1998 Toyota Starlet 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


Reliable, economic car with a real kick!


Clutch burned out around 60k.

Alternator belt needed to be replaced around 74k.

Brake discs were looking a bit sorry by the time I sold the car.

General Comments:

Fantastic first car, it's a small car with a small engine but it really shifts when you need it to. The 1.3 engine has that power that's really missing from a lot of economical small cars.

Absolutely reliable, the parts that needed replacing were only as per normal wear and tear.

Cheap to run, gets a good long way on a tank of petrol compared to most cars, and as a first time driver you'll save hundreds on insurance.

Unless you get one with upgrades the cabin is very sparse.

Mine came without power-steering, which is fine if you're moving but can be a pain when parking.

Cabin's not so great if you're tall, I'm 6'1" and my head touched the ceiling.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd September, 2008

1998 Toyota Starlet GLS 1.3i twin cam 16v EFI from UK and Ireland


Fast, reliable, cheap little car. Handles like a boat.


The passenger seat has ripped and as the car has has the GLS velour interior is expensive to fix.

The back wheel lock up before the front ones under hard braking, Toyota say starlets have this problem.

Wouldn't start at work one evening it started after a while. The problem was that my key was slightly bent and didn't cancel the immobiliser properly.

General Comments:

This is a great little car it will leave almost anything sitting at the traffic lights and unless theres a corner it won't be caught again.

It has a great spec for a cheap car electric windows, sunroof and mirrors, power steering, central locking, alloy wheels, CD player and even a rev counter. It also has a lot of chrome e. g door handles which I hate and they even carried it on into the interior.

Theres enough space in the front, but when your 6 ft. the rear legroom is non-existant. It is very difficult to get a comfortable driving position and when your travelling along at 60mph your foot is only touching the throttle and you end up with a cramp. The engine dosen't help this as it seems to like it best when revved out through gears urging you to go faster.

It is a very reliable little car and has only let me down once as I explained.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th February, 2006

1998 Toyota Starlet Life 1.3 from Australia and New Zealand


If you are practical, and need a reliable car. You can't beat this one


I had a problem with both rear wheel bearings. The cost to fix these were more expensive than other vehicles. This was at about 80,000 kms.

No other problems.

General Comments:

I have always preferred much bigger cars, but after driving this for awhile, I realised this was the perfect car for me.

It is a joy to have such a reliable, practical and economical car. Despite the rear wheel bearings stated above, there have been no other problems.

It impresses me time after time how this car starts up, and drives without a fuss. The batter lasted 6 years, despite driving the car for long distances almost every day of the year.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th September, 2005

1998 Toyota Starlet SR 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


Great car if you're looking for something to make better


I have gone through two CV boots.

The syncro went, requiring a new gear box. Common problem on second gear. Was a good excuse to upgrade to a Corolla C160 six speed.

Rear strut top mounts went. Probably due to the car being lowered by 75mm.

Both rear Kyb Shox have burst. Have been through two sets now. Have upgraded to some Japanese Jam Racing items now.

There is an annoying squeak that comes from the parcel shelf rubbing on the interior trim panel. Does my head in!

General Comments:

In relation to the competitors of the time, the EP91 Starlet SR is below par in most areas. The interior is cramped in the rear, there is no steering wheel adjustment for rake or reach, and the interior is starting to look dated.

Onto the handling; while being good enough to have fun with, the EP cannot hold that much speed into a corner, compared to say a Saxo/106.

All is not lost though, as there are a lot of after-market parts that can be bought to rectify this. Once fitted, this will allow the Starlet to out handle any car of its size and weight.

The 1.3 4e-fe Toyota 16 valve engine is very fuel efficient, and can more than hold its own against today's lukewarm hatches like the 206 Quicksilver/ Saxo Furio / Fiesta ST. Producing 75 BHP, it's enough to keep a young driver happy.

The brakes are really good if maintained well. One common fault are the rubber boots that corrode, making the sliding pins seize up, weakening the braking force.

Summing the Starlet up.

The fuel consumption is great. I have had close to 50mpg before, and the build quality is second to none. It's a Toyota, so it's built to last.

The only problems I have had are from wearable parts.

If serviced regularly, a Starlet could easily do 250,000 miles and more...

I am heavily into modifying the handling and overall chassis dynamics of my EP; my Starlet is a reflection of this.

I currently have a six speed box fitted, Jam Racing suspension, Whiteline rear anti roll bar, ECT anti lift/ castor kit and ECT bushes all around.

I have out cornered a Civic Type R before with this set up.

I am currently working on a big brake kit, utilising the four pot calipers and 315x30 vented discs from the ST205 Celica GT4.

The other good thing about the Starlet are all the good top quality Japanese tuning gear available. All types of chassis braces, light weight kevlar body panels, LSDs.. the list goes on and on. The turbo engine from a Glanza (4e-fte) will fit along with the 1.5 (5e-fe) from the Toyota Paseo.

The 4e-fte can be tuned to give up to 400bhp reliably.. expect drivability to go out of the window though.

All of this makes the Starlet a very much underrated, rewarding prospect, compared to a Saxo or Corsa.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd August, 2005

17th Nov 2005, 09:39

A very informative review! thank you.

21st Jun 2006, 19:21

That's a decent review :)

25th Jan 2007, 16:20

A very useful review! Just bought a 99' SR with the (4e-fe) in it, wondering if someone could give any web sites were I could purchase mods? If anyone can help please contact me at Redarse_87@hotmail.com


13th Dec 2007, 03:11

I have a toyota tarago too.

24th Aug 2014, 12:31

You can get some mods for the Toyota Starlet from the site of UKSTARLETOWNERS. There you can find almost all the mods for this engine (4efe). Otherwise you can just type TOYOTA STARLET KUDOS at YouTube and you will find a very quick N/A non-turbo (0-100 in just 6 seconds).