4 speed car

Toyota Tercel: The Last Of The 4-Speed Cars

There was a time when you could add plus points to your cool factor by simply owning a car with a four-on-the-floor. For decades every cool guy had to have a 4-speed manual transmission car. Every known car manufacturer had them, from the Volkswagen Beetle to our favorite, the Toyota Tercel.

But alas, those times have passed. However, it is still cool to look back in time in the ’90s.

The Last Of The 4-Speed Cars

The era of the 4-speed cars was ending back in 1996. The once cool 4-speed vehicles were now being replaced by 5-speed once. One of the last 4-speed cars you can get back in 1993 was the Hyundai Excel and the 6th Gen Pontiac LeMans.

By 1996, the Toyota Tercel was your only choice if you’d like to get a 4-speed manual vehicle.

Why Would You Get A 4-Speed Tercel?

The Toyota Tercel is a reliable, no-frills car. It is a basic car and is absolutely the cheapest new car Toyota sells. Although the 4-speed manual transmission came as the base-grade for the Tercel in the 1996 models, buyers could still upgrade it. An additional $700 could get them an automatic version. Alternatively, they could also pay for an additional $1070 to get the DX version that has a five-speed manual transmission.

For two more years until 1998, the Tercel was still made available in the market. However, the versions for sale were only those with a five-speed manual or a 3- or 4-speed automatic transmission. The Tercel was fitted also with a 1.5 L engine with 93 hp and the fuel economy of this car was great.

If you’d prefer a bit more comfort, you can get the one with air conditioning but it’ll cost you an additional $900 more. As for music, the base Tercel didn’t have any radio or cassette system included. You’d just have to sing to yourself for entertainment.

The Most Forward-Thinking Toyota’s Ever Made

The hallmarks of Toyota as a leader in the auto car industry consist of quality, reliability, and longevity. While Toyota isn’t known for its rash or impulsive decisions, it has produced a fair number of gems over the course of its existence. Some of which have ended up gaining a lot of popularity and acclaim from car enthusiasts.

Below, in chronological order, we list 5 of the most brilliantly unusual Toyotas ever made, so read on!

Tercel (1978)

1978 Toyota Tercel Advertisement in Japan

1978 Toyota Tercel Advertisement in Japan

As the inspiration to our website’s namesake, and to put a spotlight on just how revolutionary this car was to the Japanese auto industry, I wanted to highlight first Toyota’s Gen1 Tercel.  First introduced in Japan in 1978, then in Europe in 1979, then in the U.S. in 1980. This is a subcompact car that helped catapult the Toyota brand into the upper echelon of Japanese car manufacturers thanks to a superior quality and handling capabilities.

The first generation of the Tercel was characterized by its 1.3L and 1.5L engines, 3-speed automatic transmission, and ⅘ speed manual transmission. It came in a 2/4 door sedan and a 3-door hatchback.

But what set the Toyota apart was it’s drive-ability.

Prior to the Tercel, the Corrolla was Toyota’s most popular vehicle, but the rear wheel drive and lack of rack-and-pinion steering as used on some of their more sportier models, gave the Corrolla the reputation as a particularly difficult vehicle to drive.  Hoping to correct this perception Toyota added a modified rack-and-pinion design, a more centrally-located center of gravity, and a tighter transmission.  This gave the Tercel a decidedly “sportier” feel with much more stability on turns.

So sure-footed was the Tercel that many drivers used the car as their primary ski vehicle thanks to it’s propensity to handle the tight turns and snowy conditions in the mountains.

2000 GT (1967)

1967 Toyota 2000 GT

1967 Toyota 2000 GT

Released in 1967, the Toyota 2000 GT was one of the few models that first gave Japan the competitive edge in terms of designing cool, fast, and advances vehicles. With 150 hp and a 2.0L straight-six engine, this car is capable of speeds superior to 135mph and is, to this day, considered to be the greatest Japanese car of all time.

It’s easy to see why – just look at how freakin’ cool it looks!

Only 351 cars of this model were made and the selling price was $7,000. The 2000 GT didn’t sell instantly because of its higher cost (compared to Porsche and Jaguar that sold for over $6,000), but also due to its unproven reputation. This car put Japan on the map as an esteemed leader in the Autocar industry.

Supra (1978)

1978 Toyota Celica Supra

1978 Toyota Celica Supra

The Toyota Supra is a sports car that was introduced in 1978 with the initial four generations being produced from 1978 until 2002 and the fifth-generation resuming in 2019.

The style and design were mainly inspired by the Toyota Celica, though the Supra is much longer and wider. With 110 horsepower and a 2.6 inline-six engine layout, this car was meant to compete with the very popular Datsun (now Nissan)  Z-car. The Supra received a drastic makeover in 1982 and more upgrades subsequently in 1986 and on.

Mega Cruiser (1995)

1995 Toyota Mega Cruiser

1995 Toyota Mega Cruiser

The Mega Cruiser is a heavy-duty SUV introduced by Toyota in 1995. This large and robust vehicle features four-wheel drive and is the biggest 4WD ever produced by Toyota.

The resemblance with the Hummer H1 is very striking, particularly in terms of design. Most of the vehicles manufactured ended up being used by the Japanese military, prefectural police, and fire/rescue departments. Though there were a few sold to civilians (133 units to be exact).

Scion xB (2003)

2003 Toyota Scion XB

2003 Toyota Scion XB

Scion xB is a compact car that was mainly targeted towards youngsters. The initial van was a subcompact, came with a 5-door hatchback, and weighed less than 2,400 pounds.

It featured a straight-four engine with 108 hp (81 kW) and 105 lb-ft (142 N⋅m) and was mainly designed for the United States market to be sold under the youth-oriented brand of Scion.

Corolla vs Chevrolet Corsica

Toyota Corolla vs Chevrolet Corsica

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was no secret that General Motors were in need of a big success, it was not that they weren’t selling a lot of cars, they certainly did but without a significant triumph say on the order of Ford’s Taurus, it is hard for even the world’s top automaker to keep its corporate head high, maybe that is why General Motors were trying to expand their appeal of its most successful products in the recent years with the Chevrolet Corsica and Beretta. After a slow launch in the spring of 1987, Chevy sold more than 350 Corsicas and Berettas. In 1989, GM came up with a Corsica which had a hatchback and raised a good question which was, ‘why were Chevrolet introducing a new five-door sedan when the other competitors are shutting off productions of theirs, on answer might be how the Chevy and the Corsica fit into GM’s marketing strategy as the Corsica represents an entry-level sedan for a small family. Many of Chevy’s competitors moved to more affluent markets, and they realised that as the income goes up, the demand for the five-door sedan goes down.


Chevy must be congratulated for making the hatchback rear end so attractive, and the complex shape of the glass makes it more like a notchback than a fastback, despite the large glass area, the hatch opens easily, there is an inside cargo shade attached to the hatch which can be quickly released.  The floor itself is broad and deep with the seat being able to be folded, making the back-sitting area into a large luggage rack, resembling that of a small station. The rest of Corsica’s interior was the same as the earlier models which were boldly modern for its time.

The latest Toyota Collora was released in early 2020 in a brand-new hybrid avatar. The Toyota Corolla has always been necessary transportation for essential people. It starts around 24,000 US dollars and runs at more than 50 miles per gallon with a relatively decent amount of interior room. The trunk is fitted with a light bar and given the price specs, and it is a great feature. The seats are designed to make your ride very comfortable, and they are installed with soft multicoloured canvases. On the front row, the dashboard is constructed using attractive, sleek designs, and the passenger side, there are no function buttons apart from the climate vent. Under the hood is a 1.8-litre hybrid four-cylinder engine which provides a horsepower of 121. There is a prominent place in the car world for vehicles like this, which are great family cars in the middle-income group.

1982 Toyota Corolla Tercel – True Economy

Full-Model Changes For Toyota Tercel

The Chevrolet Corsica Made For A Rental Car Company

The Most Brilliantly Unusual Toyotas Ever Made