1992 Toyota Starlet 1.3 petrol
Made Toyota replace Mercedes in my private classification as the world's best car maker
I bought it just a couple of weeks ago for $2,700, searched for a Mercedes, but I found this one - and it had automatic transmission as I wanted - I though I'd go for it as I read before about its reliability (3- and 5-year Starlets are least likely to show faults among all cars in the world - beating Porsche and Mercedes!). Things that have gone wrong:
Insulation seems to be letting some water in through the back door in heavy rain (but no rust after 9 years of service).
It makes sounds on bumps - I don't know whether this is plastic or something else, but it's pretty loud.
My former cars were Volvo 244 and Mercedes 123 and - most recently - 116 280SE, so you can appreciate the transition, but I am very happy with the Starlet. I am a bit of a fatalist and reliability is important for me, and this little Toyota promises to be very faithful.
It drives very well, especially in urban cycle, perhaps a little too noisy on the highway at speeds above 120 km/h, but nothing seriously annoying.
I wish it had power steering.
Fuel economy could be better - it burns some 7-8 litres per 100 km at 130 km/h.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd July, 2001
To all the Toyota Starlet 1.3 12V owners: If you want to save on fuel consumption, drive the car on highways at a speed just below or around 100km/h, quite slow you would say, but very economical too. I went to Germany doing just that and the car did 1 liter every 18-19km!!! Besides at that speed the car is very quiet!
The 1E (999cc 12v) and 2E (1295cc 12v) engines are the best engines I ever seen in a Toyota of this year. Also Starlet is a very reliable and trouble-free car. I have a 1993 5-speed manual Starlet. I live in the Dominican Republic (in the Caribbean) where the roads are terrible, and I just have changed the front shock absorbers. Well, I changed also the 1.0 engine by a 1.3 one, because is more powerful and the old engine was burning a quart of oil every 800km (500 miles)!. NOTE: I changed the engine at 160.000km (100.000 miles) by a used one imported from Japan for only US$600. Now my Starlet have 190.000 km (Near 120.000 miles) and have no problems.
The Starlet is rough and durable and very stable at high speeds (I had driven it at 170 Km/h top speed two times with the new 1.3 engine, with the 1.0 don't go past 140 Km/h) but fuel consumption increases dramatically above 120 km/h.