1981 Toyota Tercel Reviews

1981 Toyota Tercel 1.5L 60hp from North America

Model year1981
Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 1.5L 60hp Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.8 / 10

Summary:

Reliable yet comfy, very unique and personal

Faults:

When my door froze shut in the winter, the door handle came right off! If you line it back up and smack it back in, it still works.

Starter isn't that good, takes 3 times to start it completely, stalls out other 2 trials.

Stalls on turns as well.

General Comments:

I bought it earlier this summer, and started driving it in October.

It was $1000 and came with 4 winter tires, and we had to put a lot into it.

- Suspension was weak, had to get that fixed.

- Axis balance was off, veered to one side.

- Mirrors were all falling off.

- Steering was very stiff and unsafe.

- Brake pads were worn.

- Horn was broken (still is sort of)

- Seatbelt was broken (drivers side)

I love how it just wants to go go go! Kicks butt on the highways, and can exceed speeds of 130 km/h.

I really love the windows, how much you can see around, and how little blind spots there are!

Also, this baby purrs, has a very good muffler.

Sometimes smells of gas/oil though.

Headlights came crooked, very hard to drive at night.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th December, 2008

1981 Toyota Tercel SR5 1.5L 3A from North America

Model year1981
Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 1.5L 3A Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired280000 kilometres
Most recent distance300000 kilometres
Previous carChevrolet Monza

Summary:

Best winter beater yet!

Faults:

Acquired car with blown transmission, cost $50 for a used one and it was a very simple installation.

Rear hatch seal leaks.

Front wheel bearing howls.

Front seats are worn, it happens with this kind of mileage though.

Carb needs rebuilding.

General Comments:

This car starts every morning, even at -29c for two weeks straight, without a block heater!

SR5 model with 3A motor has very good power for small econobox, I was very impressed that at 300,000km she will still hit 6000+rpm anytime you want it to, and after 5000km the oil still comes out golden, and it uses about half a liter between changes.

The SR5 handles awesome on snow, high or low speed, and rarely gets stuck.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th September, 2005

1981 Toyota Tercel DX 1.5L 4 cylinder from North America

Model year1981
Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership1997
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.5L 4 cylinder Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.3 / 10
Distance when acquired131000 kilometres
Most recent distance484000 kilometres

Summary:

Great car I would recomend this car to anyone

Faults:

Timing belt went at 170,000 km.

General Comments:

This car is extremely reliable and the most economical car I have ever had. The only thing that has gone wrong would be the timing belt.

Great car I would recommend this car to anyone.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th May, 2005

1981 Toyota Tercel SR-5 1.1 from North America

Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership1981
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.1 Manual
Performance marks 1 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 3 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
3.4 / 10
Distance when acquired0 kilometres
Most recent distance357943 kilometres

Summary:

It was the worst thing that came into my life

Faults:

The transmission in it broke.

2 front tires popped.

Seats are wearing out.

It's rusted along the bottom, making it look slightly crusty as well.

General Comments:

The tires on it are worth more than the car itself.

It makes an annoying sound if you don't have your seatbelt buckled in.

It has an ugly shape to it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th August, 2004

1981 Toyota Tercel Corolla Tercel 1.5 from North America

Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.5 Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired95200 miles
Most recent distance95500 miles
Previous carChevrolet Cavalier

Summary:

A reliable little beater

Faults:

I just got the car last week.

So far I have put in an air filter, front end axles, repaired exhaust, oil change, new wires.

Seats are worn pretty bad.

Paint is horrible.

Trunk does not stay open.

Bad rust all over.

Shock towers are coming through the trunk.

Stalls out every time I stop or slow down to go around a turn.

Possible need a new carborator.

General Comments:

Picked up the car for $100 after my Cavalier caught on fire. Needed a car ASAP.

Overall it's a pretty good car.

Pretty quick.

Have dumped a lot of money into it so far, but from what I hear this car could last over 200,000 miles.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd June, 2004

22nd Mar 2007, 07:43

I bought a 1981 Tercel 5 speed about a year ago now and since I have fixed it up I won't sell it now. Mine has 248,200 miles on it and runs like it maybe has 60,000. Keep it tuned up and fluids changed and keep up with things that can and will go wrong and it will last forever.

24th Oct 2008, 21:50

I got mine in 1988 with 60K miles, which was my first car. I drove it till 1997 and added another 60K miles. Whether in San Diego or Chicago, this car never let me down. I drove from CA to IN, BTW. It always starts right up even at -30F! Over the 9 years I have owned it, I only experienced a bad horn (bad contact) and failing fuel gauge, not counting normal maintenance such as shocks, clutch, and timing belt. Toyota showed the world in 1981 how to make a sensible, reliable small car. I had nothing but fond memories with this vehicle.

Average review marks: 7.4 / 10, based on 12 reviews