The family car segment, which is all about value for money, used to be the exclusive domain of the Toyota Corolla Altis – the longstanding favourite of middle-class motorists. Those looking for a frugal and reliable runabout to take them from point A to point B know they could do a lot worse than the Toyota.
The car’s dominance, however, diminished as the Korean makes churned out challengers that offered buyers serious alternatives. Suddenly, there were options more appealing than the status quo. In light of this, Toyota recently revised the Corolla Altis. Now looking more mature and equipped with a newer, more efficient motor, it will do its level best to retain loyal fans who might be tempted by the fresher young upstarts.
Introduced nearly three years ago, the Chevrolet Cruze and its dynamic style immediately caught the attention of the younger crowd. Now made more powerful and ergonomic, the Cruze is trying harder to capture a bigger slice of this pie.
Not to be outdone, Kia’s capable Cerato Forte features a new 6-speed automatic and a standard bodykit. Everything else is essentially unchanged, but the refreshed Cerato is sure to entice those looking for a sportier ride that is also affordable.
The newest and biggest contender here is the Renault Fluence, which impressed us with manners as smooth as its name when we reviewed it in our January issue. Still a novelty to Singaporean families, the Fluence package should be competent enough to sway more than a few sceptics.
Can the ever-popular Corolla Altis fend off such stiff competition to remain on top? Or will it have to give way to a better player? Read on to find out.