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Car reviews - Toyota - Corolla - Seca CSi 5-dr hatch

Our Opinion

We like
Sturdy, reliable, dependable, comfortable, compact, practical, economical, reasonably fun to drive
Room for improvement
But no driver's car, cramped rear seat

1 Aug 2003

THE Toyota Corolla has been a favourite of small car buyers since introduced into Australia in 1967.

Over the years it has become synonymous with good value for money, low running costs and reliability.

A completely new range of Corollas was released on to the market in 1989. The Seca Liftback shared the same wheelbase as the sedan and hatchback models but was the longest overall, which increased luggage space behind the rear seats.

The low waistline and large glass area gave the Seca interior an airy, spacious feeling. Mild styling changes and equipment revisions were introduced in 1991 to keep the Corolla competitive with its younger rivals.

The Seca was offered in a choice of two equipment levels, CSi or Ultima.The CSi equipment list included power steering, AM/FM radio/cassette and rear window wiper/washer.The Ultima added alloy wheels, power windows and a CD player.

The CSi version of the Seca remained on the market until discontinued in early 1993.

The Seca uses Toyotas’ 4AFE, 1.6-litre engine which features electronic fuel-injection, two overhead camshafts and a power output of 76kW.

Transmission choices are either a five-speed manual or an optional four-speed automatic with overdrive lock out.

Typical fuel consumption in suburban conditions should be 8.5L/100km to 10.0L/100km and 7.0L/100km to 8.5L/100km on the highway. With a fuel tank capacity of 50 litres, the touring range can exceed 700km under ideal conditions.

Underbody mechanical layout is conventional front-wheel drive with transverse engine and transmission.The suspension is softly sprung which provides a good ride for a relatively short wheelbase but at the expense of outright handling and cornering ability.

Toyota's conservative and proven engineering ensured the Corolla would be reliable and durable.

There are no inherent weak points or common problems. But cut price service which skips essensials such as cambelt changes or regular brake fluid replacement will eventually lead to expensive repairs.

A competent and comprehensive pre-purchase check is essential to uncover any potential problems. Look for a documented evidence of regular service and maintenance. Cars which travel very short annual distances should have had service intervals based on time rather than distance travelled.

These precautions prevent expensive repairs later on in life caused by failure of components such as corrosion damage to aluminium engine components and brake systems.

Local production and assembly of many Corolla components ensures spare parts are readily available and reasonably priced.

The Corolla Seca combines reliability, small car running costs with almost medium car interior space and the convenience of a liftback.

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