This car is an IDEAL starter, HS, college, commuter car. It's my starter car and I'm still driving it(my second year). It took some serious punishment with my driving (that includes peeling out, handbrake slides, going over bumps at fairly fast speed, fast cornering), yeah it lacks power but it surely doesn't handle badly(60mph on 35mph offramp). My tercel also was consuming oil at one point, but after timing belt replacement (and oil change with it) it stopped! I managed to blow (well crack) a head gasket in it, but with a $2 bottle of radiator sealant and new spark plugs, it was back up and running. Up to this day it is still running with 90k miles on it, no engine/tranny problems
I love this car. It is BY FAR the best value I've ever received in an automobile. Bought it used and replaced the catalytic converter but no problems since. It runs circles around any used American car I have owned in handling (it's fun to drive!) and VALUE. I got it for its reliability and boy, am I happy! Definitely worth what I paid and holding its resale value nicely. I plan to drive it many more years!
I bought this as my first real car 5 years ago and have since put 50,000 miles on it. It doesn't have much power (having the manual lets you strangle every ounce out of it), but it gets you there in the end. Reliability has been almost perfect, the only thing I had to change was the starter motor. It burns about 1/3 quart of oil per tank, but I can live with that. My biggest complaint against the car is that it is not good for tall drivers, I'm 6'4", and on long trips it destroys my back. It has only been recently that I have been driving a lot, I got a new job where I drive 500 miles a week, so sadly the car had to go. But if you're just looking for a basic car that doesn't break, this is it.
Bought car in 1996 with 43k miles on it. 4-spd manual got only decent 29 MPG. Oil light came on at 80k. I was told by the dealer that you have to change oil every 3k or the valves burn up. Replaced the ignition silenoid at 100k. Engine light came on soon after and had to replace EGR gasket. Car was overheating at 149k and needed new head gasket so I sold it. The seats tore apart after only a few years - and that was with seat covers. Paint starting coming off after about 7 years old. Overall though, it was a good, cheap car to get me through college.
We bought this car as a second vehicle to go to and from work. This car is very basic-NOTHING fancy. This one is a 4 speed and has good fuel economy, but is very noisy when at higher speeds. The seams on the interior seats are coming apart in a couple of spots. We have not had any major engine problems but the driver side window hinge came apart and the window needed to be replaced. This is a good reliable very basic vehicle, but not great for long trips.