The Toyota Altis Is What (A Bargain-lover’s) Dreams Are Made Of (Updated 2019)

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The Toyota Altis has traditionally been a stalwart family sedan that is hugely popular for being stout and reliable.


The Toyota Altis has traditionally been a stalwart family sedan that is hugely popular for being stout and reliable. Touted as a no-frills kind of car that leaves absolutely no room for inefficiency, it comes as no big surprise that the Altis has remained as an all-time bestseller across all previous generations due to its undeniable value-for-money. The all-new 12th generation manages to uphold this reputation, while also bringing so much more to the table. Expect a plethora of new features, a cutting-edge platform, incredible safety standards, and a much, much punchier personality.


The styling for the new Altis is more aggressive than the outgoing model, the main reason for this being its new and massive lower grille. Other features complementing this new styling concept include slimmer headlights, a new, sleeker upper grille, as well as the chrome-trimmed slits that reside at the corners of the front bumper.

Around the rear, the new styling trend has continued, with broad two-piece tail lights are joined by a chrome strip, as well as contours in the rear bumper that mirror the front slits. These new design features mark a departure from Toyota’s conventional styling, making the Altis seem louder and more attention-grabbing than its predecessor.

Measuring 4,630 mm long, 1,780 mm wide and 1,435 mm tall, the new Altis is 10 mm longer, 5 millimetres wider and 25 mm lower than its predecessor. The wheelbase, on the other hand, stays the same at 2,700 mm. The consistent wheelbase allows for the Altis to have similar amounts of interior space and a similar ride quality to its predecessor. The significant lowering of the new model also gives it a more sporty feel, along with improved agility and handling.

The similarities continue throughout the car’s layout. The Altis retains its front-engine, front-wheel drive layout like previous models. As such, it keeps all the advantages a traditional economical sedan would have, such as stability, handling, and better fuel economy.


Straightforward and user-friendly design

Being a traditional sedan, the Altis can easily fit 5 people in its seats. There is decent enough headroom and legroom in the cabin such that even taller adults will feel comfortable sitting in it, be it the front or back seats. An upgrade from its predecessor, the new Altis also comes with rear air conditioning to help increase air circulation within the cabin. The boot space, while not overwhelmingly huge, is decently-sized, with a 470 litre capacity, which should be adequate to deal with your day-to-day transport needs. 

The interior layout and design is trademark Toyota: simple, ergonomic and well-built. The driver has access to the standard multi-information display, a multi-function steering wheel with telescopic adjustment and the standard instrument cluster that is extremely straightforward and user-friendly. There is also a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen located in the center console, which controls the Altis’s entertainment and navigation systems. Sound comes from six speakers scattered around the cabin. Finally, there is one 12-volt socket and one standard USB port available for your charging and connectivity needs. All interior trim is put together extremely well and does seem to be built to last.

Simple, ergonomic, well-built

The new Altis also boasts one of the best pedal layout in its class, allowing the driver to have more legroom and comfort. While the Altis’s interior might not be overly luxurious or creative, its simple yet refined design is precisely enough to make your journey more relaxing, comfortable and enjoyable.


In terms of engine performance, expect similar results to the previous model. The 1.6 litre four-cylinder makes 128 BHP at 6,000 rpm and 157 nm of torque at 5200 rpm. Along with a kerb weight of 1383kg, this allows for the same top speed of 185kph and a 0-100km/h time of 11.1s. The engine has also been tuned for earlier acceleration as compared to the previous generation.

Transmission-wise, the Altis still makes use of Toyota’s 7 Speed Super Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT-i). A CVT is an automatic, single speed transmission that constantly shifts through a continuous range of gear ratios, unlike a traditional gearbox that has a fixed number of gear ratios. A CVT transmission provides some benefits over a normal automatic gearbox, including smoother shifts during acceleration and better fuel economy. 

The similarities continue when we focus on fuel economy. The new Altis does 15.7 km/l, which is quite similar to it’s predecessor’s 15.8km/l. This is largely due to a same engine and CVT transmission being used in the new Altis, as well as the fact that the New Altis is heavier by approximately 70 kg.

This then begs the question: Performance-wise, what’s so different about the new model? The answer can be expressed in four words: Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). The TNGA is a flexible vehicle platform that is found in all new Toyota models, including the Altis. This new platform gives the new Altis a solidity that its predecessors did not have, while also making it more dynamic and exciting to drive, while providing better visibility through reduction of blind spots.

The new Altis is also now equipped with a new steering system which creates easy handling and steady steering operation. In addition, it employs a double wishbone suspension, allowing for better road stability and passenger comfort as compared to the traditional torsion beam of its predecessor.


You can unquestionably set your mind at ease with the Altis’s state-of-the-art safety technology. Toyota’s focus on safety has seen them apply their Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 system to their new models, including the Altis. Features of this system include Pre-Collision System which comes with automatic braking with vehicle and pedestrian detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane-Departure Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring and Automatic High Beam headlights. These features are further complemented by not one, not two, but seven airbags, including front and side airbags for the driver and passenger, an extra knee airbag for the driver. All of the seatbelts come with pretensioner and load limiter systems, which help reduce the impact of any crash, while ensuring that the belt itself does not hurt you or your loved ones. The new Altis also has an improved body torsional rigidity of up to 60%, creating a more solid feel and an experience that matches up to that of luxury and sports cars. Because of these comprehensive safety features, the new Toyota Altis has retained its 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating. With these systems in place, you can drive without any worries, knowing that your Altis is always looking out for you in case of any lapses and errors.

Other Features

Touchscreen display with bluetooth connection

Other features that come as standard on the new standard 1.6L Altis include daytime running lights, LED tail lights, smart entry/push start 16-inch alloys, 7 airbags, nanoe aircon, rear aircon and a 4.2-inch multi information touchscreen display with bluetooth connection

The 1.6L Elegance variant on the other hand, comes with more bells and whistles, including auto rain sensing wipers, driver electronic seat, sports mode, 17-inch wheels, leather seats, auto climate air-conditioning, LED daytime running lights and rear combination lamp as well as some safety features such as the blindspot monitoring, hillstart assist, lane departure warning with steering assist, dynamic radar cruise control, auto high-beam and pre-collision system.



Ultimately, you can never go wrong with the Altis – but with the 12th generation, it is now an even safer choice with a personality to boot. The newest compact sedan drives impressively well, has gotten a much needed appearance makeover, and most importantly, is priced like a bargain-lover’s dream. If you have always thought that the Altis lacked a little oomph, well, the latest model will certainly make you reconsider your options.



What we like
- New sporty outlook
- TNGA platform does significantly improve the handling and drivability
- Better ride comfort and suspension
What we do not like
- Still uses the conventional handbrake
- Protrusion of dashboard
Editor’s recommendation
Overall, it is a great car. It provides a very good balance between comfort and performance. Feels like a continental car with new features and improved chassis rigidity, along with Japanese reliability. It will definitely give you a run for your money. You won't regret buying it.

Standard Features (Standard v Elegance)


Altis 1.6L Standard

Altis 1.6L Elegance


7 SRS Airbags

Vehicle Stability Control, ABS with EBD, Brake Assist, TRC, Hill Start Assist

ISOFIX Child Restraint System


LED Type


Nano-e Auto Climate Air Con + Rear Register

Smart Entry / Push Start 



Maximum Power

Maximum Torque

Top Speed

In-Line-4-Cylinders, 16 Valves with Dual VVT-i

7SP Super CVT-i

128 bhp / 6,400rpm

160 Nm / 4,200 rpm



Grade Differentiation (Standard v Elegance)


Altis 1.6L Standard

Altis 1.6L Elegance


Bi PES Halogen


Seat Material 



Instrument Panel 

4.2” MID

7” MID

Driver Seat

Manual Adjust


Paddle Shifters



Inside Rear View Mirror



Rain Sensing Wipers



Rims & Tyres



Blind Spot Monitor (BSM)



Toyota Safety Sense



  • Lane Departure Warning with Steering Assist (LDW)
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
  • Automatic High Beam (AHB)

Features (Standard/Elegance v Hybrid)


Altis 1.6L (Standard/Elegance)

Altis 1.8L 



1.6L 4-Cylinder, 16 valve, with Dual VVT-i

1.8 hybrid, 4-Cylinder, 16 valve, with Dual VVT-i







Top Speed



Fuel Consumption



CO2 Emissions




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