March 29, 2011

2001 Toyota Altis 1.8G - Used Car Review

Buying a used car is never an easy task. Using a used car is like walking through a battlefield between two sides, not knowing when and where a bullet will hit you or when you will step on a mine. Used car has more tendency of having faulty parts due to wear and tear by the previous owner(s). Therefore, inspection is a must when you are shopping for a used car.

I came across a 10 years old used car - a 2001 Toyota Corolla Altis. Some might think that why not buy a 3 years old Toyota Vios, same price but better reliability (due to later production year). However, yours truly felt that it's all based on personal preferences. I prefer the Altis because it has slightly upscale look, a larger cabin and engine, good feedbacks from owners and definitely has a more comfortable ride than Vios.

It's amazing to see how well the Altis aged compared to other 10 years old car on the road! It's still elegant (provided if the paint job does not look dull) and the technology it has is on par with the cars today. Most of the parts of the used Altis stood the test of time (and usage). However, a more detailed look at it shows some minor signs of wear and tear - window's rubber starting to come off, air cond outlet is loosening etc.

Photo from Autoworld.com.my

Moving on into the cabin, the Altis amazed me with its long features list - auto climate control, Traction Control (TRC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Optitron Meter (a technology from Lexus which enable you to switch the colour of the Altis' instrument panel between white, blue and amber). Its 2 tone dashboard and light coloured seats were inviting, and reducing the chance of having claustrophobia together with its good all-round visibility. Soft touch dashboard is a plus. The fabric seats, however, has some kind of an 'old paper' effect that might not suits the taste of some people.

Interior space is generous for the front seats of the Toyota Altis. However, if a person who is taller than 170cm like me sitting in the driver seat, the person behind me might have limited legroom. Headroom is adequate for the back seats. Innovative features like grocery hook was built in behind the front passenger seat's headrest and cup holders in the rear arm rest.

Turning the ignition on won't wake your neighbours up in a quiet morning like other cars of its age. Putting the air cond in auto mode or full blast will get the cabin to cool down rapidly in a scorching hot day. Rear occupants has no complaints of no getting any cool air, but the air cond was a bit loud when the fan speed was set at its max. The standard audio equipped in the Altis is enough to please those who like to play techno music out loud.

Photo from Autoworld.com.my

Once you are in the driver seat, step on the brake, left hand on the gear level and you'll notice the gate-type shifter which is normally found in expensive cars. Put it into 'D' and the Altis glide smoothly on the road. Due to just a short driving distance, I have no chance to test its high speed stability and comfort, as well as the effectiveness of VSC while cornering (Well, I also hope that the situation is not that dangerous enough to activate the VSC!!). There were minimum engine noise and road noise while moving on the road, and the suspension soaks the bumps nicely, providing a comfortable ride in town.

Acceleration was also a brisk, no doubt you can win some traffic light battle against other cars. By comparing Altis' acceleration with a 2.0litre Nissan Sylphy, Altis win hands down! With great power also has to come with great responsibility... ahem... I mean great braking ability, where the Altis also excelled with its 4 disc brakes.

All in all, a used Toyota Altis is a great choice when it comes to choosing a used car. Proven reliability, comfortable and outstanding performance are some strong selling points of the Altis. Like its bigger brother Toyota Camry, you won't go wrong by purchasing an Altis.

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