1993 Toyota Tercel LX from North America


This car is a cancer


Oil pan disintegrated

Rust was present after first year owned. (Had to argue with dealership to repair.)

Gas cap door lever and trunk open lever seized with rust.

Muffler rusted out.

Gas smell prevalent in interior of car from early on.

Oil valve seized open and replaced (twice) as it was going through large amounts of oil.

Alternator replaced at 17500km

Low oil indicator light does not come on until almost completely devoid of oil.

Oil is (black) after only a few kilometers.

Lastly, one of the pistons is ruined hence copious amounts of black exhaust and it is going through a top up of oil ever two days.

General Comments:

I thought I could keep this car for a long time as I am very diligent in upkeep for it.

I was very frustrated at dragging this car into the garage ever couple of weeks.

I will unload this lemon and get a car of another make. For the record, Toyota Tercel's are NOT reliable. I am very disappointed with this make and model of car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th September, 2003

12th Apr 2004, 06:22

I had the same trouble with my 89 tercel. Everyone gets a LEMON once in a while. I have a 94 tercel I bought new. It has 240 000 km. on it. No problems so far.

12th Apr 2004, 09:11

It seems you got the worst Tercel ever made. Tercels are one of the most reliable cars ever made. In the 80's rust is usually what ended their life, but mine went for 300 000 km before someone slashed all four tires and I scrapped it rather than replacing them, the rust had made the car ridiculously ugly and noisy (air leaks). It did drive great until that day though.

13th Apr 2005, 08:44

It is apparent that if you let the oil level get low enough to have the light illuminate, you aren't keen on keep up, maybe the car is a lemon due to you. The alternator sounds fishy, I have a 93 tercel and have an amazing amount of miles. I'm at the point where I don't know if I will ever get a new car in the fear this one may run forever, it seems you are one of a kind or at least one of few. Problems are usually anything, but prevalent when it comes to tercels.

1993 Toyota Tercel from Japan


Great for the first time driver


Small oil leak beside the spark plugs, unrepairable. Had to constantly check oil levels and change spark plugs.

Interior light stopped working, along with the cigarette lighter.

Transmission started going bad for no reason. The car would die at a stop sign or red light.

Tire ware was horrible, even with regular rotations and balancing. Had to change tires every 6 months.

Seats began to tare, had to begin purchasing seat covers.

Heater would take up to 30 minutes to heat up the car. The car itself took 20 minutes to warm up in 30 degree weather.

Bad for hydroplaning. I ended up totaling out this car while going around a small curve only going 40mph. Just glad I hit the bluff and not the bottom of the hill.

General Comments:

This car is awesome for a first time driver. It handles well if going the correct speed. No problems with steering or breaking.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th August, 2003

1993 Toyota Tercel 1.3 from North America


Great value, high reliability, NOT a race car or luxury car


$600 brake job.

Literally nothing else in almost 70K miles.

General Comments:

I love this car. It has been one of the best purchases I have ever made. I live in Chicago, and in the time I have owned the car, the temperature here has varied from -20F to 105F. This car has ALWAYS started within two seconds of turning the key.

This car has consistently gotten 34 miles per gallon. This is exactly what Toyota claimed it would do.

I paid less than $5000 for the car when it was two years old. Since that time, with the exception of the $600 brake job, I haven't spent a penny on anything other than normal maintenance (oil, filters, plugs, tires). According to Carfax, my car (looked up the VIN), was in a wreck and has "lots" of problems. What a joke. This has been the most reliable vehicle I've owned.

Many people will complain about the performance of this car. Performance, I'll grant, is weak, but I don't care. It gets me where I'm going. With the stick shift, this car still "performs" better than my old 2L Mustang.

Comfort is not the best, but it is not the worst either. I am 6' 0" and I do feel a little cramped sometimes. Again, though I have been in worse cars.

Bottom line: If money is a concern, this has got to be one of the best cars possible. Cheap price, high reliability, and great gas mileage add up to an unbeatable bargain. However, if you are taller than 6' 2", or are a speed freak, you should probably pay more money for something else.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th August, 2003