1984 Toyota Tercel DX 1.5 Liter Inline 4 from North America


A reliable car that will be there for you like a friend.


CV Boots split and spewed lube all over the wheelwell, but I replaced both front halfshafts at about 92k miles.

Valve cover gasket started leaking oil, and that was replaced at the same time.

Engine runs a little rough, and it didn't like 87 octane. 92 octane made it run better

Car makes a creaking sound every time I go over bumps, but that will get fixed here soon.

General Comments:

My grandma's neighbor originally bought the 1984 Tercel back in 1984 from Big Island Toyota in Hawaii. I obtained it back in December 2003 with about 85,000 miles on it. I recently found the window sticker that came with the car. Brand new, the car was listed as $7,675 MSRP! The only options on the car were a rear windshield wiper, power steering, and 3-speed automatic transmission.

Today, the Tercel cruises around here on Honolulu, transporting me to college, work, and home. It has been nothing short of being a good reliable car. It's unmistakable quirky wedge design means serious business when it comes to being the ultimate utilitarian vehicle.

Underneath the hood is a Toyota 3A-C inline 4, and its layout underneath the hood makes it easy to do repairs for a first timer. The maximum output is 62 horses and 67 foot pounds torque, but that's good enough to be buzzing around town. I get about 26-29 miles per gallon, and it isn't very thirsty when filling up at the pump. With the continuous proper maintenance, The engine will serve you well.

Inside, the ride is fairly comfortable and stable. The interior materials are still in excellent condition, and it still retains the quality Toyota fit and finish. With its tall wagon ceiling, cargo capacity is great, and folding the 50/50 split rear seats down makes it hold even more. The only gripes I have about the car is that it does not have air conditioning, and the radio's position in the car makes you lean forward quite a bit to adjust it.

Driving it is very easy. The blocky design makes judgment of its corners a snap. Big windows in the back and sides make backing up almost as easy as driving forward. Blind spots are absent due to the great boxy design.

I know this car will stay with me for a long time. I know I'll miss it when it comes time to sell it when it breaks down. It is an ugly duckling, but its beauty is all about no-nonsense function.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th July, 2004

17th Jul 2004, 16:53

That's interesting, but my '94 Tercel didn't like 87 octane gas either. With 87 octane there was some detonation, low power, and higher fuel consumption. Too bad the '94 model year had the valve seal problems. Because of that engine was consuming oil, and if not checking it every few days, the car would be very low on oil. Due to that, the rest of the engine wore down quickly and when it needed rings, I donated it with 107 000 miles. My review is there in 1994 section Tercel, "a car that deserves respect"

1984 Toyota Tercel Station Wagon from North America


It's driven from the Earth to the Moon


It's gone through two transmissions.

The timing belt broke, but it wasn't a big deal to replace, and wasn't expensive.

The air conditioning failed twice.

The brakes have been replaced at least three times.

The head gasket went around 200,000 miles.

The struts have been replaced twice.

General Comments:

This review is something of an epitaph for a car I've loved for years. I just heard that at 250,000 miles (the distance from the Earth to the Moon) my Tercel has "blow back" of oil into the combustion chamber, which is apparently fatal.

Nonetheless, this car provided mostly reliable transportation for an insane number of years and miles. Although it occasionally had something awful go wrong (like the transmission failing), the overall costs of maintaining it averaged out to be very low from year to year. Admittedly, I didn't take the best care of it: Oil changes weren't that frequent and tune-ups were rare. But it just kept going.

The layout of the dashboard was a little awkward: You practically had to put your chin in the steering wheel to reach down to adjust the radio.

The thing I'll miss most about it is the body style. The boxy, station wagon shape let it hold lots and lots of cargo. The roof was high and the windows were big, so that it had almost no blind spots. The tall roof also made it roomy and comfortable inside for all sizes and shapes of people. And the angular shape was easy to spot in parking lots.

The flat hatchback door reminded friends of an automatic teller machine. To me it was the perfect canvas for a collage of bumper stickers. The flat rear windows and door just begged for bumper stickers! I know I'm not the only one who felt that way: Look around, and whenever you see a mid-80s Tercel wagon it'll be covered with bumper stickers.

If you're able to find one of these cars and it's on its second engine, or has been well maintained I would highly recommend it. It's a dependable, cheap, safe, no-frills car with a certain amount of geeky cool. Buy it for yourself, or for your new-to-driving teenager. But buy it, and give it a kiss for me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th March, 2004

4th Jun 2005, 05:41

I have this car and I love it too, but currently its CV joints are giving trouble. If any one of you know please tell me where I can find the front axles for this car. you can e mail me at kumudu_j@yahoo.com.

13th Sep 2007, 07:35

It's the year 2007 and I've just bought a 1984 model car! So far its the best thing I've ever done in my 45 years of life. I needed a small cheap runabout wagon for work and couldn't find anything, until I came accross this wagon. Its only done 100,000 km, runs like a bird, doesn't leak oil and always starts when its meant to. Cheap to run to 7l per 100km on the open road... What a gem they should still build them!