Toyota Celica

The Celica was one of the oldest cars in the Toyota lineup as a 35-year-old make. Its popularity is likely due to it being Toyota’s entry-level sport coupe, making the sporty car available to the common man. The Celica saw several changes between the 1970s and the early 2000s, including several drivetrains tweaks and body changes.

The Celica arrived as an import in 1971. The car was discontinued in 2005.

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About the Toyota Celica

The Toyota Celica is known for different strengths and weaknesses depending on the period in which is was built. The earliest Celica was a sporty looking vehicle with three doors and a mediocre engine. Cars from the 1980s were slightly more powerful, but the design of the body suffered. The recent Celica models from 2000 and later brought sportiness and power back.

Toyota Celica Features

The earliest Celica models have a unique design that may appeal to sports car enthusiasts. The hatchback-like design is quirky yet appealing. However, the weaker engine may fail to elicit excitement. It is relatively rare to find the earliest Celica models mainly because they were imports assembled in Japan.

The fifth generation Celica ran between 1990 and 1993, which was one of the first Celica models widely available in the international market and was largely based on its predecessor. The fifth generation had the same parts and trim lines available: the ST Coupe, GT Coupe, GT Hatchback, and All-Trac Turbo hatchback. A five-speed manual transmission was standard and a four-speed automatic was made optional, except for on the All-Trac, where the automatic was standard. All of the fifth generation models were given a facelift in 1992. Standard equipment on the inside of the vehicle was improved.

The ST Coupe model had a 1.6-liter engine. The engine barely made it sporty at all as it produced a paltry 103 horsepower. The GT and GT-S were slightly improved with a 2.2-liter engine producing 130 to 135 hp. The Celica was a large vehicle, weighing too much for the small engines it was given. The exception was the All-Trac Turbo that boasted 200 horsepower produced by a 2.0-liter engine. The All-Trac could accelerate from zero to 60 in seven seconds.

Toyota Celica Evolution

Big changes to the vehicle were made in the sixth generation that ran between 1994 and 1999. The chassis was heavier, and the engines were smaller, making the sixth generation one of the weakest in the Celica line. Coupe and hatchback body styles were available in ST and GT trim. A GT convertible was introduced in the second year of the run. A five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic were available on all of the cars in the line.

The ST of the sixth generation had nothing more than a 1.8-liter 110-horsepower engine and struggled to maintain any kind of speed with the heavy chassis. The GT had a slightly improved 2.2-liter, 135 horsepower engine. The hatchback models also had a sports tuned suspension that gave it better handling than the other trim lines.

The Celica improved in the seventh generation that sold between 2000 and 2005. New engines and a lighter chassis were responsible for a large upswing in performance capabilities. The price was lowered as well, making this one of the cheapest and best performing Celica models.

The GT and GTS were the standard trim lines. The GT was the base model. It boasted a 1.8-liter engine with 140 horsepower. Five-speed manual was available as well as an optional four-speed automatic. The GT-S also had a 1.8-liter, but it was capable of producing 180 horsepower, making the lighter frame of the vehicle move substantially faster than previous models. A double wishbone rear suspension and a powerful braking system improved the handling as well.

The interior of the vehicle was not as grand as one would expect though. The back seats were painfully small. Visibility out the back window was also flawed. At least the front seats were comfortable. An Action Pack was introduced in 2002 that presented some further conveniences, and a 2003 entertainment package with JLB speakers was also available.

Select a Toyota Celica Year

2005 Toyota Celica

Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

After 35 years of production the 2005 Toyota Celica marks the final model of Toyota’s longest enduring sport coupe in the U.

2004 Toyota Celica

Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

The 2004 Toyota Celica is sporty compact coupe inspired by racecar styling.

2003 Toyota Celica

Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

The 2003 Toyota Celica has been known as an overweight and slow ride until the hatchback coupe version was introduced.

2002 Toyota Celica

Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

The 2002 Toyota Celica is a low-slung sport hatchback where high-fashion meets racecar design.

2001 Toyota Celica

Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

The 2001 Toyota Celica represents a solid competitor in the sport coupe market.

2000 Toyota Celica

Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

The 2000 Toyota Celica looks leaner and meaner thanks to a powerful new engine and a sleek makeover aimed at young buyers.

1999 Toyota Celica

Convertible, Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

The 1999 Toyota Celica is a two-door sport compact coupe and was a staple of the lineup from 1971 through 2005 when it was discontinued.

1998 Toyota Celica

Convertible, Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

1997 Toyota Celica

Convertible, Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

The 1997 Toyota Celica serves as a tamer version of its earlier models.

1996 Toyota Celica

Convertible, Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

The 1996 Toyota Celica is available as coupe, convertible, or hatchback.

1995 Toyota Celica

Convertible, Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

The 1995 Toyota Celica brings back the convertible option, which was absent the previous year.

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