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'.

1997 Toyota Starlet Life 1.3 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


A practical pocket rocket


The rear-view mirror and parcel shelf rattle.

Driver's side seat belt buckle has become sticky, making it difficult to buckle occasionally.

General Comments:

It has no power steering, but it handles so lightly that it doesn't require it.

The front seats have enough room for me - I can sit comfortably despite my 194 centimetre frame.

Surprisingly quick off the lights for a 1.3 litre engine.

Excellent 360 degree vision.

Grey bumper bars are rather ugly.

It gets quite noisy at speed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th August, 2002

17th Oct 2002, 07:14

I too have a 97 Toyota Starlet Life.

I purchased it new and am very pleased with it.

It is an automatic

It has no rattles, handles brilliantly, does not have a gray bumper bar, the bumper is the same as the rest of the car

It does get noisy at speed, but that is not a problem, just pump up the stereo a little ;)

18th Apr 2003, 10:10

I have a 97 Starlet. Rear parcel shelf rattles, don't know how to overcome it. Bumpers are same color as body. It has power steering.

The seat belt on driver side tends to stick a bit, but is OK. Lovely little car and I love it lots. Really good investment.

The mechanics all round town tell me that they have never seen a major engine problem with the Starlets.

20th Jun 2009, 09:16

Hi, I own a Toyota Starlet 97 Life. I lost my owners manual when I was shifting my home. Can anybody suggest me where to get it? Thank you.

8th Sep 2010, 19:28

I have had my Toyota Starlet Life for a couple years and it is already 3rd hand. It's a beautiful piece of machinery and drives and handles well, it does get off the lights very quickly but what it does need is power steering.

Its best gear in the city is 3rd, but out on the country side its best is 5th.

I do have problems with the clutch though, also the front does rattle a lot. I have also noticed that the lights are not as bright other cars, I have turned the light switch to the maximum. The front bumper bar is the same colour as the rest of the car, which I like.

This is probably the best first car for someone to own, it's affordable and is very simple to drive. I do wish that they had made more models of this fantastic car. I give this car 9 out of 10. Go Toyota.

1997 Toyota Starlet Xli 1.3 gas from Chile

General Comments:

My car is brilliant. Very fast and stable, it reaches 180 kph...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th October, 2000

1997 Toyota Starlet Sportif 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Nippy, comfortable, reliable and attractive


New windscreen wipers at MOT in May.

General Comments:

The best car I have owned since I started driving in 1966. Have test driven the Toyota Yaris but much prefer the Starlet and will find it difficult to replace when I eventually decide to change. I normally replace cars around about the 2 year mark but I have had this one for over 3 and don't want to part with it - unless it was with another Starlet if it was still manufactured.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 30th June, 2000