2016 Toyota Corolla GLi Automatic Owner’s Review

2016 Toyota Corolla GLi Feature

This is my first review of a car. I am no expert and will carefully refrain from delving into mechanical jargon to impress people. I will analyse things that make more sense to an average guy, easier to appreciate and have a clear bearing on our choice of the car. Well, there is no denying the importance of money in buying the car of your choice. That aside, Pakistanis are woefully short of options as the market is dominated by only three players: Suzuki, Toyota and Honda. The consequences of this monopolistic cartel are not right as consumers are offered airbags as a luxury and not as a mandatory safety feature, inferior quality fixtures and high prices. I recently bought a 2016 Toyota Corolla GLi Automatic in regular white colour. First a summary:

2016 Toyota Corolla GLi Pros & Cons

Exterior

It’s a pretty car, no doubt. The new Toyota Corolla is imposingly big, more like a younger sibling of Toyota Camry. The headlights and rear lights are shaped aggressively to give the car a nice, sporty touch. The car looks beautiful from all angles, even more so in lighter colors as they allow you to appreciate the sleek contours and curves. This is perhaps the best looking Corolla to have come so far. And I assure you not all sequels are great. Toyota seems to have hit a chord with the Pakistanis and it is the car of choice for people who want their car to be sturdy enough to take some beating, not to mention the excellent resale price.

2016 Toyota Corolla

The colour palette on the offer depends on the Corolla you buy. XLi is limited to Regular White (Pearl White) and Black. GLi offers some additional colours. A very popular colour, Super White is only available from 1.6 Altis and onwards. The colour is bright white and is striking in the sunlight. I have never liked the Black colour on account of our dusty environment and unrelenting attention required to keep the car shining and clean.

Interior

The interior is mainly in ivory and black. The combination is decent and is vaguely quaint, reminiscent of the interiors years ago. In a way, the new Corolla harks back to the older dashboard designs as opposed to the cockpit like feel popularised by 8th and 9th generation Honda Civic. Both kinds of interiors have their supporters. I am a great fan of the digital speedometer of Honda as it does lend some oomph to the feel and experience. The dashboard of GLi comes with the usual round meters, but they look great and emit a soft, turquoise glow which looks fabulous in the night. The arm rests on the doors of all Corollas except Grande are covered with a cheap looking black fabric that is prone to rapid wear and discoloration. In Grande, the armrest is covered with leatherette which is much more durable and looks great too.

2016_Toyota_Corolla interior

You can also easily spot cheap plastic in small fixtures as boot/fuel tank opening levers. These not only look cheap but are visibly fragile as well. Comparing the interiors of imported cars with the locally assembled ones, one can’t help but notice the striking difference in the quality of plastic and fabric used. Local cars pale in comparison which is a shame. Imagine spending almost 2 million on a car that can’t compete with an imported car worth half the price. The seats are OK and not particularly comfortable. I guess the curves of the seats are not deep enough to embrace the width of the body. It is more like sitting on a soft, flat surface. It could be a problem on long drives and hurt the back.

Entertainment/Safety

XLi/GLi come with the standard music system without a screen. The screen starts with 1.6 Altis. Grande offers a 7-inch touch screen and Android-based entertainment system. Being a music lover, my first addition to my GLi AT was an entertainment system with a 10-inch screen and rear view camera. You can get these added at the authorised showroom/dealer, but that will cost a lot of money. And the difference is strikingly big. Go to a shop outside and you will get an Android-based 10-inch screen system for 30,000. The same will cost you 50,000 at the showroom. If you want a system which is not Android based, it will be cheaper ranging from Rs. 15,000 to 20,000. Don’t forget to change the Corolla speakers as they are weak and fail to support music heavy on bass. Just not good enough. I wonder why Toyota would not consider spending few extra thousands to add a decent music system to an otherwise beautiful car.

2016 Toyota Corolla GLi Interior

Toyota has just added a much-needed immobiliser to the Corolla from GLi and onwards. Immobiliser is an anti-theft electronic device that makes the car virtually impossible to steal unless the thief has your car key. It prevents the engine from running unless the correct key is inserted. This prevents the car from being “hotwired” after entry has been achieved and thus reduces motor vehicle theft. The immobiliser is not available in XLi, which is a shame. Given the incidence of Toyota theft, immobilizer should have been included in the complete range.

Verdict

It is a beautiful car with a lovely interior. The drive experience is positively smooth despite our bumpy roads due to the customised suspension system of Corolla. The fuel economy is just OK. My automatic GLi recorded 6km/l after the first tank fill which was horrendous. I had to get it checked and apparently there are no manual settings to fix the problem. They use a computer to correct the digital km/l reading. The supervisor at the authorised workshop failed to explain to me how a computer would fix any potential problem with the extra generous fuel injectors. My friend, however, told me that GLi AT should do around 10 to 11 km/l in the city with A/C. This average would increase on the highway.

There is also the problem of the steering lock with some cars. Apparently it has to be turned full circle to lock the car which is a pain. I had it checked, and they had to replace the inner assembly of my steering. So don’t walk away from your car without checking the steering lock. The problem has been communicated to IMC and what they do about it remains to be seen. I must appreciate the very courteous management of Toyota Walton Motors (Lahore) in giving me a patient hearing and fixing the problem promptly.

Delivery woes refuse to go away. There is a delivery timeline of at least four months on all models expert perhaps Grande, the most expensive in the range. The market practice of premium to the extent of 100,000 for instant delivery continues unabashedly. I can’t help but shake off the feeling that Indus Motor Company and dealers are hands in glove in perpetuating this malpractice which only hurts the common man.

All in all, given the limited choice and my budget limitations, Toyota Corolla 2016 is a satisfying experience with minor issues here and there.

 

Hasnain Iqbal

Presently Joint Director Punjab Information Technology Board. Before that, I was working at Shell Pakistan as B2B Manager. Overall 15 years of experience with global companies like Shell and Schneider Electric in diverse roles. Also an Oped contributor for Express Tribune

  • Ahmed

    It’s a cheaply made and extremely overpriced car against the value given. We Pakistani’s are happy to buy for the sole reason of “resale”. Remove that and this car is a piece of junk.

  • Saqib

    My new Honda City gives me 18.5km/ltr on highway with full AC.

  • Abdullah

    Fuel economy……………………………………….ka bohat burra hall hai…………this car needs a new and improved engine……..

  • Abdul Hannan

    1NR-FE is far better than this old 2NZ-FE although tax issues may come.

  • rashid

    shittiest interior ever

  • Ans

    Doesn’t matter, the Gujjar will be happy to drive it in his pind HAHAHA maybe also put a grandeeee badge on the back and when he will come to the city, will drive it with high beams all the time lololol

  • MAS

    How about the review of 1.6 Altis ?
    Performance wise which one is better ….1.6L Altis or 1.3 GLI as both have a common 4 Speed Auto shift transmission ?

  • Sherjeel

    1300 cc with gear
    right?

  • Umar Pal

    with an engine of 1.3 its just like riding a donkey cart.

  • Mohsin Javed

    horrible car from Toyota yet again

  • Shaaf

    You can achieve 20+ by caping it at 80km/h on highways.

  • Shaaf

    Can’t believe they approved that kind of interior. Exterior wise best and on the Interior side it is the worst corolla till date.

  • Zafar Khan

    Dear Writer good effort to promote Toyota GLI car, by the way how much did they pay for this article? Either you have never used a good car or purposefully ignoring the facts. I own a 1.6 Altis, vow what a useless car. Black carpet for Pakistan;s dusty environment, Cheapy seat fabric and uncomfortable seat back. after about one month I found out audio warning of key in the switch and lights on.( the audio is so low ).1.6L 2004 model engine, with poorest quality accelerator sensor. gives you feeling that car is not moving forward. Put a GPS and could not afford a Rs. 1000 software card what a generosity. No mud flaps worth Rs. 500 in 2.2 million car. To top it they ignition keys are worst than Suzuki mehran. Plastic parts are a classic example of how not to be. Mine is 2015 model and run only 9000Km and wheel well shields are hanging loose because all the sub-standard studs have fallen away. Safety of occupants is incomprehensible word for Toyota No Air Bags system. If this is Altis I can well imagine XLI and Gli.
    Keep on fleecing Pakistanis till new entrants in auto field appear.

  • ehs

    u missed the lack of airbags..
    It’s a important issue.

  • Syed

    No anti-skid and airbags available as its a standard feature abroad. Take this car up the hill and the front wheels will spin like you are on frost. Engine blocks are almunium made, resulting light weight and poor grip on the road.
    Plastic used is sub standard. Price is too high. Dashboard seems liked copied from 74 corolla…… I am not happy with toyota quality any.more……

  • Yasir

    I don’t know why we as a nation like this car so much? It’s over priced and pathetic in terms of interior. Actually the interior very awkwardly high with a small windscreen like something from the 70’s. O yes Pakistan mein everyone calls this a “waddi gaddi” hahahaha so it’s due to our inferiority complex.

  • khanji

    “Beautiful” is an over exaggeration for a Corolla in my opinion. Perhap for desperate pakis who have no other choice. Lol!

  • Adnan Khan

    My 2001 New Japan import 1.6 GTi Baleno does 18Km/L on highway with A/C ,up till now no major work needed with exception of few scratches which are bound to get in Pakistan’s traffic jams or tight roads.
    I guess i can drive it a few more yrs. before getting a new car,though I’m inclined towards Honda City.

  • Adnan Khan

    LOL ,right 🙂

  • Adnan Khan

    What! no airbags… wow! which is a must basic accessory in every car in the west and many other countries including Japan whose company authorized the establishment however Japanese,EU and American models have them.

  • kkk

    Well you have to understand we are a developing country where every third civilian is extremely poor. In that ofcourse it will be called a “waddi gaddi” and also because its being priced alot and we cant do much about it. So dont make fun of the poor if they call it a waddi gadi. Also the same car is manufactured in other parts of the world too and many people drive a corolla around the world. its not the best car but they we have only a few options. A civic, corolla or a japanese car. So anybody can choose anything. No need to make fun of people.

  • Junaid Abbas

    Corolla rocks, it is even sold more world wide than in Pakistan, the new civic is even bad looking than the previous one. Honda cannot design a car these days and honestly it cannot. OR it is designing a shit hole car according to the Pakistan economy and people’s choice.

  • Guest

    There are subtle differences, donkey cart is single axle, generates biological waste, and above all, the dheenchu dheechu music is heard occasionally.

  • Usman Haider Sheikh

    right to some extent, 9th gen had influence from American designers who aren’t best at designing econoboxes so this was expected after 10th gen being fully designed in America. also the 1.8 might be slower then previous generation due to being paired with cvt(more economical though).

  • TECHNICAL

    Why to compromise on LOW QUALITY INTERIOR if you are spending almost 20 lacs… FAW B-30 best car in China is launching soon in Pakistan. Its price would be 14 Lacs 83 thousands….

  • Jawad Naseer

    Dear friend please confirm from toyota, is your car equipped with immobilizer because i am sure there is no immobilizer in xli, gli and gli AT.

  • fawad

    That bs resale claim is an elaborate hoax and a farce. This fantasy ends as soon as you try to sell your corola-be-damned car.

  • Hamad

    Bro all Toyota variants delivered May 2016 onwards except xli are equipped with immobilizer.

  • Zaid Tariq

    I has horrendous sound deadening !
    I can literally hear footsteps of people walking past me plus a lot of road and wind noise and the interior looks dated and cheap!

  • The best selling point of Corolla is reliability and durability. In spite of lesser in build quality due to restricted and overprotected market, it still offers best value for money among all PKDM’s. I have kept 1.6 2015 Altis for more than one year and loved its comfy and powerful drive. Loved the way engine roared just on a gentle nudge on the DBW gas pedal. Initially noticed a lag, but someone pointed out that the extra mat that we put interferes with DWB sensor. I folded the plastic mat and the problem was resolved. No lag at all. Great handling and corner, best noiseless quiet cabin. Way better plastics inside than any other PKDM. Loved the retro styling in dashboard and instrument panel. Always sold and confident field while going over potholes and huge speed breakers or puddles of water. Confident, economical and reliable drive from Karachi to Khunjrab. You can never be wrong with any Toyota.

  • PS: Upgraded to Grande. Expected delivery sometime in September. Even more fun. Alhamdolillah.

  • Tahir Usman

    After seeing the bad finish on the new Civic have decided to hang on to my Reborn!Just got a ride Pindi to Peshawar in an Xli Corolla.Really liked the black white dash and quiet ride.Not bad.Might even get one

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