1997 Toyota Starlet City 1.3 twin cam petrol from Australia and New Zealand
Built like a tank and goes like a rocket!
Hardly anything ever went wrong in this car. When the Starlet was first advertised in the Australian market, the marketing line said "built like a tank, goes like a rocket". This was the exact experience that I had with the car.
The Starlet was one of the cheapest cars that I ever owned, and I only purchased it as I needed something cheap and reliable to get me to the university and back. I purchased the car at an auction with about 135,000 km on the clock, and seeing that it had a 1.3 litre engine, people told me that I was mad and that the engine is probably on its way out. Well I drove the hell out of that car for the next five years and sold it for more than what I paid for it initially with 276,000 km on the engine. Apart from the routine services (brakes, fluids etc. I only changed the clutch in it once).
I was in my early 20s back then and I drove the car like it was some sort of supercar; simply put, I was abusing that poor little engine and it still kept going and going. The fuel economy was amazing, and even with my abusive driving, I was using around 6.5 litres in 100 km.
Couple of years later I bought another Starlet for my partner, as she was only a learner driver and this one had an automatic trans. This was a completely different car from the one with the manual car. The auto version was underpowered and the engine was not doing very well at all, even though I purchased it from an elderly lady with mere 52,000 km. So if you are thinking Starlet or Echo in the later models, then definitely go manual.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th April, 2017