The all new Toyota Corolla Altis was first unveiled at the Auto Expo 2014. The new car is a splendid version of the outgoing model. Based on Furia concept, Corolla sports a trapezoidal grille accompanied with swept back Bi-Xenon head lamps and huge airdam at the front. The side profile looks contemporary with 16-inch alloy set while the rear features angular styled tail lights and sleek spoiler for the sports quotient.
Corolla looks more premium from outside while Skoda Octavia has an overall simple profile without any ostentation. It sports rectangular headlamps with LED day-time- -running-lights and the new family grille framework at the front. The new company badge can be seen at the center which will inspire the future models. The rear portion is equally fabulous in appearance with Laura styled tail lamps and twin exhaust pipes. Overall the car poses a European look and nothing short of charisma.
The new Renault Fluence seems to be banking high on the French flair. It shows off new family grille section with projector headlamps and day-time-running-LED fixed in the fog lamp enclosure. The rear section remains intact as that of the previous version.
Step inside and you are welcomed by brushed aluminum finishing with black and beige color scheming in Corolla. The gracefully fashioned dashboard contains a 7-inch touchscreen display that offers voice controlling capability, advance music system with Bluetooth and USB port. The car is equipped with comfort features like rear reading lamps, heated seats for the front and reclining seats for the rear passengers. Corolla has 60:40 rear split capability, the feature lacking in Octavia and Fluence. On safety front it sports dual SRS airbags, 3-point ELR and 2-point NR seatbelt and ABS with EBD, etc.
Skoda Octavia features dual toned black and beige interiors dressed in premium fabric and plastic. Like Corolla, the car is nothing short of comfort features. The driver seat is 12 way adjustable, AC with dual zone climatronic and AC vents for rear passengers, rich 6-inch touchscreen infotainment that also have USB and Aux-In ports and panoramic sunroof as well. Skoda Octavia is lengthier in dimensions from the other two so there is plenty of roominess inside. Skoda cars are always ahead in safety front. Octavia comes with nine-airbags, ABS with EBD, intelligent assistance system, Lane assistance, etc.
The new version of Fluence features soft feel dashboard which is finished in grey and light beige color with silver metal inserts. The new infotainment system comes loaded USB, Aux-in and Bluetooth connectivity, audio is powered by Arkamys 3d surround sound eight speakers. Like Octavia it also comes with AC with Auto-Bi-Zone climate control and AC vents for the rear passengers. Advance features includes follow me headlamps, push start/stop button, rain sensing wipers and illuminate glove box, etc. Safety features include dual front airbags, side airbags, ABS with EBD, anti-slip regulation and electronic stability control.
Engine and Power
Corolla will be available in both diesel and petrol engine options. The 1.4L D4D diesel engine produces 87.1bhp and 205Nm of torque while the petrol variant consists of 1.8L motor with VVT-I technology churning out 138bhp and 173Nm of peak torque. Both the variants are coupled with 6-speed manual transmission while there is an additional 7-speed automatic transmission available on petrol model.
Octavia has a variety of engine options to choose. It comes with two petrol engines; the 1.4L TSI Turbo unit produces 138bhp and 250Nm of torque while the senior 1.8L TSI motor seen in Superb generates 178bhp and the same torque of 250Nm. The diesel unit is 2.0L TDI engine that yields power of 141bhp and torque rates at 320Nm. The petrol engine comes in 6-speed DSG automatic and 6-speed manual transmission while diesel engine is en-suited to 7-speed DSG transmission system.
Fluence comes only in diesel variant which sports a 1.5L K9K motor mustering power of 108bhp and torque rated at 240Nm. The engine is paired to an advance 6-speed manual transmission system.
The three also come head to head in pricing. Toyota Corolla Altis is yet to be launched, so expect price ranging from INR 12-16 lakhs. Octavia starts at INR 14.26 lakhs and the top end variant goes upto INR 19.88 lakhs while Fluence price range starts from INR 14.31 lakhs and top model comes at INR 15.84 lakhs, all priced ex-showroom, New Delhi.
Toyota Corolla is yet to be officially launched and if it comes at the expected price tag, it should create problems for the other two. Moreover, Corolla is a renowned nameplate and perhaps the bestselling car in the world, so it could be a win-win situation for the Japanese brand. On the other hand, Skoda Octavia is a revived nameplate in India and comes with bunch of exciting features that comes at par with major brands in the market. It has poised itself as a strong competitor to Corolla and Fluence. Looking at the competition above, Octavia with variety of powerful engine options, rich interiors and European design seems to have an edge over Toyota Corolla and Renault Fluence.