News : Britain’s oldest Toyota Carina E found

Toyota’s search for the earliest running example of the first model made at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK factory in Derbyshire has been a success. Mike Hoyland’s Carina E was registered in July 1993 and was built during the Burnaston factory’s early months.


December 16, 1992 was a groundbreaking day for Toyota. It marked the first day of Carina E production in the company’s state-of-the-art factory in Burnaston, near Derby. Not bad, considering the decision to build here was taken just three years before, with Toyota Manufacturing UK (TMUK) being set-up in December 1989.

It’s an ongoing success story more than 20 years on, with TMUK’s investment now topping £1.4 billion. In 2012, 109,502 Avensis and Auris models were built there by a dedicated and expert workforce.

The Carina E was launched in the UK and Europe in March 1992 but, for the first nine months, cars sold here were actually imported in from Japan. Despite that, Toyota called it the ‘E’ to denote that it had been tuned to appeal to European tastes and to reflect its eventual UK production. Once on sale, the Carina E soon started selling strongly – both on the back of the memorable advertising campaign (that featured Enya’s Book of Days) and the brilliant strapline, ‘the car in front is a Toyota.’ 20 years on, people still say that.

It’s possible that Mike Hoyland was humming that Enya song when he walked into his local Toyota dealership with a view to buying one. It was July 1993 and he decided that he wanted a new car to replace his trusty Honda Accord. He’d worked hard for it, too: ‘I had taught chemistry for 30 odd years, and decided to buy one using my redundancy money,’ he says.

The car Mike went for was a Carina E GL four-door saloon, which came up to the princely sum of £13,175.00. ‘I still have the original invoice, and I let a friend adopt the Honda, so there was no trade-in against the Carina.,’ Mike smiles. Needless to say, Mike took delivery on 1 August – L-registration day – in order to maximise that new car experience.

And coming up to 20 years on, Mike still has that Carina E. And he loves it. ‘It has been absolutely reliable, he says. ‘It runs almost silently, and the exhaust has only been replaced once. At 32,000 miles, the Lambda sensor packed up, but I was advised to contact Toyota GB headquarters in Redhill, which I did. And without any query, they agreed to stand the cost.’ Other consumables have included one starter motor, a shock absorber and a couple of radiators.

‘But that’s all not bad for 20 years and 153,000 miles, eh,’ Mike smiles.


Other than that, the Carina has run like clockwork, proving that the Toyota’s British workers can build a car to the same exacting quality standards as their Japanese counterparts. There was one other issue, but that’s hardly the car’s fault: ‘The remote locking has failed partly due to someone taking a screwdriver to the lock,’ Mike says. ‘They didn’t get in, but the lock had to be changed.’

Mike’s Carina E is your typical family hack and gets used properly – it’s no cossetted museum piece. ‘There’s a bit of rust on the front wings,’ he adds. But it is has been perfect. ‘It has taken the family all over without a blip; we have carried my son’s bicycle and goods to and from Nottingham University when he was a student and it is easy to carry 5m lengths of timber through the sunroof – and that was standard fit in 1993.’

Did Mike buy the car because it was made in the UK, or because it was a Toyota? ‘I hadn’t realised it was one of the earliest of the cars made here, although there was a small label to that effect somewhere at the top of the windscreen,’ he confirms.

And is Mike a car fan? ‘Oh yes, I like cars, and I take an interest in what’s on the road,’ he smiles. ‘I read reports, but don’t think that they are as unbiased as they would like to appear. The Carina ‘wasn’t inspiring” they said, but how many cars can compare with mine without special treatment?’

He’s also a Toyota fan. ‘The company is supportive of its cars and the customers. My favourite cars are the final-shape MR2, the old Celica and the new GT86. Back to reality, the Yaris Trend looks great, and what I’ve heard concerning the Auris is also good. But if money is object, then a Lexus GS would fit the bill perfectly,’ Mike says.

And would he have another Toyota? ‘Certainly! But the Carina E looks like it’s going on forever, and you can’t just walk away from a best pal can you?’

[Source: Toyota Blog]

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Keith Adams


  1. What a painfully dull car. I’d rather have something more interesting that broke down more.

    Well, how about just something more interesting?

  2. Agree with DeLorean’s Accountant. These cars may have been uber reliable, but they were awful to drive- they were capable of wheelspin in the first three gears without meaning to- not because of brute force, more due to the wooden tyres supplied by Dunlop. Roadholding was similarly lacking.

    Then there was the lack of rear vision- its like looking through a letterbox via a periscope. Other than that- they were pretty worthy I suppose. Made my old Nissan Sunny of similar vintage seem positively Alfa-esqe by comparison.

  3. Gents thats a bit harsh!! I love the car, I am a pensioner so our choices are different to you young punks!!! My 216Sli has cost me a fortune over the last 18 years!! If the gentelman wants to sell It let me know ARonline!!!!

    Berny 216sli

  4. I can see where the first two posters are coming from. Until recently I had an MR2, with lots of lovely bits on it to make it special. Admired the thought put into it & the reliability, but it lacked soul. Took me 3 years to find a name for it, which shows a lack of oersonality.

    I now have a ZT-T 180+. Now that’s a car with soul! Call me soppy, but I thank it for doing so well & every km is a joy. And it took only a few days to name it…Dreadnought 🙂

    I have yet to find a Japanese car with any strands of human dna in its make-up. Alas, now MGR are no longer with us, I shall have to save for a Bristol, Morgan or Lotus to get my fix…

  5. Now,

    This is one British car I had.

    72,000 miles in R237 FBM, I was in my early 20s.

    Personell dept wanted to know why tyres lasted under 12,000 miles, and why I specced Michelins at Kwik fit not the cheapo ones.

    mine never missed a beat.


    36 to the gallon on a run

    2.0 Litre /auto

    Cars are not made this well any more

  6. Production levels at Burnaston have always been a bit disappointing when compared with Nissan at Washington, not helped by the Auris and Avensis being rather dull, and really strong competition in that sector (especially with the rise of the Koreans)

  7. A huge number of used uk carina E’s ended up in Ireland. Bit surprised they couldn’t find an older one though,

  8. Why all the negativity????
    Again, and you may call me cynical again, I blame the motoring media for telling the masses that ‘german = fun, italian = character but unreliable, japanese = dull’.

    This is a car that is on the go for 20 years and hasn’t really put a foot wrong. Guy I worked with had a diesel Carina E, and it got all sorts of abuse, and like an old dog it just carried on and on.

    It may not be an Alfa 156, but then it’s no worse than the contemporary Passat or even, looks wise, the 93 Mondeo.

    A well engineered saloon car. Here’s to it having many more days on the road.

  9. @8 I totally agree. There are those who consider the point of car ownership as have something which has “personality” – but that often seems to translate as being unpredictable, unreliable, can’t guarantee it will always go from A to B, always having to be fixed.

    I prefer something which I can trust, and isn’t a bottomless hole to pour money down.

  10. I never drove the Carina E, but I did drive its replacement Avensis which was basically a reshaped version of the orginal. It was probably the worst car I have ever driven and I have driven a few over the years. The only good thing was the large boot which took three suitcases with ease. Good knows what happened to it when the company went bust – hopefully it was burnt at the stake!

  11. Can only agree with KC. If having a car with “personality” means spending half it’s life in the garage being repaired and paying out due to poor build quality/crap components, then I think I’ll stick with my 10 year old Nissan that has just flew through it’s MOT for the 5th year in a row with no problems.

  12. I agree with Will, give it some credit people! It may not be an XJ6 or an Alfa Montreal, but it’s a four door saloon car and has done it’s job well.

    Some people just want a car as an efficient way of getting to one place to another, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  13. First comment is a bit over hash. Who cares if its dull and uninspiring one jot?

    British made and ultra reliable.. two key factors many people ought to take note of.

    Just like the Bluebird and Primera…. both proven facts that us Brits can build a car – who cares who owns the company?

  14. I totally care if it’s dull and uninsprirng. As this website is apparently for motoring enthusiasts, I’m surprised to hear that people are defending a dull & boring car.

    I drive about 21k miles a year, so the last place I want to be for all those miles is somewhere dull & boring. In the last 3 years of doing about 21k a year (possibly more), I’ve been let down twice. Once I ran out of fuel even teh the fuel gauge said I hadn’t (ABS sensor dropped out, fooling fuel gauge) the otehr was a dead battery.

    Reliability & fun are not mutually exclusive and haven’t been for many years now.

    We used to have to buy Japanese cars if we wanted something reliable but now most European cars are reliable, what’s the point in buying a Japanese car? (MX5, NSX etc. excepted)

  15. You can be a motoring enthusiast and defend cars that others do not approve of.

    I’ve owned an Alfa, various Citroens, that many work colleagues did not approve of and openly mocked.
    There are those who, no doubt prompted by the scoffing of the motoring media, would not approve of BL->MGRover products (cf. TG constantly ruining Marinas).

    Similarly, I do not approve of the Nissan Qashcow, despite it being built in the UK to a Japanese brand. This is more to do with my intolerance of urban SUVs. If someone in 20 years time is running a similar article with the first of these still running, I’d say the same as I say to the Carina E owner:
    “Fair play to you.”

    • Yes indeed, Toyota made one clinker of a car with the Carina E. Probably the most reliable car ever made or ever will be made until hydrogen reaction ‘engines’ are perfected. Not the most enjoyable car to drive but boy did they last. I know of a guy still running a blue Carina E its reg is XIB and I’ll try to se if I can get a snap of its VIN. With hindsight the Carina E and Nissan Primera were the cars we should have been buying in greater numbers in the 1990’s rather than Mondeo’s which got a great press but turned out to be flakey and easy to kill. I can only guess that Nissan and Toyota both took a long hard look at the MK3 Cavalier for inspiration.

  16. 153K miles on this car is a testament to its build quality. I’ve never owned a Toyota but my Dad once had a 1978 Corolla 1.2 Auto… underpowered, but I still enjoyed borrowing it and it was the first automatic car I drove. My brother owned a 1992 MR2 aswell, which was more exciting!

  17. I’m a car enthusiast, but I love most cars, dull and exciting.
    I think there’s a difference between petrolheads and car nuts.

  18. At the time I refused a Saab 9-3 auto (no turbo) too slow, and zero toys. I had the 2.0 GTi…and take my word….It would smoke any mondeo, all the bits n bobs worked and worked well.

    I think Yamaha fiddled with the engine…but we are talking a LONG time ago. 170 horses I think??

    My colleague had a rover 620 that was nice but not exciting…my boss a Merc 200…

    Awesome car, and I do agree the Avensis was very dull compared to the carina.

  19. ok it is dull so what if its ultra reliable you wouldnt even notice it in a supermarket car park, if it was next to a cortina i know which id look at first, and thats my point austin rover online is for people who love interesting stuff even if its not the most reliable, thats what we love about this site, interesting cars that catch the eye, this to me isnt one. all you can say is its reliable! is that enough?? will there ever be an owners club is anyone bothered??

  20. @ ant80 It would catch my in a carpark because it’s an older car. If it was tidy I’d have a quick sniff around it as well (said the Bishop to the actress).
    Some people would say it’s a pile of junk though, which I understand fully 🙂

  21. It may be dull but you’ve got to be impressed by 153K miles!! Also, it’s a great advert for a BRITISH workforce.

  22. @8. I have driven 3 Toyboatas – 2 Yaris’s (both for about a week each) and 1 Auris (which I drove for about 2 weeks). I’ve had more fun filling out tax returns. There’s a line to be drawn between cars that make motoring bearable, fun even, and white goods. On that matter, I’m firmly with the press. The only car that was more boring was the Chevrolet Kelios I had the misfortune to have to endure for a day. Honestly, most vans are more entertaining to drive than some of the car-gruel out there.

  23. Automotive white goods the model might be, but I’d be quite happy to drive a Carina E as a daily, especially the 2-litre petrol version, which is basically a Celica in disguise 🙂

  24. Remember my old man test driving a 1.8 (lean burn, no less – and time has shown how bloody good these engines were, they’re still about) and being impressed with how well it went. Was a nice enough car, but the numbers didn’t add up and it wasn’t bought..

  25. 153K and it still works.

    I was 21 or thereabouts…all my mates had 1.0 litre fiestas…I had a 2 litre with GTi on the back…

    I think we are beign unfairly harsh.

    Now a mondeo aspen with a 1.8 turd diesel is a better description of white goods

  26. Carinas were good cars and their continued survival is largely down to the excellent build quality. Sure they are a little dull but they do the job and do it well.

  27. I don’t think my comments were harsh- the Carina E would have been an entirely inoffensive car had it been at least capable of acceptable traction and roadholding when driven at speeds that should have been well within it’s capability (ok my driving style might be described as ‘brisk’ but I’m not a yob). And 153k is nothing these days- I’ve had several cars, including a Fiesta and a Laguna with that kind of milage and still in very good fettle.

    I don’t believe all Japanese cars are irredemably dull. I’ve owned a Sunny 1.4 (uninspiring but capable of quite reasonable progress, and very well made; a Mazda 323F which was nicely styled (the post pop-up light version) and which drove well; and a 92 Honda Aerodeck- good engine but in the wrong car (far too little torque) and decent handling ruined by arcade-effect steering. Early Primeras and Almeras were good to drive, and some 80s Hondas were absolute corkers (would love a CRX coupe).

    Bottom line is that Toyota didn’t do their homework, and designed a so-called ‘car for Europe’ with very little understanding of what the best European cars of that class had to offer. Their only concession to ‘European-ness’ was to relocate the column stalk to the left hand side of the wheel- everything else was typically middle-of-the road Japanese.

    At the time I was deliving hire cars, and the Mk1 Vectra diesel- much derided on this site as elsewhere, was a much nicer car to drive than the Carina E. Now there’s a car that doesn’t deserve its awful reputation.

  28. What a shame that we feel the need to be so critical of other’s marque/model interests!
    The thing that I find most appealing about being a car enthusiast is that I’ve met very few people who have exactly the same car interests as me. This is what makes it such a diverse interest. Sure I love Rovers and own one from each of the last four decades, but I also own an xj8, an old Landy, have a soft spot for Marina’s, Lada Riva’s and Toyota Tercel’s and would love to own a Tatra 603, a RR Silver Spur or a Citroen DS break. On the other hand, unlike many, even if I won the lottery several times over, I wouldn’t be interested in a Porsche, Ferrari or a Bugatti. My mate loves American cars and VW campers and I work with guy who’s crazy over Datsun Cherry’s but they don’t float my boat. My point is that people shouldn’t be critical of others’ interests – if it’s a car, personally I’m interested, and I respect their enthusiasm for the marque. So when someone asks me “why do you like Rovers so much” my instant thought is “if you’ve got to ask, you aren’t a true car enthusiast”. It really is a case of whatever floats your boat. Liberal rant over!!

  29. Am I the only one that sees the car as extremely dull?

    The timing of the view of this article is made a little more difficult to swallow having made a visit to the Heritage Motor Museum at Gaydon this week, to find the very first Carina E at the end of their timeline exhibit pointing one way at the front of the exhibit, with the 75 somewhat shoved away pointing the other way, along the back wall of their timeline road ‘road’.

    Would it really have hurt to have to have put the 75 where the Carina E is and vice versa. I’d rather look at the lines of the 75 anyday whereas the Carina E is just the successor to the Nissan Bluebird for taxi drivers.

    What will last longer in the memory and be more prized and cherished? A 75 or a Carina E? Rhetorical question perhaps.

  30. @30, David,

    Ok so some of us don’t care for the Carina E. So what? Opinions are like arseholes- everyone’s got one. I wouldn’t expect Carine E fans to dissolve in tears reading this thread, or to reassess their relationship with their pride and joy.

    One man’s turd is another man’s treasure. Or something.

  31. A vectra diesel in the same breath as a toyota carina…


    Sorry no way.

    I have driven the 1.6 which is a bit tame, the 1.8 felt very similar to the 1.6.

    The 2 litre weather the GTi or the GLi were really streets ahead.

    We are forgetting this is a fleet car, designed to ferry “executives” [sales people] up and down the country in safe, reliable, comfy fashion.

    This car delivers.

    I seem to remember some of them had a plastic wood trim that looked very plastic.

    I had a colleague who had a primera GT in a lurid metallic green…now that was one fast car that really handled.

  32. Bloody awful, no character, tedious colour, best scrap it now (at least it wasn’t as bad as the offensively bland and rather ugly Camry of that era), I’d honestly rather get the bus than drive a Toyota, they are nasty blobs of automotive faeces in my opinion…

  33. @ Steve No 35

    My Dad had a Camry, in fact he had a few as company cars…nice smooth, quiet, reliable good on juice.

    Im sorry (I am going to get shouted at)

    I would rather have had a toyota of that period than :

    a mondeo
    a vectra
    A BASE…rover 600 (the loaded ones were v nice)
    a nissan primera…
    A BASE 318 or c180…
    A peugeot 406…
    A sierra

    these were well built cars, that did what the owners expected day after day.

    Steve did you ever drive the Carina GTi? This was not dull, and would run rings round a vectra v6 or a mondeo V6 of the same era.


    I tried an alfa 156 V6 as a loaner…and bits were already falling off….if thats “character” thanks but no thanks

  34. Great article, shame about some of the posts. The Carina E was a worthy well engineered and built car. Designed for a particular market that needed reliable workhorses. Being the first UK built Toyota and first export to Japan make it significant. Along with Nissan and Honda, it showed that the UK can make well built cars. It showed that proper investment, quality procedures, thorough engineering and good management enable this.

  35. @36 Don’t slate the Vectra SRi V6, that was an awesome car. Have to agree about the Alfa 156. I had wanted to have a go in one for ages, then I booked a hire car through work. The company phoned on the morning they were supposed to be delivering the car to say they couldn’t get it started (filled me with a lot of confidence!). When they finally turned up it was a 2 litre 156. The turning circle was atrocious and bits were falling off the trim inside (it was 4 months old!) but the engine was superb! I couldn’t have lived with the thing though!
    I remember looking at a Carina E at Monty’s in Sheffield when they had just been launched – seemed a bit of an ungainly big barge (to be fair I was probably about 17 but I was obsessed with anything on four wheels) and the standard spec car (was it classed as an L?) was pretty basic even for then. The Mk1 Avensis seems to go on for ever too, given how many taxi drivers in Bolton still drive the things. I had a test drive in a Mk2 Avensis years ago – handled like a pudding on wheels. As with most Japanese cars Toyota seem to become more irrelevent as time progresses. Even my Dad has moved on from his beloved RAV4’s.

  36. 153,000 mile? Not that exceptional when my father regularly ran ‘B’ series engined A55 Cambridge and Oxfords to that mileage as taxis albeit in 5 years rather than 20. The Carina has averaged 7,500 miles a year so has hardly been stressed out. I wouldn’t have one for the reasons stated above (boring cars) but you can’t knock the reliabiity and it obviously floats someones boat so good luck to him. I would however have a Cashcow if that is what I needed and will be looking at the ‘Note’ as a possible replacement for my A2 shortly.

  37. I think I should have mentioned something important about my ZT-T, relative to this thread.

    It has done 249,000km here in Australia, which is about 150,000 miles. Everything works, it drives so well that all passengers have remarked what a smooth car it is &…if you’re on this site, I’m sure that like me, you find it interesting.

    I love many cars for many reasons, from 2CV to HSV. I’m glad that Toyota UK is producing reliable cars & creating UK employment. Total reliabilty with no risk is what much of the population needs.

    But there are interesting & equally durable products out there. Like my ZT-T 🙂

  38. For many Carina E’s that mileage was done in a couple of years, as rather a lot were minicabs. Quite a few survive around here, not sure why, but they all seem to be driven by ‘retired gents’

  39. For many Carina E’s that mileage was done in a couple of years, as rather a lot were minicabs. Quite a few survive around here, not sure why, but they all seem to be driven by ‘retired gents’

  40. My late father (ex BMC Wolseley sales manager) did 72000 miles in his new company 1974 Allegro 1300 SDL in 18 months beat that! Great car.

  41. My first Toyota was an M reg Carina E 2.0 Exec, awesome car, on the strength of it’s awesomeness I traded up to a V reg Avensis 1.8 GLS, unreliable, thinking I’d bought a “Friday afternoon” car I then traded that for an 04 Avensis 2.0 T4, also unreliable and woefully thirsty too, I’ll point out that inbetween I had an M reg 3.0 Surf which was truly awesome and unstoppable so I can only assume that “old” Toyotas are bomb proof yet new ones are rubbish!! I now run a Shogun V6 and the wife has a Kia Carens, both faultless……at the moment!!

  42. Don’t know why people hate these cars so much, as they proved to reliable AND British, something that wasn’t always said in the same sentence 20 years ago. Remember also that while the traditional big four have mostly left Britain, or gone out of business, the Japanese have taken up the slack and have done very well over here.

  43. @40. It won’t surprise you to learn that I have owned 2 Alfas – a 145 (7yrs, 134k miles) and a 156 (2yrs, 63k miles – only sold due to company car). Both were faultless, apart from service items and expected wear and tear. I’ve also driven 150k + Alfa 156s and a 200k + 166, which were tight as a drum, but needed service items such as air-con recharges – mainly due to them being courtesy cars (which were lent to me while my Alfa was having a bodywork (my fault) repair, and the usual servicing). My 156 was very well screwed together – equally as good as my current BMW, although with heaps more style.

  44. Jeremy #36 I’m not interested in the performance or the handling of the Carina or Camry, it’s just they so annodyne, so awkwardly styled and downright unimaginative, Toyotas are really well made and all that but I’d honestly walk than drive one, they would make me mad with boredom! I’ve owned 77 cars in my 18 years of driving (only 2 have been Japanese) and I can’t ever imagine owning a Japanese one (Korean cars are the same, no soul, they only copy the west) as I know I;d be bored with it before I even got home! No offense, I just hate white goods dressed as cars!

  45. @36 I generally agree with your list with thee exception of the Nissan Primera – I’ve driven 3 L-reg 1-6 L models (we had them as pool cars), and although they weren’t much to look at, they were great fun to drive, especially through the twisty Shropshire lanes near where I used to work.

  46. @ Steve No 51

    Were gonna have to agree to disagree.

    I currently tool around in a subaru. with a boxer diesel. thats unique and a first. Subarus clever AWD is also unique and effective.

    I like the interior/build quality/economy and a fair price

    But, it has to be said it is not the prettiest looking car…

    To the Alfa lover…I hanker after one with that 3.2L v6….

    horses for courses me thinks….

  47. @53 Scooby diesel boxer (Legacy wagon please!) is one car I’d love to own..if only the company car list would let me have anything that interesting! Hopefully if finances allow. and when my bicycle fetish has been sated, I’ll buy a V6 Alfa – probably a ’99 GTV…..

  48. @54

    I drive the outback…same car just taller…such a nice drive, quiet, nice ride all the toys that work well….and a BIG boot.

    In my opinion its like a cross between a Volvo and a Landie…and very unflappable.

    We travel to Charante in France a lot, and have done 14H in one hit in that car. 10/10 as is the dealer Unity in Peterboro

    47 to the gallon with a cast iron right foot!

    A GTV now your talking….the Brera V6 are great value too 🙂

  49. A few off topic comments here. The original article was about discovering the oldest UK built Carina and not the merits of other cars! I accept that the Carina is not the most exciting car ever made but surely this is the point of this website. Just look at the cars listed on the index bar on the left. The majority of these are unremarkable, but have an interesting story and are part of our motoring history.

  50. People in the motoring press hate these cars, but they’re reliable and the taxi trade locally swore by them for years. Also if the Volkswagen obsessed motoring press come up with the phrase not quite as good as a Volkswagen, talk to my friend Malcolm whose Polo at two years old now needs a new engine as the original siezed up at 18,000 miles. Also a lot of German cars seem to trade on past glories and badge snobbery, they never seem to score very highly in reliability surveys while the supposedly boring products of Japan are always at the top. Yes Toyota have had a few issues, but at least they rectified them very quickly.

  51. Could add my Fiesta is made in Germany, but the oilv bits come from Britain and this keeps the servicing costs down to British levels. It’s not that I have a grudge against German badged cars, it’s just that they seem to have let the quality slip by outsourcing to low wage countries and this has let quality suffer on some of their cars. That said I still think Audis are good, the bigger Mercedes look the part and German made Fords seem to be reliable.

  52. 153K is nothing special. My Montego managed 204631 miles.

    But good that it was made in Derbyshire.

    In fact, we purchased an Auris for exactly that reason – made in Derbyshire!, now there is nothing worthy from Longbridge.

    I hope the Auris does more than 153K too.


  53. Great website…..but this really is the most uninteresting story. Just no interest in Toyotas at all. They are just mobile white goods. I could never buy one as the first time I left it in a carpark I wouldn’t be able to remember what it looked like in order to find it again.

  54. Sorry to say but I agree with some of the former posts, this is a completely dull story. The car isn’t even that old! What it most definitely is – is dull, Dull, DULL!

  55. I’m sorry but it isn’t dull. The Carina E was the first type of Toyota to be built in Derbyshire. It’s far more British than an MG 6 ever will be

  56. @61 – Some may find your comments and your Metro picture to be a little contradictory – those in glass houses?! This proves my point @30 – dont slag off the automotive interests of others as the richness of model/marque interest is what makes car enthusiasm so diverse.

  57. The 2.0Litre in either cooking or hot versions were not dull.

    Compare it to other cars of the era…a nice vectra (I dont think so)


    A rover 6 series was a different number

    really an under rated workhorse.

    I liked mine, and it really took a hammering.

  58. YAY, we are winning Simon @65 round….

    I would however bet if any doubter had a burn in the GTi model with its twin pipes, stiffer suspension and wide tyres they would be like the car a whole lot more 🙂

    its deffo time to find another car we can all get contraversial about!!!

  59. “I drive about 21k miles a year, so the last place I want to be for all those miles is somewhere dull & boring. ……..

    Reliability & fun are not mutually exclusive and haven’t been for many years now.”

    How true! The Carina was dull but worthy as was the Primera of that age. Most likely the car you got picked up in from the railway station and definitely one that you didn’t want to own. A work colleague had one and was quite upset when I called it an old man’s car (I had a Mk2 Golf at the time).

    153k miles is no great shakes. I have seen innumerable cars well past that on my travels including a Mitsubishi Galant taxi with 253k on it, a Vauxhall Carlton with 286k and a Merc E300 with 360k. Never mind my Discovery owning friends, several of which are well over 200k on original engines and gearboxes. Oh, yes, my Golf Mk2 covered 140,000 miles in my possession and then ran round for another 5 years in the hands of the new owner.

    As for interesting cars, I had a Saab 3.0 V6tid for several years that was very little trouble then chopped it in on a Honda FRV which was outstandingly reliable and good fun for a people carrier. I have just swapped the Honda for a C-class which was the only one of the modern group of cars that I actually enjoyed sitting in.

    Mostly I do about 20,000 miles per year, 15,000 in my business motor and another 6,000 in my Land Rover. I would go potty in a Carina or an Avensis for that matter (drove a few of them on hire).

    The Carina in this article is only of any importance because of the political / historical context. Otherwise it’s just another boring Jap box owned by a pensioner (no disrespect intended to the gentleman).

  60. Nice cars. Nothing wrong with your transport doing what you need from it every day. I see another L reg one every day. And so was the Primera. Along with the Acclaim proved British workers could make fine quality cars.
    When the ZT goes later this year am seriously considering a Mitsubishi to get a few years of no niggles and ‘characteristics’. It will also replace an Octavia which despite feeling very well built has not actually been that reliable.
    I see someone has done even more miles than the Carina owner. So what? There are a few individuals on here, and all too many forums, who need to grow up.

  61. wow.. why all the hate! A man takes his redundancy money and buys a British built car that costs him virtually nothing to keep on the road and still does what he needs it to 20 years later. OK, it’s not an exciting car, but looking at the owner I think he’s probably more keen on knowing his ride will get him home every time.

  62. No hate…just no feelings at all one way or the other. If the car suits that chaps needs then that’s great and I’m sure if you wake up in the morning in one place and want to end the day in a different place, then its much better than walking (if irs raining).

  63. Mr Yorkie,

    Your as ever on the money…

    I liked my Carina a lot, it was thrashed (Like Top Gears kia) day after day, week after week.

    It did 36 to the gallon on an auto a company car when I was 21….GTi with 2 exhausts I think. No hasstle what so ever

    74000 miles of absuse.

    I have upset a chap called Merlin, come join the fray on Mini van.


    pretty please

    This is one class British car, I dont think cars are built this good any more what ever badge they wear

  64. I read Merlin’s comments. Dear oh dear. I won’t buy British made electronics, simply because I know they will be crap. Too many bad experiences in the past. I had a Pioneer stereo (made in Castleford), and it was nothing but trouble. Pace Satellite equipment when it was made in Bradford & not re badged Grundigs..Oh boy, they were lucky to last 3 months before dying! British built buses = trouble and electrical gremlins galore.

    It is sad that Honda & Toyota are both struggling in the UK, because as a whole they are normally bloody good, well made products, and btw for those of a Bangernomics persuasion, Japanese is the way to go, as more often than not, sod all goes wrong

  65. Yorkie,

    I agree, as ever.

    But It is bloomin sad that we as a country CAN, but normally dont.

    It is hard to find people (at my company) that actually want to work on the shop floor and do a days graft for a days wages.

    My Sony stack is coming up 18 years old and still works. was a fortune when new, still sounds nice (to me) I bet when it does go, its replacement wont do 20 years work.

    Its made in Japan!

    We are gonna get grief for this.


  66. Yes. Because my British Meridian, Linn and Monitor Audio hi-fi is equally aged (if not older), and it still works flawlessly, and still sounds terrific. The one advantage with having a system which includes its major bits that are made in Huntingdon, is that I can pop down to the factory, say hello to the guys who built it, and get it serviced whenever it needs it.

  67. @Yorkie:

    ‘and btw for those of a Bangernomics persuasion, Japanese is the way to go, as more often than not, sod all goes wrong’

    So why do you drive a Skoda?

  68. Keith,

    I am with you on posh hifi…hand built speciaist products like this you do get what you pay for.
    Being a dinasaw I would like a valve amp but her indoors would go bananas when the bill arrived.

    I am awaiting the next gob full from merlin…

    The auto choke on the Renault, I had a very very old golf 1.5 auto, that had the same starting proceedure, as normally you just turn the key…

    Has that helped?


  69. Almost all the electronics I have lasted well, including the UK made Pace On Digital box that lasted 2001-9 & only stopped using when it coundn’t pick anything up post switchover due to a change in spec. It only needed the odd reboot, & didn’t need any after the last major update. It’s still around in case it’s worth anything, still have all the paperwork for it.

    A lot of my hi-fi equipment made in the far east came from when my Dad upgraded, & still works well.

    The only thing I had go wrong was an early DVD player that went funny would only play CD’s, & I’ve kept it for it’s semi functionality.

  70. Keith I drive a Skoda because at the time there was feck all cheap Japanese tin around here at sensible prices. Swmbo doesn’t like big cars either tbh. And on the subjects of once good brands in the UK, just look at how the Wharfedale brand has fallen. They used to be the mutts nuts, now they are just a cheap brand, that is just rebadged budget equipment, and no longer made in the UK. If I had the money, I would no doubt buy Bose, as sampling the BiL’s set up, all I can say is WOW! Mind you his headphones were over £300….

  71. Straying onto the hi-fi topic:
    Was Wharfedale ever any good? I remember dissmissing a pair in ’88 as being just big boomboxes.

    Bose: Nasty base-heavy kit from what I’ve heard. I think the preponderance of bass flatters at first but it soon gets tiring and annoying that the rest of the spectrum isn’t as well represented.

    Good UK brands in hi-fi? Linn, Quad, Musical Fidelity although it’s been a while since I was really into it.

    My Yamaha kit is 25 years old and the Musical Fidelity amps are 19 years old.

    Some UK made equipment is absolutely excellent, some not so.

  72. I am also a big fan of British Hi-Fi. Mine includes Cyrus 7 Integrated amp, Cyrus 7 Smartpower power amp biamping Monitor Audio Studio S8 speakers fed from a British re-engineered Marantz CD6000 ose KI Signature CD player (basically a stock midrange CD player made in the Far East, then converted in the UK to include a much better power supply (bloody heavy), a copper chassis, better quality capacitors, etc, etc. At the moment I’m not using my full rig- just the Cyrus Int, CD player (plus a Japanese Denon tuner) and some British Mission bookshelf speakers. Cabling by Chord.

    I won’t say that the Cyrus amps have been 100% reliable- both had to go back to Cambridgeshire a few times for tweaking, and even then they would cut out, especially when running my previous British Kef dual-concentric speakers, despite on paper being ideally matched.

    My aspirational system would me mostly high end (and very expensive) Meridian kit- plus a whole house system based on their digital streaming technology, formerly known as Sooloos.

  73. For years I thought Bose were German from the sound of the name, but in fact they were founded in America by an Indian.

    The last time I was other there I looked in their shop at the Oprymills mall in Nashville.

  74. I regularly see a Carina E XLi parked in Glenrothes in Fife, reg K956DDC. DVLA records claims the car was registered in May 1994 and manufactured 1993. The fact it is on a K plate indicates that it was manufactured before August 1993 making it older than the similar coloured car featured above.

  75. The 2.0 version of this car can reach 100km/h (60m/s) in 8.8 seconds. It has a huge interior space and a huge boot. Boot is even bigger than most segment E cars (although carina/corona is segment D) It is more economical than all 2 Liter familiy sedans of its time except mondeo that only has a slightly better figure just for the manual trans version. It is faster than all 2L familiy sedans of its time.
    It consumes only %5 more fuel than a 1.6 L corolla of its time.
    When you check reliability statistics. You see that it is always in the first 3 most reliable cars of its time/class. (Subaru Legacy and Corolla are the other two reliability stars of 1992-1998 era)
    Now if this is called dull;
    they dont make cars this “dull” anymore…

    People should also consider that maybe it is a good thing to “look Japanese”. Having hidden quality virtues that you do not show off in the first look is a good thing.

  76. Hi I have a 1994 Toyota Carina E 1.6 GLI automatic… it has 311.400km it has never broken down once its economical it has space for front and rear passengers a big boot the A/C is very very good better then the new Toyota I have …..and at the of the day it goes from A TO B with out problem.

  77. Hi,I think some of the comments here a harse,you have to understand people have a gruge against these cars because while they were out cursing at there old alfas because they wouldnt start they’d always see the neighbour driving by laughing at them in there carinas, ive had many cars in my years, williams clio’s, evos, subarus sti etc,but i really love carinas had one a few years ago and sold it bought a 02 primera, hated it so i bought another 94 carina e, and still have it, i do deliverys in it, drive it anywere because there is nothing else out there i can absoultly drive the shite out off and nothing goes wrong, in ireland taxis loved them.A friend of mine had one with over 500 m on it miles not kilos,The reason the handling was bad was because of the skinny steel wheels standerd on them, the one i hav at the moment has celica alloys on it and u can throw it into any corner no hassle.

  78. Bought a brand new Toyota carina in 1994 it was a 2.0 xli diesel saloon
    had it for nearly 18 years had over 900,000 thousand yes that right pass its nct evertime but sadly not around anymore

  79. Jeez… poor old Carina gets a load of bashing here.
    Do not forget, this car is from an era when other brands from the same class (VW Passat, Ford Mondeo (or rather Sierra?), etc.) were no better either. I owned most of them for a while. These cars were made for transporting a family from A to B, nothing else. If somebody expects excellent road holding and superior acceleration then he may be on the wrong train.
    I used to work in Germany and thus have some experience driving on the Autobahns without speed limit (there are some free sections around Munich at least). Driving at 160-170 km/h (= 100-110 mph) was nothing dramatic. Dull? Maybe, but its design is still as appealling as it was some 20 years ago. Where are the other cars from this era?
    The best is that I still have the Carina as a second car with 320000 kms (= around 200000 miles) on the tacho. I already considered replacing it but it simply would not make any sense. For making fun I rather choose other options, this one however seems to live forever.

  80. Hello!

    My parents have a k- reg 1993 Carina which they are looking to sell. It’s not quite as polished as the one in the article but the old girl still gets them from A – B.
    I’d rather it was sold to someone who would appreciate it so thought i’d try here! 181,000 miles, grey, MOT’d until June 2017, Taxed til Feb.
    DM me though my website if you’re interested!

  81. Very rare now, but before Skoda took over the local taxi market, many local taxi drivers traded in their Cavaliers and Sierras for Carina Es, as these cars were unbreakable and had a good local dealer to back them up. I’d imagine some would have clocked over 100 k miles in five years and were still almost as good as new.

      • The Carina and the Avensis were popular locally for their ability to take huge mileages, and the Nissan Primera and diesel Peugeot 405s were popular for the same reason.

  82. Checking the registration plate on the DVLA MoT website draws a blank, has the car gone to the great scrapyard in the sky, or possibly exported to an East European country?

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