No Compromise: 2023 Toyota Corolla Altis GRS – Review

When it comes to Toyota there are a lot of nameplates associated with the brand. However, I would say that the Corolla (Altis) model is the brand’s most iconic and best-selling.

Especially here in the Philippines, where everybody’s brothers, sisters, cousins, neighbors, dogs, and cats had one at some point in their lives. In recent years though with the dawn of PPVs, Crossovers, and MPVs the sedan Corolla has slowly lost market value.

The latest model has just been updated though and I got my hands on the non-hybrid Corolla Altis GRS to find out if people are overlooking a still-worthy vehicle.

Toyota Corolla Altis Grs 6

Toyota Corolla Altis GRS Exterior

This current version of the Corolla Altis has been around for quite some time now, but it has received some minor facelifts here and there. I would say the brand has done well to retain the general design philosophy with updates to keep it up to date even in 2024.

Toyota Corolla Altis Grs 5

With the GRS pack included it has side skirts a more aggressive blacked-out front grille, and bigger sportier allow wheels. Overall it’s a looker for me, especially in the white color and the few GRS badges found around the vehicle.

Toyota Corolla Altis Grs 4


Inside is a familiar and quite typical Toyota layout and design, the panels are predominantly black with a few silver accents, but the seats are special black and red GRS types that add some uniqueness to an otherwise normal Corolla Altis Interior.

The main highlights of the Corolla Altis interior include an infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a half digital and analog gauge cluster and that’s it. Nothing is ergonomically weird, everything is where you’d expect it to be, no overcomplicated features that require getting used to or unknown buttons.

Toyota Corolla Altis Grs 8

My favorite though is the space, for a “normal” sedan the Corolla Altis has more than enough space for 4 adults to sit in comfort. I come from a tall family, and at one point I had my taller brothers and equally tall dad with me, nobody complained about space, which for me is a plus.

Toyota Corolla Altis Grs 7

Performance and Safety

This is where the Corolla Altis gets interesting, the automaker has bumped the engine up from just 1.6 to 1.8 liters, and power has gone up from around 122 to a decent 140 hp from a naturally aspirated engine. It is mated to a CVT for better fuel efficiency.

Also, despite being the mid variant the non-hybrid Toyota Corolla Altis GRS comes with some Toyota Safety Sense features like Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assist.

Toyota Corolla Altis Grs (2)

Driving Impressions

I’ve had experience pushing a Corolla Altis GRS to the limit already on track during last year’s Vios Racing Festival. While that was a hybrid and underwent some modifications, it was as close to stock as possible.

I remember being amazed at how much better it moved around the autocross course compared to the Vios despite the Corolla Altis being bigger. It helps that the Corolla Altis uses the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, this enables the Corolla Altis GRS to feel more solid, lighter, and somewhat sportier.

I felt the same in the Corolla Altis GRS (non-racecar) It remains a nimble and capable vehicle in pure stock form, and the engine is a treat. I appreciated that Toyota put a bigger engine to deal with the heft of the vehicle, the 1.8 is just right in terms of power delivery having enough to propel the car at a decent rate of speed without compromising much fuel efficiency and smoothness.

On any normal day though the Corolla Altis shines in being what it should be, simple. There is nothing unpredictable about its driving habits making it a car that anybody could jump into and drive without confusion or hassle, as a true Corolla Altis should be.

Toyota Corolla Altis Grs 3

Points for Improvement

I really only have one issue with the Toyota Corolla Altis GRS and that’s the lack of a sports mode. I found it perplexing and quite funny how a model with Sport attached to the variant name didn’t have a mode that allowed it to be erm… sportier.

Price and Verdict

Coming in at PHP 1,302,000 for this non-hybrid GRS variant is very good value for money. You get the decades of tried and tested formula baked into the Corolla DNA, with the added convenience of the Toyota Safety Sense, and finally the sporty good looks of the GRS.

At that price, the Corolla Altis GRS is a chunk and change more affordable than the Honda Civic RS, and the newer more powerful engine brings the Corolla Altis GRS closer to the Civic’s power figures. It used to be night and day when comparing both vehicles, the Civic was the sporty choice and the Corolla Altis was the brainy one, but these days you can’t make the same distinction anymore, the gap has been bridged by Toyota.

The Toyota Corolla Altis GRS is a true Corolla, with no-nonsense mobility now with a dash of soul and sport added to it.

Pablo Salapantan

Pablo Salapantan

Pablo's first word was probably "Car", and this has developed into a personal passion that has consumed his professional life as well.

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