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1985 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon
While we had an 80s Toyota on DOTS just last week, we're really overdue to see an example of one of my all-time favorite Toyotas: the '83-86 Tercel Wagon. I've owned more of these than any other kind of car (admittedly, most were City Tow auction cars I turned around quickly, but I had a couple of drivers I kept for quite a while). I've always had a soft spot for funky old Toyotas (maybe because my very first car was a '69 Corona) and it saddens me to see how their cars have lost so much soul since the Tercel wagons, AE86s, and small pickups of the mid-1980s.
The crazy thing about these cars was that the funky drivetrain setup actually worked pretty well. You had a longitudinally-mounted engine sending its two-digit horsepower back to a weirdo V-drive-style transmission, with a little tiny differential under the engine oil pan and a driveshaft going back to the rear axle (the 2WD cars seemed to have the same transmission with the rear output shaft deleted). The front and rear axles are locked together in 4WD mode, so you'd better be driving on dirt or snow (and have four tires with the same circumference) when you pop that little lever into the 4WD setting.
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Honda's 4WD Civic of the same era was never able to compete with its Tercel counterpart. The Tercel was simpler and tougher (although the Civic was way quicker, more comfortable, and handled better). And while the Tercel's computer feedback carb can be a headache to get past a smog test, it's not in the same league as the ungodly complicated CVCC setup from carbureted Hondas of the same era.
Cargo capacity is just amazing in these things, rivaling far bigger vehicles; the cargo area is very tall and the car shrugs off massive loads. I once hauled 1200 pounds of concrete several miles in a total beater Tercel 2WD wagon, and it dealt with it just fine.
First 150 DOTS Cars
Last week, I professed my love for the Toyota Tercel 4WD on the Internets, I was expecting an onslaught of “this guy is crazy” remarks, but, overall, the response was tremendous. It appears quirky four-wheeling wagons have quite the fan base.
One such devotee is BoldRide reader Angel M., and this is his stunningly original ’85 Toyota Tercel 4WD SR5. The story about how he bought the car is quite interesting – we’ll let him tell it, in his own words.
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“I lived in El Salvador when the Tercel wagons came out in 1982 – the car looked like a spaceship. For a third-world country, the Tercel wagon was just a mind-blowing car, and I fell in love. My parents could not afford one, and if they could, I’m sure the styling was not their choice.
“Many years later, I now live in California and I finally own an ’85 Toyota Tercel 4WD SR5 model – pristine, rust-free, unmolested, with an original 95,000 miles. It lives in my garage with a cover and goes out for about 2 miles every Sunday. People stare at it everywhere. I’m hoping to preserve this example for generations to come.
“Since I moved to the States in 1989, I looked for a pristine example but it took me years to find one. I set ‘reminders’ on car-buying sites. Every time a Toyota Tercel ad would go live, I would get a notice but for years, I went disappointed.
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“However, one evening while dropping my son off for soccer practice, I got a notice for an ’85 SR5 model. I didn’t get my hopes up until I saw the pictures, and then I knew this one was it. The listing was in Sacramento. I live in Orange County.
“From the soccer field, I called the seller and asked him two questions: ‘Does the vehicle have a clean title, and are the miles original?’ Yes and yes. I told him I wasn’t going to haggle with him and would be on the next flight out of Orange County. He started laughing, but I told him I wasn’t kidding.
“He agreed to hold the car for me. I purchased the ticket within the hour, got on the flight, and he picked me up at the Oakland airport around 1 pm the next day.
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“As we pulled up to that driveway, I remember getting chills when I got a glimpse of the ‘TOYOTA’ letters at the top of the rear lid – there it was, a one-owner, ivory-color, pristine Tercel 4WD wagon. His mom greeted me at the door – it was her car – and she wanted to talk first.
“She shared with me that her husband purchased the wagon at Sacramento Toyota in February 1985. She fell in love with it from day one and drove it daily for about 15 years, but health issues came up and she could no longer push the clutch pedal down. She made me promise that I would take care of it in the same way she took care of it. I promised.
“We drove to the bank where she had a surprise for me. In her safety deposit box, she kept the window sticker and brochure from Toyota. I was floored. I paid her the money, left Sacramento at 5:30 pm and arrived in Orange County at 1 am. The car drove like a dream.
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“Since then, I put the original style Michelin tires on that came from the factory and haven’t changed anything else. My local Toyota dealership services the car – the mechanics absolutely love the wagon. I even got an invitation to showcase it at a Toyota show back in 2013.”
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Junkyard Gem: 1986 Toyota Tercel SR5 4WD Wagon
This car was sold in Japanas the Toyota Sprinter Carib. In the United States, the Tercel started out badged as a " CorollaTercel" despite being unrelated to the larger Corolla, but had pure Tercel badging by the time the 1983-1986 generation came to these shores.
This car has the optional six-speed manual transmission, featuring a special "extra-low" gear meant for extricating the car from deep snow drifts or gluey mud. These Tercels weren't sufficiently heavy-duty for crazed off-roading adventures, but they were very competent in low-traction situations.
Back in the mid-1980s, owners of International Harvester Scouts and Toyota Land Cruisershad no problem grasping the concept of switchingbetween two- and four-wheel-drive modes in their vehicles. Cardrivers, on the other hand, tended to be confused by the idea, and many of them left their Tercel 4WDs in four-wheel-drive at all times. This would tear up the tires (or worse) when on dry asphalt, and made no-decisions-needed all-wheel-drive a big hit later on.
This one made it to well over 200,000 miles, respectable but not particularly noteworthy for a Tercel of this era.
The 3A-C engine in this car, sedate cousin to the screaming 4AGEs found in AE86 Corollas and MR2s, was very efficient and difficult to kill. Output was just 62 horsepower (16 less than the 2017 Mitsubishi Miragethat so many consider intolerably slow), and so drivers of these cars had to be patient on freeway onramps.
Handling was on the not-so-sporty side as well, but the car's uncanny ability to fit startling amounts of cargo and haul it for nickels and dimes compensated for its plodding driving qualities. I have owneda half-dozen Tercel wagons of this generation, some front-wheel-drive and some four-wheel-drive, and I retain great affection for the breed.
This one has the ignition key, which in this context means that it was a dealershiptrade-in or insurancetotal that didn't sell at auction. Odds are it would fire right up with a batteryand some fuel.
As you'd expect, the home-market ads for this car were amazing.
As usual, the American-market ads were less entertaining. The Corolla All-Trac, with its center differential giving it a true all-wheel-drive system, replaced the Tercel 4WD but cost more and never sold quite as well in the United States.
Tercel 4wd toyota 1985
(first posted 3/17/2011) What would a maker and restorer of old violins drive? For the last thirty years that is. And what would he live in, also for the last twenty five years, since he saved it from the wrecking ball and moved it here (not with the Tercel though)? Yes, David Gusset, a nearby neighbor and luthier knows what will last for the long haul. His 140 year old Carpenter Gothic house and Tercel wagon are testimony to that. But he’s not the only one to bear testimony to the indestructible Tercel, by far.
There are dozens of these Tercel wagons around, but I picked David’s because it pricks the myth that all old Tercel wagons are driven by hippies. Exactly 82% are. Seriously, that label is so broad and tired, especially in a town like Eugene. Anyway, I don’t remember real hippies flying off to spend a weekend gambling in Las Vegas.
This Tercel doesn’t get pampered like the violins in David’s shop behind his house; it’s sat outside for a quarter of a century. And it regularly pulls a trailer for hauling wood (violin makers and house restorers tend to need a regular supply). But then I doubt very few Tercel wagons ever spent time in a garage. It’s an outdoorsy sort of machine, the kind that tends to gravitate (along with their owners) to places like Eugene, there to commune with their soul-brothers: Nissan Stanza wagons, Subaru wagons, and Honda Civic Wagovans.
These four boxy kindred spirits share certain qualities that particularly endear them to their Eugenian long-term owners: compact, yet tall and roomy; economical and reliable to an extreme; genuine Made In Japan quality; and all available with four-wheel drive. They’re just the ticket to get you to that favorite clothing-not-an-option hot springs or swimming hole, in rain, snow or shine.
Our featured Tercel is a lowly FWD version, which makes it a bit of an outsider in more ways than one. My unscientific guess is that about eighty percent of these wagons sport that big 4WD badge on all four sides, as well as a pretty creative drive train hiding under the box. The Tercel lent itself to conversion to 4WD in a particularly advantageous way.
The original Tercel of 1978 was Toyota’s first-ever front wheel driver. The engineers were thinking outside the ubiquitous transverse engine-transmission econo-box when they designed the Tercel. The engine sits longitudinal (north-south), right over the front wheels, like in a RWD car. The transmission extended partly to the rear, than back forwards, under the engine. Kind of like the Olds Toronado, without the primary chain drive.
It’s not like they had 4WD in mind at the time (I think). But when the SUV/4×4 boom hit hard in the early eighties, Toyota was quick on the draw. It was a cinch to extend the output shaft out the back of the transmission, and connect it to a driveshaft for the solid rear axle, which itself was sourced from the still-RWD Corolla. All very simple, rugged and functional, in that old-school Toyota way.
But that wasn’t the end of the tricks. A low-gear transfer case is pretty much out of the question for a FWD to 4×4 conversion. So Toyota slipped in an optional sixth gear in the (manual) transmission, a super low 4.71 ratio “stump-puller”. Well, with the little 1.5 liter mill churning out all of 62 horsepower, let’s forget stumps; blueberry bushes maybe.
And it all (still) works like a charm in deep snow, mud or sand. Not on dry pavement, though, because like most 4WD systems of the time, it had no center differential.
Of course, it was a pokey little puppy loaded up (or even empty) on long up-hill highway grades. But who’s in a hurry when the scenery is so good, and you’re living the perpetually relaxed life of an under-employed Eugenian?
The Tercel wagon has earned its near mythical durability/reliability status. Good luck trying to prick that one. Even its asymmetrical tailgate is the stuff of legends. Well, it does look odd, and has been often been likened to an ATM.
I have a theory about one of the reasons that folks don’t part company with their Tercel wagons if they bought them new: it’s because they’re trying to amortize the rip-off price they paid. We looked at buying one in 1985, during the peak of the Japanese voluntary import restrictions. I don’t remember what the MSRP was ($8+k for the SR5), but the Santa Monica dealer’s well-adjusted asking price was $11K ($22.5 k in 2010 dollars). That was the first five-figure little Toyota I had ever laid eyes on, and it seemed stiff for a 62 hp economy wagon. Those import restrictions caused Americans untold tens of billions in higher prices, put billions in extra profits into the Japanese coffers, made the Big Three (and AMC) look a lot healthier (for a while) than they really were, and funded cars like the original Lexus 400. Live and learn.
We passed, mostly due to Stephanie’s veto, and bought a similarly over-priced Jeep Cherokee. At least it was a lot cheaper on a per-pound basis. But then, if I’d listened to my practical side, I’d probably still be driving the Tercel today, mostly trouble-free, unlike our long-gone cantankerous Jeep. Instead, I’m driving the Tercel wagon’s direct spiritual descendent, but minus the 4WD. Toyota kept that feature for the Japanese market xB only!? So much for Toyota’s impeccable judgment. Now that’s an easier myth to prick.
(Update: David is still driving the Tercel wagon. It’s his only car)
The Toyota Tercel (Japanese: トヨタ・ターセル, Toyota Tāseru) is a subcompact car manufactured by Toyota from 1978 to 1999 across five generations, in five body configurations sized between the Corolla and the Starlet. Manufactured at the Takaoka plant in Toyota City, Japan, and sharing its platform with the Cynos (aka Paseo) and the Starlet, the Tercel was marketed variously as the Toyota Corolla II (Japanese: トヨタ・カローラII, Toyota Karōra II) — sold at Toyota Japanese dealerships called Toyota Corolla Stores — and was replaced by the Platz in 1999. It was also known as the Toyota Corsa (Japanese: トヨタ・コルサ, Toyota Korusa) and sold at Toyopet Store locations. Starting with the second generation, the Tercel dealership network was changed to Vista Store, as its badge engineered sibling, the Corolla II, was exclusive to Corolla Store locations.
The Tercel was the first front-wheel drive vehicle produced by Toyota, establishing a layout and frame that was later used in other popular Toyota models. For example, the E80 series Corolla's frame (except AE85 and AE86) is similar to the L20 series Tercel's frame. Also, Toyota designed the then new A series engine for the Tercel, attempting simultaneously to achieve good fuel economy and performance and low emissions. Choice of body styles increased as well, with the addition of a four-door sedan.
The name "Tercel" derives from the Latin word for "one third" as the Tercel was slightly smaller than the Corolla—much the way "tiercel" refers to a male falcon, which is one-third smaller than its female counterpart. All Tercels were assembled at the Takaoka factory in Toyota City, Aichi or by Hino Motors in Hamura, Tokyo. Hino assembled the third generation Tercel from 1986 to 1990 for the two-door and some three-door models.
First generation (L10; 1978)
The Tercel was introduced in Japan in August 1978, Europe in March 1979 (Geneva Salon) and the United States in 1980. It was originally sold as either a two- or four-door sedan, or as a three-door hatchback. The hatchback's rear design was the result of using taillights similar in design to those used on the bigger Mark II: the Tercel was originally intended to be sold through Toyopet Stores, alongside the Mark II. The Tercel ended up being marketed through the Corolla Store and the Diesel Store locations in Japan, while a version badged "Toyota Corsa" was marketed in parallel through the separate Toyopet distribution network. In the United States it was named the "Corolla Tercel". Models sold in the US were powered by a 1,452 cc SOHCfour-cylinder 1A-C engine producing 60 hp (45 kW) at 4,800 rpm. Transmission choices were either a four- or five-speed manual, or a three-speed automatic available with the 1.5 litre engine from August 1979 on.
In the Japanese market, the 1,500 cc engine developed 80 PS (59 kW) at 5,600 rpm, while the 1.3-litre 2A engine, added in June 1979, offered a claimed 74 PS (54 kW). In Europe, mainly, the 1.3 litre version was available, with 65 PS (48 kW).
In this new front-wheel-drive design, the first for Toyota, the engine is mounted longitudinally. The transmission is mounted under the floorpan, as is the case in a rear-wheel-drive car. Unlike a rear-wheel-drive car, the transmission has a ring and pinion gear on the front part of the transmission, underneath the engine. The engine, transmission and differential are located a little off of the centre line of the car. Halfshafts then extend from the transmission to the front wheels. This made for a taller package than usual, making the beltline higher as well, but Toyota felt that traditionalists might be scared off by a transverse setup. As early as 1980, Toyota also hinted that this setup made the conversion to a four-wheel-drive setup easier, although such a version had to wait for the second generation. The Tercel also had rack and pinion steering, the first time such a design was used by Toyota since the 2000GT.
In August 1980, the Tercel (and Corsa) underwent a facelift, with considerable changes to the front and minor ones to the interior and rear. The 1A engine was replaced by the 3A of identical displacement but now with 83 PS (61 kW). This engine eschewed the TGP lean burn design used on the 1A, instead depending on a catalytic converter to meet the ever more stringent emissions standards of the time.
Second generation (L20; 1982)
Toyota redesigned the Tercel in May 1982, now called the Tercel in all markets. Its internal model code is the L20 series. It was available in three- or five-door hatchback models or a four-door station wagon, and also as a four-door sedan in Japan. The station wagon, known in Japan as the Sprinter Carib (Japanese: Toyota Sprinter Carib, short for "caribou"), was introduced in August 1982. The wagon was also available with four-wheel drive (front-wheel-drive wagons were only available in select markets). In Japan, a four-wheel-drive sedan was also available; it, too remained in production alongside the wagon version even after the introduction of the third generation Tercel. Standard front-wheel drive vehicles (and four-wheel drive wagons not equipped with the six-speed manual transmission) came with either a three-speed automatic or a four- or five-speed manual transmission. The four-speed manual was reserved for the very simplest version in North American markets.
In Japan, body styles on offer were different for the different models as they had to suit the lineups of the various dealer networks. the Corolla II was originally only available as a three- or five-door hatchback, while the Tercel and the Corsa were both offered exclusively with the five-door or the four-door sedan body styles. The second generation Tercel was moved from the Corolla to the Vista sales network, while the Corsa remained available through Toyopet stores, and the Corolla II in the Corolla dealer network. The Toyota Diesel sales network, which had handled some Tercel sales earlier, was shut down in the 1980s.
As only the first two generations were sold officially in Europe, this was the last generation of the Tercel series available there, with either the hatchback or station wagon bodywork. In Japan, power outputs were as follows:
- 1295 cc 2A-U: 75 PS (55 kW) at 6,000 rpm
- 1452 cc 3A-U: 83 PS (61 kW) at 5,600 rpm (9.0:1 compression, 82.05–86.05)
- 1452 cc 3A-U: 85 PS (63 kW) at 5,600 rpm (9.3:1 compression, 86.03–88.02)
- 1452 cc 3A-HU: 86 PS (63 kW) at 6,000 rpm (variable venturi carburetor, 9.3:1 compression, 82.05–84.08)
- 1,452 cc 3A-SU: 90 PS (66 kW) at 6,000 rpm (twin variable venturi carburettors, swirl intake version, 84.08–88.02)
North American Tercels were all fitted with the 1.5-litre engine, producing 63 hp (47 kW) at 4,800 rpm. In Europe, both the 1.3 and the 1.5 litres were available. As with the earlier generation, engine and transmission were still mounted longitudinally, and the arrangements were the same. In some markets, engines received minor improvements, such as reformulated combustion chambers (to improve emissions and fuel economy), higher compression ratios, and new auxiliary devices for the carburettor assemblies.
The four-wheel-drive models (chassis code AL25, only with the 1.5 litre engine) could be equipped with six-speed manual transmissions, and could be shifted from two- to four-wheel drive without coming to a stop. The sixth gear it carries is an "extra low" (EL) first gear, a standard transmission gear with a very low (4.71:1) gear-ratio. The EL gear generates a 17.6:1 final drive ratio, giving the driver the torque needed to extract the vehicle from conditions which otherwise may have trapped it. It is only available when in four-wheel drive, and because of its low gear-ratio it is suitable only for very low-speed use. Also included with better equipped four-wheel-drive models was an inclinometer above the radio and air conditioner that measures the tilt of the car.
The new Tercel 4WD was built from existing pieces in the Toyota inventory. The engine, transaxle and front-wheel-drive system were from the existing Tercel; the longitudinally mounted engine made such a conversion a simple affair. The coil-sprung, live rear axle and the drive shaft was taken from the rear-wheel drive Corolla. The only major part specifically designed for the new Tercel 4WD was the transfer case, built into the transmission. The transfer case provides the driver with three different power arrangements: Normally, the car is operated with front-wheel drive. When the driver pulls the 4WD selector lever back into four-wheel drive, or presses a button on the gear selector for the automatic transmission, front and rear differentials are driven at the same RPM via a direct mechanical coupling. There is no conventional center differential, so the four-wheel-drive system can be used only on loose or slippery road surfaces (such as snow, gravel, or sand); otherwise the drivetrain experiences severe wear, and handling is compromised. The third power option (which was only available on the six-speed manual) is low range. This is not the same as the low-range power option found in a truck or conventional SUV, as the Tercel lacks a high-range-low-range transfer case. When the lever is placed in four-wheel-drive mode it becomes possible to down shift the vehicle from first to EL.
In 1985 there were minor changes to gear ratios and to the grille design, and the interior was updated in 1986. The Tercel wagon (and four-door sedan in Japan) continued with the same design until February 1988 (when the Sprinter Carib was replaced by a larger, Corolla-based design), while the sedans and hatchbacks moved on to the newer design.
Versions available in Europe:
- 1.3 litre DX (three-door hatchback, five-door hatchback)
- 1.3 litre GL (three-door hatchback, five-door hatchback)
- 1.5 litre GL (three-door hatchback, five-door hatchback)
- 1.5 litre 4WD (five-door estate, only version from 1986 onwards)
- 1,295 cc 2A: 65 PS (48 kW) at 6,000 rpm
- 1,452 cc 3A/3A-C: 71 PS (52 kW) at 5,600 rpm
1985–1986 Tercel 5-door (North America)
1983–1984 Tercel 3-door (US)
3-door Tercel 1.3 L (Europe)
Toyota Sprinter Carib (Japan)
1986 Tercel wagon (US; rear)
Dash and interior of 1983 Tercel
Third generation (L30; 1986)
|Third generation (L30)|
Toyota Tercel 5-door hatchback
|Also called||Toyota Corsa/Corolla II (hatchback, Japan)|
|Wheelbase||2,380 mm (94 in)|
|Width||1,635 mm (64 in)|
|Curb weight||800–950 kg (1,764–2,094 lb)|
In 1986, Toyota introduced the slightly larger third generation Tercel with a new 12-valve engine which featured a variable venturi carburetor, and later models with EFI. From this generation on, the engine is mounted transversely, with the transmission mounted on the right side of the engine in a layout developed by Dante Giacosa and earlier popularised in such vehicles as the Fiat 128 and Volkswagen Golf. Other changes included revised rack-and-pinion steering and a newly designed, fully independent suspension. The Tercel continued in North America as Toyota's least expensive vehicle, while it was no longer offered in Europe. In other markets, the smaller Starlet was also offered.
In Japan, the top trim package Tercel Retra GP-Turbo came installed with Toyota's four wheel independent suspension, labeled "Pegasus", along with their "Lasre" branded multi-port fuel injection, using the 3E-TEU engine. "Retra" was short for retractable, a reference to the car's unique hidden headlamps.
In 1987 (for the 1988 model year), Toyota introduced the Tercel EZ to North America. Fitted with less standard equipment than the standard Tercel it has vinyl upholstery, a four-speed manual transmission, rubber mats instead of carpeting, and a deleted passenger's side sun visor. This was also when the two-door sedan model was introduced, sometimes referred to as a "coupe" in the United States.
In 1986, Toyota also introduced a turbodiesel version with Toyota's 1.5-litre 1N-T engine coupled with a manual five-speed transmission. This was mainly sold in the Japanese domestic market.
The wagon version continued to be of the previous generation, as did the four-door sedan (which was not exported to most countries), and continued to be so until it was moved to the Corolla's underpinnings in 1988. The variable venturi carburettor reportedly has some problems, especially in the earlier models, such as a too rich mixture, which is caused by the too thin Teflon coating of the fuel-metering needle, which erodes over time due to friction. It also has had problems with the compensator (choke device), which can also cause overly rich mixture when not working properly.
For the 1990 model year, the Tercel Wagon was discontinued, having been upgraded to the larger platform used for the Corolla/Sprinter Carib. Non-motorized two-point passive seatbelts for the front-seats were introduced in 1990.
Toyota Tercel 2-door sedan (US)
Toyota Tercel 2-door sedan (Canada)
Toyota Tercel 3-door hatchback (Canada)
Toyota Corsa 5-door hatchback (Japan)
Toyota Corsa 5-door hatchback (Japan)
Toyota Corsa Retra SXi 3-door hatchback (Japan)
Toyota Corolla II Retra GP Turbo (Hong Kong)
Toyota Corolla II 5-door hatchback (Japan)
Fourth generation (L40; 1990)
Toyota introduced the fourth generation Tercel in September 1990, as either a three-door hatchback or as a sedan with either two or four doors. In the North American markets it was powered by either a 1.5 L 3E-E engine producing 82 hp (61 kW) at 5,200 rpm (and 89 lb⋅ft (121 N⋅m) of torque at 4,400 rpm) or a 1.5-litre 5E-FE 16 valve DOHC producing 110 hp (82 kW). The hatchback was not offered in North America, while the two-door sedan was not sold in any market outside of the US and Canada.
In Japan, the Tercel was also offered in 4WD versions. Hatchback models were VC, Joinus and Avenue. Trim levels for the sedan were VE, VX and VZ. The VZ is powered by a 5E-FHE engine. The higher level Japanese sedans have different tail lights and a better-equipped interior than the export models.
- North America
North American models were the base (2-door), DX (2-/4-door) and LE (4-door). Color-keyed bumpers, full wheel covers and folded rear seat were optional on the DX, standard on the LE. The LE has red trunk garnish similar to the Japanese model.
The 1993 model had a minor exterior redesign to the front and rear fascias and the addition of a standard driver's side airbag and available anti-lock brakes. The Tercel was carried over to 1994 with no major changes—Haloalkane, a non-CFC refrigerant was used in the air conditioning system.
- South America
In Chile, the Tercel was introduced in 1991 as a four-door sedan with a 1.3-liter, SOHC 12-valve 78 hp (58 kW), four-cylinder, carburetor engine, under the name "Corolla Tercel". The "DX" basic version came with tachometer and four spoke steering wheel. It gained moderate success due to the Corolla name.
In September 1992, a Canadian-spec version was introduced to Chile to replace the previous one with a new 1.5-liter SOHC engine. Unlike the previous one, it was simply called "Tercel". It was brought along the Canadian-spec Corolla to meet the new emission standard since no Latin American version of either was yet available with a catalytic converter. Due to the higher trim level of the Canadian-spec versions, the Tercel was initially marketed as a successor of the Corolla E90, which had just been discontinued. This made it a very successful car.
Corolla II hatchback (Japan)
Fifth generation (L50; 1994)
|Fifth generation (L50)|
Toyota Tercel DX 2-door in the US
|Wheelbase||2,380 mm (93.7 in)|
Designed between 1991 and 1992, by Shinichi Hiranaka and Yasuhisa Hamano, in September 1994, for the 1995 model year, Toyota introduced an all-new Tercel. The new design offered a stiffer body with better handling and was one of only a handful of cars in the US to have OBDII in 1995. Retaining its compact packaging and high quality, the new Tercel featured a redesigned exterior and new engine. The Tercel now offered standard driver's and passenger's side airbags in the United States, but only a driver's side bag for Canada. Three-point seatbelts for front and outboard rear passengers and adjustable shoulder-belt anchor points for front seat passengers were installed on four-door models. All models met federal standards for 1997 side-impact protection, and offered anti-lock brakes. Standard models came with only a four-speed manual or automatic transmission and grey bumpers, while DX models were offered with the addition of body-colored bumpers and either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.
Its all-new appearance appears to be influenced by the Japanese-market Toyota Camry V40 series, also introduced that year. Both vehicles were available together at Toyota Corolla Store Japanese dealerships. Design patents were filed at the Japan Patent Office on 12 October 1992, under patent number 1009387.
In Japan, the Tercel was again also offered with the Corsa and Corolla II nameplates, for sale through parallel marketing channels. There was also a three-door hatchback body version offered in addition to the four-door sedan. The two-door sedan was only ever marketed in North America. There was also a four-wheel-drive option available in Japan.
The interior design pushed the dash further away, but brought the switches closer. This same dashboard (left sided version) was shared with the Toyota Starlet and Toyota Paseo of the time. The all-new DOHC 1.5 L inline-four engine provides 93 hp (69 kW) and 100 lb⋅ft (140 N⋅m) of torque, offering a 13 percent power increase over the previous generation as well as a 15 percent increase in fuel economy. The new 5E-FE engine gets 45 mpg‑US (5.2 L/100 km; 54 mpg‑imp) on the highway with a five-speed manual transmission, making it the most fuel-efficient four-cylinder car of its time in the United States. As Toyota's entry-level car, the Tercel was also available with the smaller, 1.3-liter, 4E-FE and 2E gasoline four-cylinder, and the Toyota 1N-T engine; a 1,453 cc inline-four turbochargeddiesel engine which provided 66 hp (49.2 kW) at 4,200 rpm and 101 lb·ft (137 N·m) of torque at 2,600 rpm.
For 1997, all North American market Tercels were available only in the CE trim level and incorporated many of the standard and optional items from previous base and DX models. All Tercels came standard with a new 13-inch wheel and tire combination.
Inside, the Tercel's dashboard was revised with rotary ventilation controls. All Toyota models had revised seat fabric and door panels. The RedHawk and WhiteHawk editions were introduced in addition to the BlackHawk trim already offered, which came standard with air conditioning, 185/60R14 tires on custom wheels, a rear spoiler with integrated brake light, and hawk symbols to identify the special model.
For 1998, the Tercel's styling was updated, highlighted by multi-reflector headlights, a revised grille and front fascia design and clear lens turn signal lights for the front and rear. The facelift occurred in December 1997 for the Japanese market, and covered all three lines (Tercel, Corsa, Corolla II).
The Tercel's rear styling was also enhanced with redesigned composite tail-lights and updated bumper molding. The new molding extended across the entire length of the rear bumper.
Production of the Tercel for the American market ended in 1998 as the model was superseded by the Echo. Production for Japan, Canada and some other countries continued through 1999. Taiwanese production continued until 2003.
In Paraguay and Peru, Tercels were still sold until the late-2000s, being replaced by Toyota Yaris.[clarification needed]
The Tercel was also sold in Taiwan, which was manufactured and assembled by Kuozui Motors.
Toyota Tercel (AL50; pre-facelift, Taiwan)
Toyota Tercel (AL50; pre-facelift, Taiwan)
Toyota Tercel 1.5 CL (AL50; second facelift, Taiwan)
The fifth generation of Tercel was introduced in September 1995, presented in the FISA auto Show of that year as the "all-new Tercel twin cam", available in three different levels: basic XLI, the medium GLI, and the full equipment LEI. All Tercels featured a 5E-FE 1.5 16v twin cam (DOHC) engine, rated at 100 hp (70 kW) at 6,400 rpm and 95 lb⋅ft (129 N⋅m) of torque at 3,200 rpm.
In Thailand, a version of the Tercel with different front and rear fascias was sold as the Toyota Soluna. The name "Soluna" is taken from Spanish words sol, meaning "sun" and luna, meaning "moon". The Soluna AL50 was powered by the 1.5-liter 5A-FE engine, and campaigned as the Asian family car. The plain Soluna was a big seller in Thailand. Trim levels are XLi, SLi, and GLi.
Only the XLi and GLi were sold in Thailand (since 1997) and Indonesia (since 2000) where the XLi was common for taxis. Based on the GLi, the Soluna S-Limited with body kits was offered for a short time. A facelifted Soluna appeared in Thailand in late 1999 and arrived in Indonesia in April 2000.
Toyota Soluna 1.5 GLi (AL50; pre-facelift, Indonesia)
Toyota Soluna 1.5 GLi Auto (AL50; pre-facelift, Thailand)
Toyota Soluna 1.5 GLi (AL50; facelift, Thailand)
Toyota Soluna 1.5 SLi (AL50; facelift, Thailand)
The Tercel remained smaller than the Corolla throughout its production, though by the end of its production the Tercel had become almost the same size as the North American-market 1975–1978 Corollas that were current at the time the first generation Tercel was introduced.
|Dimension||1995–1999 Tercel||1975–1978 Corolla|
|Length||4,120 mm (162.2 in)||4,120 mm (162.2 in)|
|Width||1,661 mm (65.4 in)||1,585 mm (62.4 in)|
|Height||1,349 mm (53.1 in)||1,384 mm (54.5 in)|
|Wheelbase||2,380 mm (93.7 in)||2,370 mm (93.3 in)|
|Curb weight||909 kg (2,005 lb)||1,002 kg (2,210 lb)|
- ^ abcTercel Parts Catalogue (Japanese market)
- ^ abc"Takaoka Plant History". toyota-global.com. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- ^ abToyota Vehicle Identification Manual. Japan: Toyota Motor Corporation – Overseas Parts Department. 1984. Catalog No.97913-84.
- ^Renaux, Jean-Jacques (16 September 1982). "Referendum van de eigenaars: Toyota Tercel" [Owner survey: Toyota Tercel]. De AutoGids (in Dutch). Brussels, Belgium: Uitgeverij Auto-Magazine. 3 (78): 24.
- ^Finnish "Tekniikan Maailma" Magazine, 18/79
- ^Hogg, Tony (ed.). "A better car than its styling would indicate". Road & Track's Road Test Annual & Buyer's Guide 1981. No. January–February 1981. CBS Publications. p. 175.
- ^ abCar Graphic: Car Archives Vol. 11, '80s Japanese Cars (in Japanese). Tokyo: Nigensha. 2007. p. 8. ISBN .
- ^ abCar Graphic: Car Archives Vol. 5, '70s Japanese Cars (in Japanese). Tokyo: Nigensha. 2007. p. 9. ISBN .
- ^Lösch, Annamaria, ed. (1979). World Cars 1979. Pelham, NY: The Automobile Club of Italy/Herald Books. pp. 380–381. ISBN .
- ^Freund, Klaus, ed. (1980). Auto Katalog 1981 (in German). 24. Stuttgart: Vereinigte Motor-Verlage GmbH & Co. KG.
- ^Hogg (ed.), p. 176
- ^Hogg (ed.), p. 178
- ^ abcCar Graphic '80s Car Archives, p. 26
- ^ ab"Toyota completely revamps FWD Tercel and Corsa, launches brand new Corolla II" (Press release). Toyota Motor Corporation. 19 May 1982. Archived from the original on 14 May 2020.
- ^ abcdeCar Graphic '80s Car Archives, pp. 9–10
- ^World Cars 1984. Pelham, NY: L'Editrice dell'Automobile LEA/Herald Books. 1984. pp. 380–381. ISBN .
- ^Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (10 March 1983). Automobil Revue '83. 78. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag, AG. pp. 519, 593. ISBN .
- ^Sundfeldt, Björn (20 October 1982). "Uppstickare i getingboet" [Upstart in the wasps' nest]. Teknikens Värld (in Swedish). Vol. 34 no. 22. Stockholm, Sweden: Specialtidningsförlaget AB. p. 65.
- ^Yamaguchi, Jack K. (1983), Lösch, Annamaria (ed.), "Japan: Seeking sane and prudent reconciliation", World Cars 1983, Pelham, NY: The Automobile Club of Italy/Herald Books: 65, ISBN
- ^ abSundfeldt, Björn (3 November 1982). "Fyrhjulsdrift på väg" [Four-wheel-drive en route]. Teknikens Värld (in Swedish). Vol. 34 no. 22. Stockholm, Sweden: Specialtidningsförlaget AB. p. 38.
- ^ abc"Toyota Family Tree". toyota-global.com. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- ^ ab"Cars for 1988". Ebony. Vol. XLIII no. 1. Johnson Publishing Company. 1 November 1987. p. 171 – via Google Books.
- ^"TOYOTA ANNOUNCES NEW TERCEL, CORSA AND COROLLA II | Toyota Motor Corporation Official Global Website". global.toyota. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
- ^"Toyota carburetor problems in FixYa". FixYa.com. Archived from the original on 19 June 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- ^"國瑞汽車股份有限公司 KUOZUI MOTORS, LTD". Kuozui.com.tw. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
- ^ ab"Kuozui Motors, Ltd. History". toyota-global.com. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- ^ ab"Japan patent 1009387,S". Japan Platform for Patent information.
- ^"Full-Model Changes For Toyota Tercel, Corsa, and Corolla II | Toyota Motor Corporation Official Global Website". global.toyota. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
- ^"Toyota to Unveil the Prius Hybrid Car and NC250 Luxury FR Sedan at 32nd Tokyo Motor Show" (Press release). Japan: Toyota. 15 October 1997. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
- ^GridOto.com. "Mengenang Toyota Soluna, Sedan Tahan Banting dan Ramah di Kantong - GridOto.com". otomania.gridoto.com (in Indonesian). Retrieved 13 April 2021.
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