Vintage R&T Review: 1972 Toyota Carina – Toyota’s First “Hybrid”

The Carina was a somewhat curious addition to Toyota’s lineup in 1972, as it squeezed in the rather modest-sized gap between the smaller Corolla and larger Corona. Presumably not a lot of folks in the US thought that gap needed filling, and the Carina was a relatively modest seller, and only offered here for three model years (1972-1974).

The Carina made good use of various existing Toyota components, like the whole platform and chassis of the Celica, and the 1.6 L hemi-head pushrod four from the Corolla 1.6. The good news is that it was the best handling Toyota at the time, thanks to the Celica’s underpinnings but with the lighter, smaller engine in front.

The 1.6 was a pretty gutsy little mill; note how the Carina’s 0-60 time edged out the Datsun 510. And walloped the Vega. The Pinto with the optional 2.0 L four and stick not surprisingly was quicker.


The interior was generic Toyota of the times: decent, but nothing spectacular. But the accommodations were pretty good, certainly the back seat was a huge improvement over the Pinto’s little cave.




Curbside Classic: 1973 Toyota Carina – My CC Holy Grail  by D. Skinner