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Toyota expands hybrid lineup with all-new Corolla Altis

Hybrid trim priced at P1.580 million

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Can you imagine yourself driving a hybrid? If you’ve been averse to the Prius’ almost-two-million-peso price point, get ready to super-like the all-new Toyota Corolla Altis because this beloved nameplate comes with a very reasonably priced hybrid option.

Engines and trim

I know you’re excited so let’s get that info out of the way. There will be five trims available starting with the 1.6E MT at P999,000; 1.6G MT at P1.045 million; 1.6G CVT at P1.115 million; 1.6V CVT at P1.185 million; and 1.8V Hybrid CVT at P1.580 million.

As seen above, there will be two engine options, the 1.8L (2ZR-FXE) in the hybrid, and the 1.6L (1ZR-FE) on the other four trims.

Power output is 121 HP across all models, including the hybrid. The brochure states that the hybrid’s engine puts out 97 HP and its electric motor produce 71 HP, so naturally you’ll think, where’s the rest of the horsepower?

According to TMP Supervisor for Product Planning, Jovie Roqueza, the engine (and the car for that matter) is designed for city use and thus, is tuned to only put out 121 HP. The remaining 47 HP is then allocated to the vehicle’s auxiliary systems (climate control, radio, and other systems) to help further reduce fuel consumption. The 1.8V has 142 Nm of torque while all the non-hybrids have 153 Nm.

Safety Sense

Aside from hybrid tech, the 1.8V is the only Corolla Altis with Toyota Safety Sense, which endows it with Pre-Collision System, which uses sensors to detect a possible collision and alerts the driver with beeps and visual warnings; also assists in braking or applies brakes should the driver fail to. Lane Departure Alert warns the driver when the vehicle departs its designated lane at speeds above 50 km/h. Dynamic Radar Cruise Control automatically adjusts the vehicle’s set cruising speed when it detects another vehicle in front to maintain an appropriate distance. Automatic High Beam switches to low beam instinctively when it detects oncoming vehicles or a vehicle in front.

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Improvements

Using the Toyota New Global Architecture, the Corolla Altis is designed to have a center of gravity that’s lower by 20 mm (for improved handling), thinner pillars and repositioned side mirrors for a better view of the road and blind spots.

Its body uses a high-strength frame for higher impact absorption and a more efficient dispersal of collision energy, but don’t be surprised if the hood and cowl louvres crumple easily. It’s to help reduce injuries to pedestrians in case of an accident.

The exterior appears wider with a three-dimensional façade, and the stretched look of the headlamps and taillights connect along the middle via a trim in the rear and the slim grille in front.

Noticeable inside the V trim is a seven-inch Multi-Information Display, leather seats, silver plated panel trim, synthetic leather on the armrests, and plenty of padded surfaces.

The G and E trims will still have soft-touch panels but only get fabric seats, and a 4.2-inch Multi-Information Display.

Accessible Hybrid

Why is the hybrid priced so low? TMP senior VP for Marketing, Jing Atienza says, there’s zero tariff (based on ASEAN Free Trade Agreement) because it’s made in Thailand, and as a hybrid, it’s only subject to 50 % of excise tax for automobiles.

Don’t worry about the maintenance of the hybrid. Take it in for servicing like you would a regular car and also when the indicator comes on telling you to replace the battery’s cooling filter. It will last quite a while as its battery warranty is five years.

Always a step ahead of the times (and the competition), Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) is using a two-pronged approach to usher its ‘new hybrid era’ — a massive information campaign called the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Campus Tour (they’ve been to DLSU and Mapua) and, more importantly, putting the tech in a model that’s had a long history with Filipinos.

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The Corolla legacy

There have been 220,000 Corolla owners since 1989 in the Philippines alone and TMP is relying on that bond to help them hit their target of reducing global CO2 emissions by 35-percent in 2030. The automaker is currently on the right track as its hybrids have cut an estimated 77 million tons of CO2 since its introduction in 1997.

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From left: TMP First VP for Brand and Product Planning, Cristina Arevalo; TMP Senior EVP, Dr. David Go; TMP Chairman, Alfred Ty; TMP President, Satoru Suzuki; TMP EVP, Kei Mizuguchi; and First VP for Marketing, Jose Maria Atienza.

“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,’” said TMP President, Satoru Suzuki. “With Toyota New Global Architecture which is the new standard of design and engineering, it provides ever better performance. With Toyota Safety Sense, it offers customers ever better lives.  And with Hybrid Technology, it helps create an ever better world.”

The all-new Toyota Corolla Altis will be available at all dealerships nationwide by September 10, 2019.

By Eric Tipan

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