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Electric SUVs are becoming more popular as time passes, but they’re not the only answer for those needing something spacious and capable. Don’t get us wrong; we loved our time spent in the Genesis Electrified GV70, which didn’t cost much to charge and was fully capable of traversing dirt roads and whisking us off in a hurry.

However, it’s also very expensive. Sometimes, we wish we could return to simpler times when cars didn’t need all these fancy features to get us down the road. Case in point, this 1983 Toyota Tercel SR5 wagon is up for auction on Bring A Trailer. It’s small, capable, and is essentially the antithesis of the modern EV SUV.

This 1983 Toyota Tercel wagon has a six-speed manual transmission and 4WD

It’s been 15 years since Toyota last produced the Tercel. For those that don’t remember, the Tercel was a subcompact car produced by the Japanese automaker starting in the late 70s. Over time, the car grew dimensionally, and by the early 80s, Toyota offered it in a wagon body style to compete with the Honda Civic wagon.

But enough with the history lesson. This beautiful beige 1983 Toyota Tercel wagon that you see here is a prime example. It’s even complete with a six-speed manual transmission, a carbureted engine, and four-wheel drive. On paper, those specs sound like a recipe for rally-racing success but don’t get too excited.

Under its hood is a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder 3A-C engine that breathes with a set of carburetors and produces a whopping 70 hp. That power is primarily sent to the front wheels, but it can be manually shifted to all four with the pull of a lever. Now, about that transmission. It’s technically a five-speed transmission with an “Extra Low” gear that can be used when the car is in four-wheel drive mode.

The low gear allows the Tercel to climb up steep inclines and dirt hills relatively easily. If you don’t believe us, check out this other Tercel wagon featured on TFL:

This Tercel wagon example is in exceptional shape

It doesn’t take a magnifying glass for anyone to see that this Toyota Tercel wagon is in exceptional shape. The seller says that the previous owner replaced the distributor, radiator, spark plugs, and drive belts. The distributor gasket and fuel filter were replaced as well, but the car currently has a small oil leak.

Otherwise, the car carries a clean CarFax report and only shows about 95,000 miles on the odometer. That’s low mileage, given the car’s age, if you can’t tell by looking at it. The Tercel still shines like new with its factory Crème paint job and black side moldings, bumpers, and window trim. However, there is some bubbling around the gas cap, corrosion on the rear hatch, and paint chipping on the window trim.

On the inside, you’ll find the factory-plaid front seats and brown folding rear seats, as well as manual crank windows and carpeted floor mats. We can imagine that sitting in this car is a blast from the past, especially with its AM/FM cassette stereo and manual sliding climate controls.

On that note, the A/C doesn’t work, so you’ll have to resort to “two-sixty air conditioning,” which involves rolling down the two front windows and going 60 mph on the freeway. However, it may take a half-minute to get up to speed.

The front interior view of the 1983 toyota tercel 4WD up for auction on Bring A Trailer
1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD | Bring A Trailer

Act quickly to get a piece of Toyota’s history

The Toyota Tercel may be long gone, but this clean example can be yours when the auction expires in three days (as of this writing). There’s no reserve, and the bid is at $3,600 for now, which is far cheaper than the car’s original MSRP of $8,338.

The Tercel wagon may not be as fun as a new EV SUV like the Genesis Electrified GV70, but it sure has a lot more soul. The manual transmission, carbureted engine, and 4WD configuration can bring out more driving enjoyment in a more visceral way than an EV ever could. Sorry, Genesis.