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The Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6G brings me back to my childhood

The variant reminds the author of his family’s old Corolla XL

The midrange 1.6G variant isn’t bad. It’s a solid option. PHOTO BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

I remember the day in 1993 when we picked up our then brand-new Toyota Corolla (E100). I was excited at the prospect of driving out of the dealer in a showroom-fresh vehicle. Despite the unit being the taxi-spec XL variant devoid of niceties such as a tachometer and power steering, I loved that car. The E100 was witness to my formative years as a young gearhead, when I became my dad’s apprentice as he transformed our ride into a clone of the upmarket 1.6GLi.

After we sold our beloved “big-body” sedan after four years, I never had the opportunity to be up close and personal with another Corolla. That is, until the launch of the all new, 12th-generation Corolla Altis in our market.

The Corolla Altis 1.6G looks like a totally premium sedan both from the front and the back. PHOTOS BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

Walking up to the Corolla Altis felt like my five-year-old self approaching the E100 for the first time at Toyota Quezon Avenue almost three decades ago. While I wasn’t as giddy and excited, that I had grown up in a Corolla pretty much guaranteed that I’d take curious interest in this latest iteration of Toyota’s best-selling global nameplate.

The profile looks as sporty as any sedan out there. PHOTOS BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

Most guests were drawn toward the 1.8V Hybrid variant, equipped to the brim with a myriad of bells and whistles, not least of which is the eco-friendly powertrain. And I could understand that. Obviously, the Corolla Altis Hybrid is practically the technological tour de force for compact cars now, and it even comes with a price tag that is equally hard to beat as far as HEVs go.

The 1.6-liter engine produces 121hp and 153Nm. PHOTO BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

But as amazing as the top-spec Altis is, I honestly gravitated toward a humbler variant of the new compact sedan, the 1.6G. Sure, it’s modestly equipped compared with the 1.8V. But the simple absence of any excessive concessions to creature comforts had me traveling back to my days with our old Corolla XL.

The cockpit is also pretty loaded with features. PHOTOS BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

During my brief time with the 1.6G at the launch venue, I thought that the cabin could comfortably seat five adults and that the soft-touch materials were a welcome feature. On paper, this variant appears to have everything one would need for a safe and relaxing commute around the city. It comes with automatic climate control, an infotainment system with phone mirroring, power-folding side mirrors, and a slew of safety systems including side and curtain airbags.

The 1.6G variant is available with either a CVT or a six-speed manual shifter. Take your pick. PHOTOS BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

It’s just like our old E100 Corolla XL then. That car didn’t come equipped with power steering, and it had rotary cranks for rolling down the windows. But I didn’t look at it with distaste, even after comparing it with the range-topping 1.6GLi. Why? Because it had everything we needed in a car. It was my family’s secure refuge from the elements, and a reliable companion on long road trips.

As I never became old enough to drive our XL, I now look forward to getting behind the wheel of the new Corolla Altis 1.6G.

NOTE: The 1.6G CVT is priced at P1,115,000, while the 1.6G 6MT goes for P1,045,000.

Miggi Solidum

Professionally speaking, Miggi is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He pens the column ‘G-Force’.