Toyota Tercel 4x4
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1
Less than four years after its first appearance, Toyota's first front-wheel drive car, the Tercel, took on a new shape. More than just the styling had been transformed however, for except the engine, it was a completely new car, built on more compact lines.
The Tercels wheelbase was reduced by 2.75 inches to 95.7 inches, and overall length was 152.7 inches - down by 3.9 inches. Thanks to an increase in track, interior space had been improved all round. Suspension was by MacPherson-type struts on all four wheels.
The body had a plunging grille and headlamps reminiscent of the Carina allied to a four-door hatchback rear end with six side windows. The transversely mounted engine with gearbox underneath easily lent itself to modification to provide four-wheel drive, at a time when the "recreation vehicle" was becoming increasingly popular in Japan.
The 4 wheel drive version sported a higher roofline and a redesigned rear end carrying larger side windows and a fully opening, sill-less hatchback. Length of the Tercel 4x4 was 11.4 inches longer at 164.1 inches but overall weight was only 33 Ibs greater at 2006 Ibs.
Power came from a 1452-cc unit producing 52 kW (70 hp), which replaced the standard 1295-cc 48-kW (65-hp) engine. The drive went through a six-speed box equipped with a rear-facing coupling. The Tercel 4 x 4 made use of the standard front suspension
of the saloon, and the rear suspension
and axle mounted coil springs with four locating arms, a Panhard rod, and an anti-roll bar
did not make use of the traditional transfer box, with high and low ratios, but was modelled on the lines of that used in the VW litis, a standard gearbox (five speeds in the case of the Tercel) with an additional extra-low ratio for use in difficult conditions and only usable when four-wheel drive was engaged. The ratio was 4.714, compared to the 3.667 of the normal first gear.
The Tercel could be used in two or fourwheel drive at will, selection being made by means of a lever at the driver's side, but there was no provision made for locking the differentials. Capable of a top speed of 155 km/h (96 mph), the Tercel was trimmed more for road comfort than cross-country efficiency, with comfort levels comparable with a saloon car. Power steering
was fitted and there were such gadgets as an indicator to show the angle of slope being traversed, both fore-and-aft and side-to-side.