The Toyota Carina is a compact car manufactured and marketed by the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota from 1970 to 2001 over 7 generations. The inspiration for the name Carina came from the constellation Carina, sharing a naming inspiration with the Celica, which is ultimately derived from the Latin word coelica meaning "heavenly" or "celestial".
History of the Toyota Carina
First Generation Toyota Carina (A10/A30; 1970–1977)
The first-generation Carina was manufactured in December 1970, and sold at Toyota Store dealership channels in Japan, sharing its platform with the Toyota Celica sports coupe. Its European release took place in October 1971. In 1971, the Carina 1600GT was introduced as an alternative to the Corona-based Toyota 1600GT, using a 2T-G type 1600 DOHC engine shared with the Celica GT. The Corona GT was exclusive to Toyopet Store locations, while the Carina 1600GT was exclusive to Toyota Store locations, and the Celica GT was exclusive to Toyota Corolla Store locations. Beginning in 1975, A30-series numbers were used for some hardtop coupés. The wagons/vans of the first generation were not regularly exported. Carina vans entered production in December 1975. It was revised in 1972 with a restyled body, new rear light cluster, filler cap repositioned in the rear quarter panel, and restyled front grille, and fascia. The specification was once again revised in 1974 including a sealed cooling system, improved brakes, restyled wheels with flared wheel arches, and restyled interior fittings. In late October 1975 (on sale 1 November), the Carina received a new front and rear-end styling, a dual-line braking system with servo, and a repositioned handbrake and gear lever in a modified dashboard. The 1.4 was dropped from sedans and coupés, and a mid-range 1.8 was added at the time of the late 1975 facelift. In December 1975 a Van version was developed, featuring the same facelifted front end.
Second Generation Toyota Carina (A40/A50; 1977–1981)
Released in Japan in August 1977, the next-generation Carina was available in Germany in December 1977 and in other European countries during 1978. The chassis was mostly the same as that of the facelifted late Carinas of the first generation; the Van versions actually continued to use the old TA16/19 chassis codes in spite of receiving the new bodywork as they retained the old Van's underpinnings. In 1980, all models had revised front- and rear-end styling and headlights, and also received improved interiors. The following year, saloon and coupé models (but not the estate) were fitted with five-speed gearboxes as standard, still with optional automatic transmissions. In November 1977, the 3T-U 1,800 cc engine emissions were updated. In May 1978, the GT 1600 cc was added, and a three-speed automatic transmission became available. In September 1978, the 3T-EU engine (1,770 cc OHV EFI) was installed in the ST-EFI and SR-EFI models, initially only with a five-speed manual. At the same time, the 2000GT with DOHC 18R-GU and the 18R-GEU EFI engine, fit 1978 exhaust emission regulations, as did the 18R-U and 21R-U engines. The emblem was changed to "TOYOTA" from "TOYOTA CARINA". In August 1979, the front of the vehicle received a major change that now included four headlamp lights rather than the previous setup, with the Van remaining with four round lamps. As of August 1980, the EFI specification 1800 Hard Top (ST-EFI, SR-EFI) was the only engine offered in the sedans/coupés.
Third Generation Toyota Carina (A60; 1981–1988)
In its third incarnation, the Carina followed the fashion of the time with a still more angular and four-square design (a two-square headlights version is also available). The car followed its predecessors in retaining a front-engine rear-wheel-drive configuration even though by then competitor manufacturers were following a trend of switching to front-wheel drive in this class. In addition to the petrol-engined versions, the Carina was later (February 1982) offered with the option of a 1,839 cc 1C diesel engine, for which a power output of 65 PS (48 kW) at 4,500 rpm was claimed - in markets where fuel pricing and availability rendered this model appropriate. The third generation was first released in September 1981. This was the last Carina to use rear-wheel drive. The Carina was famously used by private teams racing for Japan in the Dakar Rally in the two-wheel-drive class for both 1981 and 1982. Carina managed to achieve four championships in the marathon class divisions. In February 1982, a five-door wagon series based on the Van was added, marketed as the "Carina Surf" (SA60G) in Japan. In October 1982, the Turbo DOHC engine (3T-GTEU, 1770 cc, and 160 PS (118 kW) in the Touring Super Coupé trim level) with the "GT-TR" trim level was added. In August 1983, a series of minor changes to the Carina Van took place. The 12T-J 1600 cc OHV engine was replaced with the lighter and more economical 1.5L 5K-J type. In May 1984, the front-wheel-drive four-door sedan "Carina FF" (T150 chassis) was introduced in addition to the rear-wheel-drive sedan range.
Fourth Generation Toyota Carina (T150; 1984–1988)
Available in either saloon or practical liftback body styles (no estate model was produced) and with efficient new petrol or diesel engines, the new fourth-generation Carina II carved a fine reputation in a fiercely competitive segment of the market. It was also acknowledged as an accomplished all-around performer with inherent reliability, build quality, low running costs, and lighter construction. The 1.6L petrol engine came from Toyota's recently developed A-series range, while the inclusion of a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter diesel unit helped Carina appeal to other sectors of the market. Diesel buyers were limited to the saloon variant, while the petrol engine could be specified in either saloon or liftback forms. One well-equipped GL trim level was available initially but after a mild refresh in 1985 – identified by new stainless steel wheel trims and fully color-coded bumpers – a high-specification Executive grade (see image below) was added to the best-selling liftback version. It offered luxuries such as electric windows, an electric sunroof, and alloy wheels, not to mention the option of air conditioning. But the biggest news of the facelift came under the bonnet, where an increased compression ratio improved power and torque in the petrol model by a significant 11 percent, now delivering 85 hp and 99.6 lb-ft. The outright performance marked a return to form, with 60 mph coming up in 10.7 seconds and mid-range acceleration swifter than the majority of its rivals. Yet that extra power did not come at the expense of economy – the Carina could still achieve impressive fuel consumption of over 50 mpg at a steady 56 mph cruise.
Fifth Generation Toyota Carina (T170; 1988–1992)
This generation was released in May 1988. The exterior sheet metal received rounded contours, as was in line with the fashionable design of products at that time. The Surf (wagon) and Van versions also underwent a full model change to bring them in line with their siblings. 4S-Fi is an 1800 cc engine type, 1600 cc of the 4A-GE, and the specification for higher-power higher-cam-4A-FHE car, 1500 cc of the 5A-F type, 2000 cc diesel-2C. The 3E engine was fitted to the 1500 cc Van, which was also available with the 2000 cc diesel 2C engine. In December 1988, a full-time 4WD system with a center differential was added to the sedan (chassis code AT175). The 1587 cc 4A-FE is the only engine available for this new AWD model. In August 1989, the "G Limited" with the high-performance and high-compression 4A-GE engine was added; it has 140 PS (103 kW). In May 1990, only minor changes. Wagons and commercial vans were sold until March 10, 1992, when they were replaced with the Caldina. In late 1989 the top models had huge upgrades, getting electric mirrors, electric windows, central locking, heated front windscreen, and updated trim.
Sixth Generation Toyota Carina (T190; 1992–1996)
The sixth-generation Carina appeared in August 1992 and was only available with a four-door sedan body style, while the five-door van/wagon models were replaced by the new Caldina. The size was also bigger than the previous model. Most of the 1.5–1.8L DOHC petrol engines from the previous generation were available in this generation. 2.0L petrol and diesel engines with 4WD systems were also available. A facelift came in August 1994. The old 1.8L 4S-FE engine was replaced by the newly developed 1.8L 7A-FE engine. This generation was discontinued in 1996. The Carina E was the European version of the Toyota "T" platform. It was produced in the United Kingdom at the new Burnaston plant near Derby from 16 December 1992 until 1998. The Carina ED 4-door hardtop ended production in 1998.
Seventh Generation Toyota Carina (T210; 1996–2001)
The seventh generation Carina was a sedan version produced only for the Japanese market. It shared a few similarities with its sister model, Corona Premio which was marketed in some Asian countries and used the T190 system as its basic platform. In 1996, Toyota introduced a sports "GT" version of Carina with 5 valves per cylinder 4A-GE 'black top' engine and 5-speed C56 manual transmission; beginning in 1998 this GT version came equipped with 6-speed C160 manual transmission. The station wagon/commercial van had been replaced by Toyota Caldina while an alternative five-door MPV style wagon called Ipsum offered front-wheel drive or optional AWD from Caldina ST215 4WD model. With the new Corona Premio, Toyota's first collision safety body "GOA" was adopted along with 7A-FE lean burn 1.8-liter engine, 5A - FE 1500 cc & 2C - TE 2000cc turbo diesel engines but 1600 cc lean burn 4 A – FE engine wasn't available anymore. The Carina GT model was based on the AT210 and featured a high-revving 4A-GE engine producing 165 PS. It came with an optional manual transmission (C56) and limited slip differential (LSD). The exterior of the car had distinct features such as "GT" lettering in red, black, and nickel on its front grille; 15-inch wheels with 195/55 R15 tires; body kit including side skirts, rear bumper spoilers, optional large rear spoiler; dark sporty fabric upholstery. In 1997 a Limited model known as "GT PIERNA" was introduced in black color. Minor design changes were made to headlamps & tail lights along with bumpers in 1998 while the 2000 cc diesel engine of Ti model increased to 2200 cc later that year. Production ended after 31 years when December 2001 arrived.
The price range for a used Toyota Carina varies based on the trim level you choose. Starting at $348 and going to $14,385 for the latest year the model was manufactured.
Specs and Performance of the Toyota Carina
- 1495 cc 5A-FE I4 (AT212)
- 1587 cc 4A-GE 20V I4 (AT210)
- 1762 cc 7A-FE I4 (AT211)
- 1998 cc 3S-FE I4 (ST210/215)
- 1974 cc 2C-T turbo I4 (CT210/215)
- 2184 cc 3C-TE turbo I4 (CT211/216)
The Toyota Carina's 2.2L engine delivers 91 hp (68 kW) at 4,000 rpm and 142 lb-ft (192 Nm) of torque at 2,200 rpm. Toyota marketed the Carina as a front-wheel-drive (FWD) vehicle, and it was available with a 4-speed automatic transmission. Dimension-wise, the Toyota Carina measures 4,495 mm (177.0 in) long, 1,695 mm (66.7 in) wide, and 1,400–1,410 mm (55.1–55.5 in) high. Its wheelbase measures 2,580 mm (101.6 in) and has a curb weight of 2,430–2,890 lbs (1,100–1,310 kg).
Toyota Carina burst onto the scene in December 1970 and became an instant classic. After more than three decades of production, it was retired to make room for the new Toyota Allion (Japan) and Avensis models (Europe).