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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!