1998 Toyota Tercel Review

Pros & Cons

  • Toyota engineering, new styling, fuel efficient.
  • Has a little engine that can't.
Other years
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List Price Estimate
$815 - $1,933

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

1998 Highlights

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.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Toyota Tercel.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

More reliable than any friend
I have this beauty for 5 years now and bought it with 140KM as a second car/ winter car, I drive it daily to construction job and my only car for all winter. I had 3 different BMWs during this period and I love this beauty just as much as my 2012 M3, I drove it in winter from Toronto to Grande Prairie in 2.5 days 4000Km and all I did so far after 5 years and 220KM was front brake, timing belt, and 4 new winter tires, I drove the last set of winter tires 4 years for summer and winter and they were still good for one more year.
Wave of the future
This car is awesome. It get around 40mpg, rarely has a problem, and handles great. The design resembles that of BMW or Honda, but without the possiblity of confusing it with another car due to it's unique look. With gas prices hitting $2 a gallon, this car is great for both everyday commuting and long road trips. It's light weight makes up for any lack in horsepower, giving it the great mileage and quick acceleration.
Bring back the Tercel
I love this car! 50 can mpg. 400,000 kms in 8 years. Changed oil every 5000kms and tune up and tires every 100,000. Thats it! Haven't even replaced a light bulb yet! Why would they stop making a car like this? Hell I even pull a tent trailer in the summer! It's bullet proof!
Used 1998 Tercel
My girlfriend and I were shopping for a car and almost leased a new Mazda 3 sport GS. We opted instead for a 1998 Tercel CE metallic black on gray w/ AC. The car came with Blizzak snow tires on 13" rims (1998s came with 14"). The car is in amazing condition, especially inside. The cloth seats show no wear at all after 7 years! I replaced the snow tires with 13" Goodyear Allegras and the ride, handling and road noise all improved. The A/C blows cold (just a bit weak during the 36-37c heat wave). I have owned $55k BMW 3 series among other things and I am VERY impressed with this car. There are no squeaks and rattles!

Features & Specs

27 city / 35 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
93 hp @ 5400 rpm
See all Used 1998 Toyota Tercel features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • 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 1998 Toyota Tercel

Used 1998 Toyota Tercel Overview

The Used 1998 Toyota Tercel is offered in the following submodels: Tercel Coupe. Available styles include CE 2dr Coupe.

What's a good price on a Used 1998 Toyota Tercel?

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 1998 Toyota Tercels 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) 1998 Toyota Tercel 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 1998 Toyota Tercel.

Can't find a used 1998 Toyota Tercels you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Toyota Tercel for sale - 3 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $7,451.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 8 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $21,634.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota Tercel for sale - 12 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $21,127.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota for sale - 11 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $7,666.

Should I lease or buy a 1998 Toyota Tercel?

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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Check out Toyota Tercel lease specials