1990 Toyota Tercel Reviews

1990 Toyota Tercel EX from North America

Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission Automatic
Distance when acquired100000 kilometres
Most recent distance107000 kilometres
Previous carMazda 323


Don't be tempted by low mileage and a good price


When I was driving this car home (test drive had taken place during the day), none of the dashboard lights worked. Had to guess how much gas I had left, and how fast I was going. $100 to fix.

Serious oil leak, at the bottom/underside of the engine, costing $400 to fix.

Timing belt replaced as preventative maintenance. $400.

Refusal to stay started that persists to this day. If not properly warmed up, it will stall out with little or no warning.

General Comments:

This car lacks oomph and seriously decelerates going up modest hills.

I have to drive like someone's grandmother, because I'm terrified that it will stall out on me while I'm merging or making a left-hand turn.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 25th November, 2010

1990 Toyota Tercel EZ Hatchback from North America

Model year1990
Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired150000 miles
Most recent distance167000 miles
Previous carSubaru Legacy


This car saved me from going into debt several times over!


I recently replaced the emergency brake. This was due to my own negligence/stupidity.

The passenger side handle broke, but was easily fixed.

The exhaust system was faulty when we got the car. It was a loud little beast. It was remedied with a $125 weld.

The stereo speakers were blown out. One was easily replaced. The other is too difficult to reach.

General Comments:

This car was traded to us for some work my partner did. The fella couldn't afford to pay, so he gave us the car instead. It was our silly, joke car.

My Subaru was destroyed in an accident and I didn't want to take out a loan, so I ended up driving the "turdcel." I drove 100 miles to work and back every day and was timid about its reliability, as were my carpoolies. It NEVER let me down. They promptly found another ride, due to its age and their discomfort.

Now I work a few miles away from home. I literally fill up my tank ten times a year!

It may not be the prettiest car in the faculty parking lot, but it is the most efficient.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th November, 2008

1990 Toyota Tercel Coupe 1.5L 1bl. carburated from North America

Model year1990
Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 1.5L 1bl. carburated Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired150000 miles
Most recent distance220000 miles
Previous carDodge Ram Pickup


You can't find a cheaper vehicle with this kind of MPG!


Awful paint job.

Trunk leaks during heavy rain.

All plastics on vehicle very brittle, not designed to last.

Burns/leaks oil - a quart about every 3k miles.

OEM carpets are worn through.

(150k) tune-up and thermostat when bought.

(160k) rear brakes replaced.

(180k) front brakes replaced.

(200k) new tires.

(220k) tune-up and oxygen sensor.

General Comments:

I have a Ram Pickup that gets 15 MPG, which is good for the 5.9L Magnum, considering that it should be only getting 13 MPG on highway, at the most. It has power, comfort, electronic everything, plenty of room. All of which the Toyota doesn't have.

I bought this car to save on gas. It has done very well. It has all the gas economics of the newer vehicles without the new price tag. I get roughly 31-33 MPG on high octane. I use high octane, because it diesels after turning it off when using low octane... even though the Toyota manual tells you to use regular. Nevertheless, I still get high gas mileage for the higher gas price.

It doesn't have A/C, so I live life around 60-70 mph.

I am a do it yourselfer, therefore I get farther on my dollar. I couldn't imagine spending 100 dollars on a tune-up and oil change, or even a 100 on brakes.

In my experience, I've owned just as many domestics as foreign vehicles. Prices to repair them are roughly the same. If anything, the domestics are easier to work on. The engine bays are larger as opposed to this Toyota... very cramped.

In my experience, everyone raves that domestics, for instance F.ix O.r R.epair D.aily's, are what they live up to be, breaking down... often. In contrast, this Toyota has broken down as often as any other car that I've owned: (4) Nissans, (1) Mazda, (2) Dodges, (2) Toyotas, (5) Fords, (1) Mercury, (1) Hyundai, (1) Saturn. I just believe that people don't know how/when/care to service their vehicles, and then expect them to run forever. I've owned and maintained all of these vehicles, and ended up selling them all to family. All of which are STILL running past 100k, 150k and 200k miles. Many people are just plain apathetic.

Overall, I would have to say that this Toyota is very economical, a lunchbox on wheels, ugly, gets you from A to B with minimal performance, and is still running past 200k.

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

Review Date: 31st July, 2007

Average review marks: 7.3 / 10, based on 19 reviews