1985 Toyota Tercel SR5 3A-C from North America


A great gas mileage, off road machine


The seats are wearing out.

A rubber seal that lead to the driver's side kick panel sprung a leak in 1999. Rain would seep down through gap near the windshield wipers and run down the electrical cables, through the seal, and into the car. The car could get several inches of water during a rainy day. I fixed it by using some silicone sealant on the seal, and it hasn't leaked since.

The hatch door is rusting out, but that started around 1997 and is from being driven on beaches a lot.

General Comments:

This car is a great little off road machine. Everything on it is stock, and its been able to handle beach sand, mud, snow, rocks, and 1.75 ft of water with almost no problems (going through the water came close to drowning the engine).

It gets great gas mileage, 24-27mpg on the highways and cities, and about 20mpg in the dirt and mud.

The engine is underpowered, 62 horse power, and with having 200000+ miles on the engine, its acceleration isn't the best.

I'm 6'3" and I still have a few inches of space before my head hits the ceiling, its got plenty of leg room in the front and rear (if you don't sit behind me). The back seat though, feels like you are sitting on a trampoline, it bounces you around if you hit some big bumps.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th June, 2001

1st Sep 2001, 19:14

Hey! That's my car! I would have never thought to see my car being praised as much as that. Don't get me wrong, it truly is a great little car. My parents bought it when it first came out in late 1985 (about 11 months after I was born) and since then it has worked beautifully.

There have been some little problems with it, fan chewed up the radiator, it's been through 2 water pumps, I had a similar problem with water leaking into the interior but it was because my dad unknowingly knocked out a rubber seal into the inner-fender when he was installing fog lights or fixing, I don't remember. But little things like that will happen when you have over 270,000 miles on it.

It still has the stock 1500cc 4 cylinder and manual 5-speed transmission. I don't get as good gas mileage as you do though, I'm guessing about 17 to 20 mpg town and 25 highway driving. Being a teenager's first car though has taken its toll on the body, one wreck that almost totaled it (did absolutely nothing to the Chevy Blazer) and a fair sized dent in the hatch. Windshield has a crack in it, nothing big.

The only things that are wrong with it: body made of tinfoil (why it gets great gas mileage), stock speaker holes are too small, and some of the speaker wiring is bad. That's pretty much it.

Good car for hauling around friends, 4 wheel drive helps a lot for steep gravel driveways and getting through deep mud.

Me, being a teenager, felt it necessary to install a sound system to fit my personality (wiring is really easy if you know what to do), I have a 12" subwoofer in the hatch, a pair of 6x9 speakers in boxes, two pairs of JL audio speakers (in stock holes), and a nice Kenwood deck.

1985 Toyota Tercel Hatchback 2 door 1.5 from North America


Economical, reliable and easy to maintain


I rebuilt the engine at 250k when I got it, and haven't had any engine problems since.

Known problems are CV joints go bad when boots wear out, and ball joints wear out from rubber boots failing.

Excellent mileage, and very reliable. I had an 81 Tercel before, and was up to 180k without any engine work, and got the same performance and mileage, well, a little less because of the old engine. My rebuilt motor, ~30 city, and 31-35 highway. Old 81, ~25 city and highway.

Oh, also a rats nest of vaccuum lines. Must check these on an old one, as it really affects performance.

General Comments:

A great car. The inline engine, oriented front to back is very easy to maintain, which is important on old cars, and parts are usually cheap. A great vehicle for the money.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th November, 2000

10th Jan 2001, 10:42

Good car, doesn't have many problems and is good on gas, but has good power for its age. The only problem is the heater doesn't work because it broke.

I'm very happy with this car and would like to have a '95 model of this car.

Mine is golden brown with a few dents and dings, but the car still leaves black marks at 180,000 miles and that's not too bad.

15th Mar 2001, 14:55

Good college car... my Tercel has a lot of vibration for some reason. Engine started sputtering around 110,000 miles. No money for a new carburator means I have to carry a can of carburator cleaner and sit and rev the engine A LOT to get it going. Clutch is in good shape at 114,000. Overall, my Tercel holds up well.

18th Apr 2001, 06:31

I had an 82 Tercel that was a workhorse. Frame rusted out and I drove it to the junk-yard. Engine ran like it was new at 237000 miles, tried everything to kill it on the way to the junk-yard but it would not die! I put over 150000 miles on the car and bought nothing but tires, brake pads, gas, and oil. What more can I say?