2003 Toyota Celica

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Overview
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Key Specs

of the 2003 Toyota Celica. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    27-30 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    140-hp, 1.8-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

2003 Toyota Celica Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
Toyota’s rakish, low-slung sport coupe aims at an audience that’s younger than buyers of the Camry Solara coupe. Unlike the company’s MR2 Spyder, the Celica has a small backseat. A modest face-lift for the 2003 model year includes an updated front fascia, revised taillights and newly available high-intensity-discharge headlights. The gauge cluster has also been revised.

Last redesigned for 2000, the front-wheel-drive Celica hatchback is still offered in GT and racier GT-S trim levels. Convertible versions have been offered in the past, but today’s Celica is strictly a solid-roofed coupe.

Exterior
Created at Toyota’s California design studio, the Celica was inspired by racecars. Longer in wheelbase than its predecessor, today’s Celica is shorter overall, which reduces the front and rear overhangs. In addition to a low nose, the body features a steeply raked windshield, a tall tail and sharp creases along the sides. Narrow windows impair both rear and over-the-shoulder visibility.

Fog lights are standard on the GT-S, and a power sunroof and rear spoiler are optional on the GT-S and GT. All-disc brakes go on the GT-S, but the GT is equipped with a front-disc and rear-drum setup. Both models ride 15-inch tires, but GT-S rubber is a little wider and covers alloy wheels. The GT-S can be equipped with optional 16-inch tires.

Interior
Racing is also said to have inspired the interior. The Celica is designed to seat four occupants, but t...
Vehicle Overview
Toyota’s rakish, low-slung sport coupe aims at an audience that’s younger than buyers of the Camry Solara coupe. Unlike the company’s MR2 Spyder, the Celica has a small backseat. A modest face-lift for the 2003 model year includes an updated front fascia, revised taillights and newly available high-intensity-discharge headlights. The gauge cluster has also been revised.

Last redesigned for 2000, the front-wheel-drive Celica hatchback is still offered in GT and racier GT-S trim levels. Convertible versions have been offered in the past, but today’s Celica is strictly a solid-roofed coupe.

Exterior
Created at Toyota’s California design studio, the Celica was inspired by racecars. Longer in wheelbase than its predecessor, today’s Celica is shorter overall, which reduces the front and rear overhangs. In addition to a low nose, the body features a steeply raked windshield, a tall tail and sharp creases along the sides. Narrow windows impair both rear and over-the-shoulder visibility.

Fog lights are standard on the GT-S, and a power sunroof and rear spoiler are optional on the GT-S and GT. All-disc brakes go on the GT-S, but the GT is equipped with a front-disc and rear-drum setup. Both models ride 15-inch tires, but GT-S rubber is a little wider and covers alloy wheels. The GT-S can be equipped with optional 16-inch tires.

Interior
Racing is also said to have inspired the interior. The Celica is designed to seat four occupants, but the two rear passengers should be prepared for a tight squeeze. The backseat is best suited for children or cargo, and the split seatbacks fold to increase storage space. The dashboard has a modern look with analog instruments.

Standard equipment includes a tilt steering wheel, a cassette/CD stereo, air conditioning and intermittent wipers. The GT-S adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, and power windows and door locks. Leather-trimmed seats are optional. Cargo capacity measures 16.9 cubic feet.

Under the Hood
The 1.8-liter VVT-i (variable valve timing with intelligence) four-cylinder engine in the Celica GT develops 140 horsepower. A 1.8-liter dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder with VVTL-i technology goes into the GT-S, which churns out 180 hp at 7,600 rpm. The GT has a standard five-speed-manual gearbox, and the manual transmission in the GT-S has six speeds. A four-speed-automatic transmission is optional in both models, but the one in the GT-S offers manual gear selection that operates with four buttons on the steering wheel. The GT-S requires premium fuel.

Safety
Daytime running lights are standard. Side-impact airbags and antilock brakes are optional.

Driving Impressions
With its angular design, the sleek, low Celica looks sharp. Unfortunately, too many irritations crop up to give it a true thumbs-up.

Taut, precise handling is the Celica’s No. 1 blessing. The coupe responds well to steering by producing minimal body lean through curves and remaining neatly stable on the highway. While rounding a quick curve, the rear wheels sometimes feel as if they could lose their grip if they were pushed just a little more. Ride comfort is fine on the highway but can become harsh in urban commutes.

With its high-revving engine, the Celica is fast from a standing start. Sadly, that satisfying action is accompanied by some brash, raspy sounds from the four-cylinder, and automatic-transmission downshifts aren’t the most genteel.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
Posted on 3/26/03

Latest 2003 Celica Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.3)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Very reliable and fun to drive

by Celica from California on April 19, 2018

For the price this car is amazing feels like a sports car. Highly recommend to get the gt-s model. Very reliable I only did oil changes every 3,500 miles and it never give me a problem. Read full review

(4.0)

Sporty on a budget

by Gearguy70 from Fredericksburg, VA on March 29, 2018

Ive owned both versions of the car, gt and gts. Toyota reliability with a little sport styling. Parts are economical, gets great gas milage, and its quite peppy. I'm 6'1", and I fit comfortably. Owned ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2003 Toyota Celica currently has 0 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2003 Toyota Celica has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Celica received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker