My wife and I bought our Tercel new in '96, joking that our 7-year old would drive it someday. She's now 21. She's still driving it. Yes, being a young college student she sometimes complains that it's not 'pretty' like some of the newer cars her classmates drive, but the reliability has been nothing short of incredible. At 325,000 miles, the old girl finally gave one last blast of blue smoke and burped her last breath. Our daughter actually cried. while she shopped with her mother for another car, I installed a rebuilt engine and she couldn't be happier. Another 300,000 miles? I don't see why not!
I bought my Tercel w/53,000 miles about 9 years ago and I just had my most expensive repair (coil at $250) at 143,000! I got a newer/used Corolla and I hope it lives up to my Tercel. Reliable is an understatement. I'm having separation anxiety from having to sell it, but can't afford to maintain 2 cars. If you take care of your Tercel, it will take care of you. I'll miss "Big Red" but I think my "Silver Bullet" will rise to the challenge. I don't care what they say-TOYOTA, I'm with you for life!
We purchased the 1996 Toyota Tercel, stick shift, two-door, for our daughter in 1999 prior to graduating high school in 2000. The mileage on the vehicle upon purchase was approximately 56,000 miles. When she moved to New York, she no longer needed a vehicle; I needed a vehicle to drive to and from work every day. Since 2007 I have been using the vehicle on the highway driving from Hernando to Tampa, approximately 160 miles (roundtrip). I cannot ask for a more reliable vehicle than this little. The performance is still good. The odometer just turned over to 400,500 miles this past week. The amount of money we have spent so far on this vehicle has not been that much, the most we was replacing the air conditioning. As I stated, I am still driving the vehicle every day at 75 miles an hour on the highway and it is still running strong. It is getting approximately 21.5 miles a gallon. Not bad for a vehicle that has that many mileage on the odometer. As far as I am concerned Toyota vehicles are the best made vehicles by far.
I purchased this car with 229K miles on it and it currently has 240K. It's great on gas, is economical, and needs very little maintenance. Honestly the best car for those that have long commutes or need to take it into urban areas with tight parking spots. The trunk space is also very usable considering how small this car is. The manual transmission is average at best, but for the price and what this car was geared for, it's really a good car.