1996 Toyota Carina 2.0 diesel from UK and Ireland


Tough reliable long-lived glider


I've had the car for 4 years and 135,000 miles. I treat it like dirt and regularly tow p to two tonnes. It has had a new bearing on the front left, a new hub on the front left, a new clutch, the radiator leaked and I've had new brake pads.

General Comments:

The interior is still perfect. It handles over Mayo (Ireland) roads (where new models are tested for suspension) perfecctly. It goes for 4 or 5 thousand miles even when something is broken and hanging off. It still does over 44 miles to the gallon (10 miles to litre, 16K to litre). I tow trailers regularly. Of all the early to mid 90s cars on the road around here it is the most common. Its not a draught-horse. Its not a thoroughbred, but Its the sweetest hardy-est, gentle-est hacker around.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th October, 2005

1996 Toyota Carina GS 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


Reliability is not guaranteed


Head gasket was blown when I got the car - not easy to spot because the coolant was going through the exhaust rather than into the oil. Only discovered it when the car overheated. Gasket replaced under warranty.

Water pump failed. Replaced under warranty.

Automatic choke faulty. Would rev to 3,000 rpm when cold - very embarrassing at the lights!

Very poor performance - even for the small 1.6 engine. Hesitates, coughs and splutters, miss-fires. Sometimes dropped to 3 cylinders for a sustained period, and then go back to 4. Baffled several proffessional mechanics.

Plastic strips along all 4 doors peeling away at the ends. Looks very tatty.

Sunroof sticks open - the motor just doesn't seem powerful enough to do the job.

General Comments:

Fair enough - this particular one is a bit of a "lemon". Couldn't bear it any more and got rid after 4 months.

That aside, if you are looking for any enjoyment from your car or your driving - don't bother with one of these. Poor performance, wallowing rolling suspension and handling, vague steering, rubbish brakes.

And they really are ugly!

It's only good point are the interior space - plenty of room for 5 udults, and it's huge hatchback boot.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 18th July, 2005

2nd Mar 2006, 03:30

The Toyota Carina is not ugly and is very good. The brakes are great and I've never had a problem in 8 years and 123,000 miles.

19th May 2009, 13:42

I agree the Carina is ugly, but it's a very nice car to drive. Economic running costs too. My car is 12 years old, looking a bit tatty, no rust and still drives like new.

29th Oct 2009, 17:53

To blow the head gasket on a Carina, you'd need to try very hard. I've driven one 175km with no engine oil - mechanic forgot the sump plug - and it survived, also boiled another to the point where the engine locked solid with heat, let it cool down, filled it up with Fanta, the only liquid at hand (radiator cap had gone walkabout, hence water loss), and driven on to dealer for a new cap, no harm done. Those two cars are still running about, untouched. As a bit of a rough numpty myself, I salute anybody hamfisted enough to kill a Carina, it takes a lot of doing.

1996 Toyota Carina from UK and Ireland


You can't go wrong with a Carina!


One light bulb has burned out... that is it!

General Comments:

For the money, I could not have asked for more from this car. It handles cross-continent road trips with ease, with more than enough room inside for four adults and luggage. As if that wasn't enough, the car gives us amazing mileage, but at the same time has enough power to handle any situation.

Would I have bought this car again? Definitely!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th September, 2004

1996 Toyota Carina 2.0GLI 2L petrol from UK and Ireland


The car in front STILL is a Toyota


Nothing has gone wrong in 40,000 miles, not a single thing, not a blown bulb, not an electrical malfunction.

Not a thing to report.

General Comments:

I have to say this car is great, it just is so reliable, which makes it a pleasure to own.

I service the car myself and noticed several things that make it such a good car:

Very well engineered, handbrake cable for instance 3 times the thickness of a Vauxhall or Ford's, and totally plastic coated, designed for the life of the car I reckon.

Brake discs and calipers are long lasting and of higher grade material than equivalent rivals.

The engine is superbly engineered and engine bay is well thought out, the equivalant French design looks like they threw the bits in at random as an after thought.

On top of this the 2L engine goes like stink and I change the oil in mine every 6k and it just gets quicker and quicker, I don't think there are many normally aspirated 2L saloons around then and now that can keep up with it and I've driven a few, a Lexus IS200 for a start is not as quick, more BHP, but too heavy and bloated. I used to own a 1990 Celica GT4, that felt lethargic in comparison, I don't know what it is about this car, but it really shifts, try one you will be pleasantly surprised.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th February, 2003

18th Mar 2003, 11:35

Some very good points made. However, as an owner of a CARINA I am concerned about the quality of the interior. It is quite bland and looks ugly. Furthermore, it scratches easily. Also, the bumpers colour is fading somewhat.

In terms of engineering, it is exceptional. Starts first time, is quite fast (but not remarkably fast) and is quite comfortable. The fuel consumption is reasonable (25MPG IN TOWN, LONGER JOURNEYS 30-35MPG), but still quite heavy. Overall, I am pleased.

6th Sep 2004, 11:58

Generally in agreement with all comments. This car is superbly engineered for its class. I was concerned about the size of the engine-2 litre Gli is potentially thirsty. However, I recently made a 100-mile round-trip on A-roads. I was restricted to about 65 miles an hour in fifth gear, which meant the car was practically idling-the fuel gauge didn't budge! These cars will go for ever if you look after them-it's just sailed through its 107000 mile service. Go to any large city in the UK and see if every other taxi isn't a Carina. Enough said!

6th Jun 2005, 02:45

The 1990-1993 Celica GT-Four (ST185) is the best Celica ever. It feels a little sluggish on the 1st gear because of heavy weight and very little turbo-lag. The 1992-1997 Carina E platform was developed from 1990-1993 front-drive Celica (ST182), as results it has firm ride (for a saloon), but good handling and steering. Also sharing some other parts.

15th Jan 2006, 04:33

Hello, I have just recently bought a Carina 1.8.E.. Can anyone please give me some tips and advice on self servicing.. And things to look out for.. (I hate paying huge servicing fees)...Dead tight I guess! Not really, it's because I am on a very tight budget.. So far I am alarmed and delighted with the car... So good in every way.. 6.5 L to 100 k/m, more if I drive in slippers. The car has done 143000 k/m..Perhaps it is ugly, but then again so is my Wife! Yet she cooks a fine roast dinner"and takes great care of me.. My car is a L.H.D. I live in Spain. I will respond to any communication you are kind enough to submit. Thank you very much... My email address is "davidfreman@yahoo.co.uk"... Happy motoring folks.