What you need to know:
The Toyota Altezza is loved by many who love fast cars. With its sports engine, it can go as fast as you want it to go without necessarily breaking the bank to refuel it.
I have had my Toyota Altezza 2005 model for approximately three years. One of the features I like about the car is its economical fuel consumption even with a sports car engine. I have never had a car for more than two years but I have had the Altezza for this long due to its satisfactory speed and fuel economy.
I drive upcountry twice a month and on each trip, a full tank will take me from Kampala to Ntungamo District in western Uganda. On the highway, it gives me 14kms per litre of fuel and approximately nine kilometres when driving in Kampala traffic jam.
One of the Altezza’s downsides is that it has low ground clearance, which leads to damage especially when driving on bumpy roads. For example, I replaced the front bumper twice in the first year of owning the car. However, I have since used spacers to raise the car and since then, I have not had any of the parts underneath or even the bumper replaced. If you want a raised Altezza, you have to forego speed since when it is raised, it loses stability at 100km/hour.
For maximum driving comfort, I recommend driving on high profile tyres and low profile rims that can withstand the discomfort that comes with driving on potholed roads that tend to weaken the suspension system or bend the rim if the pothole is deep.
I love my Altezza because it picks speed the moment I step on the accelerator owing to its sports engine. It is a car that has capacity to take you as fast as you want even with its small engine of 2000cc without much of a difference in fuel consumption. The only concern is when your acceleration foot is heavy.
However, I do not drive beyond 140km/hour because it becomes light and unstable on the road. Besides, it is not safe to drive at such speeds where you cannot ably control the car should the need to slow down or stop arise.
Because it has bucket seats, a feature that is common with sports cars, I adjusted mine by using a cushion to improve my driving height and have proper sight of the road. But even without the cushion, the seats are comfortable enough.
I service my car after driving for 5,000kms. One advantage with this car is that it shares most of its spare parts with most Toyota brands such as the Toyota Premio. Because it is my daily car, I spend about Shs250,000 on every garage visit.
I have had my Altezza for almost five years because I only use genuine spare parts. For instance, it cost me Shs1.2m to replace its entire suspension system when I had just bought the car but it took me time looking for suspension arms and other parts. Those I found on the market were brand new but they could only last for a short time compared to used parts.
It is a short saloon car, unlike those with similar shapes such as the Premio and Mark II Grande but it has enough interior space, with enough driving legroom and passenger space. From just looking at it, the trunk looks small but it is capable of accommodating a reasonable amount of luggage. However, to avoid increasing its fuel consumption, I avoid overloading the car.
When well maintained, the Altezza is a reliable car since it can be repaired at any garage at an affordable cost.
When I need to carry out minor service such as replacing engine oil, brake fluid, spark plugs and transmission fluid, I spend Shs200,000, unlike major service that could cost as much as Shs500,000. This involves replacing the air cleaner, oil and fuel filters, brake pads, engine belts, and a few other serviceable and replaceable parts.