more sophisticated 'Night blue' shade which is on par with the 'Tempest Blue' shade of the Jetta. Back then when we bought a Jetta, we were in a similar dilemma as to why buy a diesel car when the work place is situated at 2km from home. May be I didn't get a glimpse of those alloys on your Corolla or may be we were blinded by the love we had for the Jetta. Opted for it and no complaints whatsoever. By the way, it's a Tempest Blue

Last edited by Amarendranath : 24th July 2014 at 13:55.
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Old 24th July 2014, 13:56   #14
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Default re: My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review

Excellent and detailed review (rated 5 stars) ! Great choice of color. Good to know the spare wheel and the spare key are similar to the original and no cost cutting measures have been adopted here.

Having said that its hard to digest the fact that the on-road price is a whopping 19 lacs. Am glad I bought my Civic more than 4 years ago and had shelled out 14.2 lacs for the same at that time. Also reminds me of GTO's thread on depreciating value of D segment sedans which feels so apt.

Happy and safe motoring !
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Old 24th July 2014, 14:17   #15
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Default re: My 2014 Toyota Corolla Altis VL S-CVTi: A Detailed Review

Great review, but a N/A 1.8 liter petrol engine on a 19.05 lacks car is not so cool...
Also I must say this the best looking Corolla to date.
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