1990 Toyota Carina 2.0 GLi 2.0 16v EFI 3S-FE from UK and Ireland


Cheap and Reliable


Not much at all.

Recently we replaced the back exhaust box as it had acquired a hole. Not too bad after 12 years of driving.

The car seems to lose power sometimes, as though a cylinder is off time, but this only occurs in the rain. Can anybody help out please?

General Comments:

The 2.0 engine is superbly refined and very quick, and refuses to stop pulling until around 130 MPH.

The seats are wonderfully designed and a joy for those with bad backs.

The hatchback has a cavern of room for absolutely anything you can bring along.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th April, 2002

22nd Sep 2003, 09:13

Could be your HT leads or distributor cap - try squirting some WD40 to see if that cures the problem.

6th Jun 2004, 04:18

I've had similar trouble with my 12/13 year old Carina GLi. Usually loss of power, occasionally stalling, occasionally difficult to start. The first two problems are worst when the engine has warmed up and can persist for several miles. These problems only happen after the car has been standing in heavy rain. I tried changing HT leads and distributor cap several years ago. They made no difference. Garage mechanic has checked the coil and says it looks fine. Nobody seems to be able to track down the problem. I assume it is something to do with a sensor which controls fuel injection. In all other respects it has been an excellent car, but this loss of power is dangerous as it tends to happen when changing up as I pull the car out at a junction.

13th Feb 2005, 13:37

Hi guys.

Thanks for the advice, the problem turned out to be associated with the spark plugs. Replacement of all 4 has cured the problem. Thanks for your help!

15th Aug 2005, 14:27

Just a little note about the Carina 2.0 GLi with 3S-FE with Oxygen Sensors 88-89 years model. Some of your problems described here can be caused of an bad earth drawing. This earth is located on the intake manifold underside and ground the ignition, injection and engine ECU. This ground comes from the main cable that serves most functions around the engine. It's four cables fitting to this ground and you are not able to see it. You can disconnect this ground cable and reconnect on another better place at the intake and draw a separate ground directly to the battery minus. Also check the chassis to engine ground wish has a connector. This can cause problems like you describe, that the car does not start after heavy rain, power-loose somewhile after heating up the engine and so on. This is NOT a known fault or common, but after several years of problem I discovered this eartpoint and now the problem is gone!

Good luck.

Regards, Bengt Eriksson, Sweden.

2nd Jan 2006, 22:21

Have you tried to change spark plugs and spark plug wires?

This needs to be changed every once in a while.

1990 Toyota Carina XL 1.6 16v from UK and Ireland


A cheap, versatile and reliable car


Healthy appetite for sidelight bulbs.

Cam box oil seals started to leak at about 78000 miles.

General Comments:

For the age of the design the car has lasted very well considering it has had quite a hard life.

The engine on the whole is very pleasant and being a 16 valve it has enough go to overtake slower moving traffic and be mildly entertaining in a straight line.

The car's ride and handling are however pretty disappointing, bordering on infuriating at times; very often the car does not feel at all safe at speed or under emergency steering and braking.

Other than this, and the often heavy fuel consumption, the car is very good; it is plentifully spacious and the power steering, whilst a little inaccurate at speed, is fantastic for parking.

The seats are comfortable for long periods of time and the cabin is user-friendly, if a little bland.

Although very much yesterday's technology, the Carina II is nontheless a good used buy if you need something cheap, versatile and extremely reliable. I believe my car will carry on well past 100,000 miles without a hint of trouble.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 14th March, 2001

30th Mar 2001, 14:03

Handling has been compromised for extremely super smooth ride comfort which can be turbulent at high speeds.

10th May 2001, 15:14

I have a Toyota Carina II GL 1988 that has done 151,000 miles and is still going strong. When I bought it, it had done 138,000 miles, but that did not deter me. The car has never failed to start even in winter. Anyone who says the Japanese don't make the most reliable, rust resistant cars is terribly mistaken.

1990 Toyota Carina XL 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


Radio/Tape changed under guarantee. Tape kept sticking. First tyre changed at 48,000 miles. Battery failed at 57,000 miles. Exhausts, tyres, plugs and filters etc. are the only other expense.

General Comments:

In its class, this must be one of the best cars it's possible to buy. This car has now done nearly 80,000 miles and has never let me down. Not even a light bulb has failed yet.

Dealers have had nothing to do other than service the car, but the vendor, Llwyd Coed Motors of Aberdare were excellent in every way. Unfortunately they lost their franchise with Toyota for some reason.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th August, 1997