2003 Toyota Celica

  • 2003 Toyota Celica GT Liftback

    GT Liftback

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      1.8L I4
    • MSRP
  • 2003 Toyota Celica GTS Liftback

    GTS Liftback

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      1.8L I4
    • MSRP
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  • Review

2003 Toyota Celica Review

Consumers have a love-hate relationship with the Celica.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2003 Toyota Celica has been known as an overweight and slow ride until the hatchback coupe version was introduced. Since then the Celicas were no longer branded as the ""secretary’s ride."" It has been called a performer since 2000, when the new architecture was implemented. It sports a very aggressive stance, low in front and high on the rear end. It even went further with the styling as it gets high density discharge headlamps for an option. It's a very good-looking car to ride and has a responsive steering. The suspension is a bit stiff though.

The Range

Body Styles: hatchback
Engines: 1.8-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual, six-speed manual
Models: Toyota Celica GT, Toyota Celica GT-S

What's New

The 2003 Toyota Celica receives a front and rear styling update. The sporty ride gets a new bumper and front fascia with a bigger air intake. The aggressive styling is complemented by HID headlamps. The taillights were also redesigned. Step inside and buyers will be pleased with the refreshed cluster on the center dash. The GT-S model also gets a JBL entertainment system with power antenna as standard.


The 2003 Toyota Celica's design studio is in California and was the one responsible for the new look and style. Designers conceptualized the new form inspired by old and new racecars. The overhangs were also trimmed by the designers resulting to a shorter ride compared to the previous models. Aside from the low nose, the windshield of this ride is steeply angled while the tail was made very high. The driver might face some challenge in terms of visibility because of the small windows. It is quite challenging to look over the shoulder or the rear when maneuvering.

The GT-S comes standard with fog lamps. A rear spoiler and a power sunroof come as option for the GT and the GT-S. The GTS comes with an all-disc brakes setup while the GT makes use of disc brakes in front and drum brakes for its rear. Both the GT and GT-S roll on 15-inch rims. The tire of the GT-S though comes a bit wider than its sibling. There is also an option to install 16-inch rims for the GT-S.


The 2003 Toyota Celica interior was also racing inspired and can carry four occupants, but the rear passengers should be ready for the cramped rear seats. The backseat will be better for kids or just cargo. The rear seats can also be folded to give way to more storage space. The dashboard sports a modern look with cool analog instruments. It comes standard with a steering wheel can be tilted, intermittent wipers, and air-conditioning. The GT-S adds more amenities like cruise control, leather treatment for the steering wheel, power windows, and power door locks. The cargo capacity is not so generous at 16.9 cubic feet. Buyers can also go for leather seats as an option.

Performance & Handling

The 2003 Toyota Celica come with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and can deliver 140 horses. The inline-four 1.8-liter engine for the GT-S gives out 180 horses while revving at 7600 rpm. The GT-S mates its engine with a six-speed manual transmission while the GT links its power plant to a five-speed manual transmission. There is an option to get a four-speed automatic gearbox for both models with the GT-S featuring manual gear select using four buttons integrated with the steering wheel. The overall look can be described with one word: sharp. The best feature of the setup is the precise and steady handling of the sporty ride. The hatchback coupe has a very responsive steering with little worries about body lean while negotiating curves and corners. Sometimes the grip while handling corners is questionable, especially grip from the rear tires. The comfort of the ride will never be an issue when cruising on the highway but might not be the best on drives along city streets.


The 2003 Toyota Celica comes standard with daytime running lights. Other provisions such as anti-lock brakes and side-impact airbags come as options.

EPA Fuel Economy

Celica GT four-speed automatic: 25/33 mpg city/highway
Celica GT five-speed manual: 23/30 mpg city/highway
Celica GT-S four-speed automatic: 20/27 mpg city/highway
Celica GT-S six-speed manual: 20/29 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Cool styling
  • Excellent handling and braking
  • Responsive Steering

You Won't Like

  • Interiors can be better
  • Difficult shifter for the six-speed transmission

Sum Up

Consumers have a love-hate relationship with the Celica.

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