• (4.6) 20 reviews
  • MSRP: $1,961–$9,925
  • Body Style: Hatchback
  • Combined MPG: 27-30
  • Engine: 140-hp, 1.8-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission: 4-speed automatic w/OD
2003 Toyota Celica

Our Take on the Latest Model 2003 Toyota Celica

2003 Toyota Celica Reviews

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

Consumer Reviews

4.6

Average based on 20 reviews

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Fun, reliable & Gas effecient

by captainmoe21 from Santa Clarita, CA on September 13, 2017

I've had my 2003 GTS for 12 years now. It's taken me everywhere I've needed to go with no problems. Don't expect to carry any passengers in the rear, that's only for show. The two front seats are comf... Read Full Review

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2 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2003 Toyota Celica trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Toyota Celica Articles

2003 Toyota Celica Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $5,000 per year.

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Warranty Coverage

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

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.

Powertrain

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.

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).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

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.

Other Years