2007 (or 2008) Toyota Corolla Altis
The Corolla Altis is starting to get old here in Thailand, and next to the youthful and stylish Honda Civic it is starting to show it's age. The 9th generation Corolla was a typically conservative offering from Toyota, but practical and well built at the same time.
In Thailand the Altis is always immediately associated with the various coloured Taxi cabs on the streets of Bangkok. This is a fact that puts some people off buying the car for private use, but Toyota probably isn't too worried considering the volume of sales the Taxi fleet represents.
Toyota have been busy releasing new models in 2006 with the Yaris and new Camry, and have apparently been having some production issues which have contributed to a delay in the Corolla replacement. Last I heard the Corolla would not be updated here until mid-2007.
As we've seen, Toyota have already released the Auris in Europe, replacing the Corolla hatchback in a move to shake off the boring image the model name had collected over time. In Thailand the Corolla is unlikely to ditch the name, but has been marketed as the Altis, with Corolla taking a secondary billing.
Beijing Auto Show 2006 Debut
Although we don't know when we can expect to see the new Altis appearing in Thailand, we do have a very good idea what it will look like. Images are starting to circulate from the 2007 Corolla Altis preview at the recent Beijing show.
The first thing I think of when looking at these images is... Camry! But that's not a bad thing since the current Toyota Camry is easy enough on the eyes, and an improvement over previous generations.
Around the back there is more Camry design influence, and again it works well for the Altis. The line between mainstream Toyota products and the luxury Lexus brand are starting to become a little fuzzy, not that I'm suggesting this could give the IS a run for its money, but then, you could buy 3 or 4 of these for its money!
The interior of the Altis might remain a bit conservative, and thinking "baby Camry" will probably give you the right idea. But in the absence of interior shots from the Altis, we can probably safely assume that it will be very similar to the Auris!
Worth waiting for?
We are unlikely to see this 10th generation Corolla in Thailand this year, and it is possible that the release date is going to be somewhere in the middle of 2007!
The engine lineup will be the same 1.6 and 1.8 choices currently on offer, but the 1.8 unit is the new 2ZR-FV dual VVT-i engine with power output similar to that of the 140hp 1.8 liter Civic motor. Although the engine is offered with a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) in some markets, it is paired with 5-speed manual or 4-speed auto transmissions for the Chinese market, and it's most likely that Thailand will also see these options.
The Civic has 1.8 and 2.0 liter engines, and a 5-speed automatic transmission on offer. Honda have been enjoying an increase in overall sales this year, in part thanks to the popularity of the new Civic.
The Toyota still remains an interesting option and with the Auris getting a warm reception in Europe we can expect the Altis to offer the more of the same when it eventually makes its way into production here in Thailand.