Budget Rs. 30 lakh: Need a replacement for my reliable Corolla Altis

The car must be reliable enough - should not be in the garage too much beyond the regular servicing. Plan to keep it for 7 to 10 years.

BHPian adnankw recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi Team BHPians,

I have been a long time lurker and this is my first post here. I am looking for recommendations to test drive & check out a replacement car from the people best suited to provide them. Don't let me down!

Car to be replaced:

2012 Toyota Corolla Altis G Diesel ~ driven 1.5 lakh kms (it has been a reliable work horse all these years, but big replacements such as suspension, steering rack are now due and I am being quoted > 1 lakh for this, hence thinking of replacing it a few years before it was originally planned).

Budget - Rs. 30 lakh OTR (stretchable for the right car).

Preferred features:

  • Sedan preferred, will live with a Compact SUV (since it opens up a lot more options).
  • Safety is paramount - beyond the buzz words & cool features, the overall build must be robust and high quality. Metal coffins are out of the question.
  • Automatic transmission is a must.
  • Hybrid or EV is highly preferred (can go for a conventional engine only if the realistic FE is upwards of 20 kmpl in the city).
  • Ride Quality & Handling should be sedan-esque, easy to change lanes/overtake at high speeds or curves
  • NVH must be on the lower side (the voice in calls taken while driving should be clear & without much bg noise for the person on the other side).
  • Engine & driving performance must be better or at least at par with the 2012 Toyota Corolla Altis G Diesel (we are clearly not petrolheads)
  • Ventilated seats are highly, highly preferred (would make this a mandatory need if it didn't considerably cut down the list of options).
  • Reversing camera is a must.
  • Android Auto is highly preferred with a touchscreen > 10 inches.
  • I am not an after-market guy, so would prefer if these features in the stock model.
  • Typically 2 persons will be traveling, sometimes 3/4. Back seat legroom or boot space need to be adequate but are not deal breakers.

I am indifferent to any other feature not mentioned - sunroof, 360 degree camera, wireless charging, parking sensors et al. I will not rate the car higher or lower with/without these features.

Lifecycle ownership related needs:

  • Self driven, so the car must be robust (I am a harsh driver, so clutch/tires/brake pads wear out quicker than normal) and not prone to breakdowns.
  • Must be reliable enough - should not be in the garage too much beyond the planned servicing (I am willing to drop to 90% of Toyota levels for the right car since I will have backup).
  • Annual running of 12-15k kms per year.
  • Plan to keep the car for 7 to 10 years, so long term reliability needed without shelling out a bomb over the lifecycle.


We also intend to replace a 2013 Honda Brio 1.2 S(O) with a small automatic hatchback mainly for city runs, easy to manouver in Mumbai and easy to park (won't run more than 4k kms per year). Bonus points (and budget stretch) if this and the above requirements can be merged in a single car.

Thanks in advance for your inputs!

Here's what GTO had to say on the matter:

All are expected repairs on the Altis, as the car ages. Please do read my article on repairing vs replacing.

Would've suggested the Octavia to you, but with your high running + Corolla experience, a Skoda isn't for you. Long-term reliability will always be suspect. Unfortunately, in the 30-lakh space, sedans are a dying breed. You will have to go the crossover route. Since you are open to EVs, take a spin in the MG ZS EV, I can guarantee that you will become an instant convert and it is currently the best EV on sale in India <50 lakhs. I would recommend your checking out the XUV700 (long waiting though), new & upcoming Tucson (will be a truly premium experience) & Compass / Meridian. Also test-drive the Innova Crysta AT.

Here's what BHPian Shreyans_Jain had to say on the matter:

Very few cars for this unique set of requirements. As GTO said, take a good long drive of the ZS EV. Pretty sure you’ll love the driving experience. But see if your family is OK with the raised floor at the back. Rear seat comfort is not comparable with the lounge like Altis. Otherwise, the car is excellent.

Your only other options are the Honda City hybrid and the upcoming Toyota Hyryder strong hybrid. Your affinity for sedans makes the City a top choice. It’s back seat is excellent in terms of space and seating, and is the closest you’ll get to your old Toyota. Driving experience is also good. Smooth and refined, and you can be sure of 20kmpl + in city traffic.

No conventional engine can give you 20kmpl in city. Most will average around half of that.

Here's what BHPian Axe77 had to say on the matter:

You’ve got a really high FE bar (20 kmpl in the city) so I’m limiting suggestions based on that:

Why don’t you consider a Camry hybrid if you can manage to get a used one which is less than 4 years old. Try and get one which is similar to the current shape. It is a modern, reliable and comfortable sedan which hardly any new car will be able to match with your stated requirements list. It’ll have a solid 7-10 year ownership potential even if its 3 - 4 years old at the time of purchase. Only problem is that most Camry owners tend to hold their rides for a really long time.

If that is not acceptable, agree that sedan options are limited and your next set of considerations could be:

  • MG ZS EV.
  • Toyota Hyryder strong hybrid (or its Maruti equivalent but since you’ve had a great experience with the Toyota brand I assume you may prefer staying in that ecosystem)..
  • Honda City strong hybrid.

Most of the strong hybrids however come with significant limitations on usable boot space so do consider if that works. If range anxiety is not an issue, the MG ZS EV would actually be my top recommendation - assuming of course you’re not keen on the used Camry.

X Factor query:

As for the Brio, I’d say if its just running 4K kms per year, hang on to it till it falls off its legs. No point selling this for next to nothing and losing the advantage of a second car at your disposal, even if its for the odd couple of days your car goes for service or when both of you need a car each on the rare occasion. I’d say just hang on to this one.

Here's what BHPian Vidd6639 had to say on the matter:

This is called the Toyota upgrade dilemma. lol.

I have a 2009 Altis with 97K kms on it. Absolutely no replacement I can think of even with so many new cars being launched.

The City is nowhere as well built and solid as the Corolla. The Slavia and Virtus are nice options but will never be as trouble free as the Toyota. The 1L is a downgrade in refinement from a Corolla and the 1.5L TSI is scary with the DQ200 DSG. The closest I got to liking something as a replacement was the Honda City e:HEV. It felt really good but tinny vs the Corolla still. That was the only compromise I could see.

The second option I considered was a XL6 but the engine was so lack luster vs the peppy Corolla 1.8L VVTi unit. It was a proper downgrade in performance and the overall MPVish stance though much improved wasn't as sophisticated as the Corolla.

Now I'm left with waiting for the Urban Cruiser Hyryder full hybrid as a potential replacement. If it is comfortable and well built, the plan is to sell the Corolla and Ecosport both and get that.

Here's what BHPian sagarpadaki had to say on the matter:

Spending 1L plus for repairs of the Corolla and bringing it to good shape is a better proposition than to spend 30L on a new car, if the Corolla meets your requirements.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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