1983 Toyota Corona S 2.0 petrol 4 from Australia and New Zealand


Perfect first car that will run forever


Hole in the radiator, had to be repaired.

Tires replaced.

Brake disks had to me machined and pads replaced.

Exhaust blows smoke often, especially when air conditioning is running.

Changed spark plugs, air filter when I bought is.

Engine burns oil, I have to top it up every two weeks approximately.

Front shock absorbers were badly worn, replaced front and rear.

Tape deck was incorrectly installed from previous owner and was draining the battery even while the car was off. Deck replaced with a Sony CD player.

Car will at times refuse to start out of nowhere. My brother feels it may be the alternator or regulator, as starter motor was replaced. This can occur when cold, or sometimes I will turn the car off, turn the key again 5 minutes later, and get nothing but a click. The car will then refuse to start for about 10 minutes, or unless jump started.

Battery replaced when I bought the car.

Needs a wheel balancing.

Some areas of slight rust, but very little.

Steering can be very hard at low speeds, and even while driving.

Broken front indicator lens replaced.

Altogether I spend probably about $1500 give or take, on maintenance.

Changed battery leads.

General Comments:

I bought the car about 6 months ago for $1000 with about 289,000 km on the clock.

When I bought it, the car needed a new battery. I also changed the spark plugs and air filter.

After a few days I had trouble starting the car. I bought a new starter motor, and changed the leads to the battery. This seemed to help the problem.

Sometimes the car will still refuse to start randomly.

The car blows smoke often, but seems to drive quite well. My brother feels it may just require a new head as opposed to another engine.

I'm worried the car will stop with the huge mileage, but it shows no real signs of this and drives extremely well.

Most changed I made were general wear and tear for a 20 or so year old car, and many of them were optional and probably could have gone without, but I like to keep my cars safe and well maintained when possible.

I am very pleased with the comfort and ergonomics.

The seats are excellent in terms of comfort, and I find them much more comfortable then those in my parents' 1997 EL Ford Fairmont. Rear seat space is adequate, and although the car is relatively skinny width ways, it will seat 5 in relative comfort.

Fuel economy has averaged around 9.5-10.5 litres per 100 km in mostly city driving, which is not bad, but not great. I don't drive the car much so the result is about $20 per week petrol max. 20 litres about half fills the tank and 30 has it more than 3/4 full.

The engine burns oil which I have to replace about every 2 weeks. This is very annoying, and when the oil gets low the engine gets very coarse and sounds and drives terrible.

The engine needs a rev to really get going, but torque town low is decent such an old 2 litre without fuel injection. Especially for one with such high mileage.

Brakes are very soft and cushion like, but this is likely due to the highly worn disks which were not changed by the previous owner.

When I bought the car I was surprised to find air conditioning and rear demist, both of which work perfectly, in a 20 year old, $1000 car. I looked at several Cressida's and 929's around 1986 and all had inoperative air/conditioning.

The car does not like high speed cruising and at around 90-100 on the freeway the steering shakes, although I think this is only a wheel balancing issue. at around 110 the engine about reached its limit and doesn't want to go much faster. Honestly, I wouldn't be confident enough to try to take it much faster either. Even at 90km/h, the car is not completely stable.

Noise levels are quite harsh with wind noise, engine noise and tyre noise all quite loud.

Standard speakers are quite good for such an old car.

Steering can get very heavy at times, both at parking speeds and at city driving speeds, although higher tyre air pressure seems to help. Ride is also not the best, although again with 35psi in the tyres this is greatly improved and actually quite decent.

Body roll is very heavy around corners, and this is certainly no sports car.

Interior often creaks, rattles and shakes.

Ergonomics are excellent. All switches are well placed, and the gearshift is right within very easy reach at all times, and pedals are also well placed. When I drove my friend's 84 laser I found it handles much sharper, but the ergonomics were shocking, and I had to really reach out to find the gearstick and need to search a lot to find the ignition. In my Corona everything is very well placed. Window winders placed annoyingly however, and can be uncomfortable if you rest your leg against the door while driving. This often happens if you are relatively tall, as the seat is placed quite close to the door.

The driver seat annoyingly cannot be moved back very far, which is very bad for taller drivers, but as I am of average height (about 5"10') this isn't a huge issue.

Although it may sound terrible after what I have written, I have been quite thorough here and really gone over the car thorough. For the price, I think you would be hard pressed to find a better car anywhere. I would quite happily pay 3,000-4,000 for a newer model around 1987 in top notch condition. Reliability is excellent, and parts are dirt cheap. A new bumper, indicator lens and key hole for the passenger door combined cost me about $120. Fuel usage is quite good, and performance is nothing special, but adequate. Even with four people in the car, it manages to perform useably well.

In a straight line the car is a lot quicker then my friends 1991 323. As a cheap car, a Corona offers an advantage of quite good torque (around 157 nm) and adequate power (73kw) for such an old, small engine. These figures alone are quite modest, but with a light 1050kg curb weight, the performance is adequate. Overtaking could be better, but isn't bad.

Engine smoothness is decent when the oil is topped up. Generally, the car starts first time most times with just a turn of the key, and no accelerator.

Running costs are low, reliability high, and the car also has an good safety rating. Comfort is very good, due to comfortable seats, good seating position, and great ergonomics (only the window winder hinders comfort). Visibility is also quite good.

This is the type of car that will run forever if taken care of, and probably even if neglected. Can take huge punishment and still push on. I don't like to give 10/10, because it generally means perfect, and few things are close enough to perfect to rate so highly. I consider 6 average, 7 good, 8 very good, 9 excellent, 10 near perfect.

I don't take the car to a dealer, but the mechanic I take it (Kmart auto centre) to is very thorough, if that counts.

All out for it's cost I came very close to giving the car a 10. Only the firm steering, big body roll, and technical problems kept me from it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd January, 2003

2nd Feb 2003, 04:17

I like this review. Sounds like a duplicate of my stepdaughters 82 model.. I have had the steering checked numerous times, but it is still very vague.. Actually,the steering is terrible.. The worst feature of the car.. Cars around this era where also the last of the big rust buckets from Toyota, Mitsubishi and Datsun. Cars built from 95/96 on-wards are much less prone to TERMINAL rust.. Rust is what will kill my stepdaughters car. I looked at it today and I estimate that their will be a bill of around $2000.00 for rust repairs.. I guess we will be looking for a 84/85 model very soon.

21st Oct 2003, 06:57

If you want to drive your toyota for a long time without major problems you can't forgot to check oil level! You shouldn't wait until you hear suspicious noises from the engine - it could be its end! Just check the oil level as often as it's possible! To stop oil burning you should replace piston rings and valve stem seals:) Peter, 1991 toyota corolla xl 1.3 (177.000km)

1st Nov 2006, 07:32

Your review (and your height) sound very similar to my '85 Corona. The only real weak points of the car are the handling, and the long stroke of the engine which means there's no abundance of power at high revs (it just tapers off gradually).

1983 Toyota Corona CX 1.8 petrol & Natural Gas from Australia and New Zealand


A clutch cylinder.

Rust in several places.

Rear springs had to be redone at 375,000 due to added weight of LPG tank in the back.

Alternator went at 350,000 had to get reconditioned.

Nothing really major I can think of except that it's getting very tired now.

General Comments:

This car just keeps going and going and going!!!

It has cost me almost nothing in 4 years of running.

Good economy on gas or petrol, on the highway about 6 cents/km. Round town I get about 10 cents/km on average.

It's got mags, a sunroof and a decent stereo, what more could you ask for in a cruising machine.

This car will be driven until it will drive no more, who knows, I may even see the 500,000km mark.

I would thoroughly recommend a New Zealand assembled Corona to anyone.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th December, 2002