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.

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