1997 Toyota Carina SE Solair 1.8 lean burn petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Brilliantly designed/built appliance

Faults:

Radiator hose started leaking around 120k miles; replaced the standard hose clip with a jubilee clip and solved the problem.

General Comments:

The car is much more solid-feeling to drive than other cars of this age; it doesn't feel worn-out, although the engine could do with a thorough service to restore some lost power.

Has been completely reliable in everyday use, with low fuel consumption.

Very well-built and easy to work on for home servicing. No flimsy bits of plastic to break, or cheap bolts/fastenings to round off.

The boot and leg-room are also excellent.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th June, 2009

1997 Toyota Carina GS turbo diesel from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Excellent car, vastly under-rated

Faults:

Nothing apart from normal wear items, tyres, pads, service items.

This was my second diesel Carina, this being an estate. Both cars exceptionally reliable, good fuel consumption. Have traded recently for a Honda Civic diesel - no comparison. Give me a Toyota any time. Still mourning the loss.

General Comments:

Extremely reliable

Comfortable

Fuel consumption good

Good build

Roomy cabin

Huge boot

Cabin plastics a bit unexciting though.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th March, 2007

1997 Toyota Carina 1.6 from Hungary

Summary:

Good car, but not really reliable

Faults:

Serious engine failure due to water pump problem. Engine had to be completely rebuilt (done by official Toyota dealer). Even so it has consumed a lot of oil after that.

First bend of the exhaust system burned out 3 times.

Bad quality factory body finish. In addition the base layer is white. On my dark red metallic car every small scratch was visible.

General Comments:

Quite fast (top speed around 200 km/h) compared to the 1.6 (16V) engine and the size of the car.

If used decently fuel consumption can be as low as 7-8 litres.

Large trunk - around 500 litres.

Reliable air-conditioning and electric system.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st October, 2006

29th Oct 2009, 17:38

Its true though that some people can even break hammers. I know guys that break crowbars in the course of a days work, so nothing can keep all the people happy all the time, even a solid hammer like the Carina.

1997 Toyota Carina XLi 1.6 from UK and Ireland

Summary:

A cheap reliable car for the mature driver

Faults:

Brake Disks needed to be skimmed when I bought the car (warranty).

Rear links and bushings replaced at 60000 miles. €25

Water pump leaking at 64000. €100

Door handles rattle a bit, super glue seems to have solved this. €1.50.

General Comments:

I have had a number of cars and this one has been the most comfortable, everything is layed out to make it easy on the driver. To offset the above problems I get massive fuel economy (about 40 miles to the gallon). one set of tyres in 30000 miles.

This car feels at home on the motorway or on the back roads, the over-steer is all part of the fun.

The 1.6ltr engine is good fun too, but I wish I got hold of the 1.8 instead.

As for image, well I could make a fortune if I got some taxi plates, but I can put up with that for the peace of mind that it will start every morning.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th April, 2004

1997 Toyota Carina S 1.6 from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Totally reliable and cheap to run, what comes better

Faults:

Brake discs skimmed and new pads fitted at end of warranty period, also rear brake cylinder & throttle body (no Charge)

Rear brake stub axles replaced under warranty.

General Comments:

Apart from the defects fixed under warranty the car is totally reliable & was converted to LPG at 43000 miles.

Original exhaust system.

Not even changed a light bulb.

Paintwork & interior in excellent condition.

Last service completed at 79100 only required oil, Air filters.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th December, 2003

1997 Toyota Carina GS 1.8 petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

A great buy

Faults:

Nothing has gone wrong with the car, unless you include a slightly noisy electric sunroof.

General Comments:

Well the car has been a pleasure to own.

I realise people say it has a minicab image, well so what! I'm not shallow and so many taxi drivers can't be wrong and my experience reflects that.

Fantastic MPG, safe, surefooted handling, not go cart like, but great for what I want.

Mechanical and interior parts just don't seem to break, It still has the original exhaust (still with years left in it), brake shoes and I've only just changed the front pads, the only big cost I'm looking at at the moment is a cam belt change and that's only £120.

The seats are firm and comfy and hard wearing, the interior efficiently designed with lots of room for bits and pieces and if you have big feet like me, loads of room between the pedals and a big fat rest for your left foot.

The body is strong and mine only suffers from a few stone chips.

I think if I had one criticism it would be that the lean burn engine can be a little jerky when changing to economy mode, but I guess that's the price you pay for spectacular MPG, although the engine does have most of its torque lower in the rev range which I like, unlike VTEC engines.

So to sum up I would thoroughly recommend a Carina to anyone, it's a totally inoffensive and nice car, which is a doddle to own.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st October, 2003

20th Dec 2003, 06:13

Hi, just a few lines to let you know that I agree 100%. She has to be one of the best cars ever made. I have a 1995 GS hatchback, and never had a problem, and in mint condition, and only 60,000 miles. It is averaging 42-45 mpg, and that is good on the roads we have in the west of Ireland.

Just for information, there is a Carina E taxi in Dublin with over 550,000 miles. Also in County Sligo, a taxi with over 400,000 miles.

As I am a Toyota man, I would like to know, can anyone beat that for mileage?

p.s. the Sligo car has had only one clutch fitted since new. If you know of a higher mileage Carina E, you can let me know... lezz@eircom.ie

7th Sep 2004, 12:19

An excellent car - I do about 60-70,000 per year for my work- 1.8 engine is fast enough, economical and tough. Service items such as brake pads, clutches and bushings last longer than most other makes, and I've had most.

25th Mar 2006, 05:50

Brilliant car.

19th Oct 2006, 09:11

WayHey'

I have just become an owner 0f a 1996 Carina GS Turbo Diesel. It was bought for £300, I HAVE COVERED 394 MILES ON £27 of diesel... hows that for economy, the car itself is immaculate hardly a scratch anywhere for such an older car it is amazing value. The Japanese know what they are doing when it comes to build quality, and I would recommend anyone who is looking for a reliable cheap car to consider any of the carina models.

The Magic Man.

24th May 2009, 16:07

Fantastic car. Smooth easy ride and amazingly economical 1.8 engine. One of the few cars that I fit into easily without my legs touching the steering wheel (I'm 6 foot 6).