The Transformation of the Toyota Altezza
First Generation (1998 – 2005)
The TOYOTA ALTEZZA was released in October 1998 as a new type middle-class SEDAN. The concept of this new model was not limited to the enlargement of the interior space; development was also focused on driving pleasure, including improved running performance, which was a characteristic unseen in other sedans. As such, the outer design was not focused on excessive strength or a powerful impression, and instead, featured a reduced front overhang and rear overhang, thereby leading to a size that was just big enough that it could balance weight with running performance and guarantee riding performance. Moreover, a secondary effect of the design was that it was made simple, with all unnecessary components trimmed off. The body size measured in length, width, and height at 4,400mm, 1,720mm, and 1,410mm respectively, and the wheelbase measured at 2,670mm. Thus, the wheelbase measured quite long in comparison to the total length.
As for the interior, a pop-up monitor was available to be installed to the center cluster, corresponding with the standard navigation system. Moreover, a circle motif was employed to the interior, including to the air conditioning dials and meter design, as well as the area surrounding the shift gate. This circle motif was installed to not only the interior, but also to other areas, such as the rear combination lamps on the exterior.
Two gasoline engines were made available: the inline six-cylinder 1,998cc with 160 horsepower and inline four-cylinder 1,998cc with 210 horsepower. The designated fuel was the regular gasoline for the inline six-cylinder 1,998cc 160-horsepower engine and high octane for the inline four-cylinder 1,998cc 210-horsepower engine. For the 210-horsepower engine, to accompany the high power output, some methods were undertaken, such as making the emission valve a sodium-filled system.
The transmission that could be combined with this was the 4-speed automatic for the inline six-cylinder 1,998cc 160-horsepower engine, and the 6-speed manual and 5-speed automatic for the inline four-cylinder 1,998cc 210-horsepower engine.
The drive system for all vehicles was the FR.
Fuel consumption measured at 11.6km/L for the inline six-cylinder 1,998cc 160-horsepower engine, and 11.0km/L for the inline four-cylinder 1,998cc 210-horsepower engine.
In May 2000, minor changes were made, and the 6-speed manual transmission was added to the lineup to be combined with the inline six-cylinder engine. Moreover, the L Edition that employed seat covers with genuine leather and excenne, power seat function to drivers and passenger seats, and side airbags as standard equipment was newly added to the lineup.
In May 2001, for vehicles carrying the inline four-cylinder engine, changes were made to the steering wheel and differential gear, as well as the setting for the suspension system, leading to an improved running performance. Furthermore, for certain grades, discharge headlamps with auto-leveling functions were installed, further enriching equipment options.
In August 2002, discharge headlamps with auto-leveling functions were installed to all vehicles as standard equipment. At the same time, for the L Edition, wooden switch panels were installed, further improving quality.
In August 2003, minor changes were made, and the headlamp extension and fog lamp extension were made smoky, thus making for a sportier look. Moreover, fog lamps installed on the front bumper lower both sides were newly installed to all vehicles as standard equipment.
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