1985 Toyota Starlet XL 1.0L petrol from Singapore


A reliable car if previous owners have maintained it well.


Car was bought from a used car dealer for 5500 Singapore Dollars. It came with a new timing belt.

Ball joint on left front wheel worn and both (left and right) were replaced. This worn ball joint was the cause of the following replacements needed:

1. Front left tire was balded badly on the outer edge. Had the option of either to rotate the wheels or upgrade the wheels and tires. I chose upgrading. Original rims were 13" and I upgraded them to 14". Bought new tires to go with it.

2. Left drive shaft was in bad condition. Had both replaced as it is only right to have both replaced as a pair.

3. Left disc brake was warped and due to the worn ball joint. Had the option of getting new discs or skimming them. I had them skimmed as the current discs are still rather thick. New ones cost three times the amount as skimming them.

Radiator seized and was completely replaced. Due to the engine being so old (18yrs at least), the mechanic disabled the radiator thermostat. The weather here is summer all year round. The continual flowing of coolant helped the engine a lot.

Starter brushes were worn and the starter was completely replaced.

This model is notorious for having its wheels misaligned. Had an alignment done and most likely going to have another in 6 months time.

Exhaust muffler seems to be leaking robbing it of power. Not life threatening so I did not replace it.

Right rear brake light keeps shorting out. Might be a water contamination problem. Have not checked it out yet.

Speedometer console light has dimmed considerably making reading very difficult at night. Trip meter is not working anymore though the odometer is fine. Console has no tachometer. Waiting for a replacement console to be brought in.

General Comments:

Reliable Toyota engine. Bulletproof. Even at 18.5 years, the engine just keeps going. This model is the first front wheel drive Starlet called the EP70. This is a 5-foor car.

Seats are uncomfortable. Got a back ache, but a lumbar cushion support solved it.

Rear seats come with 50/50 split for fold-down and access to the boot. This made up for the small boot.

4 speed transmission is well spaced. Pulls along well for all gears. Struggles at inclines but powerful enough to overtake slow moving prime movers and lorries. I'm getting 13.1 km/L of petrol. That will translate to 37 MPG (British) or 30 MPG (US). This is with the air conditioner on constantly.

The car doesn't come with power steering and I don't see the reason it should. It has an unladen weight of 780 kilograms and parking has not been a problem for me.

Excellent as a cheap runabout.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th October, 2003