Toyota Sera Reviews - Page 2 of 2

1990 Toyota Sera ACPH 1.5 16v petrol from UK and Ireland

Model year1990
Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.5 16v petrol Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired172000 kilometres
Most recent distance175000 kilometres

Summary:

Often misunderstood, Toyota's baby supercar is really a sensible, practical city car

Faults:

Very little has gone wrong with this, my second Sera. My first example had been poorly maintained - as an import, little can be known about the car's previous history, and the Sera needs to have frequent oil changes. My last one failed with 90,000 miles, the head gasket and rings went - but it had been poorly maintained. With 175,000km on this one, it's still running like clockwork.

Failures I've had to correct on this one have been the the usual failure of the headlight glass, which discolours with age, and the thermostat had stuck open - another common failure, which causes a lot of odd problems such as the gearbox refusing to engage overdrive!

Interior has held up well, though the 14 year old factory fit Double DIN stereo system is starting to flake out now. My previous Sera had worn rubbers on the doors, costing £160 per door in parts to fix properly (but no doubt good for another 14 years!).

General Comments:

The Sera is a remarkable car. Whilst people in the UK snapped up the personal imports as a miniature supercar (which, with a 110bhp engine and automatic transmission in most examples, it clearly isn't - though it does overtake with alacrity in kickdown at the critical 45-55mph speed around here), and in the Japanese market it was a sophisticated car for professional women, I actually think the Sera is the perfect town car for most people.

For the usual uses of small cars - a couple, shopping and commuting - the Sera is fantastic. The boot is small, but the rear seats fold flat, leaving a convenient and accessible platform. Most Sera owners don't make use of the boot, since the parcel shelf clips shut. The seats are ideal for petite women - the bolsters are low and narrow, so when a larger car pushes your shoulders forward, the Sera's seats fit snugly - but still tolerable for a 600km drive for a 95 percentile male - taller people will find the seats lack travel. Fuel economy is good, as you'd expect of a light, efficient Japanese car, and spares availability and cost is brilliant from Toyota main dealers - a new front bumper, pre-painted, is £215, headlights are £150 each. A full stainless exhaust system is available.

The doors - the most unique part of the car, later copied for the McLaren F1 and Ferrari Enzo - are fantastic in tight parking spaces. The sideways movement is minimal, allowing the doors to be opened fully in tight spaces, and the visibility with the glass roof is incredible. Rear seat passengers are cramped, but do enjoy excellent vision through the roof.

Handling is a touchy subject. With standard Japanese suspension (especially worn suspension, as most imports will have - Seras haven't been produced since 1994) they're skittish and twitchy, but still quite tolerable. Upgrades do improve it, but often at the expense of ride quality. Experimenting with UK-market struts from the Paseo/Starlet may result in improvements. The basic geometry of the car is fine, and the low stance means other road users assume it's faster than it is, and often let you pass without speeding up, something that happens often in my Supra.

The main criticism I have of the car is the headlights. They are abysmal, and whilst fitting new light units does improve them, the real improvement is to upgrade these early projectors (again, one of the first production cars to feature them) to HID bulbs, currently around £400 expense.

For more information on the Sera, the UK owners' 'club' has a website at http://www.toyotasera.co.uk/ where you can read more about these unusual cars, and find examples for sale.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th November, 2004

1990 Toyota Sera phase1 DOHC 1.5 petrol from Pakistan

Model year1990
Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission DOHC 1.5 petrol Manual
Most recent distance51000 kilometres
Previous carDaihatsu Charade

Summary:

Sensational

Faults:

One of the door struts does not work.

General Comments:

Superb car. anywhere you take it, you are the center of attention. Not for the shy or the retiring.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd November, 2004

25th Nov 2009, 01:33

If door shock isn't working, call me, I have a solution for you. I used to own a Sera and had the same problem.

Umer

0333-5611118.

1990 Toyota Sera 1.5 from Australia and New Zealand

Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.5 Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired120000 kilometres
Most recent distance139000 kilometres

Summary:

A beautiful, pleasurable car to own and drive

Faults:

Gas strut on the drivers side door is leaking causing the door to jamb halfway up.

Seats are very hard to clean - my interior came as an off white color and has many stains due to age.

Back window broke when attempting to remove plastic aftermarket wing, which was very costly to replace considering their rarity here.

Passenger side door will not open from the outside - clips have broken.

General Comments:

The most amazing car I could have ever chosen for my own. May not have all the power, but it has the body to start hearts.

If you have the bodywork done by the manufacturer, and all you have to do is drop a turbo and a manual into it, which is cheap and easy to do, you can't go wrong.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th July, 2004

1991 Toyota Sera 1.5 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1991
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.5 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired56000 miles
Most recent distance58000 miles
Previous carRover - Austin 400

Summary:

A distinctive small supercar design classic

Faults:

There are common faults on this model, eg door gas struts which eventually leak, the rubber grommet holding the bonnet prop perishes, the vinyl on the rear compartment cover can come unstuck and the headlamp covers go opaque, but can be refurbished with a light abrasive cleaner.

General Comments:

For a car which was put into production after being originally a show vehicle, it is extremely well engineered, reliable and easy to own.

Parts availability is very good.

It can seem underpowered to some, but is well within its design capabilities as a lightweight sports coupe.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th February, 2004

Average review marks: 8.1 / 10, based on 7 reviews