1987 Toyota Tercel DL hatchback 1.6 from North America


A good little car


Weak clutch gave up the ghost at 30000 kilometers.

Hard to start in cold weather.

Manual transmission extemely stiff and difficult to shift in cold weather.

General Comments:

This certainly was a reliable and solid little car while I had it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th May, 2003

1987 Toyota Tercel 4x4 Wagon SR5 1.5 3AC from North America


This is one of the best cars ever made!


I had to replace my carburetor at 92,000 miles because I had it in Italy and I was using leaded gas. That apparently plugged up my carburetor. I also had to replace my distributor at 148,000 miles.

General Comments:

This car handles like a sports car, it corners very well and and has good acceleration.

This car also has excellent traction and you can load this car down!! I had four adults,6 suitcases and a couple of boxes on the roof; I was still going eighty miles an hour.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th October, 2002

1987 Toyota Tercel 4x4 Hatchback 1.5 from North America


Function without form - the most fun economy car I've driven!


Rear brake lines.

Gas tank, filler neck.

The usual things - tires, brakes (including handbrake cables).

If you drive the car in any snowy areas where salt is used on the roads, YEARLY OILING IS A MUST! Or the car will rust out extremely fast (even if the bodywork isn't showing much rust, the underbody will be rapidly rusting).

General Comments:

A truly amazing car!!

Tons of room, both for people and cargo (rear seats can be a little cramped if tall people are sitting in the front - but what can you expect from a economy car?).

The 4x4 is truly phenomenal. I live on the shores of Lake Huron (the snow belt of Ontario as it it known to some) and the car handles great. My dad is the only one who has got the car stuck - twice. I've pulled people out of the ditch in storms (including a big heavy BMW 528), raced down cross country ski trails in the winter, through 2-3 feet of snow across fields, pulled tractors, and even pulled out tree stumps. Mud, snow and ice are no problem.

The car is a little underpowered for my liking - but with the 5 speed it is certainly adequate - it can easily light up the tires in first and squawk them in second. With the three speed auto passing can be tricky at times.

On another note - engine swaps are a breeze (not that the engine will ever go if it is even casually looked after - by that I mean not run out of oil and the oil filter changed once in a while.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th October, 2001

27th May 2003, 15:21

So I can pull you and that BMW 528 with my Toyota Tundra2WD.

3rd Jun 2003, 14:23

Oh really! Well our little crew of Toyota Tercel's 4WD can pull you out of a ditch in EL (Extra Low Gear) with your scrawny Tundra 2WD!

14th Jan 2004, 11:33

Tundra has very wide tires compared to a Tercel, much more weight over those two wheels, and a V8 for an engine! Your statement of the Tundra's superiority is completely irrelevant. I am very impressed by Toyota's 4x4 Tercel, considering what it is, and in any case; its light weight and four wheel traction make all the difference. A fun little car indeed!

4th Mar 2004, 14:21

Actually, wider tires in the snow does not help, in reality it makes it worse as they "sled" on top of the snow instead of sinking through. Also, a 2wd pickup has its drive wheels under the truck bed, so there is very little weight on them. (= horrible in the snow, I know this by experience) I think the guy with the Tundra was probably some kid who didn't really know a whole lot about what he was talking about.

1987 Toyota Tercel 2 door hatchback 1.5L from North America


A beater car for 100 teenagers


This little car ran beautifully with absolutely no major problems. It had a few minor issues like the window rolling mechanism jumping off its track, and the parking brake cable becoming disconnected, but that's to be expected when a car is treated like toy.

Toward the end of its life (wait, it's still out there driving today), it needed an entire new exhaust system as the catalytic convertor failed. Any more driving and I'm sure the head gaskets would have gone next. Its bearings on the back wheels were close to needing a replacement, and something was acting up in the fuel line system, because the engine kept turning over when I turned off the ignition. Before making a decision on replacing all of these items, I just traded it in for my 2nd beater car, a 92 Honda Civic. (running like a champ, BTW).

Whoever is driving my old, fixed up Tercel is probably loving every minute of it.

General Comments:

This is the perfect beater car for someone just getting out of high school!! Treat a Tercel like crap and it will love you for it! I have run this thing on low dirty oil, rustic engine coolant, bald tires, and so much more. All I needed to do to fix these things was a spit shine on the front bumper.

Toyota knows that their cars may not be treated perfectly and their quality shines through for it.

I purchased this car for 800 bucks and ran it 161,000 miles with merely fluid replacements and tune ups. When the emissions tester came out with flashing red alarms saying my car was pumping out more hydrocarbons than a fleet of semis, I decided to call it quits with her.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th October, 2001

12th Sep 2002, 15:51

I have my mom's old 1988 tercel now that I've almost ruined it. I learned how to drive and care for a car with it. I lost two oil caps; both times spewing oil all over the engine. I never cleaned it off. The oil corroded everything made of rubber and destroyed the spark plug wires and caused the timing belt to break prematurely. This happened when I borrowed the car for an emergency ride to work. The broken timing belt damaged the valves, but we didn't know this right away. I later borrowed the car to drive to a concert about an hour away. I missed my exit and drove an extra forty-five minutes. I drove it in four, full throttle sprints, broken up by traffic patterns. Just before I turned around, the car's top speed decreased significantly and there was a rough, intermittent shaking from the front right. Also, the gas mileage had become terrible. I had no choice, but to continue back to the concert and have one of my friends follow me home, just in-case. As it turns out, my high-speed jaunt caused the imperfect valves to become faulty in one or two of the cylinders and the shaking was a broken motor mount. That Toyota Tercel drove for hours that night on two cylinders and a broken motor mount and the only problems were shaking in third gear and bad mileage. Go Toyota.