The executive sedan segment may account for a miniscule portion of sales in the Indian car market but, even so, Toyota has managed to find reasonable success with its Corolla Altis. The Corolla is currently the bestselling of the executive sedans and, in 2015-16, it outsold its closest competitor in sales, Skoda’s Octavia, 2.5 times to 1. Of course, you can credit much of the success to Indian buyers’ trust in the Corolla brand. However, the current-gen car that was launched in India in 2014, has also been drawing buyers for its youthful design. Toyota will further up the ante with the mid-life facelift that is headed to India in 2017.
Revealed only in pictures earlier this year, the updated Corolla was shown in the metal recently in Russia, which is one of the 150 countries Toyota’s global model is sold in. As is very clear, Toyota has gone for an even bolder look on the facelift. Frontal styling is noticeably different from the current car with a narrower grille and wider, more spread-out headlamps. Look closely and you’ll also notice a subtle kink at the base of the headlights. While the car pictured here features brilliantly detailed full-LED headlights, it’s unlikely these will make it to India. We are more likely to get the conventional xenon light and daytime-running LED arrangement. Making an equally large difference to the Corolla’s appearance is the completely redone front bumper that is not only more angular but also features a larger central air dam and neat new cut-outs for the fog lamps.
Toyota hasn’t tinkered with the Corolla’s basic shape so the profile remains neat with good proportions. Styling tweaks to the rear aren’t all that comprehensive either but the chrome lip above the number plate mount is slimmer than before and the smoked effect to the now full-LED tail-lamps is quite well done too.
There are some welcome changes in the Corolla’s cabin as well. The centre console has been revised and now houses a larger 7-inch touchscreen. Called Toyota Touch 2, the system uses a high-strength glass face and, Toyota says, offers a mobile phone-like touch interface, including drag and flick capability. Just as well because the current system on the Corolla feels like an aftermarket accessory and doesn’t score well for functionality either. Also new to the Corolla is a 4.2-inch multi-information display in the revised instrument console for the trip computer. The climate control unit has also been reworked and current Corolla owners will also notice how the air-con vents at the sides are now circular in shape. Toyota also claims to have used higher-quality materials in the cabin though we’d like to reserve judgement on the subject until we see the Corolla up close. We do expect the Indian car to come with black and beige interiors that is perceived more premium in our market.
Toyota has made no mention of other changes to the cabin, suspension or the engines, so it is
safe to assume the Corolla will continue with the 140hp, 1.8-litre petrol (with a 6-speed manual and 7-step CVT options) and the dull 88hp, 1.4-litre diesel motors.
We don’t expect drastic changes in the Corolla’s pricing when the new version comes to India in 2017, so prices will range in the Rs 13.5-18.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) bracket. In all, the fresh dose of style and new features should help the updated Corolla further distance itself from the competition.
Spy pic source