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Expert Reviews 1 of 7
By Rick Popely
May 2, 2000
Vehicle Overview One of the oldest model names in Toyotas lineup has a new look aimed at younger buyers and a potent new engine for the GT-S model.
The first Celica model appeared in the United States in 1971, which makes this the second-longest running model in Toyotas stable after the Corolla, which arrived in the United States three years earlier.
Toyota plans to target Generation X and younger buyers with the redesigned front-drive Celica, and the new look seems to have youthful appeal. The median buyers age has dropped to 33 from 42 this year.
Exterior The new Celica was designed at Toyotas California design center and gives this coupe a truly new look. A longer wheelbase and shorter overall length reduce front and rear overhang. The new styling features a low nose, steeply raked windshield, sharp creases along the sides and a tall tail, a marked contrast to the rounded, soft shape of the previous generation. Overall length is about 4 inches shorter at 170.
The old Celica came in coupe, hatchback and convertible styling, but the new one is hatchback only.
Interior The dashboard has a fresh, convenient design, and the front seats provide ample comfort and room. The two-place rear seat, however, remains suitable only for kids or cargo because there isnt enough space for adults. One negative aspect of the crisp new styling is that visibility is poor to the rear and over the shoulder because the windows are narrow.
The split rear seatbacks on both models fold for additional cargo room, and other amenities include map pockets on the doors and a covered bin in the center console.
Under the Hood Both the GT and GT-S models come with 1.8-liter four-cylinder engines with dual overhead camshafts, but the designs are different and they provide different performance. The one in the GT model generates 140 horsepower, while the one in the GT-S is a new design that makes 180 hp.
Both are available with a four-speed automatic transmission, but the GT comes with a standard five-speed manual and the GT-S has a standard six-speed manual. Another notable difference is that premium gas is recommended for the GT-S, but the GT only needs regular fuel.
Antilock brakes and side-impact airbags for the front seats are optional.