1989 Toyota Corolla GT-s Twin Cam from North America


Built to last. And lasting it is


Our problem has been the brake lights staying on. Solved this by changing the brake peddle switch. And it seems to get a little hot even after changing the thermostat.

General Comments:

Really enjoy the car. We only paid 100.

00 plus tax title which was 93.00. Got it from a very nice lady that had kept it in her garage after getting a new car. She had always' kept up with the services that were needed and we have 4inches of all service receipts. Car runs great.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th September, 2005

1989 Toyota Corolla GT-S 1.6 litre Twin Cam 16v T-Vis 4AGE from North America


Rice Rocket


Not very much at all just some minor rust, but it is an old car.

General Comments:

I really like the way this car performs, but still gives you reasonable fuel economy.

The ride is a little harsh, but the gt-s model is more towards a sporty feel. The tires grip the road very well and high speed maneuvers are very easy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th August, 2005

1989 Toyota Corolla SX 1.6L 4A-GE (Gen-III) from Australia and New Zealand


Oh what a feeling!


I bought this car at a damaged car auction. At the time it wasn't apparent, but there were quite a lot of things wrong with the car. Over the time I've had it I've rectified each problem one by one. Here is a simple list of problems I have found with the car over the time I've had it. (Please note the causes I have labeled in brackets, to the best of my knowledge the reasons are accurate).

- Very loose ball joint (crash)

- Bent rear control arm (crash)

- Engine head cracked (possible neglect by previous owner)

- Throttle Body Auxilary Air Valve jammed (wear and tear)

- 2 Broken Exhaust Valves (see above)

- Handbrake was loose (wear and tear)

- Worn Bushes (crash and wear n tear)

- Spark plug leads were still factory original! (very bad neglect, be mindful of this)

- Various electrical issues (crash, impact causes terminals to come loose etc.) Light bulbs blown, all minor.

- Fuel injectors needed cleaning and spray pattern calibration (neglect of previous owner, ran incorrect fuel (95+RON is a must) ).

- Slight smoking above 5500 rpm (common, wear and tear)

- Leaking oil through distributor seal (very common, annoying to fix, but not expensive or a major issue)

- Dealer fitted alarm had no remote, new alarm had to be fitted, central locking works well, but can jam open at times.

- Loud fuel pump, I haven't been able to deduce if this is normal or not. No fuel pressure issues.

- Front engine mount totally broken inside, fixed with windscreen adhesive, worked very well.

- A lot of rattles inside (common, crash made it worse) Took a little while to fix, but all good now. Hatch "fake taillight" section still rattles. Will fix using epoxy.

- Loose trim panels, just a good once over the interior with a screwdriver fixes this.

General Comments:

This car is a lot of fun. I would dare say it's not a good first car simply becuase if you wish to learn about cars having a more simple car (i.e not EFI) is a good start. This was my 4th car and I must say it has been a great learning experience. Though it was much harder for me having bought the car as a wreck, buying a pre-loved SX Seca woud be a dream. Unfortunately for me this car was also poorly neglected in it's past life.

The car is great to drive and for a younger driver like myself has everything you want in a car. It is practical, roomy, comfy, lush, classy, sporty, economical and powerful. Stick with the car for a longer period and it will teach you a lot about car behaviour. I say this without bias.

Pros and Cons:


- Very popular 100kW 4A-GE engine, lots of good aftermarket parts.

- Very good value for money.

- Cheap to run (as long as you don't keep breaking it, in which case you shouldn't driving at all!)

- Engine has a good power curve, will be tame at low revs, feed it wide-open-throttle and 6000+ rpm and it will be sheer fun!

- 2" inch factory exhaust, good deep note on WOT.

- With some aftermarket suspension the car can be extremely nimble in corners.

- The velour interior is great.

- Gearbox is very nice to use, as long as it isn't abused.

- Did I mention the engine is sensational?


- A lot of these were neglected because stupid people thought they were "just another Corolla"

- Diagnosing engine problems can be woeful.

- Room in the engine bay is shocking, even checking the oil is tight! (don't even ask about where the oil filter is!)

- Changing a clutch takes a few times to get used to it, it's a messy task.

- The 4A-GE has only one flaw, it has sweet F-all torque. At only 119 Nm it's not going to tow anything very well, don't bother buying this car for towing.

- You must use 95+ Octane fuel (Premium Unleaded) which can be expensive, but it runs very efficiently on this fuel.

- Factory bushes are a bit soft for my liking, they ride well, but aren't very stiff for nigh speed cornering.

- Rear springs are quite soft, add years of sag to the equation, and old soft bushes (above) and you get an airborne rear wheel in high-speed turns.

All in all a great car and even better if you're an enthusiast. A car that really need to be appreciated. Having said all that, it's not the fastest car in the world, it may be quicker than your common V6 cars, but it won't eat a Turbo Skyline without several thousand dollars. A good stepping stone if you wanna get into sportier cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd July, 2005

11th Aug 2005, 06:48

I've had my SX for about 2 years and it's never lost performance or reliability, but I've probably had to spend a couple of thousand dollars fixing all the little "issues" I've had with it.

- 3 oil leaks

- wheel alignment

- oil leaking in between tappet covers

- overheating

- dead alternator, and I don't know if Toyota meant it to be this way, but whenever I activate anything in the car i.e. sunroof, audio system, lights, indicators, brakes (which activate brake-lights) the battery power drops and the revs go up. I can hear and see it clearly as there is a battery gauge on the dash.

Quick little car though, as I said - all these problems withstanding, the car has never broken down on me. And although mine is going on 225,000 kms it still flogs some of my mates' Commodores.

9th Nov 2007, 22:19

These cars are very reliable and well engineered, the only problem is past-owner abuse that can lead to some things wearing out.

I've had mine for over a year, and it is a very reliable, efficient car, with a bit of sportiness for when you are in the mood. It's very nimble with suspension mods and low weight.

The lack of torque (though mine has a 20v conversion) means they work best over 3500 rpm, which can be a bit tiring in city driving or with passengers. The engine only really feels special with no passengers in the car.

This car is great for youngsters as it has a clear grip threshold and predictable behaviour over the limit. At worst, it will use 10L/100km, at best below 7L/100km.

26th Jan 2009, 06:30

Is this review referring to the hatch or liftback? I ask because I want to buy a corolla myself. The liftback looks like a very understeery car, is it as fast as the hatch?

Thank you in advance.

28th Mar 2010, 03:07

I have recently purchased a 1990 Toyota Corolla SX Seca..

Plenty of power when I am by myself, but with a couple of others, it's a bit different. Previous owners have run premium fuel, I have only just discovered. You definitely notice the power difference.

My Corolla blows a little smoke when you fully plant your foot, and the revs are over 5500 rpm, but is fixed by a little thicker oil.

Overall, a very good car to drive and run.