Toyota Altezza Review

Toyota is often stereotyped as a brand that makes boring cars that are just practical and reliable. Though, these two characteristics have helped the brand to become the world’s largest automaker in terms of the number of vehicles sold. However, the brand has also made some of the most iconic and high-performance cars over its decades-old history. It has also tried to quench the thirst of mainstream buyers who wanted a sportier and fun to drive car. The Toyota Altezza is one such car that was made exclusively for the Japanese market, but it has also found its fans in several other countries thanks to the export of its pre-owned models.

The Toyota Altezza made its debut two years before the start of the 21st century and it still is being produced in some countries albeit with a different nameplate. Its first generation remained in production in Japan for over seven years (1998 – 2005) and it combined practicality with a sport-oriented performance which allowed people to discover its performance whenever they wanted to. The car’s exterior has aged well thanks to the revolutionary design language which has helped it maintain its presence to this day. Moreover, you can add numerous aftermarket bits and pieces as it has a wide room to accommodate such modifications.

The interior of the Altezza reminds a person of the flagship Japanese sportscars made in that era and thus provides a great nostalgic feeling to an enthusiast who wants to experience the raw and the most connected experience from a classic JDM sportscar. As with the exterior, the interior has also been designed and made to take in a variety of customizations according to the buyer’s taste. Despite its sporty DNA, it has enough room to fit in four adults and a child and the amenities too are fairly decent for a car of that age. Air conditioner, airbags, digital watch, and cassette player are some of the noteworthy features. Though, the archaic cassette player can be replaced with an aftermarket MP3 or navigation system easily.

The devil is in the details and it applies perfectly to the legendry Toyota Altezza. The flat-six 2.0L 1GE-FE engine packed in its engine bay produced a decent 150+hp and it was then connected to a six-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. The manual transmission is the best choice if you want the most fun out of an Altezza and it will let you explore every rev to its fullest. Despite rather mediocre power output figures, the rear-wheel-drive could still sprint from 0-62mph in under 10 seconds and the top speed was rated at 216km/h. The power delivery to the rear wheels made it an absolute joy to have fun with it. Apart from the 1GE-FE powerplant, the Altezza was also offered with one of the world’s most legendry engines the 2JZ-GE in the later models. So, getting your hands on a version powered by a 2JZ would be the best thing that can happen to you when shopping for an Altezza.

All of the aforementioned characteristics would be pretty much useless without strong and functional handling characteristics and Toyota also made sure to take care of that department. The sporty sedan provides good handling and cornering abilities and you can even drift it if you are in a mood to do so as its rear-wheel-drive terrain provides enough push to spin up the wheels. Another unique feature of Altezza was the rear lights that became an inspiration for many future models by the brand and many aftermarket accessory makers also copied it to use in similar sporty cars.

The Toyota Altezza has now become a widely affordable car and is a great option if you want to have fun on a budget. It is packed with traditional Toyota reliability, so you don’t need to worry about hefty repair charges. Furthermore, the practicality it provides makes it a good family car as well.

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If you want to know more details about specifications and models, please refer to Wikipedia or other catalogs.