1992 Toyota Carina GTi 2.0 3SGE from UK and Ireland
Fast four-door fun. Reliability as standard
New super strut at 178-000 (three times the longevity than the GT4 units :) ). Costs £178 from the dealer. A popular option is to replace the figure 8 links, which does work, but you need to change the end joint. People always cheap out and forget this - IT NEEDS TO BE DONE.
The usual pads / discs / tyres etc all wearing as you would expect. The car is on the original clutch and engine/gearbox.
Some very slight rust above the numberplate after 190000 miles. Fixed easily. Was probably a chemical issue as have had some acid rain recently.
Absolutely fault-less compared to other cars. Fast four door for little money. Much better than any of the rivals.
Handling is good with the Toyota super-strut, not as advanced as the Primera or the Honda double wishbone, but probably second/third in its class.
Performance is unreal for a 1992 mass produced four door. 0-60 in a proven 7.5, rather than Toyotas 8.3 figure. The only similar car to worry it is the later spec Ford ST24 and the Astra GTE (which is not really in the same class, but common enough on british roads). It is NOT a supercar, but for what it is, it is very good indeed. The 3SGE is a Toyota/Yamaha project, and very tunable IF YOU GET THE RIGHT WORK DONE.
Brakes are impressive at 277mm and have a lot of feel. In comparison to the driver's car of the class (Primera GT) they were a LOT better. My 200 SX only had 27x mm on them (RS13).
Steering can be a bit lifeless, but this usually indicates worn suspension.
Interior is classic japanese bland, but better than most. Quite a few toys, but wasn't updated much before the Avensis came along.
The ONLY motoring press fault was that it was dull. This is because the british built (NON GTi) Carinas were, but the JAPANESE BUILT (GTi) were a whole different animal. It certainly shows when you dismantle them and see the improvements in the component parts. To most people, a stanard car is dull - so in other words this is absolutely fine.
Just do some colour coding and stiffen up the suspension and chassis then you will have something VERY special on the road.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd May, 2007