mReview: 2013 Toyota Corolla Altis - Behold, A Car!

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Behold, the Toyota Corolla. Does this car really need an introduction? It may not be the most exciting car but is definitely iconic in its own right.

Since the launch of the Corolla name in 1966, Toyota has sold more than 44.1 million units and counting. One in every five Toyotas ever sold has been a Corolla and one moves off the showroom floor every 15 seconds.

With numbers like these, it’s no wonder that the Corolla has become a mainstay in not just automotive circles, but society as a whole.

In fact, if you look up the word “car” in a dictionary, don't be at all surprised if you see an image of a Toyota Corolla next to it.

The Corolla is currently in its 12th generation but the unit we have here is the 11th generation pre-facelift model.

Originally released in 2013, it took the world by storm, or drizzle depending on which side of the fence you’re on.

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It rolled off the factory floor with a 1.6l VVTi engine pushing out a positively sedentary 121 horsepower and 154Nm of torque through a CVT gearbox. Although that’s not a lot of power by any frame of measurement, nobody in their right mind will attempt to drag race a stock Corolla.

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With just enough juice for the everyday driver to carry themselves, passengers, and a decent amount of cargo, it’s certainly an economical option with that small and efficient engine. In our test drive, the fuel needle barely moved despite driving like a total maniac – plus points there.

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Design-wise, it just looks like an average car. There really isn’t much more to say other than it looks much better than the somehow-even-drabbier-looking 10th generation Corolla. It’s got doors, a roof, and some wheels and frankly, that’s all there is to it.

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This extensive normalness carries on to the interior too. You’ve got seats, a steering wheel, a radio, and a copious amount of plastic.

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Although there is an ‘Elegance’ trim level and the facelifted versions sport features like automatic wipers, paddle shifters, and push-to-start, this is the basic model and has absolutely none of those. Further back, you have enough space for passengers and a boot big enough to store some bulky items

Dynamically, like our clown-in-chief, Jackie, mentioned in his review here, you don't corner in a Corolla. You turn and that’s about as accurate a description as you could get. There’s just enough feedback to know where the wheels are pointing and everything gets floaty the moment you even think about exceeding the speed limit.

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The upside of that, of course, is the everyday driver is treated to a smooth, calm, unbothered ride as they make their law-abiding commute which is where this car and indeed the entire Corolla namesake excels.

The Corolla is by no means a bad car, far from it in fact. The Corolla and Toyotas in general have become a byword for reliability. Whenever someone asks what car would make a good purchase, it’s almost instinctive to say “Toyota”.

Corollas are almost indestructible and with or without proper maintenance, it’s more than likely that they’ll just keep chugging on with nary a problem. Heck, you could probably describe the Corolla as the Nokia 3210 of the automotive industry.

That’s why this car has found its niche in being the go-to safe option. This is the car for people who don't know anything or simply don't care about cars. If all you’re looking for is a car, look no further than the Toyota Corolla.

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Add to that the 5-star safety ratings, excellent fuel economy, a budget-friendly price tag, and a drive that the everyday driver will struggle to criticise, the Corolla has cemented itself as being almost synonymous with the term ‘automobile’.

Indeed, one could argue that the Toyota Corolla has transcended the plane of being merely a mode of transport to one of a cultural icon.

And with just how pervasive the Toyota Corolla has become both on the roads and in the minds of the people, perhaps this isn’t just a car, but the car.



S$99,988 when it was new


Engine: 1,598cc 4-Cylinder DOHC Dual VVT-i

Power: 121hp

Torque: 154Nm

Fuel Consumption: 15.4km/l

0-100km/h: 11.1 seconds

Top Speed: 185km/h

Drivetrain: 7-Speed CVT; Front-Wheel Drive

Brakes: All-Round Disc Brakes


Wheelbase: 2,700mm

Dimensions (LxWxH): 4620mm x 1775mm x 1460mm

Fuel Tank Capacity: 55l


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