1997 Toyota Carina e 1.8 from UK and Ireland


Cheap reliable motoring. A brilliant car


There was a faulty indicator relay at 130000.

Apart from that, absolutely nothing.

General Comments:

I had wrote off my previous car, a 2001 Nissan Micra, on the journey home from work. As a result I needed to find a car fairly quickly to replace the Micra. I saw an ad for a Toyota Carina online, and remembered a mechanic friend telling me years earlier they were bulletproof.

I paid just £450 for a one owner Carina with 7 months MOT, just as a stop gap to get to work. I fully intended to replace it when I had the time to search properly, but it has been absolutely brilliant. I cover 550+ miles a week and it has never failed to start or let me down. It's a big comfortable car with a huge boot and a quiet engine. I use it almost solely on the motorway, and it returns 48 MPG from a 1.8 petrol engine. It is actually more economical than the Micra.

I have no intention of parting with it, although I believe that parts for these cars are becoming scarce and that may be the only issue. It's 18 years old, but looks and drives like new.

I would recommend these cars to anyone; they are cheap to buy, cheap to run, and totally reliable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th June, 2015

19th Jun 2015, 09:28

Totally agree with this review, you got it spot on, older cars are still economical to run, it makes no sense paying thousands for a nearly new car when a £700 car can give you all the reliability you need for a year or two's motoring. Get the oil changed on time, and the timing belt as well and you're laughing. I have successfully ran older cars like this for years with no problems, and sold them when I get bored for almost all the money I paid for them again! Ford Mondeo, Toyota Carina/Avensis, Nissan Primera, Volkswagen Passat, all the usual suspects are good choices from the 1995 - 2005 timeline and are now at budget prices.

27th Apr 2016, 09:58

Just an update on the above Carina E.

I still own the car. I bought it with 107,000 miles on the clock. It has now covered 184,000 with no problems. I have put a set of Avensis alloy wheels and tyres on the car, which I got for £120, and this has improved the looks no end.

I would recommend these cars to anyone, but the prices are rising, although there are still a few around for about £500; be quick and get a bargain.

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


Brilliantly designed/built appliance


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


Excellent car, vastly under-rated


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


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


Good car, but not really reliable


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.