1981 Toyota Starlet 1.3


One of the best small hatchbacks of all time

General Comments:

Never had a mechanical problem. This was the last car I ever owned that had a hand-choke, and it never failed to start immediately, no matter what the weather.

It would cruise all day at 70 mph, which was about as fast as you could safely go on the highway without danger of incurring a speeding ticket.

Handling was excellent; it reminded me of driving a small sports coupe. You could park it anywhere, and it could literally do a u-turn in a city street.

With the back seats folded down, it could carry an incredible amount of stuff.

About the only thing I didn't like about the Starlet was the name, but then the Japanese always had odd ideas about what they ought to call their cars!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th December, 2010

1981 Toyota Starlet 1.3L




The oil pump on this car went out at 250000 miles and took the engine with it. The motor was replaced with a Toyota factory unit (new long block).

At 505,000 miles the carburetor went at a local SCCA event (yes, the car is raced all the time, and has been for all its years). It now has a weber replacement which helped gas mileage and performance.

After 20 plus years and 500,000 miles, the interior was shot and had to be replaced.

General Comments:

I truly believe that this is the gretest car ever made. It has never let me down, and I have never in my life had more fun in an automobile.

I will keep this vehicle forever. I love it like a member of the family.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th September, 2005

1st Aug 2006, 12:47

I agree with you that this is the best car ever made. I had mine since 16 years ago. I bought it in 1990 with only 42000 miles, and now it has 207000 miles on it.

Everything in the car is like the first day, including the central matte black hubcaps and the "rally rings" (original). Even the dash cover is perfect. In most of the cars that I've seen, this piece is cracked. It's in "vintage" condition and have been my daily driver since 1990. At present I don`t use very often, but that I try to give a ride almost two or three times a week. I would like to keep it for as long as I can ( My family says that I love the Starlet more than them ). It is fast, reliable, efficient and with a timeless styling, nothing to envy to the "young boys" like the Yaris, Swift, 206, Micra, etc., my little Starlet always draws attention wherever I go.

1981 Toyota Starlet


Inexpensive yet dependable transportation


The axles had to be replaced at about 250,000 miles.

The clutch has been replaced twice in 560,000 miles.

The driver's seat belt frayed at about 500,000 miles.

General Comments:

This car has been extremely dependable.

This car has been extremely cost efficient.

This is a small, lightweight car, but it handles very well. It is actually a lot of fun to drive.

This car is very comfortable for short people, but probably not comfortable for tall people.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th December, 2002

7th Dec 2002, 09:32

I also own a Toyota Starlet. A 1982 model. The car has now done 763 Thousand miles on the original engine. On my second transmission though.

1981 Toyota Starlet 1.3


An excellent deal


The leather seats have ripped on both the driver and passenger side.

The front struts have gone.

The rear defrost does not work.

General Comments:

This car is very reliable and is in very good condition, especially for how old it is.

It is OK on gas.

Best car I have ever owned.

I purchased the Starlet for 750$ Canadian.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th May, 2001

2nd Oct 2004, 23:39

The Starlet is a vary reliable car I own a 1981 Starlet, I had to stop driving it, though it still runs vary well even after the ten years it just sat. The unforgiving winters have taken there toll rusting it to the point that it is not safe to drive.

This starlet I got for only $25 will be missed and I WILL own another one some day.

26th May 2006, 12:36

My Starlet is still in execellent condition, no rust. Just had to put a carb. on her, other that that she is all original. Runs good and last check I got 57 MPG.