The Toyota Altezza RS200 is a highly practical sedan with the sporty feel of a rear-drive automobile. It has proven highly popular by tapping into the latent demand for just such a car. The Altezza shares the same chassis as the Toyota Progrès, but it is modified to provide the handling and ride quality expected of a sports sedan.
It reflects the extensive research done to increase chassis rigidity. The engine, transmission, fuel tank, battery, and other components are designed and positioned as close to the car’s center of gravity as possible for a low yaw moment, giving the type of maneuverability usually associated with mid-engined sports cars.
As a sports sedan, this car gets high marks for all the basics. The 3S-GE 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has 207hp and 159 Ib-ft of torque. It feels unstressed at speed and is matched to a 6-speed gearbox. In everyday driving, the crisp steering and good yaw control give this car a sporty feel for a sedan.
The natural steering feel of a rear-drive design is not possible with a front-engined/front drive vehicle, and the results should satisfy anyone who desires a car that is practical but also on the sporty side. Because of its design and street-driving orientation in standard trim, the Toyota Altezza RS200 has considerable potential to evolve further for high-performance driving.