1997 Toyota Paseo Review

Used Paseo for sale
List Price Estimate:$499 - $1,161
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Toyota Paseo model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Good looks, great cornering ability, fuel efficient, Toyota reliability
  • High price, low power

Vehicle overview

What do you get when you plunk down nearly $14,000 for Toyota's sporty-looking Paseo? You get tepid acceleration, poor visibility, rear drum brakes, and a two speaker AM/FM radio. On the plus side, the new Paseo comes with dual airbags, remote hatch and fuel door openers, locking split-fold rear seats, rear defroster, and a suspension that provides handling in the twisties equal to a Pontiac Firebird or Mitsubishi Eclipse.

Basically, what you get is a Tercel that corners well. Oh yes, there is also the issue of Toyota reliability. Is it worth $14,000? Not in our book. Let's option one out, shall we?

The Paseo comes with a minimum of standard equipment. Add some alloy wheels, air conditioning, antilock brakes, cruise control, and a cassette player, and the Paseo runs just above $16,000. We're thinking that this isn't much of a value. We're thinking speedy and good-looking Pontiac Sunfire GT with an option package for the same money, honey.

Styling was new last year, and while it is derivative, the Paseo certainly is attractive. The greenhouse is small, squashed between a high beltline and low roof. Windows have been enlarged and pillars have been thinned, but the inside of the Paseo is still rather claustrophobic.

The big news for 1997 is the addition of a convertible to the lineup. The four-layer insulated top includes a heated glass rear window and is manually operated. Price? A rather reasonable $17,000 and change, which makes this the least expensive convertible sold in the U.S. if you don't count the Geo Tracker and Suzuki Sidekick. We'd rather have the 4WD and balky top, thanks.

Other news for 1997 is limited to redesigned interior door panels that increase hip room, new rotary climate controls, and the addition of dual visor vanity mirrors in the coupe.

Don't get the impression that we don't appreciate the Paseo for what it is. This car is meant for stylish commuting by people who don't enjoy wasting time at auto repair facilities. We're simply suckers for a good value, and the Paseo coupe isn't one. On the other hand, we're also suckers for top-down driving, and the new convertible is the cheapest way to get some sun on your face in a brand new set of wheels.

1997 Highlights

A convertible debuts. Coupes get dual-visor vanity mirrors, fresh door trim and rotary-heater controls.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1997 Toyota Paseo.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4.13 out of 5 stars
My Mystic
2dr Convertible
My little Toyota Paseo is the best little car I have ever owned. She has given reliability, good gas mileage and easy driving for the last 12 years. I change her oil, do annual maintenance and she, I call her Mystic runs forever. This morning, I hit a deer, my car swerved out of the animal's way and the damage was minimal to the PASEO AND THE DEER RAN AWAY. I am still alive to talk about how my little car handled the road to try and not hit the deer which was inevitable. Broke the side light, dented the right fender and broke the passenger mirror but my little car keeps driving. I will repair the best little car I have ever owned.
5 out of 5 stars
Love the Paseo Convertible!
2dr Convertible
I've owned my Toyota Paseo Convertible for many years and I still love it!! The gas mileage is awesome and the car handles really well. Toyota really knows how to make them!!
5 out of 5 stars
RIP somehow
2dr Convertible
Alas, the final story: After 20 years of providing pleasure and thrills, the car has passed its last current, as the electrical system is no more. It's engine and other parts will be in a better place, hopefully; and it's one-of-a-kind roll bar will be immortalized hopefully, by another convertible owner who appreciates safety. Amen And so Habitat for Humanity will profit from it's entrails, tires, and whatever value of it is left in the junkyard. Remembered and not forgotten. Amen II
5 out of 5 stars
Great First Car
2dr Coupe
I am writing about this car because I am ready to buy a new one. My boyfriend is battling me on this because he says its hard to come buy a good car and he is true. I purchased this car when it was seven years old and it has never failed me. This car has taken me from florida to los angeles and back with all of my worldly possesions and my dog. I highly reccommend this car.Don't let the age fool you - its sweeter now than ever. When my friends are paying $40 to fill their gas tanks I am only paying $20.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 Toyota Paseo

Used 1997 Toyota Paseo Overview

The Used 1997 Toyota Paseo is offered in the following submodels: Paseo Coupe, Paseo Convertible. Available styles include 2dr Coupe, and 2dr Convertible. The Used 1997 Toyota Paseo comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Toyota Paseo?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1997 Toyota Paseos are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1997 Toyota Paseo for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1997 Toyota Paseo.

Can't find a used 1997 Toyota Paseos you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Toyota Paseo for sale - 3 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $20,300.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 12 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $14,869.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota Paseo for sale - 6 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $10,110.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota for sale - 12 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $12,269.

Should I lease or buy a 1997 Toyota Paseo?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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