Toyota Carina E 1.6ltr 1997

Sometimes I’m asked to review some unusual cars, and other times its all run of the mill. While all car news type sites clamber over the latest prototype of some exotic car that you’ll never own I get to review a Carina. Well that’s what turned up on the drive today, so I didn’t ask questions I got in and drove away.

It’s remarkable that a car of this vintage could still be on the road, there’s well over three hundred thousand miles on the clock and yet somehow everything was still working. This isn’t some classic car, this is a working car. This car drives a man to work every day and takes his family to the sea side at the weekend. It’s been minded from the start of it’s life, but Jimmy (that’s who owns it) has only given the car the best of treatment. He does his own servicing, which is really easy on a petrol Carina.

What is there to say about a car that has enough mileage to go around the diameter of the earth 38 times? Well it’s reliable, just ask any taxi driver in the last ten or so years. It came in various flavours, the 1.6gli is this model with front electric windows and useless lumbar support. There was also the 1.8ltr that had some spotlights and electric windows in the back, some of them had air con too. The 2.0ltr Diesel had all that and an engine that would not die. If driven carefully the 1.6 and 1.8 petrol engines will easily give 40mpg thanks to the lean burn from Toyota, the diesel will give 55mpg if it’s looked after.

It still amazes me that these cars just keep on going, remember this isn’t a car sitting in a garage with a flat battery. This is an everyday car. It’s also the last of it’s kind, the Avensis came out in 1997 and was a huge success here with thanks to the Carina. You see the Avensis is a Carina with updated exterior and a new dashboard layout. But all of the bits underneath including the engine comes from the Carina.

The back seats will easily fit 3 adults in comfort and the boot space would give any car on the market today a run for its money, you could get a ton of stuff in there. If you can find an estate one nab it, it would put most vans to shame with the room in the back.

The Carina is boring to drive, it’s very predictable, but what do you want from a family saloon?

5 Adults and all that boot space, moving in comfort you won’t find a better companion for a long drive at the kind of money. Don’t look at the mileage it will just scare you, I love this car for what it does it was like having an old friend come to visit, you see I used to own one of these too.

Thanks to Jimmy Phillips for the loan of this car, it brought back great memories.