1997 Toyota Tercel CE 1.5


An excellent investment on good, basic, dependable transportation


The radiator fan burned out at some 135,000 mi. Cost at a dealership $360.

Replacement of the ball bearings and brake assemblies at some 145,000 mi. Cost $780.

On late 2001, about 156,000 mi., the MAP (mass airflow pressure) and oxygen sensors conked out, and the car revved unpredictably. Cost >$900.

The inboard computer blew a circuit simultaneously and was repaired (not exchanged or discarded). (Cost included in sensor job.)

The front struts have been replaced once. Cost $365.

Lost 5th gear - worn synchronizer - on Sept. 2002 (185,000 mi.) but the other 4 speeds work well!

All other jobs have been maintenance, bodywork on 2 small fender benders, or wear and tear.

General Comments:

This is a fine handling, quite agile car especially for narrow roads and has good pickup in hills and corners. With good tires it is easily under driver's control. Just adequate brakes, though.

Somewhat short on interior room and the trunk is not very large.

Tends to be noisy, but doesn't worry you with strange sounds.

The overall reliability has been phenomenally good. In fact it still has its original clutch. The alternator has never discharged, and there have been no fluid leaks until about 4,000 mi. ago with oil, and then that may be a botched-up lube job (badly fastened filter).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th May, 2003