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1995 Toyota Tercel

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1995 Toyota Tercel
Available in 3 styles:  Tercel 4dr Sedan shown
Asking Price Range
$990–$4,430
Estimated MPG

31–33 city / 39 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 1 of 3
1995 Toyota Tercel 4.7 7
$ 990-4,430
August 4, 1995
I DROVE the Energizer Bunny. Actually, it was the two-doorversion of the 1995 Toyota Tercel DX. The little car kept on going andgoing . . . I passed so many gasoline stations, I almost forgot why theywere needed.

The Tercel was amazing. I filled up in Northern Virginia, droveto New York City, put it in a garage, picked it up three days later andreturned via the New Jersey Turnpike, where I finally stopped at a gasstation somewhere near Exit 11.

The Tercel's odometer said I traveled 330 miles between fuelstops, and I still had a quarter of a tank left. That pleased me. Butwhat pleased me more was the cost of refueling -- eight dollars forenough regular unleaded to push the fuel-gauge needle back to full.

I was ready to celebrate. I almost bought a hamburger. But thegreasy smell emanating from the rest stop's fast-food eatery put an endto that notion. I mean, hey, buying gasoline is one thing; but paying toget gas is something else.

Background: The Tercel was introduced in 1980 as the CorollaTercel, an ugly scrap of a front-wheel-drive car with a 1.5-liter,four-cylinder engine. Its looks mirrored its function -- strictlymissionary, and short missions at that, unless you were into motorizedmasochism.

The car was extensively remodeled in 1983, 1987 and 1991 and1995.

Apparently, the new Tercel's designers spent a lot of time inMercedes-Benz factories. The Tercel's rear end is an act of metallicplagiarism, a shameless copy of the rear ends of Mercedes-Benz C-classcars. But, hey, it works. The Tercel isn't ugly anymore.

More substantial changes include a more rigid Tercel body,dual-front air bags, improved side-impact crash protection (veryimportant for a small car such as this), an optional anti-lock brakingsystem for all four wheels, a direct ignition system that eliminates theneed for a distributor (which helps to ease car maintenance costs), anda new four-cylinder, 16-valve, twin-cam engine.

The engine is rated 93 horsepower at 5,400 rpm with a maximumtorque of 100 pound-feet at 4,400 rpm.

The new Tercel is available in two body styles, two-door andfour-door, and two trim levels, standard and DX. A four-speed manualtransmission is standard for the standard two-door Tercel. A three-speedautomatic is optional for this model. Advice: Get the four-speed manual.

A five-speed manual transmission is standard for the two-doorand four-door DX Tercels. A four-speed automatic is optional for thesemodels. Advice: Either transmission is okay here. Depends on whether youprefer to shift or be shiftless.

Complaints: Toyota attempted to reduce the road noise in the newTercel by using asphalt sheeting, sound insulation and other vibrationdamping materials. But the road noise is still there, loud and clear.It's a problem affecting practically all small economy cars. So far itappears to defy resolution.

Praise: An overall excellently built small car. It's no wonderthat other automakers are studying Toyota's assembly techniques in a bidto improve their own fit-and-finish quality. Everything on the Tercelfits perfectly. Bravo!

Head-turning quotient: Here we go again: I'm a Mercedes-Benz,you're a Mercedes-Benz, we're all a Mercedes-Benz.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Excellent lane-changeacceleration. Excellent ride on smooth roads. You feel the bumps onbumpy roads. Handling is okay when driven with common sense. This is nota car you try to push into curves. Dry-road braking is excellent.Wet-road braking, with or without the anti-lock braking system, remainssomething of an adventure in the Tercel.

Mileage: Easily 35 mpg on the highway in the tested two-doorTercel DX. Fuel capacity is 11.9 gallons. Estimated 406-mile range onusable volume of regular unleaded, running with two occupants, airconditioner full blast and light cargo in the car's 9.3-cubic-foottrunk.

Sound system: Optional four-speaker AM/FM stereo radio andcassette, Toyota Del uxe ETR. Okay.

Price: Base price on the tested two-door Tercel DX withfive-speed manual is $11,248. Dealer's invoice on that base model is$10,325. Price as tested is $13,075, including $1,430 in options and a$397 destination charge.

Purse-strings note: "Economy" isn't what it used to be ($8,000or so). But the Tercel is a nice small car that's made well enough toqualify as a good value. Compare with Honda Civic, Ford Aspire, GeoMetro/Suzuki Swift, Suzuki Esteem, Subaru Impreza, Chrysler EagleSummit/Mitsubishi Mirage, Mazda MX-3, and Hyundai Accent and Elantra.


    Expert Reviews 1 of 3

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