I may have been favoring it a bit in the ratings system but it depends what your comparing it to. As far as suiting its purpose, this is a very reliable car. Complaints about its lack of power are crazy if you ask me. I used boesch platinum twin spark plugs combined with castrol gtx motor oil and proper maintenance it is the perfect car for a daily commuter, and or somone who enjoys driving eficient non intrusive eco friendly, did I mention reliable, vehicle for less than 5,000 dollars.
Bought a '96 four door Tercel in October of 2012 but with automatic transmission. It had 198k miles on it but ran great, other than needing new brakes. AC works fine, power steering, Got 40+ miles per gallon on the highway, 30mpg in town. I now have 207k miles on it. Needs a few things, like fan selector needs tweeking, CV joing is rattling on sharp turns, and will probably install new front calipers. High beams don't work but it is a switch problem in the column. All easy to repair I hope. I don't mind the faded paint. Bought for $1400 and won't part with it unless I find another, maybe a straight drive to get better gas mileage and cruise control.
My father purchased this car for less than $2000 about 4 years ago from a co-worker, intending to let me drive it while working towards getting my license. It was at 106,000k at the time, and is now at 160,000k. I have never known a better car. It started without any problems when the temperature was -30, runs smoothly and I can trust it to get me from A to B and then some(!) without ever breaking down. Gas mileage averages 38 mpg. This is my first car, and will be my last as well. I intend to keep it until it literally rusts and falls to pieces.
I enjoy my Tercel because it is a great reliable car that I don't have to worry about having problems. My only problem that has happened to the car is the back trunk seal had to be adjusted and sealant had to be put down because of water getting int the trunk.