1983 Toyota Tercel SR5 4x4 wagon 1.5 gasoline from North America


The most reliable, useful, car ever made


Oil leaked from the camshaft bearing, crankshaft bearing, and valve cover gasket, which was all fixed at 223,000.

New oil leak from drain plug.

Loud noise from rear end, either the differential or the rear wheel bearings, I'll find out soon.

Cooling fan has been replaced/repaired twice.

Lots of floorboard rust.

Window came off track and is a pain to open.

General Comments:

This car is the most reliable car ever made. No matter what is wrong with it, it always starts the first try.

In its 19 years it has been towed once when the clutch cable snapped, which can happen to any car.

The engine does lack the power needed to get onto the highway easily, but it's never too much of a problem. It's strong enough to pull the car through sand snow and mud.

There is a lot of rust, but that's probably because the car has been used on the outer beaches of Cape Cod for 10 years, and has rarely gotten stuck, despite how often you can hear the bottom rubbing on the sand.

It has great cargo room, I once carried two 50 gallon tanks filled with seawater, no problem fitting them in, and no problem getting the car to go, even though the suspension had bottomed out from the weight.

The car survived being used to pull down a tree by it's previous owner.

Gas Mileage is great, usually averaging 27mpg, although sometimes i think it burns more oil than gas.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd August, 2002

1983 Toyota Tercel 3 Door Hatchback 4 cylinder from North America


Wish I still had it


1. Replaced all four tires ($200.00).

2. Replaced the heater-blower-motor ($25.00).

3. Clutch finally went at 217,000 ($600.00).

General Comments:

This was my first car that I bought from a family friend with 196,000 miles on it for $100.00. It was an ugly coppery color, the passenger door didn't open, driver's and passenger windows didn't roll down, but it was the greatest car I ever owned.

I drove it for six months without oil and the engine ran perfectly. I went off-roading in it and got it stuck in a couple mud holes, but because it was such a small and light car, we just jumped out and picked it up and out.

Four people could comfortably fit in it, but as many as seven could squeeze, but that maxed out the shocks and my back tires rubbed against the inside of the wheel-wells.

The car had no rear brakes. I don't know if they were manufactured this way or if the previous owner had removed them. I don't even know if it's legal to drive without them.

The car started up every single time I started it. It was very reliable and never let me down. Plus it was fun to drive. I never knew that there was a such thing as a 6 speed, but mine was and it was great. But then the clutch started to slip a little here and there, then all the time, and then finally I was stranded on the side of the road when it finally went completely. Even then I sold it for $10.00 to one of my buddies who replaced the clutch and repainted it black, and is still driving it with 278,000 miles on it.

By far the cheapest car I have ever owned and maintained. $325.00 for 21,000 miles worth of driving. I wish I still had my Tercel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th September, 2001

29th Mar 2010, 20:00

I am currently driving a 1983 3 door hatchback Tercel I bought for $750 off a little old lady, a family friend. I have had the car 1.5 years. She had 62,000 original miles when I got her. She is my daily driver and very reliable.

The radiator and starter have been replaced, but I would not hesitate to take her on a long road trip. These last few weeks I have been putting 250 miles per day on her without a hitch.

Can anybody tell me more about the 3-AC engine? She does idle a little rough; maybe the carb needs work, it needs gas when you turn her over. Clogged exhaust?

Great car, really great. I can beat you around the parking lot, but will lose on the straight. She can do 65Mph, but does not like it much faster than that.

Little rust.

I plan on painting it, maintaining it and handing it over to my 11 year old when he comes of age. If you can find one, don't pass it up.

1983 Toyota Tercel SR-5 4x4 Wagon 1.6L 4 cylinder (not stock) from North America


The greatest vehicle ever built!


I've owned many of these Tercels, and here are the weak spots:

Manual transmission failure.

A tendency to overheat.

Rear wiper gets stuck in the 'up' position.

Window mechanicals seize or get "off track".

General Comments:

These are (in my opinion) the greatest cars ever built. The 6-speed transmission is extremely cool, and useful off-road. I consistently get over 33 mpg, unheard of territory for a conventional SUV.

My car has over 300k miles, and still has years of service left. I did swap out the 3A engine in favor of the slightly larger 4A from a similar year Corolla.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th June, 2001

1983 Toyota Tercel Hatchback I have no idea! (Original) from North America


Absolutely nothing!!!!!!!!

General Comments:

This car does not have a fancy part on it. But here in Alaska, a dependable car is a must....and this car is!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th June, 1998