Used 1998 Toyota Tercel Review

what's new

For 1998, the Tercel is available exclusively as a two-door CE model with additional standard features like color-keyed grille and bumpers, rear seat headrests, AM/FM stereo with cassette, air conditioning, digital clock and power steering.

vehicle overview

Before we tell you to buy something else, let it be known that this is a good car. It will run forever, won't cost much to insure or operate and is put together with the precision of a Swiss watch. Unfortunately, fit, finish and reliability don't come for free, and the Tercel has traditionally pushed the boundaries of acceptable pricing. Toyota has dropped its Tercel sedan this year, offering only a two-door model and banking on the car's fuel efficient reputation and new styling to jump start sales.

Tercel Coupe CE offers new multi-reflector headlights, a revised grille and front fascia and clear lens turn signal lights. On the outside, a color-keyed grille, dual remote black outside mirrors, black bodyside molding and scratch-resistant bumpers are newly designed.

Inside, the CE has cloth interior and Toyota has added rear-seat headrests and updated audio faceplates with an expanded stereo option list. Dual airbags, crumple zones, optional ABS and impact-absorbing bumpers create a safer environment for passengers. The interior of the Tercel is nice enough that it is no torture chamber, but the tight dimensions, engine racket, wind noise and tire roar are there in spades to remind you that this ain't no Lexus.

The Tercel we drove last year was tight, but not rattle-free. If the Tercel were priced realistically, we could wholeheartedly recommend it. As it stands, it offers about as much value as that mountain property you bought in Florida last year.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.