Ever since the current FC generation Honda Civic hit local showrooms in 2016, it enjoyed an almost unhindered home run to the top spot on the sales charts. Ticking all the right boxes and styled like nothing else in its class, the Civic resonated well with local buyers, leaving archrival Toyota Corolla Altis far behind in the sales charts.
Next year, the Civic will have to contend with a more competitive, all-new Toyota Corolla Altis.
The all-new Corolla Altis was previewed simultaneously in North America (USA and Canada) and China last month, and will go on sale there in early 2019. In USA, the model is known simply as Corolla while in China, it’s sold either as a Corolla or a Levin, each with slightly different styling.
Normally, there is quite a big gap between a model’s introduction in North America/China and our region, at least six months or more. These large left-hand drive markets are typically self-sustaining and the models are usually manufactured at their domestic plants that cater only to their respective markets.
Introduction in right-hand drive markets including Toyota’s home market of Japan, typically takes place at a later stage.
However according to Indonesian website Autonetmagz, this time around, the gap in introduction timing will be shortened significantly, and the all-new Corolla Altis will be launched in Indonesia next year. If it’s true, it will also mean that the model’s introduction in Malaysia won’t be too far off.
Globally, the Corolla sedan comes in three different front-end design, and it’s still too early to say which one will South East Asian markets adopt. Likewise for engine options.
Some markets like USA will retain the outgoing model’s 1.8-litre Dual VVT-i naturally aspirated engine, while adding a 1.8-litre hybrid borrowed from Prius. Meanwhile, China will get the option of an all-new 2.0-litre Dynamic Force naturally aspirated engine.
Like the all-new Camry and C-HR, the all-new Corolla Altis is built on the latest Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, which apart from allowing for more efficient and cost-effective manufacturing, also allows for a more spacious interior, lower centre of gravity, improved chassis rigidity plus lower kerb weight for better handling, as well as easier integration of advanced driving aids for better safety.
The Indonesian website also revealed that the aging Avanza is due for a facelift early next year. Grainy images allegedly showing the new Avanza’s front-end have also been circulating within Indonesian circles.