Toyota added a sportier Toyota Corolla Altis with a 2.0 liter engine to its Corolla Altis line-up in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines in mid 2009. According to a report on The Straits Times dated 13 Feb 2010, it looks like this new variant may make its debut in the Singapore market this year, together with a mid life facelift. The 3ZR-FE powerplant features Dual VVT-i (variable valves for both the intake and exhaust).
The 2.0L engine is tuned for different outputs at different markets. For the Thailand market, which is more relevant to us, the dual VVT-I lump pumps out 140HP at 5,600 revs with 189Nm of torque at 4,400 revs.
The beefier Altis also benefit from the addition of steering mounted paddle shifters and revised gear ratios. However, it is a pity that the ancient 4 speed auto transmission is still serving the 2L Altis, where its rightful place should be the museum instead. I am glad that Toyota replaced the chunky 4 spoke steering in the regular Altis with a sportier looking 3 spoke version. However, the paddle shifters are too long and skinny in my opinion and they stick out like sore thumbs.
I am not sure of how relevant a 2L Altis would be for our market. A buyer looking for a sporty Japanese sedan would probably go for a 2L Civic instead, which is endowed with more adventurous styling. A normal Altis buyer looking for a comfortable 5 seater would probably not care so much about performance. Perhaps, Toyota should consider introducing the 1.6L Dual VVT-I unit for the Asean Altis. This 1.6L powerplant is currently utilised in the European Toyota Auris and produces 124bhp.