Thursday, September 29, 2016

Quickie Used Car Review - Toyota Corolla Altis (2001-2007)

2001-2007 Toyota Corolla Altis

The Good: More space and practical

The Bad: Ain't a livelier partner

The Say: At these prices, this is a bargain.

Go For: 1.6 E
Avoid: 1.6 S

Price Range: P200,000-P350,000
Our Rating: ****

Full Review: Used Car Review - Toyota Corolla Altis (2001-2007)
Latest vehicle profile: Toyota Corolla Altis

See the different versions of this vehicle:

Vehicle Overview
Larger than the model it replaced, the ninth generation Corolla debuted in 2001 for Asian markets outside Japan. The Corolla Altis name signaled the vehicle's upmarket intentions as it became the more luxurious variant over the pedestrian Corolla. For the Philippines, the lower model was targeted towards the fleet market.

With an attempt to move upmarket, two higher engines are offered - a 1.6 and the 1.8 - that are both brand new. These engines work well when driven on the low rpm range, a known trait of Toyotas, but they aren't the best when driven hard since they become noisy. Do take note that the 1.6 can be had in both manual or automatic, depending on the variant, while the 1.8 is exclusively automatics. Ride quality is excellent, even when driven on both sides of the spectrum.

Benefiting from the increased dimensions (the previous model suffered limited interior space), the Corolla Altis has enough space for five people. Controls are placed logically and within the reach of the driver. To separate the top end models inside, they receive wood panels.

What Should I Get
Deviating from three lettered variants, this one signaled the usage of single letters as the trim model of this vehicle. The base model is the J which has a 116hp 1.6 engine, all power features, alloy wheels, and CD player with later versions getting a 60/40 fold rear seat and MP3 function. Our pick is the E in 1.6 flavor that adds a driver airbag, ABS brakes, folding rear seat, alarm, and keyless entry while an equivalent model wearing the 145hp 1.8 engine, launched in January 2004, adds a passenger side airbag, front and rear proximity sensors, fog lamps, wood accents, and starting in 2006, leather seats. Added as a limited edition model in February 2006 is the S which is basically a J model that adds a driver's airbag, body kits, rear spoiler, mesh grille, alarm, and keyless entry. The top end model is designated as the G in both 1.6 and 1.8 engine options for public consumption. The 1.6 G, when compared to the E, adds a passenger side airbag, fog lamps, wood accents, and side skirts while the 1.8 G gains leather seats, cassette deck (replaced by a disc changer later on) with later models adding proximity sensors, power fold mirrors, and power driver's seat.

How Much Would It Cost Me
Its best seller status ensures you that parts are widely available and the badge gives you low maintenance costs when compared to same time rivals (but not to Big Body Corolla levels). This vehicle has its fair share of problems which includes power door locks and windows which does not function well in certain times, the oil drain plug in the engine for 1.6 models, and for J models, weak air conditioning due to Sanden components as the upper models utilize Denso ones. With a number of them in the used car market, be picky enough.

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