A more descriptive analysis of the highly popular JDM Allion this time around.
The 1496cc 1NZ-FE base engine in the A15 provides 110PS/6000 power, and 140Nm/4400 of torque. Interestingly the A18 1790cc version which is more rare in Sri Lanka due to the higher taxes (yet low priced in Japanese auctions due to the high demand for the a15) has a more advanced 2ZR-FA engine which revs harder at 140PS/6400rpm and 176Nm/4400 of torque. The A18 engine features Toyota’s VALVEMATIC that provides more power and yet high levels of fuel economy. Anyone using this version, appreciate if you can provide your experiences specially on the fuel economy and performance, as my general feeling is that its not going to be too far away from the A15 in efficiencies, but you get the bonus of the higher outputs that can be an advantage on the highways, and also for the thrill seekers.
The A15 tested is remarkably quiet, partly due to the good noise insulation, and also possible the design of the engine. However what is really interesting is the simple ease the vehicle pulls at low speeds, and i believe part of this reason is the CVT gearbox. The end result is that the Allion offers painless acceleration that will make you feel the engine is lot more powerful than what it is. Its only in the open roads and when you need that heavy pull in overtaking that you notice the lack of oomp in the engine, something that most users of this car in Sri Lanka are not going to notice unless you like driving a bit enthusiastically.
A big change in the second generation Allion is the introduction of the CVT (called Super-CVTi) gearbox for the entire range of models. Only the 2L version had the CVT gearbox in the 1st generation models. The Super-CVTi has been tuned to give more of an auto feel and most users are unaware that the gearbox is a CVT. Kudos to Toyota in achieving this, as common feature of most CVT’s specially Honda has been the rather revvy behaviour, though this can be an interesting attribute.
However see section below, seems if the car is used in heavy traffic situations, sticking to the Toyota standard gearbox oil change can cause gearbox failures. Honda’s learning with the CVT gear oil change cycles may also be very applicable for Toyota as well!
The Allion compared to the sister car the Premio always presented a more sporty younger appeal, and the same continues with this model. The vehicle tested being a variant of the base model lacked some of the visual aesthetics, still had that look. The more beefy versions add to the visual impact that makes the car a lot more meaner.
The side mirrors have the now popular winker mirrors, while adding a touch of modern feel, most winker mirror implementations have the feel of being bolted in when compared to the winker mirrors in Mercs which were among the first to feature this.
The rear has the now fairly standard Toyota look, and has more than a passing resemblances to the big brother Camry. A bit of the bangle design has crept into the Toyota design house, but in a lot more pleasing way compare to the BMW designs of the past.
The soft texture of the seating material gives a very pleasant feel for the passengers, and also gives the vehicle an upmarket feel. However the material is a major dust attractor, so regular cleaning is on call, specially if its the dark colored interior.
The front seats are top notch, and though lacking any form of electrical seat control, it provides the front passengers a very comfortable driving position. The rear seat space is superb, and the ability to recline the seats (at the cost of some boot space) adds to the luxury feel of this mid level sedan.
The dashboard console is very neat, and the all LCD information screen provides a good level of information. In addition to the average fuel economy, it also provides the current fuel economy to ensure the driver can optimize his driving style to meet his needs be it economy or a bit of thrill. However while most JDM cars in the past had the information in English, the console now is in Japanese, which means any error information or warning are not going to be understood by non-Japanese users.
The vehicle suspension handles local rutty roads extremely well, giving a comfortable ride even in the most bumpy parts. However for an enthusiast they may find the ride a tad on the softer side, but the advantage is that the vehicle does not loose composure on the rippled, rutty roads and maintains high degree of comfort for its occupants. The standard tires on most Allions are the 185/65/R14, and with the thick sidewall, these tires ensure the ride comfort is maintained. These tires look a bit too small for a car of this size, and especially cars that had the rims replaced by 14″ alloys look very ungainly. Vehicles with Toyota alloys tend to get 185/65/R15 that provides a more balanced view, while the TRD alloys with the 17″ makes the car stand out.
The vehicle has as amazing fuel economies if driven properly, excelling in open roads. The dual-VVTi configuration provided great traction with minimal revs and idle sipping very little fuel definitely attributing to this amazing returns.
|City / Urban – Peak Hours||8-9kmpl|
|City / Urban – Non Peak Hours||9-12kmpl|
|Outstation / Highway – Narrow roads||10-14kmpl|
|Outstation / Highway –Wide roads||15-24 kmpl|
Friends who have this vehicle have reported the following problems.
- The AC tends to get heated once in a while even on cars with low mileage. The AC fan is found to be working the issue could be due to the AC compressor bush expanding.
- The CVT gearbox has started to fail on several of these cars including the Axio which features the same gearbox and engine combination. The issue seems to stem from the fact that Toyota states a 100,000km duration for the CVT gearbox oil change, and sticking to this with the car being used mainly in traffic seems to be suicidal. To avoid the gearbox failing the best is to do the oil change every 50-60,000km and then reduce the duration even further as the car ages in mileage. The gearbox failure seems to be in two stages, one where the gearbox will not change which can be repaired, and the next where not attending to this problem in time causing a belt failure.