1997 Toyota Starlet Life 1.3L 4EFE turbo petrol from Australia and New Zealand




Severe seat wear on driver & passenger side.

Hmm. that's about it, really. Can't fault it bar the seats.

General Comments:

Stock suspension wallows when changing direction quickly.

Stock exhaust extremely restrictive even on stock engine - replacing with sports will give much better drivability and more torque.

Stock clutch slips with provocation, but will give years of reliable service, for up to 6PSI of turbo boost. If you want more boost & power, you need a new clutch (~$420)

Gearchange can be a little vague, synchros wear easily.

Headlights are OK for most situations, but could be a lot better. Installing decent driving lights is a great fix.

Seats have worn badly in 8 years of usage, metal bars rubbing through on shoulderblades. If you're a big bloke, you'll want to get extra padding in the seats or install sportier seats (MR2 Spider seats are fantastic)

All in all, an absolutely marvellous car with huge potential. A true turbo shopping trolley. Seats four comfortably, will zip and zoom about with ease, light and nimble, and fairly frugal on fuel (11.2L/100km when driven extremely hard around mountain roads, on a 214HP @ front wheels tune.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th June, 2006

1997 Toyota Starlet 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Great first buy, highly reliable


The exhaust developed a problem within a year, but once it was replaced the problem never reoccurred. The strip on the side also got lose once, but when fixed problem did not reoccur.

General Comments:

There is not more reliable super-mini. I have not had a single problem with the motor, brakes or suspension. It is still (2005) going strong after 8 years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th October, 2005

1997 Toyota Starlet sportif 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Reliable, economical, lovable, transport



General Comments:

Utterly reliable. Starts first time every time, regardless of weather conditions. Nice secure comfortable driving position.

I just service it annually and forget about it.

Fuel consumption is between 45 - 48 m.p.g.

The car is quick off the lights and is surprisingly sprightly.

However on the motorway you can feel that the car could do with another gear.

Rear accommodation is cramped especially if you like to drive with the seat well back as I do. However for 2 big adults in the front it has great legroom. So I would really regard this as a comfortable 2 seater, with room for a couple of kids on a short journey.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th April, 2003

1st Jan 2005, 05:34

I couldn't agree more with what you said.

18th Jun 2009, 12:12

For my first car, I didn't have much money to spend on a car... but my father bought me a Toyota Starlet Sportif R reg.

First of all, I did not like the idea of a Starlet, as all my other friends were driving K.A's and so on, and as being a young girl I just wanted the same as all the other people my age, BUT.. when my father turned up with this car.. I could not believe how good looking this car was and especially at that price that he had paid.

I fell in love with the car straight away..

Yes the inside is all grey and is not the nicest deco... however it as everything that is needed... winter mornings it starts straight away, warms up quick unlike other cars of its age.

I used the car to go to uni everyday, and I can honestly say it has never played up or have not had any problems with it. If you have not got spare money to chuck around on repairs and parts.. this is the perfect car.. but even though it is reliable... when something does go wrong, the parts can be costly compared to Ford for example.

Comparing my car to all my friends, mine will beat them by miles and it's the most fun one to drive... it does feel like a go-cart to drive, but my driving does not help. What I can say, though for my first car my father told me to be careful as it IS VERY VERY NIPPY, when taking off although it does make a noise while driving down the motorway, but who cares, at least you know you are not going to be one of those cars broken down on the side of the road.

But a few weeks ago, NOT MY FAULT, NOT THE CARS FAULT, a car went straight in the side of my car, pushing the back end of the car on the other side of the road, but I can honestly say if I had been in a K. a or any cars like that, I would have been injured very badly, all that was done to by car was a small dent.

All I can say from a girls point of view, I'm glad I didn't follow peer trends, because my little Starlet as made me so happy and proud to say 'yes that's my car'.