The ninth-generation Corolla (NZE120/ZZE120) first appeared in November 2000 (Japan) with edgier styling and a longer 2600 mm (102.4 in) wheelbase. It is built on a shortened Toyota Vista platform—the Vista being a mid-sized, rather than compact car. From being marketed as a premium compact sedan, to an affordable hatchback, the 9th-generation Corolla was designed as a 'Global' automobile to suit different market needs. This was one of Toyota’s most versatile and most popular models ever produced.
The Corolla has also spawned another multi-purpose vehicle, the Matrix (E130), sold in Canada, Mexico and the United States, which forms the basis of the Pontiac Vibe, which was in turn sold in Japan as the Toyota Voltz.
The E120 series was replaced by the E140 or E150 series in late 2006 or early 2007 but the E120 continues to be made in China.
In 2004, the Corolla Altis received its first facelift. Changes include a new grille design, a sleeker front bumper, redesigned fog lamps, new LED tail lights, different alloy wheels and minor interior updates (auto climate control became a standard feature in lower end variants). Two years later, to keep up with much newer competitors, the Corolla Altis received its second facelift. Exterior changes include another redesigned grille, redesigned chrome rear license plate ornament, a new third LED brake light, and a new steering wheel audio switch. A new aerokit and new wing mirrors with signal indicators (similar to the 2007 Camry) is available as an optional package in Malaysia.
A low end variant of the Corolla Altis is also branded as the Toyota Limo, featuring lower spec and intended for taxi business in Thailand. It is not to be confused with the low end taxi version of the Toyota Vios which is also called Toyota Limo in Indonesia.
In Singapore, Toyota's exclusive authorised dealer Borneo Motors originally sold the Japanese version of the Corolla, but later replaced it with the Corolla Altis.
In terms of product lifespan ( production lasted for seven years ) and number of units sold, the Corolla Altis easily outlived its Corolla predecessors, making it currently the most popular Corolla variant/generation in Southeast Asia.
1NZ-FE VVT-i, 4-Cylinder in-line, DOHC, 16 Valve, 1,497 c.c, Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) with 3 way catalytic converter, Maximum Output: 109 hp / 6,000 rpmand Maximum Torque: 141 nm / 4,200 rpm.
3ZZ-FE VVT-i, 4-Cylinder in-line, DOHC, 16 Valve, 1,598 c.c, Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) with 3 way catalytic converter, Maximum Output: 110 hp / 6,000 rpmand Maximum Torque: 150 nm / 4,400 rpm.
1ZZ-FE VVT-i, 4-Cylinder in-line, DOHC, 16 Valve, 1,794 c.c, Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) with 3 way catalytic converter, Maximum Output: 136 hp / 6,000 rpmand Maximum Torque: 171 nm / 4,200 rpm.