1988 Toyota Starlet DL 1.0


Cheap reliable runaround


Brakes needed replacement at 103000 km.

Rust in the right front foot-well at 103000 km.

Front tire's needed replacement at 103000 km.

New ignition wires needed at 120000 km.

Exhaust replaced at 120000 km.

General Comments:

Very reliable and cheap car. I bought it at € 150,-- and needed € 350,-- of repairs (rust, brakes, tires) to get it back on the road again. With regular maintenance the car didn't let me down in the past years.

The car has started to rust badly though. The salt on the Dutch roads isn't doing it any good. I will have problems on the next MOT I'm afraid.

Wind noise is very loud, I use earplugs on long runs. Together with a subwoofer, it's still possible to enjoy music.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd April, 2009

1991 Toyota Starlet Friend 1.3i 12v


A must-have


Nothing out of the usual. Had to have rear wheel arches bended for bigger rims/wheels.

General Comments:

Excellent car! Reasonably fast, reasonably efficient, very reliable! Although my previous car (Citroen AX) was more efficient than my Starlet, I can drive with a warm feeling now. That means that I don't have to worry it will break on me whenever I'm on a long journey... Minor bad point is that here in the Netherlands, there isn't a lot of after-market choice in performance parts or body parts. Ah well, if you ain't got two left hands that will eventually turn out not to be a problem!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th January, 2002

31st Jul 2002, 13:48

I drove the Starlet Si for three years in Holland. ('92 - '94). That one had the 1.3 12V 90HP engine from the Corolla, and all the goodies like power windows, remote entry and alloy rims, wide tires, aero package etc. etc.

On the Autobahn it was a real surprise for some BMW's...

Nothing ever went wrong with it, I put 78,000 Km's on it with only oil changes.

1986 Toyota Starlet Base 1.0 12V


Nippy, economical, very reliable, basic transport. Will always get you there


It started to rust, but what do you expect after 14 years in the rain?

Rear shock absorber dishes had to be replaced in 1998, due to rust.

The front exhaust pipe broke while on holiday in Southern England. Note: do not drive through Cheddar Gorge without a working muffler! ;-)

The exhaust was replaced by a Toyota dealer in Bristol, on a Sunday, fitted free of charge. Impressive.

Steering universal joint froze, making steering very stiff. Common fault on Starlets of this age - easily rectified at first by a general dose of WD40. Eventually fixed by fitting a replacement from a low mileage specimen in a junkyard.

Main light switch on the column stalk failed. Common on all Toyota's of this age. Replacement column stalk from junkyard fixed it.

Otherwise, the car was totally reliable.

General Comments:

Basic spec means very basic: no carpets, but vinyl mats on floor, vinyl seats, thin-rimmed steering wheel, no halogen headlights, no trip odometer, no wiper interval, no rear wiper, only four gears.

1 litre engine always ran like a sewing machine. Good performance and economy, too, due to the low weight.

Lack of a fifth gear made it a bit 'buzzy' on the motorway. This did not deter the current owner from driving to Kiev and back in it with his family. Reliable all the way, though. As expected.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 8th June, 2001