The Toyota Tercel Had A Humble Beginning
The Tercel entered the front-drive market in 1980 after its competitors, including the high-end Volkswagen Rabbit, Ford Escort, GM J-cars, and
Plymouth Horizon/Dodge Omni, had already established themselves. The front-wheel drive arrangements of
all of these vehicles improved the interior roominess, making even little vehicles habitable. There were two- and four-door sedans, two- and four-door Deluxe sedans,
Deluxe and SR5 liftbacks, and more at first. However, the four-door standard sedan disappeared from the market in 1981.
The Tercel's ground-breaking front-wheel drive architecture avoided the transverse engine placement of preceding
front-wheel drive designs. Instead, the manufacturer installed the engine longitudinally and
the transmission beneath the floor pan, as is customary for vehicles with rear-wheel drive.