1997 Toyota Tercel CE 2 door 1.5 DOHC from North America
Reliable, fun to drive, 35 to 39 mpg at 86k!
Replaced alternator around 60k. Zero problems... none.
This 1997 Tercel replaced my 1993. The 1997 is a much better car. Power steering, factory air, twin cam engine, 5 speed, cloth interior, etc.
My 1993 was the entry level car; vinyl seats, 4 speed, single OHC. Great little car. Bought it new, drove it 35k.
Saw the 1997 body style and all the extra's: traded-in the 1993 and drove the new 1997 home that same day! I still own the 1997. Best car I have ever owned.
The dealer never saw it again after the 15k service. I do all my own maintenance, have a service log of every oil change, tune-up, etc. I replaced the timing belt at 53k, plus the other 2 drive belts, changed all fluids: trans. grease, anti-freeze, flushed the brake and clutch systems, new plugs, fuel and air filters.
By the way, the twin cam 1.5 uses shims to set the valves, they are not hyd. Also note: the 1993 engine has 3 valves per cylinder and they are adjustable! Two intake valves, one exhaust, with set screws and lock nuts. I have checked my valve clearance's five times over 86k, and they are always within factory spec. It's my opinion that many Tercel's have been abused and not cared for properly. Hey, people! The Tercel only holds 3 quarts of oil! There is zero room for neglect! I have always changed my oil and filter way more often than most people would, and at 86k plus there is no smoke, no leaks, and when I've had the valve cover off, it's very clean, zero sludge! No real secrets here: just use only Toyota Red Antifreeze and distilled water. Drain and fill every three years, four tops.
Bottom line for me: I rely on my Tercel, so I tune it once every year. I don't care what the miles are. A new, fresh fuel filter once a year is way cheaper than new injectors! Brake fluid absorbs water, which rusts the iron parts and pits the alum. ones. Brake fluid is cheap! I've gone through one set of front pads and 1 set of rear shoes. Re-packed the rear wheel bearings.
I'm not bragging here. I love my car. I treat it well and believe in preventive maintenance!! I will have owned it fourteen years this October 19th, 2010. And yes, my next car will be a Toyota!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th October, 2010