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The Toyota Carina is a charming and beautiful car. Now you may be asking yourself why a young girl owns a Toyota Carina, but in truth I would not have it any other way! I got the car from my Grandad as he no longer used it and I had just passed my driving test. The car is fantastic - I could not have asked for a better car! It is not too bad on fuel consumption, as it is a 1.6 engine I could not expect it to be more efficient than it is. Although longer journeys are better for petrol than shorter journeys. The car was built in 1992 and I have has it 3 years and I am the 3rd owner. I have not had to spend hardly any money on it, just the tyres that were wearing thin and that is all. It has never caused me any problems and there is no rust on the car, which is really good for a car of that age. My friends also love the car as they say it is the most comfortable car they have ever ridden in. Also there is a lot of room in the boot for taking things to and from uni, or for those massive shopping trips! I would definately recommend this car if you can find one in a good condition, it is such an easy and comfortable car to drive, although after learning in a Corsa it took me a while to get used to it!
Now these are all fairly big Toyota selling cars, but I can't quite work out why they insist (or used to anyway) on naming them after bits of flowers. Carina - The bit where two petals unite Corona - The crown shaped bit of petals (like a daffodil) Corolla - The petals considered as a group Go figure. Anyhoo... I've recently acquired a Carina E XLi 1.6, but it's been in the family for a while. In fact, dad bought it with 7000 miles and only one month old. Since then it's done us pretty good service now standing at 85000 miles odd. Please bear in mind that I'm not exactly a car fanatic, nor have I driven loads and loads of cars to compare them to. In fact, I've really only driven a Nissan Micra! The Car ------- On first appearance, quite a nice looking car I think. We've got 3 now in our flat car park, and they don't look all that bad. The shape has not really become all that dated as the Avensis has superceded the Carina E, but retains a similar styling. The car is quite a long one, giving you loads of boot space, expecially when the seats fold virtually flat. The build on this car isn't exactly a Mercedes, but then what do you expect from a Japanese car? Visibility ---------- The bootline, or rather the raking window on the hatchback model, seems a bit small to see anything out of. Your view from the driver's seat isn't exactly superb as that long car makes it seem like that rear window is miles away. From the driver's seat it is very difficult to initially judge where the end of the car is when parking. I have noticed now that there is a HUGE blindspot to the rear of the car. I have been zipping down the motorway, at a perfectly legal speed, and then suddenly noticed that a car that I know is around to my left or right... suddenly disappears from view. This has caught dad out once when I've been in the car. The classic Mirror Signal Ma noeuvre was performed, only to be hooted at as he hadn't seen the car alongside. So just a mental note here, be careful. Comfort ------- The seats in my newly acquired car are not the most comfy of seats, but for an 8 year old car, I didn't expect them to be. Wear and tear has not started to show through as yet, but then we did use seat covers the whole time. On a long drive in the back, mum has complained of the slightly hard seats, but also the raking seats backwards. Surely it's more natural to sit more upright? There is plently of leg space though in the back and I mean plenty of leg space. In the driver's seat the steering wheel seems just a mite too big. This just results in you relaxing those tense shoulders whilst driving through the rush hour traffic. The pedals are nicely spaced in the manual version, with a little foot rest for your poor little left foot on long drives. You can't mistake this for a clutch as it's waaaay over on the left hand side, secured, and raised. The fan heater/demister thingy could be a bit better. There are definitely times when you want it to be warm, but it's not until 10 minutes down the road (if you haven't been sitting idle) that it starts to warm up inside. Of course then it gets too warm and you're constantly fiddling with the temperature. Demisting isn't terrific either, and this can take some time. Again, all compared to the Micra when it used to almost instantly clear. Driving ------- Ain't too bad y'know. I expected worse from an old(ish) car, but I wasn't disappointed. First thing that strikes me is the chunky gearbox. You can definitely feel it go clunk-clunk from gear to gear. Quite a nice feel, but used to be a bit of an effort for mum. Whilst on the gearbox I have to say that I think that it's slightly weirdly geared: 1st - You spend absolutely no time in whatsoever. Touch the accelerator, the n change to 2nd. 2nd - Most of slow moving traffic gear. Quite a wide range 3rd - Will take you up to 40 quite comfortably. Definitely the gear to stay in if there are speed cameras about. Tricky to stay at 30 though, for a 30 zone. 4th/5th - Open up on the motorway really. The main thing to note about the 1.6 engine is that it whines. Annoyingly so, but it does at the top end of the gears. The engine doesn't seem to quite have that oomph until you hit the top 1/2 of the engine rev range (if you get what I mean). Steering, as I mentioned is done from the ever so slightly oversized wheel. It's quite light and flimsy at times, so watch it on those corners. A bit unresponsive at the mid to end of turns. One thing that bugs me, really bugs me, is the fact that at slow speeds, ie parking speeds, and on full lock, there seems to be a funny grating sound. Like the wheels are touching the arcs. You'll know what I mean when you hear it again. Might well be a design fault as I haven't heard any other cars do it, but have one or two other Carina's. I love the clutch on this car. There is almost no biting point, well, when compared to the Micra that I used to drive anyway. There's always a smooth uptake and you can barely tell the transition sometimes. The brakes are quite sharp and I think dad informs me that they're coming up to replaced once more. That's at 85000 miles. Buying one? ----------- The only thing I could possibly say, is watch out for the radiator at this age. Ours just died and got replaced (which is why dad has a new car and I have this one). Another thing is that is that it's been pretty reliable. Starts every morning regardless of weather first time. Apart from that I can't really give you any sound advice I'm afraid. Thanks for reading.
Would you believe that Toyota's Carina E has been around since 1992? It has. And the excellent impression it made then hasn't worn off in that time. The Carina was the top-seller in its class for more years than many care to remember. It’s the car all the other major manufactures envied; the reason is probably because as an all-rounder, there's not much that could be done to improve the Carina. There are lots of “toys” for the driver coupled with reliability and economy. In 1996 they introduced a 1.8-litre version of the famed lean-burn engine to the range. And they did a slight nose job, this is the model I recently purchased. To be more precise the model I bought was a Carina E 1.8i GS hatchback. Having spent the last 4 years driving a 2L Sierra Sapphire driving the Carina was a luxury. One of the immediate attractions was the quality of its fittings and finish. Very high quality plastics and fabrics, strong no-nonsense switchgear, and clear unambiguous instrumentation make an immediate impression. As does the space for everybody concerned. I run a mobile disco so it was good to find the boot was deceivingly large, larger than the one on the Cavalier I used to own. The other thing was the headroom, I found that some Toyota’s I have been in lack in overhead space. Not so in the Carina, there's overhead room to spare. As is there leg and knee-room. And the seats are big, comfortable, and the rear seats have head restraints. You can see why it is a car which has been very popular with taxi-drivers whom have to carry people in the back, though usually to quite different destinations, some times with a heavy load of luggage or shopping. Not accustomed to the luxury’s to be found in the Carina E I had fun working out what each knobs or switch was for. Particularly useful is the dip angle for the headlights, adjustable to suit different load situations. Un- like most Middle Eastern cars my indicator stem is on the left hand side, perhaps the fact that this car was manufactured in Derbyshire made the difference, although my girlfriend drives a Corolla and her stem is on the left. To be honest I think hers is in a better location because it means your right hand can operate the steering wheel and the indicator while your left is free to grab the gear stick. Accommodation for bits and pieces is also very good, with door cubby holes, a locking glove compartment and a between-seats covered box that can easily hold my camera and some CD’s. (There's also an area in front of this, which holds my mobile phone. This is an increasingly important matter for many people.) On the road there's a good compromise between ride and handling, and an excellent quietness. I remember reading some where that the Toyota people set up their suspension systems for each individual country, after extensive computerised testing of local road conditions. In comparison to Fords and Vauxhalls this probably sets the Toyota in a league of its own. I was very impressed with the controls, particularly the power steering, which is very, much geared to the kind of 'feel' that I like. It's spot on. The car as a snazzier fabric interior than most cars I have seen, coupled with electric windows, sunroof and a rev-counter. Common to all Carina’s are dual airbags, high-tech seatbelt retractors, and multi adjustable drivers seats. One more feature on this car is the “lean-burn” engine, which apparently burns the fuel at a ratio of 14 parts of air to 1 part of fuel. I have only had the car for a few days but I’ve so far travelled 395 miles on a tank full of fuel, an achievement which was aided by the very handy 'ECONOMY' sign on the tachometer that stayed on when running in lean-burn mode. A little thing like this encourages you to drive more economic ally. On reflection I think this is the best car I have owned, ideally I would like a Celica, but with that slightly out of my price range I’m happy with the Carina. What more can I say? I have my favourite cars and so far a bias towards European cars. I would, though, be very happy living with a Carina E 1.8 for the next four years.
A run-of-the-mill car that can be bought for a bargain price but also offering plenty of toys and loads of room. That was my criteria when looking for a used car having just become a father for the first time. It had to be large, powerful, luxurious, quick yet economical and the Carina E (E for Europe)satisfies all of these. Its main let down are refinement and handling which are both rather poor. I bought a top-of-the-range 2.0 Executive model which also has ABS so its safe as well. Being japanese (well, it's actually built in Derbeyshire) there are no reliability issues to contend with and parts are readily available from dealers or the multitude of Japanese only scrapyards. In a straight line it's great, 0-60 in 8.5 secs with 132 flat out, but don't try this on twisty roads, it just doesn't like bends, becoming skittish and lacking grip. Being a hatchback version the boot is cavernous and must rival many estate cars for load space with the back seats folded. Another bonus with Far Eastern cars (which many British testers dislike) is the positioning of the indicator stalk, this is on the right meaning you do not have to leave the gear stick to indicate (I think many testers are too lazy to adapt). Having fitted a CD player the factory fitted 6 speakers makes it sound great, and having just become a father means it is the only place I can enjoy music! So for an average car for little money there are not many rivals, perhaps the Nissan Primera or Mazda 626. I wouldn't buy another Carina, not because it is a bad car but I'd simply like to move up a notch to something classier, with a better image I suppose!