1986 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon 4 L from North America


A great college car... and maybe even post-grad


Well, let's see... It needed a new engine.

The transmission got overhauled.

The exhaust was patched and a new muffler was put on it.

It has new brakes and fairly new tires.

The battery has been replaced a couple times, but that was mostly due too bad batteries, not power drainage.

General Comments:

The capacity of storage in this little wagon is incredible. I've moved many times because of college, and I've been amazed by just how much can fit in the back with the seats flipped down.

The headroom is a plus too. All of my tall friends are surprised when they still have a gap overhead.

The backseat isn't exactly comfortable, but being the driver, I don't worry too much about it.

Off-road it can hold its own. Snow and rain are easy obstacles, but since the car is still low to the ground any depth over 2 feet is a challenge.

Gas mileage is part of what keeps the costs down. I get anywhere from 25 to 30 mpg even when I'm toting extra cargo in the back.

I know a lot of people with my model have had a rust problem, but even before the new paint job, my car was cancer free... (knock on wood).

No, it doesn't accelerate so fast and at 80 mph or more the whole dash starts shaking (especially if the A/C is on), but I love my car anyway. I thought about getting a Baja or Golf when I crunched the front of my baby, but I just can't give him up.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 11th March, 2003

1986 Toyota Tercel 1.5 from North America


It won't be love at first sight, but you will fall in love


My plugs and wires have had to be replaced when I bought the car. However, it was to be expected because it had 110,000 miles.

The drivers seat has a pretty good size rip in it.

General Comments:

This car has totally won my respect and actually makes me want to keep it instead of buying a new car.

Although slightly underpowered, it runs like a top and never give me any reason to worry about getting around town.

It can't gain any speed at all going up moderate hills here in CO, so I tend to get some angry drivers behind me, but there is nothing I can do about that.

Once in 4wheel drive, it's absolutely unbelievable in the snow and ice. It is totally sure footed and never comes close to getting stuck. What's amazing is that from a complete stop, it will launch itself from a stop light while other 4x4 vehicles are spinning their tires. It's almost like being underpowered is a plus when it comes to snow and ice. With just a push of a button to engage the 4wheel mode, it's actually easier than doing so in my wifes Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Enough room in back seat for my baby (still in car seat) and my 8 and 10 year old. So when needed, I can tote around my entire family and still have tons of room in the back for shopping. Currently some stereo equipment resides back there, but with the huge hatchback, it comes out in a snap.

I just maintain the fluids and my car keeps up it's end of the bargain and then some.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th February, 2003

1986 Toyota Tercel 5 Door Liftback 1.5 from North America


This model Tercel is an inexpensive, reliable, and very practical automobile.


Starter at 175,000 km.

Alternator at 185,000 km.

Radiator at 170,000 km.

Exhaust manifold cracked at 130,000 km.

Front brakes about every 35,000 km.

Exhaust every 4 years.

Electrical problem due to corrosion at 170,000 km.

General Comments:

This has been a generally reliable car. It has no serious vices except it is a little weak in acceleration and noisy at highway speeds.

The car gives good gas mileage, about 36 mpg (Imperial) all round, and is pleasant to drive and very easy to park. The rear hatch and fold down rear seats provide a lot of handy cargo space.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th November, 2002