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Is Altis GL Diesel worth the price? Find out

Last updated on: August 6, 2010 18:28 IST

Is Altis GL Diesel worth the price? Find out

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Carwale.com

News about the launch of the Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel had been floating around for a while.

However, it is only now that Toyota Kirloskar launched the Corolla Altis Diesel. The Toyota Corolla Altis (the tenth-generation Corolla, project named E140) now comes with a 1.4-litre common rail diesel engine that produces 87bhp.

The Toyota Corolla Altis sold in other Asian markets, is also powered by the same 1.4-litre D4-D engine that churns out similar power.

Exterior

If you look at the car from the outside, the only features that differentiate the Corolla Altis Diesel from its petrol sibling are the new black honeycomb-mesh front grille and the D4-D badge at the rear.

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Interior

Step inside the Corolla Altis Diesel and you will find that the dash is finished in matt-silver with the centre console in grey with wooden trim.

Our press demonstrator was a top-of-the-line variant, (GL), which came with all the bells and whistles such as the in-dash six-CD changer audio system, which we liked quite a lot, except for the fact that it took a little too long for our liking to change audio tracks.

The other things which we liked about the car were the steering mounted audio controls and the fact that the music system came with a remote (giving easy access to your music system while driving or being driven) and the four-spoke steering wheel with leather and wood finish which enhanced the car's appeal.

The other features with which the Toyota Corolla Altis GL comes loaded with, include seven-spoke alloy wheels, automatic H.I.D. headlamps with retractable washers, vanity mirror with lighting and safety features such as  dual-airbags and ABS with EBD.

We sorely missed cruise control on the car though.

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Engine

The Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel has an 8-valve 1364cc common-rail, transversely placed diesel engine (engine code: 1ND-TV) that churns out 87bhp of power and produces 205Nm of maximum torque, powering the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission.

This powerplant made its debut in the European market in the Toyota Yaris, and is Toyota's first diesel engine to have an aluminum engine block that weighs just 99kgs.

This oil-burner has a variable geometric turbocharger which spools after 2000rpm, and this is when most of the torque is available.

Toyota has managed to reduce the turbo lag by adding on a six-speed gearbox to keep the torque curve as linear as possible, but once your engine revs at less than 1800rpm, you can feel the turbo lag.

In our acceleration run, the Corolla Altis Diesel pleasantly surprised us by reaching the 100kph mark in 14 seconds exactly and completed the quarter mile in 19.5 seconds.

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The six-speed manual transmission on the Corolla Altis gives the smaller 1.4-litre engine more mechanical advantage over the regular five-speed manual.

The Corolla Altis diesel can be driven without any trouble in bumper-to-bumper city traffic, as it doesnst suffer from turbo lag and the gearing is pretty spot-on.

This Toyota oil-burner has been designed for lower emissions and better fuel economy and this was clearly evident when we saw the fuel efficiency figures.

The Corolla Altis Diesel returned us a figure of 18.9kpl overall (city & highway mixed mode) with the worst figure of 16.17kpl during our performance test, which is all pedal-to-metal driving.

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Ride and handling

The Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel comes with the same suspension system as its petrol sibling which is McPherson struts in the front (It is also the most common system used on Japanese cars) and torsion beam at its rear.

However the front suspension is stiffer as the diesel Corolla Altis is 55kgs heavier than it's petrol sibling.

The Corolla Altis Diesel is more of a family car or a chauffeur-driven vehicle than an outright boy-racer.

The Altis has a composed ride at low and high speeds and ploughs through potholes with just a muted thud.

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That said, the handling of the Corolla Altis cannot be compared to that of its European competitors, which can take most tight corners at good speeds without affecting the confidence of the driver.

With the Altis Diesel, the culprit is probably the steering which doesn't seem to get enough feedback from the road - partly due to the modified McPherson struts which reduces some of the feel since it isolates the steering system from the road conditions.

Under most driving conditions, the steering, like most Japanese cars is light and easy and it's easy to maneuver through the city traffic and whilst parking.

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Verdict

The Toyota Corolla Altis diesel GL (top-of-the-line) comes for Rs 14.36lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai) which we feel is a tad on the higher side, considering most competitors offer more in the similar price bracket when it comes to price vis- -vis features.

But then coming from the Toyota stable, it will no doubt be a hugely reliable product and the buyer will have a great Toyota ownership experience.

Also, the depreciation will be lower as compared to some other cars in the segment.

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So, if you are an outright driving enthusiast this car may not appeal to you, however, if your needs dictate owning an economical and class-conscious sedan, in order to commute (or like to be chauffeur-driven,) your search ends at the Toyota Corolla Altis Diesel.

It may not set your heart ablaze but it ticks all the right boxes for a car in this class.

A slightly more VFM tag may also help a little more on the sales numbers since the Indian consumer is looking for the most bang for the buck.

But for Toyota Kirloskar Motor India Ltd, with the launch new Corolla Altis Diesel, it sure looks like Alt-is well... that ends well!

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