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Weekly Craigslist Hidden Treasure: 1990 Toyota Corolla All-Trac SR5

Car Culture / Comments

A dirt cheap AWD wagon with a five-speed manual? Oh yes, please.

The Toyota Corolla has just become cool again following years of lameness. We're particularly big fans of the new Corolla hatchback with the six-speed manual, in case you're wondering. Before Toyota's favorite example of basic transportation switched from a rear- to a front-wheel-drive setup, the best Corolla was unquestionably the AE86. No explanations required. But there was another Corolla variant that launched in the late 1980s more people need to know about.

The Corolla All-Trac wagon debuted in 1988 and lasted until through the 1992 model year. In a way, Toyota actually beat Subaru and its Outback "sport utility wagon" concept to market but, unfortunately, the former made no long-term commitment.

Sold in two trims, base and SR5, the Corolla All-Trac was based on the sixth generation model and featured a unique body style only available for North America. Yeah, seriously. Something cool not offered anywhere else but here. The exterior styling, generally speaking, was very late-80s Toyota with a generally angled appearance throughout. But the All-Trac's best traits were its AWD and wagon body style, no question. And remember, this was before the arrival of mainstream crossovers. There were station wagons, sure, but most were FWD at that time. They couldn't do any off-roading, even minor. Adding AWD fixed that. So basically what we're looking at here is an AWD wagon with a four-pot linked to a manual transmission. Wicked cool.

Unfortunately, sales were never spectacular and the Toyota Corolla All-Trac was never redesigned and improved over the years. Toyota basically handed Subaru on a silver platter a winning combo. The good news for Toyota fans it there are still a few of these Corolla All-Tracs still out there, such as this one we found on Craigslist Portland.

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This 1990 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon has 148,000 miles and is in excellent general shape, aside from a few age-related wear and tear issues. Nothing terrible. The seller claims the car has been in the family for nearly 20 years and it's been subject to lots of new parts and repairs. Over $5,000 has been invested and the asking price right now is only $3,888. It reportedly drives great and can achieve 30+ mpg on the highway. It's also very cheap to insure.

Above all, it's got a great vintage vibe going on and is far funkier, spunkier and, perhaps, more reliable than many new crossovers today. It's been a long time since Subarus were truly quirky.

A precise horsepower rating was not provided in the description, but the seller indicates there's enough output for ski wagon duties. The body and glass are also in good shape, with the exception of a few minor dings and scratches. Hey, it's three decades old. What'd you expect? The interior, however, does have some cracks, a missing passenger door map pocket, and some interior pieces with fading color. Again, it's 30 years old.

The seller provides an excellent overall description with lots of details in the ad itself, so we encourage interested parties to check it out. Don't think of this as some bland Toyota Corolla wagon, but rather an AWD fun wagon with tons of character.

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