1998 Toyota Tercel CE 1.5 from North America
Uber reliable, dirt cheap transportation
The front door handle broke off within 2 weeks of taking possession of the car. I fixed it myself for 60 CDN.
Well, where do I start?
I bought this car as a daily commuter, as I was doing 150 km round trip a day at the time, and needed something cheap on gas. Everyone thought I was crazy paying $5500 for an eight year old econobox at the time, but I had done my research and was confident in my purchase. Besides, my Tercel was an automatic with A/C... sheer LUXURY!
I have now owned the car for a little over 6 years, and have put on nearly 200 000 kms on it, and it has been the most reliable and cheapest to operate vehicle I have ever owned, hands down.
We have to do a drive clean emissions test here in Ontario every 2 years, and each time I get it done, I believe it will be the last for this car... but it just keeps on going.
Sure, it consumes oil like a drunken sailor that's been out to sea for 6 months... but it has been doing that for 75 000 km, and it still passes the sniffer test to boot! I have actually run the oil down past the dipstick on more than one occasion, having to top the car up with over a litre of oil (it only holds 2.8L), yet it still runs with no problems.
I have done little to the car for maintenance; changed the timing belt once, tranny flush and fill, and of course brakes and tires. My wife smashed it up and the insurance wrote it off because it was too expensive to fix in their minds.
I bought it back, had a friend who was a body man put it back together for me, and have been driving it ever since. That happened 5 years ago when the car was at 210 000km.
I got cut off on the DVP one day, and hit the cement barrier separating lanes, messed up my rim, and the car made a funny noise when turning right. I always meant to get it looked at.. but the noise never got any worse so.. meh. I had the car in to my local mechanics to have an exhaust leak fixed. When he phoned to give me a quote he said "you know your car makes a funny noise when turning, I'll check it out for you." Well, that little mishap on the DVP had actually busted my front driver's side axle shaft. The mechanic didn't believe me when I told him I had been driving it that way for 3 years and 60 000kms. It's noisy, doesn't take bumps very well.. and forget high speed maneuvering (can be scary).
If you are looking for a cheap reliable car (even though the newest one you can find is 13 years old), and you can find a relatively rust free low mileage example, BUY IT.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 13th April, 2012