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2002 Toyota Celica Review
A sportier Toyota than the Camry.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 2002 Toyota Celica is a low-slung sport hatchback where high-fashion meets racecar design. With this automobile Toyota appeals to a younger audience than with the Camry Solara. It comes in two trim levels, GT and GT-S. Offered as a convertible in the past, this year's Celica comes as a hardtop only.
Engines: 1.8-liter I-4
Transmissions: six-speed manual, four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Toyota Celica GT, Toyota Celica GT-S
The changes for the 2002 Toyota Celica remain few. The addition of a mesh grille to the front bumper marks the single biggest change. A factory-installed Action option package gives you an assertive front bumper, rocker panels, a rear aero bumper made of polyurethane, and an adjustable rear wing.
Think racecar when you think of the 2002 Toyota Celica. That's what the designers did at the California design studios of Toyota did when they gave the Celica its fresh look and low stance. It has a low nose, a steeply raked windshield, and a tall tail. It measures shorter than its predecessors despite a longer 102.4-inch wheelbase. It measures 170.5 inches long overall and 51.4 inches tall. Fog lights come standard on the GT-S. A power sunroof and a rear spoiler provide options on the GT-S and GT. Standard features include power mirrors and variable intermittent wipers. Fifteen-inch tires come standard, but the GT-S uses wider tires fitted to alloy wheels. The GT-S offers 16-inch tires as an option.
Seating for four comes in this race-inspired 2002 Toyota Celica, but the two passengers in back experience a bit of a squeeze. The rear seat may be best left to kids and cargo. Fortunately, bucket seats up front provide a bit more room for the driver and front passenger although the Celica's interior still feels a little on the cramped side. The dashboard proves very convenient in its layout and looks modern in its appearance.
Both models get a tilt-steering wheel, a CD player, a tachometer, a rear defogger, and air-conditioning. If you want a leather-wrapped steering wheel opt for the GT-S and you also get power windows, power door locks, and cruise control. Leather-trimmed seats remain available as an option. Cargo capacity totals 16.9 cubic feet.
Performance & Handling
The best thing about the 2002 Toyota Celica would have to be its taut, precise handling. It responds well to steering and remains very stable on the highway with little body lean through the curves. Its ride feels best on the open road instead of in urban conditions.
Under the hood Toyota offers a choice of the 1.8-liter VVT-i (variable valve timing with intelligence) four-cylinder engine producing 140 horsepower or a 1.8-liter, dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder which produces 180 horsepower. The GT comes equipped with a five-speed manual transmission standard, and the GT-S has a six-speed manual. Both offer a four-speed automatic as an option, but the one in the GT-S has manual gear selection via four buttons on the steering wheel.
In addition to the standard safety features, the 2002 Toyota Celica includes daytime running lights. Side-impact airbags and anti-lock brakes remain available options.
EPA Fuel Economy
Toyota Celica GT-S: 20/29 mpg city/highway
- Race-inspired styling
- GT-S rev-happy engine
- Exceptional steering, braking, and handling
You Won't Like
- So-so interior material
- Hard-to-master six-speed shifter
- Not many options or features
A sportier Toyota than the Camry.
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