2000 Toyota Celica

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2000 Toyota Celica
Available in 2 styles:  2000 Toyota Celica 2dr Hatchback shown
Asking Price Range
$2,020–$8,548
Estimated MPG

23–28 city / 32–34 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 7

By 

The Morning Call and Mcall.com
The official start of summer is little more than a week away, and , with it, one's head turns to thoughts of blasting down a twisting, turning road in a tight little sports car. May I recommend the Toyota Celica?

Just reaching showrooms is the all-new 2000 model, whose resemblance to the previous, sixth-generation model is purely coincidental. The 1999 Celica was handsome and rounded, if a bit flabby for such a youthful car. It also took the styling as far as it would go.

For 2000, Celica looks to its past while looking ahead. The first Celica debuted for 1973 in one trim level (ST) and boasting a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. But it's the styling of the 1973 model, which openly mimicked Ford's Mustang, that seemed to be an inspiration for Toyota designers. While the look of the new model is hardly retro, it takes it looks more from a Ford sports coupe than Ford's own Mercury Cougar.

The body itself is a lovely thing to study. The stance is low with the tires pushed out to the very edges of the body. In fact, although Toyota states that the rear track is less wide than the front, the opposite appears to be true, lending the coupe a race-car like proportion. Note how character lines wrap through the vehicle, providing a sense of motion. Very nicely done.

If the vehicle looks smaller, well, it is. This year sees a longer wheelbase (102.3 inches) and shorter overall length (170.4 inches). Lightness was the key in engineering the new car, so a smaller package is part of the equation.

The car comes in GT and GT-S trim levels, both featuring a 1.8-liter twin-cam 16-valve engine. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the GT. A six-speed is standard on the GT-S. A four-speed automatic is optional on both cars, with the GT-S getting steering-wheel-mounted Formula 1-style shifters that allow the driver to shift gears manually.

GT-spec cars get the base engine with a sufficient 140 horsepower. The one to go for is the GT-S. Yamaha helped with development and the result is a hefty 180 horsepower at 7,600 rpm and 133 foot-pounds of torque at 6,800 rpm and a 7,800 rpm redline.

With those kind of numbers in a car that weighs 2,580 pounds, it's not hard to figure out the performance equation. This car is fast, albeit with some qualifications. With so little torque so high in the rev band, this car is hardly a screamer off the line, especially if the air-conditioning is operating. Stop and go traffic will definitely find you in the slow lane. Power doesn't come on strong until around 3,000 rpm, but from there on out, pulling power is strong.

The engine sounds great, making sweet noises that recall race cars. All that power is hitched to a sophisticated chassis that keeps the car planted when the road bends. The Celica stayed flat when testing even the twistiest back roads.

Despite being a front driver, the car seems well-balanced, almost neutral in feel. Opting for the GTS also gives one access to 16-inch wheels over the standard 15-inch wheels.

The ride is quite firm, as one would expect in a sporting car, although bumps in the roadway easily can jar the rear loose. But, this car seems a fair-weather friend, as inclement weather tested the car's abilities. During almost torrential rains, this car felt squirmy. Even 4-cylinder Camrys handled better, something to keep in mind. But the car's newly rediscovered muscles makes the old car look flabby.

Accomodations are about what you'd expect in this class. The car sits very low, so low that you look up at Honda Preludes, and coupled with its small size, it can be missed easily by other drivers.

Despite being a 2+2, think of the rear seat as extra cargo space, since only Barbie and Ken can fit back there. Front seats are shapely and supportive. The bottom seat cushion is a little short. The driving position is as race-inspired as the rest of the car. The steering wheel and gua es are perfectly placed. The dash has a large radio with large buttons and good sound. The dead pedal has stylish chrome trim. Neat.

The view out of the rear isn't that good; ditto the sides, where the seeping styling blocks the view directly beside the car. But sports cars are about compromises.

Cargo space in the rear hatch is good, with tie-down points, cargo tray and cargo net helping store stuff. The cargo tray is fixed, creating an uneven floor when the rear seats are folded.

The interior materials are nicely styled, but the interior has a budget-level feel. Despite that, the car was carefully assembled.

What's happened to the Celica is a transformation of sorts. The car has always been a sporty car. Good manners, nice styling, not a lot of scoot. But the new GT-S, with its hot engine, crisp modern style and good manners has transformed the Celica into a sports car. Now all Toyota needs to do is produce the Celica convertible that was on display at the New York Auto Show. The seventh generation Celica may be the lucky one for another Toyota best-seller.

2000 Celica GT-S
Engine: 1.8-liter DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder
Transmissions: 5- or 6-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Tires: P205/55R15, P205/50R16
Wheelbase: 102.3 inches
Length: 170.4 inches
Width: 68.3 inches
Curb weight: 2,580 pounds
EPA rating: 23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway



    Expert Reviews 2 of 7

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