Toyota Corolla Altis 2017 Facelift Review

Derryn Wong

Toyota Corolla Altis 2017 facelift singapore 4
Singapore’s favourite Toyota makes significant steps forward in performance and safety with this facelift


Here’s an interesting fact: First introduced in 1966, the Toyota Corolla is nearly as old as Singapore’s independence, In that time, the Corolla has gone on to become the best-selling nameplate in the world, with over 40-million units produced across 11 generations.

The current-gen Corolla Altis has been with us since 2014, and earlier this year received the customary mid-life refresh.

Toyota Corolla Altis 2017 facelift singapore 7

On the surface, it’s a minor facelift with all the usual moves: There’s a more hawkish look to the front end now, with squintier headlamps, a slimmer grille and a widened lower air intake, while at the back, the changes are even more minor, the reprofiled taillights and thinner chrome strip on the boot being the only differences.

But under the bonnet is a different story: There’s been significant improvement to the car’s 1.6-litre inline four-cylinder engine with the addition of Toyota’s continuous valve lift control system, or Valvematic.

Toyota Corolla Altis 2017 facelift singapore 5

Valvematic works in conjunction with the extant VVT-i (variable valve timing – intelligent) system, but gives the engine more power and efficiency: Horsepower and torque increase from 121hp and 154Nm to 128hp and 160Nm, while fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions improve from 6.5L/100km and 151g/km to 6.1L/100km and 139g/km. In addition the new engine also meets Singapore’s latest Euro VI emission standards.  

Toyota Corolla Altis 2017 facelift singapore 3

The power bump makes the Altis the joint-most-powerful car in the mid-sized family sedan segment, alongside the Kia Cerato K3, which itself has seen a minor model update in 2017 too, with the Sport variant.

sg altis club
READ MORE: The Men Who Stare At Corollas
This ‘Corolla family’ of guys are probably Singapore’s most Corolla-crazy drivers

The most significant update though, has to do with safety – the airbag count has been upped from a bare-minimum two to a class-leading seven. Additionally, it’s also the first time the Altis gets Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), something its competitors all have. These major safety additions effectively remove the only concerns we’d have in recommending an Altis to anybody.

Two versions of the Corolla Altis are available locally – Standard and Elegance. The seven airbags and VSC are standard-fit on both models, as well as electric boot release, a reverse camera and Toyota’s Intouch touchscreen infotainment system.

Toyota Corolla Altis 2017 facelift singapore 1

The Corolla has always been thoroughly well-known, predictable and utterly reliable quantity, but that’s only added to its universal appeal rather than the opposite.

For example, it’s stupendously easy to drive. The steering is light, visibility is great and the turning circle is miniscule. You won’t exactly whoops with joy from driving it briskly down a winding road, but it’ll soothe your nerves in daily traffic the way only a mid-sized and up Toyota – or a Lexus – can.

toyota corolla altis trd singapore
READ MORE: One man’s journey through TRD to his dream Corolla Altis

Point the Corolla in a straight line though, and it’s plain to see it lacks nothing. Like all East Asian 1.6-litre engines,  the Corolla’s inline four doesn’t sound inspiring but it pulls quite perkily, and accumulates speed with vim.

Toyota claims a 0-100km/h time of 11.1 seconds, which is at least half a second faster than class rivals like the Kia Cerato K3, Mazda 3 and Honda Civic 1.6, a figure that is totally believable.  The CVT gearbox is smooth too, simulating ‘gear changes’ to prevent the usual CVT rubber band effect from rearing its ugly head.

Toyota Corolla Altis 2017 facelift singapore 9

Aside from the jiggly ride though, the Corolla is definitely a car built for the passengers rather than the driver. Its wheelbase of 2,700mm is bang-on identical with its rivals, but somehow Toyota has managed to liberate a massive amount of space in the back. The seats are plush, three adults could fit without literally rubbing shoulders, and there’s acres of legroom and the flat floor provides lots of room for everyone’s feet.

The build quality and interior design took a massive step forward with the current-gen car, and the cabin delivers clean and simple approach paired with the expected Toyota solidity.

READ MORE: Find out how much a Corolla costs around the world. The highest price will shock you! Or maybe not, since you live in Singapore…

There’s also a decent equipment list to play with. The Elegance car we have here commands a $5,000 premium and adds LED headlights, keyless go, powered driver’s seat, leather upholstery, and GPS navigation. For that much extra stuff, it’s well worth the small premium.

Toyota Corolla Altis 2017 facelift singapore 2

The high airbag count, electric seat adjustment and LED headlights in particular are highlights in this segment, and the touchscreen display looks slicker and more responsive than rivals.

READ MORE: This is the most serious contender the Altis has to fight with

Toyota Corolla Altis 2017 facelift singapore 6

The Corolla has succeeded with the same formula as the generations before it: simple, no-frills motoring for the masses, but the 11th generation model added a tinge of desirable design, improved driving dynamics and better cabin quality. The facelift doesn’t mess with that, but simply adds serious buffs to the model’s engine and safety credentials to put it back at the crest of the modern mid-sedan wave.

Toyota Corolla Altis Elegance
Engine 1,598cc, 16V, inline 4
Power 128bhp at 6400rpm
Torque 160Nm at 4400rpm
Gearbox CVT
Top Speed 185km/h
0-100km/h 11.1 seconds
Fuel efficiency 6.1L/100km
CO2 139g/km
Price $109,988 with COE
Agent Borneo Motors
Availability Now

Verdict: The most dependable name in family sedans just got even more dependable

Also Consider: Honda Civic, Kia Cerato K3, Mazda 3 Sedan, Hyundai Elantra


4-door 5 seat Corolla Atis Elegance petrol sedan Toyota

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's former chief editor was previously the editor for Top Gear Singapore and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment.

Related Models


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CarBuyer – Revolutionizing The Online Car Marketplace In Singapore

Buy Used And New Cars Online
Start your car buying journey with CarBuyer as we connect you seamlessly to the industry’s best CaseTrust-SVTA accredited car dealerships. As a one stop car online portal you can now buy your new ride, be it a pre-owned car or a brand new car from trusted dealers all over Singapore, all in one place. Our ever expanding listing of quality and covet-worthy cars, new and second hand, from both owners and trusted car dealers, will leave you spoilt for choice. Refine your search by vehicle type, registration year, price, mileage, engine type, transmission, annual depreciation value and more to find the car that best suits your needs, taste and lifestyle. You can even search for your car by dealer or directly by owner.

Sell Your Car In An Instant With Confidence
We all know how selling a car in Singapore can be a daunting task especially for a first time car seller; from trying to get a valuation for your car, finding a trusted dealer, to getting the best quote on your vehicle. CarBuyer understands the hassle and even the costs involved and have as such partnered with Huawei to develop a FIRST in Southeast Asia AI car valuation tool that is able to provide a car’s resale value at the snap of a finger. Backed with a consortium of trusted CaseTrust-SVTA accredited car dealers you can be assured that you are getting the best price for your vehicle and do not have to worry about any hidden costs.

The Ultimate Car Shopping Experience Online
CarBuyer platform is the first of its kind to be backed by Huawei’s Artificial Intelligence and cloud computing, enabling it to be able to offer users transparency and enhanced security, all with the one aim of enhancing customer experience. So come on over to buy and sell used cars online at the best prices at CarBuyer Singapore. Connect easily with dealers in real-time via our online video call feature, or schedule a test drive when you’re ready. Have some questions? Get them answered instantly with our chatbot moderated by our responsive team. Stay in the loop with our car-related tips, reviews and news. Learn the ins-and-outs of your car, as well as global and Singapore’s car updates at your own pace.