1997 Tercel

Consumer Reviews

1997 Toyota Tercel

$2,663 - $4,747  MSRP Range
1997 Toyota Tercel

Review Score

4.2 out of 5 stars

4.2

6 Reviews
83% of drivers recommend this car
Score Breakdown
3.5 out of 5 stars Comfort
4.3 out of 5 stars Value for the Money
3.8 out of 5 stars Interior Design
4.5 out of 5 stars Reliability
3.7 out of 5 stars Performance
4 out of 5 stars Exterior Styling

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What Drivers Are Saying

1 - 6 of 6 reviews

4 out of 5 stars

For an economy car, a great value and RELIABLE

by someLAdude from Los Angeles, CA on Wed Apr 23 2008

I "inherited" a '97 Tercel Blackhawk edition (2 doors, alloy wheels, rear spoiler) when I married my wife a few years ago. I wasn't looking forward to driving this car daily as I had a '96 BMW as my daily driver, but that car had so many maintenance issues that I decided to commute to work daily in the Tercel. It had about 67K miles when we got married and it now has 98K miles -- for almost 4 years I drove it 80 miles roundtrip each weekday to and from work. I've averaged about $500/year in maintenance on this car. Compare to the $12,000 (yes, that's right) I spent on maintenance for the BMW (which we've since gotten rid of for a Lexus) and you see the value in owning a Toyota right away. As an economy car, you shouldn't expect the sound deadening, pickup/acceleration and other creature comforts of a higher priced vehicle. But if you want a reliable car with pretty good gas mileage, this is for you. My main gripe are the seats: they're OK for a 20-30 minute commute; on long road trips they can become uncomfortable. Power is adequate, though I wouldn't try to beat a Porche or other more powerful car across an intersection.

3 out of 5 starsComfort
4 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
3 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
3 out of 5 starsPerformance
3 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

12 out of 12 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

If I could buy a new one, I definitely would.

by Mike from Foley, AL on Tue Jun 07 2011

This is my 2nd Toyota--my first was a Starlet. Both great cars. I bought my Tercel new and now have 133,000 miles on it. I've driven it from coast to coast, and then some. My son learned to drive on its manual transmission. I get 40 MPH highway when I keep speed under 60. In 14 years, I've installed 2 timing belts, 2 sets of tires, and I've had 1 major tuneup, but I've changed the oil at 3000 mile intervals. Original exhaust system, original brakes, original manual clutch! I LOVE THIS CAR. Am thinking of replacing it with a Corolla...but I hate the thought of parting with this Tercel. It still looks brand new! No dents, no scratches, paint is bright and perfect. It drives tight and there's NO engine noise. LOVE IT!!!!!

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a New car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car!!

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Most Reliable Car

by Hope from Puerto Rico on Mon May 21 2012

Outstanding. Great car. It keep going and had 300,000 miles on it. Greeaattt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
4 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a New car

Uses car for Work

Does recommend this car!!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

'97 Toyota Tercel Blackhawk

by Blackhawklover from Arnold, MD on Mon Sep 24 2018

I love my old '97 Tercel Blackhawk limited edition, has a spoiler! Rebuilt the engine. Has 276,000+ miles on her. Has all the power and zip I need. Fun car to drive. Get one if you can. Well worth the investment IF it has been lovingly taken care of, like mine.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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4 out of 5 stars

Watch out! $397 heater core part cost!!!

by chacha from Miseryian on Sun Sep 21 2008

From dealer part only. $397 with tax!!! Couldn't believe that price. Another $260 for private mechanic to put it in because whole dash had to be taken out. Had to replace at 193,000 miles. I bought it for $2000 at 163K with AC broke. Cost $129 for AC hose that I had to get at the dealer and another $220 for private mechanic to put it on My 97 5spd gets 40mpg after last tune-up. Caliper stuck out on it right before heater core blow out. Which is no bigee. I like my little car after driving it almost a year, but am wondering what's next. Sure saves on gas and car payments and insurance for a newer one.

2 out of 5 starsComfort
4 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
3 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
3 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

5 out of 9 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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2 out of 5 stars

Don't let the Toyota label fool you on this one.

by Toyota Gal from Canada on Tue Dec 25 2007

I am a Toyota fan. I've had three Corollas and liked the look of the Tercel, so I bought one. It is 11 years old now with 240k and the motor is shot. It has been leaking oil for quite some time now, about 1 litre a week. I've taken care of it, have had regular oil changes but it didn't help. It is great on gas but has no power. My mechanic says Tercels are known for bad motors. Wish I knew that when I bought it. I hope you are reading this before you buy one!

3 out of 5 starsComfort
3 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
3 out of 5 starsReliability
2 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does not recommend this car!!

4 out of 11 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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1

Our Take on the 1997 Toyota Tercel

The Automotive News headline was disturbing. "Toyota may drop U.S. Tercel, Paseo," said the newspaper, a Detroit-based industry trade journal.

Can't be true, I thought, not unless Toyota has flipped its corporate wig.

So, I called Wade Hoyt and Antoinette Arianna, Toyota's spokesfolks in the Northeast. Both said the Tercel would stay, which was good, because the current Tercel is so much better than the original.

The first Tercel, introduced in 1980, was a tiny, noisy thing powered by a 60-horsepower, four-cylinder engine -- an automotive joke.

Subsequent Tercels weren't much better. But in the mid-1990s, Toyota decided to get serious about turning the Tercel into a worthy subcompact automobile... Read More