1996 Toyota Tercel 1.5


Basic, budget and unreliable


Engine leaking/consuming oil (since I got it).

Rust developed in the engine compartment causing water leaks and engine overheating.

Transmission completely went at 110000 (left me stranded o the side of the road).

Steering became too heavy.

Brake discs and drums very rusty.

Carburettor needs to be rebuilt.

Interior trim falling apart.

A/C blowing hot air.

A few electrical faults, bulbs, lousy radio reception..etc..

General Comments:

This car has been totally unreliable, things keep blowing away at such a (relatively) low mileage.

Fuel consumption is way too high for such a small car (or a small plane for that mater), thanks to the dated fragile carburettor instead of a fuel-injected engine.

The interior is very basic and the dashboard is made up of annoyingly cheap plastic with a few rattles, gauges are crappy (with no rpm).

Body seems to dent easily enough and is really light, coupled with the lack of safety features (no ABS, no airbags), the good deal of wheel spin and the noticeably bad handling in the wet makes for a very unsafe ride..

On the plus side, the car is peppy and the auto transmission is smooth enough (although it's a 3-speed with no overdrive). The paint job is not bad either.

This car can be summed up as a basic A-B transportation (city driving only) that completely ignores safety and comfort/features. I think it is really not up to standards and that every effort has been made to cut the cost of this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 16th May, 2007

8th May 2008, 19:07

The '96 Tercel is throttle body fuel injected. It did not have a carburetor.

10th May 2008, 06:15

96 Tercel with a carb? I don't think so.

Impossible to keep nontechnical people happy. Way too easy to fool them, it's no wonder so many shops sell unneeded repairs. Its not the cars fault that the owner agrees to usless and unneeded repairs.

27th May 2008, 19:03

'95-'99 Tercels actually have multi-port fuel injection - and air bags were standard on that final generation of Tercel. Incidentally, if fuel consumption was high on this car, even taking into account it's an automatic, something must've been seriously wrong with it.

2nd Jun 2008, 15:39

I bought a 96 tercel about 3 months ago. With gas prices on the rise and travel over 60 miles day it seemed to be a good deal (I still have my 04 Tundra Double Cab). I get on average 32-33 mpg. Had to put on a new starter (ebay $65.00) and new tires. Pretty good trade off I think. Car is great!! For every dollar in gas that I put into the Tercel saves me more than 2 times what would have been in my truck. Love both my Yoter's!!! I don't know what the original person bought, but my Tercel is great!!

2nd Jun 2008, 20:52

Actually, all cars '96 and later, and some before (but not Toyota because they were always behind the technology curve) have sequential-port (not multi-port) fuel injection.

It is a requirement to be in conformance with OBDII.

27th Jun 2009, 13:58

Actually the 95+ had direct injection on the 5EFE.