||This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2009)|
|Also called||Corolla Tercel
|Assembly||Toyota City, Aichi, Japan (Takaoka plant)
Hamura, Tokyo, Japan (Hino plant)
The Tercel was a subcompact manufactured by Toyota from 1978 to 2000 across five generations, in five body configurations sized between the Corolla and the Starlet. Manufactured at the Takaoka Plant in Toyota City, Japan, and sharing its platform with the Cynos (aka Paseo) and the Starlet, the Tercel was marketed variously as the Corolla II—sold at Toyota Japanese dealerships called Toyota Corolla Stores—and was replaced by the Toyota Platz in 2000. It was also known as the (Japanese: Toyota Corsa) and sold at Toyopet Store locations.
The Tercel was the first front-wheel-drive vehicle produced by Toyota, establishing a layout and frame that was later used in popular Toyota models. For example, Toyota Corolla E80's frame is almost similar to AL20 Tercel's frame. Also, Toyota designed a new A engine for Tercel, attempting simultaneously to achieve good fuel economy and performance and low emissions. Choice of body styles increased as well, with the addition of a four-door sedan.
The name "Tercel" derives from the Latin word for "one third" as the Tercel was slightly smaller than the Corolla — much the way "tiercel" refers to a male falcon, which is one-third smaller than its female counterpart. All Tercels were assembled at the Takaoka factory in Toyota City, Aichi or by Hino Motors in Hamura, Tokyo. Hino assembled the third generation Tercel from 1987–1990 for the two–door and some three–door models.
First generation (1978–1982)
|Also called||Toyota Corsa|
|Production||Aug 1978–Apr 1982|
|Body style||2-door coupé
|Engine||1.3 L 2A I4 (AL11)
1.5 L 1A I4 (AL10)
1.5 L 3A I4 (AL12)
The Tercel was introduced in Japan in August 1978, Europe in January 1979 and the United States in 1980. It was originally sold as either a two- or four-door coupé, or as a three-door hatchback. A version marketed in parallel through a separate distribution network in Japan was called the Toyota Corsa. In the United States it was named as the Corolla Tercel. Models sold in the US were powered by a 1,452 cc SOHC four-cylinder engine producing 60 hp (45 kW). Transmission choices were either a four- or five-speed manual, or a three-speed automatic available with the 1.5 engine from August 1979 on.
In the Japanese market, the 1500 engine developed 80 PS (59 kW) at 5,600 rpm, while the lesser 1.3-liter 2A engine, added in June 1979, offered a claimed 74 PS (54 kW). In Europe mainly the smaller 1.3 version was available, with 65 PS (48 kW).
In this new front-wheel-drive design, the first for Toyota, the engine was mounted longitudinally. The transmission was mounted under the floorpan, as is the case in a rear-wheel-drive car. Unlike a rear-wheel-drive car, the transmission had a ring and pinion gear on the front part of the transmission, underneath the engine. Halfshafts then extended from the transmission to the front wheels.
In August 1980 the Tercel (and Corsa) underwent a facelift, with considerable changes to the front and minor ones to the interior and rear. The 1A engine was replaced by the 3A of identical displacement but now with 83 PS (61 kW).
Second generation (1982–1986)
|Also called||Toyota Corolla II
Toyota Sprinter Carib
|Production||May 1982–February 1988|
|Body style||3-door hatchback
5-door station wagon
|Layout||Front engine, front-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive|
|Engine||1.3 L 2A I4 (AL20)
1.5 L 3A I4 (AL21/25)
Toyota redesigned the Tercel for May 1982. The "Corolla" part of the name was dropped, becoming simply "Tercel" in all markets. The second generation, internally designated the L20 series, Tercel was available in three- or five-door hatchback models or a four-door station wagon, and also as a four-door sedan in Japan. The station wagon, known in Japan as the Sprinter Carib (Japanese: Toyota Sprinter Carib, short for "Caribou"), was introduced in August 1982. The wagon was also available with four-wheel drive (front-wheel-drive wagons were only available in select markets). In Japan, a four-wheel-drive sedan was also available, it too remained in production alongside the wagon version even after the introduction of the third generation Tercel. Standard front-wheel-drive vehicles (and four-wheel-drive wagons not equipped with the six-speed manual transmission) came with either a three-speed automatic or a four- or five-speed manual transmission. The four-speed manual was reserved for the very simplest version in North American markets.
As only the first two generations were sold officially in Europe, this was the last generation of the Tercel series available there, with either the hatchback or station wagon bodywork. In Japan, power outputs were as follows:
- 1,295 cc 2A-U: 75 PS (55 kW) at 6,000 rpm
- 1,452 cc 3A-U: 83 PS (61 kW) at 5,600 rpm (9.0:1 compression, 82.05–86.05)
- 1,452 cc 3A-U: 85 PS (63 kW) at 5,600 rpm (9.3:1 compression, 86.03–88.02)
- 1,452 cc 3A-HU: 86 PS (63 kW) at 6,000 rpm (variable venturi carburettor, 9.3:1 compression, 82.05–84.08)
- 1,452 cc 3A-SU: 90 PS (66 kW) at 6,000 rpm (twin variable venturi carburettors, swirl intake version, 84.08–88.02)
North American Tercels were all fitted with the 1.5-litre engine, producing 63 hp (47 kW) at 4,800 rpm. In Europe, both the 1.3 (65 PS or 48 kW at 5,400 rpm) and the 1.5 (71 PS or 52 kW at 5,600 rpm) were available.
The four-wheel-drive models (chassis code AL25, only with the 1.5 engine) could be equipped with six-speed manual transmission, and could be shifted from two- to four-wheel drive without coming to a stop. The sixth gear it carried was an "Extra Low" (EL) first gear, a standard transmission gear with a very low (4.71:1) gear-ratio. The EL gear generated a 17.6:1 final drive ratio, giving the driver the torque needed to extract the vehicle from conditions which otherwise may have trapped it. It was only available when in four-wheel drive, and because of its low gear-ratio it was suitable only for very low-speed use. Also included with better equipped four-wheel-drive models was an inclinometer above the radio/air conditioner that measured the tilt of the car. The inclinometer was discontinued after the 1983 model year.
The new Tercel 4WD was built from existing pieces in the Toyota inventory. The engine, transaxle and front-wheel-drive system was from the existing Tercel. The coil-sprung rear axle was taken from the Corolla. The only part specifically designed for the new Tercel 4WD was the transfer case, built into the transmission. This gave the driver greater versatility than was possible on a purely front-wheel-drive vehicle, as it provided three different power arrangements. Normally, the car would be operated with front-wheel drive. When the driver pulled the 4WD selector lever back into four-wheel drive, or pressed a button on the gear selector for the automatic transmission, the power was split 50/50 between the front and rear axles via a direct mechanical coupling. There is no conventional center differential, so the four-wheel-drive system could be used only on loose or slippery road surfaces (such as snow, gravel, or sand); otherwise the drivetrain would experience severe wear, and handling would be compromised. The third power option (which was only available on the six-speed manual) was low range. This isn't the same as the low-range power option found in a truck or conventional SUV, as the Tercel lacked a high-range/low-range transfer case. When the lever was placed in four-wheel-drive mode it became possible to down shift the vehicle from first to EL (extra low).
1985 saw minor changes to gear ratios and to the grille design, and the interior was updated in 1986. The Tercel wagon (and four-door sedan in Japan) continued with the same design until February 1988 (when the Sprinter Carib was replaced by a larger Corolla based design), while the coupé, sedan and hatchbacks moved on to the newer design.
Versions available in Europe:
- 1.3 DX (3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback)
- 1.3 GL (3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback)
- 1.5 GL (3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback)
- 1.5 4WD (5-door estate, only version from 1986 onwards)
Third generation (1987–1990)
|Body style||2-door coupe
5-door station wagon (Previous generation)
|Engine||1.5L 3E 78 hp (58 kW) I4|
|Wheelbase||93.7 in (2,380 mm)
95.7 in (2,431 mm) (wagon)
|Length||157.3 in (3,995 mm) (hatchbacks)
166.7 in (4,234 mm) (coupe)
169.7 in (4,310 mm) (wagon)
|Width||64 in (1,626 mm)
63.6 in (1,615 mm) (wagon)
|Height||57.1 in (1,450 mm) (wagon)
52.6 in (1,336 mm) (2-door hatchback)
51.8 in (1,316 mm) (sedan)
52.8 in (1,341 mm) (4-door hatchback)
In 1987, Toyota introduced the slightly larger third generation Tercel with a new 12-valve engine which featured a variable venturi carburetor and later models with EFI. From this generation on, the engine is mounted transversely, with transmission mounted on the right side of the engine in a layout developed by Dante Giacosa and earlier popularized in such vehicles as the Fiat 128 and Volkswagen Golf. Other improvements included revised rack-and-pinion steering and a newly designed, fully independent suspension. The Tercel continued in North America as Toyota's least expensive vehicle, while it was no longer offered in Europe. In other markets, the smaller Starlet was also offered.
The variable venturi carburetor reportedly has had some problems, especially in the earlier models, such as too rich mixture, which is caused by the too thin teflon coating of the fuel-metering needle, which erodes over time due to friction. It also has had prolems with the compensator (choke device), which can also cause overly rich mixture when not working properly.
In 1987, Toyota introduced the Tercel EZ with less standard equipment: vinyl upholstery, a four-speed manual transmission, rubber mats instead of carpeting, and a deleted passenger's side sunvisor.
For the 1990 model year, the Tercel was available as either a three or five-door hatchback or a two-door sedan, the wagon having been upgraded to the larger platform used for the Sprinter Caribbean (Carib). Also discontinued for 1990 was the four-wheel-drive system; the Tercel was then only available with front-wheel drive. Non-motorized two-point passive seatbelts for the front-seat driver and passenger were introduced in 1990.
Fourth generation (1991–1994)
|Body style||2-door coupe
|Engine||1.5L 94 hp (70 kW) I4 3E-E
1.5L 110 hp (82 kW) I4 5E-FE
|Wheelbase||93.7 in (2,380 mm)|
|Length||161.8 in (4,110 mm)|
|Width||64.8 in (1,646 mm) (coupe)
65.4 in (1,661 mm) (sedan)
|Height||53.2 in (1,351 mm)|
|Curb weight||914 kg (2,015 lb)|
Toyota introduced the fourth generation Tercel in 1991 as either a two-door sedan or four-door sedan and powered by either a 1.5 L 3E-E engine producing 82 hp (61 kW) at 5200 rpm (and 89 lb·ft (121 N·m) of torque at 4400 rpm) or 1.5 L 5E-FE 16v DOHC producing 110 hp (82 kW).
In Japan, the Tercel was also offered as 3-door Hatchback and 4WD versions. Hatchback models were VC, Joinus, and Avenue. Trim levels for Sedan were VE, VX, and VZ. The VZ is powered by 5E-FHE engine. The higher level Japanese sedan had different tail lights and better equipped interior than the export models.
North American models were Base Coupe, DX Coupe, DX Sedan, and LE Sedan. Colour-keyed bumpers, full wheel covers, and folded rear seat were optional on the DX, standard on the LE. The LE had red trunk garnish similar to Japanese model.
1993 saw a minor exterior redesign to the front and rear fascias and the addition of a standard driver's side airbag and available anti-lock brakes. The Tercel was carried over to 1994 with no major changes — Haloalkane, a non-CFC refrigerant was used in the air conditioning system.
In Chile, the Tercel was introduced in 1991 as a four-door sedan with a 1.3-liter, SOHC 12-valve 78 hp (58 kW), 4-cylinder, carbureted engine, under the name "Corolla Tercel". The "DX" basic version came with tachometer and four spoke steering wheel. It gained moderate success due to the Corolla name.
In September 1992, a Canadian-spec version was introduced to replace the previous one with a new 1.5-liter SOHC engine. Unlike the previous one, it was simply called "Tercel". It was brought along the Canadian-spec Corolla to meet the new emission standard since no Latin American version of either was yet available with a catalytic converter. Due to the higher trim level of the Canadian-spec versions, the Tercel was initially marketed as a successor of the Corolla E90, which had just been discontinued. This made it a very successful car.
Fifth generation (1994–2000)
|Also called||Toyota Corolla II (JPN)
Toyota Corsa (JPN)
Toyota Soluna (Asia)
|Assembly||Toyota City, Aichi, Japan (Takaoka plant)
|Body style||2-door coupe
|Engine||1.3 L 2E I4(Central and South America)
1.3 L 4E-FE I4
1.5 L 5E-FE I4
1.5 L 1N-T turbodiesel I4
|Wheelbase||93.7 in (2,380 mm)|
|Length||162.2 in (4,120 mm) (1995–97)
162.7 in (4,133 mm) (1998–99)
|Width||64.8 in (1,646 mm) (1998–99)
65.4 in (1,661 mm) (1995–97)
|Height||53.2 in (1,351 mm)|
In September 1994, for the 1995 model year, Toyota introduced an all-new Tercel. The new design offered a stiffer body with better handling and was one of only a handful of cars in the U.S. to have OBDII in 1995. Retaining its compact packaging and high quality, the new Tercel featured a redesigned exterior and new engine. The Tercel now offered standard driver's and passenger's side airbags in the United States, but only a driver's side bag for Canada. As well, three-point seatbelts for front and outboard rear passengers and adjustable shoulder-belt anchor points for front seat passengers were installed on four-door models. All models met federal standards for 1997 side-impact protection, and offered anti-lock brakes. Standard models camewith only a 4-speed manual or automatic transmission and grey bumpers, while DX models were offered with the addition of body-colored bumpers and either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.
In Japan, the Tercel was again also offered with the Corsa and Corolla II nameplates, for sales through parallel marketing channels. There was also a 3-door hatchback body version offered in addition to the four-door sedan. The two-door sedan was only ever marketed in North America. There was also a four-wheel-drive option available in Japan.
The interior design pushing the dash further away, but bringing the switches closer. This same dashboard (left sided version) was shared with the Toyota Starlet and Toyota Paseo of the time. The all-new DOHC 1.5 L I4 engine provided 93 hp (69 kW) and 100 lb·ft (140 N·m) of torque, offering a 13 percent power increase over the previous generation as well as a 15 percent increase in fuel economy. The new 5E-FE engine gets 45 mpg-US (5.2 L/100 km; 54 mpg-imp) on the highway with a 5-speed manual transmission, making it the most fuel-efficient four-cylinder car of its time in the United States. As Toyota's entry-level car,the Tercel was also available with the smaller 1.3-litre 4E-FE and 2E gasoline four-cylinder, and the Toyota 1N-T engine; a 1,453 cc inline-four turbocharged diesel engine which provided 66 hp (49.2 kW) at 4,700 rpm and 96.1 lb·ft (130 N·m) of torque at 2,600 rpm.
For 1997, all Tercels were available only in the CE trim level and incorporated many of the standard and optional items from previous base and DX models. All Tercels came standard with a new 13 inch wheel and tire combination. Inside, the Tercel's dashboard was revised with rotary ventilation controls. All Toyota models had revised seat fabric and door panels. The RedHawk and WhiteHawk editions were introduced in addition to the BlackHawk trim already offered, which came standard with air conditioning, 185/60R14 tires on custom wheels, a rear spoiler with integrated brake light, and hawk symbols to identify the special model.
For 1998 the Tercel's styling was updated, highlighted by multi-reflector headlights, a revised grille and front fascia design and clear lens turn signal lights for the front and rear. The facelift occurred in December 1997 for the Japanese market, and covered all three lines (Tercel, Corsa, Corolla II).
The Tercel's rear styling was also enhanced with redesigned composite tail-lights and updated bumper molding. The new molding extended across the entire length of the rear bumper.
Production of the Tercel for the American market ended in 1998 as the model was superseded by the Echo. Production for Canada, Puerto Rico and some other countries continued through 1999, although for Japan the production ceased in 2000.
In Paraguay and Peru, Tercels are still sold. These cars are being sold as imported Japanese cars in many of the car dealers existing throughout the territory.[clarification needed]
The fifth generation of Tercel was introduced in September 1995, presented in the FISA auto Show of that year as the "All New Tercel Twin Cam”, available in three different levels: basic XLI, the medium GLI, and the full equipment LEI. All Tercel featured a 5E-FE 1.5 16v Twin Cam (DOHC) engine, rated at 100 hp (70 kW) at 6400 rpm and 95 lb·ft (129 N·m) at 3200 rpm of torque. With that engine the car took only 10.4 seconds in 0–60 mph. The car was revolutionary to that market at the time, and it was elected Car of the Year in Chile.
The XLi version was basic: no tach and power steering was an option. GLi had power steering, four arm steering wheels, trunk and gas cap remote opening; and three pointed rear seat belts was standard. Finally the LEi was full, it had all the equipment and AC; tachometer; rear seat belts, 175/70 13 tires, with power door locks, power windows with driver's side auto down, and four arm steering wheels. It was offered with either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic.
The 1998 model had multi-reflector headlights, new fascia, bumpers and clear turn signal lights; in the rear, new mirror style taillights and new bumper. It was a huge success, becoming the second best-selling car in Chile for four years.
In Thailand, Toyota reworked the Tercel with different nose and tail, and called Soluna. The Soluna AL50 was powered by 1.5-liter 5A-FE engine, and campaigned as Asian Family Car. The plain Soluna was a big seller in Thailand. Trim levels are XLi, SLi, and GLi. Only the XLi and GLi were sold in Indonesia, where the XLi was common for taxi. Based on the GLi, the Soluna S Limited with body kits was offered for a short time.
The Tercel remained smaller than the Corolla throughout its production, though by the end of its production the Tercel had become almost the same size as the North American-market '75–'78 Corolla that was current at the time the Tercel was introduced.
|Dimension||1995–1999 Tercel||1975–1978 Corolla|
|Length||162.2" (4120 mm)||165.2" (4196 mm)|
|Width||65.4" (1661 mm)||62.4" (1585 mm)|
|Height||53.1" (1374 mm)||54.5" (1384 mm)|
|Wheelbase||93.7" (2380 mm)||93.3" (2370 mm)|
|Curb weight||2,005 lb (909 kg)||2210 lb (1002 kg)|
- Tercel Parts Catalogue (Japanese market)
- Toyota Vehicle Identification Manual. Japan: Toyota Motor Corporation – Overseas Parts Department. 1984. Catalog No.97913-84.
- Finnish "Tekniikan Maailma" Magazine, 18/79
- Car Graphic: Car Archives Vol. 11, '80s Japanese Cars (in Japanese). Tokyo: Nigensha. 2007. p. 8. ISBN 978-4-544-91018-6.
- Car Graphic: Car Archives Vol. 5, '70s Japanese Cars (in Japanese). Tokyo: Nigensha. 2007. p. 9. ISBN 978-4-544-09175-5.
- Lösch, Annamaria, ed. (1979). World Cars 1979. Pelham, NY: The Automobile Club of Italy/Herald Books. pp. 380–381. ISBN 0-910714-11-8.
- Freund, Klaus, ed. (1980). Auto Katalog 1981 (in German) 24. Stuttgart: Vereinigte Motor-Verlage GmbH & Co. KG.
- Car Graphic '80s Car Archives, p. 26
- Car Graphic '80s Car Archives, pp. 9–10
- World Cars 1984. Pelham, NY: L'Editrice dell'Automobile LEA/Herald Books. 1984. pp. 380–381. ISBN 0-910714-16-9.
- Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (March 10, 1983). Automobil Revue '83 78. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag, AG. pp. 519, 593. ISBN 3-444-06065-3.
- "Toyota carburetor problems in FixYa". FixYa.com. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
- "國瑞汽車股份有限公司 KUOZUI MOTORS, LTD". Kuozui.com.tw. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
- Tercel 4WD Information and Forums, pertaining completely to 4wd tercel wagons.
- TercelReference.com – A Tercel information website.
|« previous — Toyota road car timeline, North American market, 1980s–present (model years)|
|Starlet||Corolla FX||Prius c|
|Cressida||Cressida||Cressida||Cressida||Camry Solara||Camry Solara||Prius v|
|Sport compact||Corolla GT-S|
|Sports||Celica Supra||Celica Supra||Supra||Supra|