Is the Toyota Altezza a worthy buy?

25 Jun, 2017 - 02:06 0 Views
Is the Toyota Altezza a worthy buy?

The Sunday News


Lovert Mafukure

Toyota has made a good name for itself by making reliable cars for people all over the world. The Altezza is a fun, stylish and fast (for its league) sports car. Most of the problems you will encounter will mainly depend on how old the car is and how well it was kept.

Many people haven’t learnt that a car is only as good as you maintain it. If you neglect it, it will only deteriorate. Be mindful therefore of a car’s condition before buying it, it’s worth your while.


The Altezza isn’t on the cheap side when it comes to maintenance. Maintenance will make a big difference if you intend on keeping your car for long. By design, it is a sports car and sports cars are a bit on the luxury side and they bring with them hefty maintenance bills, it’s nothing out of this world though.


The Altezza is popular for a good reason. It’s fun to drive, it’s a beautiful sports car. The exterior styling brought a movement back then which up to now is still going strong. Its signature tail-lights became an in-thing yesteryear leading to the “altezza lights” boom in the after market parts industry. The interior is well built and doesn’t really shout cheap, it’s a well built car that will last the mile if you maintain it well.


The engine variants available for the Altezza are 3s GE which is 2000cc, 1G FE also a 2000cc six cylinder and 2JZ GE commonly found on the Altezza Gita which is a station wagon. The 2-litre engines give an average of 8-9km per litre depending on the type of fuel used for local driving. It goes up to about 11km to a litre with highway driving. With the 2 JZ GE expect anywhere between 6-7km per litre. It’s all dependant on the driving style and conditions I guess.

Power delivery

The 3S GE is by design a performance engine and offers more power than the 1G FE. The model with six-speed manual transmission, which is generally coded as RS200 has dual variable valve timing with intelligence (AS200 as well). It was favoured over the others and comes with a limited slip differential and titanium valves!
Reliability. On the reliability index, the Altezza like most Toyotas is rigid and strong. It has its weaknesses like most cars but with preventive maintenance you are bound to enjoy thousands of trouble free miles.

Common problems

With preventive maintenance, you are not likely to have any big problems for a long while. Overtime however, with higher mileage some things start falling apart, it’s the natural order of things — with age everything becomes frail. Altezzas have lower ball joint weakness. These tend to fail anywhere between 60 and
80 000km. It’s worse down here with all our potholes. The condition of the lower ball joints has to be regularly checked and replaced with the genuine replacement parts. These do not come cheap from Toyota but it’s always recommended you use the genuine parts.

Timing belts commonly fail after 100 000km

When they fail, they lead to mechanical engine damage because these are interference engines. You ought to be careful and replace these with genuine Toyota products

The power steering pump on the 3S GE Altezza usually fails and requires replacement after a while. It’s quite a common problem but not so common on the 1G FE. The 1G FE actually has fewer problems and turns out to be the stronger one of the two engines. It requires less attention over time.

Buying used

One needs to be careful of cheap cars unless otherwise they are checked for roadworthiness. This is when that pre-purchase inspection comes into play. It costs money but it’s important. People always sell cars for various reasons and a lot of the times it’s because of problems they do not want to deal with. Blown head gaskets are common, timing belt issues, automatic transmission issues, suspension issues are all common due to lack of maintenance. People then sell to avoid the high bills of repairing. Do the right thing before buying.


These cars are well built but lack of maintenance and abuse will mean a short life span. These cars are prone to abuse because they are sports cars. Avoid buying cheap cars, they may have some hidden problems unless you get us to do an inspection for you. Some cheap ones from Japan have also seen a lot of drifting so it’s wise to be cautious. It’s futile to use mileage as a yardstick for measuring a car’s condition nowadays.

Mileage fraud is rampant. You will find a lot of cars with hundreds of thousands of miles clocked off.

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Disclaimer: This material has been prepared with the intent to provide reliable information; no warranty either expressed or implied is made to its accuracy or completeness. No liability is assumed for any loss, injury to persons, property or other damage resulting from either the use of or reliance on the material presented. Always consult the professionals.

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