Text by Manny N. de los Reyes; Photos by Angel Rivero

TOYOTA MOTOR PHILIPPINES (TMP) unveiled last week another game-changer — a hybrid model of its longest-running model, the Corolla. The spectacular launch of the all-new Corolla Altis, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, marks another milestone in TMP history as the model is the first in its local Toyota lineup to feature three of the brand’s latest technologies in one variant.

“The all-new Toyota Corolla is the first-ever model to be launched in the Philippines that completely embodies our philosophy of ‘Ever Better Cars,” says TMP President Satoru Suzuki. “With Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) which is the new standard of design and engineering, it provides ‘Ever Better Performance.’ With Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), it offers customers Ever Better Lives.’ And with Hybrid Technology, it helps create an ‘Ever Better World.’”

The new Corolla Altis lineup is spearheaded by a hybrid electric variant, marking the first time that the Toyota Hybrid technology is made available in a mainstream, high-volume model.

In line with the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, environment-friendly technology is made more accessible with the introduction of the new Corolla Altis 1.8V HV variant, which serves as the flagship of the Corolla Altis range. Competitively priced at P1,580,000 (more than P600,000 less than the Toyota Prius), the Corolla Altis Hybrid is a perfect entry-point for Filipinos wanting to shift to hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) technology.

The 1.8V HV variant is powered by a 1.8-liter VVT-i, 4-cylinder DOHC, 16-valve petrol engine and an electric motor for a 121hp/142Nm total system maximum output. Drivers can experience a smooth and quiet ride with better fuel efficiency while the battery self-charges during the drive. Three driving modes are available (Sport, Eco, Normal).

Having been developed under the TNGA platform, the new Corolla Altis promises significantly improved agility, stability, and visibility. A lower center of gravity and improved suspension provide less roll and sharper vehicle response. Visibility is better due to the reduced cowl height, thinner instrument panel, and repositioned mirrors while improved sound insulation results in a quieter and more relaxing cabin.

All Altis variants are equipped with seven air bags, ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Vehicle Stability Control, Hill Start Assist, and 3-point Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) seat belts for all occupants.

The high-strength frame of the vehicle adopts a body structure that is designed to absorb impact and disperse the collision energy to minimize cabin deformation in a collision. The structure of the hood and cowl louver has also been developed to reduce impact force to a pedestrian in the event of a collision.

The 1.8V Hybrid is the second variant in the TMP’s official lineup to feature Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) — after the recently launched Hiace Super Grandia Elite — such as the Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), and Automatic High Beam (AHB). Several new features are introduced in the new Corolla Altis 1.8V HV, such as the Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) and the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).

LTA helps keep the vehicle centered while using DRCC. This function applies force on the steering to assist the driver in avoiding lane departure.

When driving with DRCC, meanwhile, the vehicle drives at constant preset speed and will adjust within the set cruise speed upon detection of another vehicle in front to maintain an appropriate distance. The system enables the vehicle to decelerate to 0 km/h when the vehicle in front comes to a full stop.

The Corolla Altis’s new look starts with the signature Toyota trapezoidal lower grille that shows off the strong and wide stance of the new car. Above it is the Toyota emblem, centered at one sharp character line formed by the upper grille and headlamps. The 1.8 V HV and 1.6V CVT variants give off an even more striking impression with the bi-beam LED headlamps and LED line guide DRL.

The vehicle’s side-view silhouette has a dynamic and active look, further emphasizing the low center of gravity with the voluminous front and rear bumpers. Sleek defined lines are consistent up to the rear, with full LED rear combination lamps that complement the striking look of the headlamps. 17-inch alloy wheels (for 1.8 V HV and 1.6V CVT) add sportiness to the overall look.

Consistent with the sleek exterior, the interior adopts a minimalistic design that gives off a sophisticated and classy atmosphere. The simple and spacious cabin doesn’t compromise functionality and guarantees driver and passenger comfort.

The regular variants of the new Altis are powered by a 1.6-liter 121hp/153Nm Dual VVT-i, 4-cylinder DOHC, 16-valve engine which ensures smooth acceleration, minimal noise, and better fuel efficiency. All variants have MacPherson strut front/double wishbone rear suspension.

The all-new Corolla Altis will be available at all Toyota dealerships nationwide from Sept. 21. It comes in Silver Metallic, Red Mica Metallic, Attitude Black, Freedom White (G and E variants only), White Pearl (Hybrid and V variants only), and the special launch color, Celestite Grey Metallic (Hybrid, V, and G variants only).

Prices are P999,000 for the 1.6E MT, P1,045,000 for the 1.6G MT, P1,115,000 for the 1.6G CVT, P1,185,000 for the 1.6V CVT, and P1,580,000 for the 1.8V Hybrid.