1985 Toyota Tercel User Reviews

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Displaying all 4 1985 Toyota Tercel reviews.

1985 Toyota Tercel Review
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175

I Love This Car — 1985 Toyota Tercel, 4 door, automatic, hatchback. I love my car. Sure, its gutless on acceleration, has to be downshifted out of drive to go up hills when loaded, and the radio is lousy....BUT gas mileage is as good (or better) than new cars of its size, I can leave it unlocked with the windows open anywhere and no one will steal it or rob from inside it, insurance is cheap, parts are available at any junk yard for next to nothing AND its easy to fix yourself (its ALL mechanical, theres not one single shred of computer or electronic mumbo jumbo in it anywhere). If something is acting up you can be sure you will be able to not only figure out what it is but most likely fix it yourself. I dont care if the dog sheds in it, or the kid spills something, or it gets a ding in a parking lot (those black bumpers and side panel protector strips really do what they are supposed to!) A 5 ton truck backed straight into its front bumper once, and didnt leave so much as a mark. A much larger car slid into the driver side door another time, pushing it in, but it popped right back out on its own - again without leaving a single mark. If it was a much newer car, you can bet either mishap would have cost hundreds - if not thousands - in repairs. Oh yeah, and the hatchback can hold almost anything I need it to - camping gear, bicycle, kitchen table, even 8 foot long 2x4s and lengthwise half sheets of plywood or hard insulation - because the back seats can be folded completely flat (the bottom of the back seat tips forward so the backs of the back seat fold flat, in line with the hatch floor), the front seats recline, the cargo cover removes easily, and the inside of the car is 8 feet long from the front windshield to the wall of the back hatch. True, its crummy in a strong crosswind, but I can get through snow (and its only 2WD) just as good as anything else out there - Ive never, ever been stuck but Ive motored past plenty of 4WD SUVs that were (*grin*). It also starts in -35C (-31F) every single time, even when the block heater isnt plugged in. Ill have to replace this old gem someday, but I cant find anything as easy to keep running, or that I like one iota as much, or would serve my needs nearly as well - and especially not with the same sticker price!!! Oh, and I still drive her easily and regularly, without missing a beat, at 120kph (75mph) - she can go much faster but I dont like getting speeding tickets :-) UPDATE JANUARY 2014: the car is now almost 30 years old and Im starting to have difficulty finding other Tercels of this age at the junkyard. I used to be able to walk in any day of the week and walk out with whatever I needed, but now I have to check online inventory for weeks (or months!) before a Tercel of the correct vintage shows up. My old gems days are definitely numbered in other ways as well - her almost 30 year old frame has some serious rust (likely from all the salt on the roads here, and being kept in a heated garage for the first half of her life by the original owners). Ive been looking at newer cars but frankly, they make me want to run away and throw up. So expensive. And so much unnecessary stuff, endless electronics and gadgetry for absolutely everything. Which only means more warning lights, more malfunctions, more trips to the mechanic because you cant diagnose or repair many modern car issues on your own anymore. Apparently you cant even put air in the tires of modern cars without having to reset some computer code??! So Im even considering finding another Tercel of this vintage (four door hatchback or wagon - and they both come in 4WD too) thats in safer shape than mine, and then using mine for parts. All I want is cheap, self-fixable, reliable transportation that will consistently and faithfully move me, my people, and my stuff from point A to point B. I really dont need, or want, any doodads - especially electronic. FINAL EDIT, MAY 2016....well, the old girl has finally been retired...shes parked in the driveway without plates as I write...Im still getting used to her being sidelined (and not without some tears), but she just couldnt be driven safely any longer (with her rusting frame I stopped doing other maintenance and she now needs tires, brakes, shocks too...driving her was just getting too scary....although her engine and transmission are still going strong!!). After a couple years of intermittently searching and comparing I finally bought a 2005 TOYOTA ECHO 4 DOOR HATCHBACK (in addition to the sedan, a 2 or 4 door hatchback version was offered in Canada - and its much better looking than the sedan)! The Echo is the direct descendant of the Tercel (it was Toyotas replacement for the Tercel), which gives me a great deal of comfort :-) The newer Echo doesnt have as much room in the hatch for hauling stuff as the old Tercel (the load area from the back of the hatch to the back of the front seats is shorter, and the hatch itself is very small), but the interior from the back of the hatch to the front window is, oddly, the same length (I should still be able to get 8 foot 2x4s into her). Tiny on the outside but almost cavernous on the inside seating area, theres much more head and leg room than the Tercel. One thing to note: unlike the sedan, the hatchback has only 4 seats/seatbelts/head restraints - yup, its only a 4 seater! Placement of the speedo and gauges in the centre of the dash wasnt nearly as weird as I thought it would be. Most of these cars have manual transmission but this one is an automatic (Im getting old and have a buggered shoulder so its a better choice for me now). But even with the automatic transmission the gas mileage is insane - 6L/100km (40miles to the gallon) IN the CITY! With the AC on!!! Insurance costs exactly the same as the old Tercel. The Echo is computerized (of course) so thats all new to me, but it does have minimal electronic gadgetry (thank god). It has the old style hand crank windows (which I wanted) so theres no worries about windows not going up/down and those extra electrical issues/costs. And it still uses an old style door key (which I also wanted), instead of an electronic fob to open doors and hatch. Which means getting an extra key cut cost less than $5 (ha ha) AND it fits easily in my jeans pocket (I dont carry a purse, ever). It also has the old style lock buttons on each door so it can be manually locked/unlocked BUT it also has a little feature called central locking which is one single button that can be used to lock/unlock all the doors at once (including the hatch). A fairly useful feature on occasion, but no big deal if it ever stops working. The car also has splash guards front and back, tilt steering, and the back seats fold down flat (much quicker and easier than the Tercel where you had to tip the seat bottom forward first, and then the seat backs, if you wanted a flat, rather than inclined, load floor) with only a difference of a couple inches in height between flat hatch floor and completely flat folded seat back. And it has TONS (and I do mean TONS) of storage space inside the cabin - upper and lower glove boxes, two cavernous bins on either side of the centre stack, two cubbies in the centre stack, a very large shelf under/behind the steering wheel, a slotted holder for coins, two small bins between the front seats, a bin in the console between the seating for two in the back, 4 cup holders, storage pockets on both front doors, a slide out tray of considerable size under the front passenger seat, an ashtray (with working lighter)....the contents I keep in my car have NEVER been so organized and tidy in all my life! And I havent used even half the storage space yet! Oh, and the best upgrade feature? Air conditioning!!!! Also a first for me, and its truly a first world near-miracle. I dont know how I survived this long without it but I dont think Ill ever be able to go back to not having it! Well thats it. Im signing off now, on behalf of my beloved Betty Rose 1985 Toyota Tercel 4 door hatchback, RIP 2016.

Primary Use: Family transportation

Pros: cargo space, sturdiness, reliability, ease of repair

Cons: gutless, poor acceleration

15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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1985 Toyota Tercel 4 Dr SR5 AWD Wagon Review
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85

The Best Toyota 4wd Ever Made. Period. — My Tercel 4WD is an SR5 version that has been kept garaged for its entire life. No rust and everything works. All is original - no aftermarket add-ons. Repairs are inexpensive and rare. Regular maintenance provides for a long engine life. My vehicle has 95K original miles. No accidents. The value of the vehicle continues to increase as time goes one, and as examples of these wagons fade away - especially the SR5 4WD model. Visibility is great. Seats are comfortable and the upholstery (plaid) is tasteful and rare. The 4WD system is simple and can be engaged on the fly. Although my wagon has not been off-road on several occasions, I have personally witnessed similar wagons go through rivers, climb boulders and get out of sand situations with ease.

Primary Use: Sport/fun (spirited driving, track racing, off-roading, etc.)

Pros: Pristine examples like mine continue to gain value.  A similar wagon sold for over $10K on Ebay a couple of years ago.  I love the design.  The simple 4WD system works more efficiently than any other 4WD I have owned.  Reliable and easy to maintain.  Repairs are fairly inexpensive.

Cons: The only drawback is power - just about 60 horsepower.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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1985 Toyota Tercel Review
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Performance:
Quality:
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65

Good For Long Term — Ugly reliable long lasting. was in the family for over 20 years. Only reason got rid of was becouse it failed smog and california offered to give the fam money to put it in a junk yard, so we took the money and waived good bye.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

Pros: last forever

Cons: ugly

0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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1985 Toyota Tercel Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
165

A Realiable 4 Door Hatchback With Loads Of Space To Haul Things. — Very reliable car with 4 doors and hatchback that can haul even big items. Good value, great insurance rate, and good fuel economy. Toyota build quality makes it very reliable. Very unattractive appearance which you can leave your keys in the car with all the windows open and still don't have to worry about losing it. Poor performance with very weak engine. Once you hit the AC at "ECON" mode, you speed drops from 50mph to 30mph. Set the AC at full with 5 people in the car, your speed will drop to 25mph. Thin tires and tall body makes it one of the worse handling car I have ever driven. Cross wind causes the car to tilt and water on the road makes the car skid easy.

Pros: 4 doors that can fit 5 full size adult, hatchback that is big enough to haul big items, Toyota reliability, and good fuel economy

Cons: High center of gravity, weak engine,and poor handling

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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Displaying all 4 1985 Toyota Tercel reviews.

Reviews From Other Years

1998 Toyota Tercel Reviews

Great Car By Robyn

Great little car, thou 98 Horse power was a bit low. Standard that it was, was great for fuel economy. Great commuter car. Great in snow as well. I got almost 600 Kilometres out of a tank of gas.I n... Read More

The 98 Tercel Was One Of The Best Cars I Have Ever Owned. By tempest350

I used to own a 1998 Toyota Tercel, and if you do find one for sale you might want to consider it. Mine was a teal green color, with a grey interior and 4 spd. manual transmission. When I bought it it... Read More

1997 Toyota Tercel Reviews

Small Engine Great Performance By Koushul

Great car + good fuel economy, great aceleration up to 60mph about 6 seconds, stock suspension are a bit fussy, cant take hard cornering, maintenance cost is extremely low, easy to drive, takes all th... Read More

1997 Tercel Ce By Joel

I bought this car in 2006. Its not very fast but it is very fuel friendly. Now a days you need one of this to move around. I have done a couple of thing to keep it looking good and I love it. Next... Read More

1996 Toyota Tercel Reviews

Clean Cal Title By woodie

this car did everything i hoped it would do.low cost to operate ,looked and drove great. i looked at many other cars before i bought this one. i was in the car biz for over 26 years and know how to sp... Read More

Nice Small Car With Good Mileage By jrmosby

Good gas mileage (35-38 hwy; 28-32 town); room for 4 small adults and some luggage, fold down rear seats making it easy to carry up to 8' boards; good around town and short trip vehicle; no rust yet; ... Read More

1995 Toyota Tercel Reviews

Tercel Sounds Like [steve] Urkle By Lnny

The Toyota Tercel is a reminder of how I met my significant other. When I assumed title from her, I knew my swingin single days were over. And once I had to add a babyseat in it, I went from "lady k... Read More

Great Fun Car, Gets Good Mileage. By timboslice

I do like my tercel alot. I bought it in April with 203k on it. Since then, i had to replace the deck, speakers, tires, brake master cylinder, brake pads, calipers, fluid, and rotors. It is probably b... Read More

1994 Toyota Tercel Reviews

Awesome By babydoll26

this car is great for a first time starter car and is cheap on gas and insurance and does the trick for a small family car.....it is a fun car to drive and you will enjoy yourself! I would never get r... Read More

I Would Never Own Anything Else! By Christopher

I love my car. It looks great, handles like its on rails, gets looks. and has a full roll cage. Its Turbocharged and has plenty of torque. Everything is custom. Has 15" OZ Racing Cynos HRZ rims wrappe... Read More

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