Toyota North America’s average buyer age was ticking up in the 1990s, coinciding with the gradual disappearance of their more exciting, youth-oriented models. The Supra was gone after ’98, the Corolla came only in sedan form, and the cheaper Tercel and Paseo were about as thrilling as a dentist appointment. The company needed a fresh approach to targeting younger buyers, and it came with the three cars of Project Genesis. One of these was a new generation of Celica, and sadly proved to be the final generation of the venerable nameplate.
The other two were the Echo sedan and the MR-2 Spyder, which should further tell you how successful Project Genesis was. Officially, the project died in 2001 and Toyota shifted their marketing efforts into the Scion sub-brand which launched in 2004.
Project Genesis was a great idea in theory. Spearheaded by Toyota Motor Sales president Yoshimi Inaba and Chief Operating Officer Jim Press, it focused on more trendy product and more advertising on the internet and on cable TV networks. Alas, the Genesis team didn’t engage with customers enough: the Echo sedan was far dorkier than the hatch not offered in the US, while the MR-2 was a roadster and therefore had a strong appeal to slightly older buyers.
The car that came closest to meeting the project’s brief was the Celica: it was both more affordable and more fun-to-drive than its predecessor. A pity, then, that the compact coupe segment was contracting as buyers of all ages embraced more versatile vehicles.
Despite the sagging market for coupes, the Celica’s sales figures did resurge to early-1990s levels, if only briefly. The sixth-generation was the only Toyota that was getting absolutely decimated in sales by a Mitsubishi (the Eclipse), in some years being outsold 6-to-1. The seventh-generation brought the Celica nameplate back to parity, even outside of North America—Europe, for example, embraced Celica 7 much more than Celica 6.
It makes sense. While Celica 6 was competent dynamically, it wasn’t hugely exciting. Celica 7 changed that. Firstly, the car went on a diet, losing around 100 pounds for a curb weight of around 2500 pounds. The wheelbase was 2.4 inches longer but total length was down 4 inches. The notchback and convertible variants were no longer offered, the Celica exclusively available as a hatchback coupe.
Secondly, the old 2.2 four-cylinder was ditched in favour of a new 1.8 with variable valve timing. The Celica’s new power plant was available in two states of tune, depending on trim level. The smaller engine size was felt in the reduced torque figures, however even the standard 1.8 produced as much horsepower as the old 2.2. In base Celicas, the 1.8 produced 140 hp at 6400 rpm and 125 ft-lbs at 4200 rpm, up around 5 horses but down a good 20 pound-feet. Despite this, about a second was shaved off the 0-60 time.
Top-spec Celicas had a huge bump in horsepower to 180-190 hp, depending on the market, thanks to a Yamaha-designed head and intake system. However, torque still fell short of the old 2.2 by a few pound-feet. The more powerful version of the 1.8, known as the 2ZZ-GE, also came with a six-speed manual transmission instead of the base model’s five-speed. Both versions of the 1.8 could be had with a four-speed Tiptronic automatic with steering wheel-mounted shift buttons. Enthusiasts were better off with the manual, as it was a better fit with the peaky four. With the manual and the 2ZZ-GE engine, the Celica could hit 60 mph in 7.3 seconds.
It wasn’t just the heightened sense of urgency from the manic 1.8 that made the Celica 7 feel different to drive. You sat sports car low in grippy buckets. The ride was firmer – perhaps a little too firm for some – but the handling was sharper. This was a genuinely fun car to drive, tauter and more focused than any Celica before except perhaps the old GT-Four/All-Trac.
All of this was wrapped in edgy new styling almost identical to the 1999 XYR concept, designed by Toyota’s CALTY studio in California. The organic, curvy look of the old Celica was completely discarded. In its place were sharp lines and a dramatic crease down the side. The quad headlights of the old model were replaced with dramatically upswept lights. The Celica looked smaller and more ferocious.
The interior was a breath of fresh air too. The ergonomic design of the old model, with controls angled towards the driver, was replaced with a flowing center stack. Circular air vents and new materials further elevated the Celica interior—it didn’t look like a regular compact’s interior anymore.
The most tantalizing change for the Celica, particularly to the younger buyers Toyota was targeting, was an MSRP more than $4k lower than the old model.
Although Celica 7 enjoyed a sales resurgence, it was short-lived. Sales declined each year, as would be expected in a fashion-conscious and shrinking segment. But Toyota had expected to shift 40,000 Celicas a year in the US and, although it beat that in the first year of production, it never met that target in any subsequent year. In 2003 Toyota announced both the launch of the Scion brand and the planned discontinuation of the Celica. In North America, the Celica was effectively replaced by the Scion tC. In other markets, there was no direct replacement.
In many markets, the Celica had acquired a bit of a hairdresser’s car reputation by the late 1990s. While the seventh generation didn’t meet sales targets, it helped restore the Celica’s credibility as a sports coupe and offered buyers a much more exciting and dynamic package. It’s a pity the Celica had to die after three decades, but at least it went out on a high note.
Curbside Classic: 1994 Honda Prelude 2.2 VTEC – A Prelude Of Better Things To Come?
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Sorry, I strongly disagree about the 7th gen interior being “fresh air”. These were junk compared to their predecessors. Soft touch nearly everything was replaced with hard plastic. There was a big reason why the 7th Gen cost way less than the 6th; the car moved downmarket considerably in terms of quality and refinement. I would know- my 1995 GT coupe cost just under 22k at the time, and I only added air and alloys. This generation traded cost for refinement in a big way that turned me way off to another one…
I think the styling of the T230 has aged pretty well. I’m not wild about the simulated hood scoop or the dealer-installed body kits, but it’s nicely proportioned — it feels very trim and athletic.
Although this generation was cheaper than the T205, I thought at the time that it was still really hampered by price. I remember pricing it out and deciding it was too expensive, especially compared to the initial Scion tC, which was a bunch cheaper comparably equipped. I also wished there was an intermediate grade with GT-S equipment and the less-peaky 1ZZ-FE engine, comparable to the previous generation Integra SE.
JDM versions of this car had some interesting options we didn’t get, including a DVD-based nav system, a limited-slip differential, and Toyota’s Super Strut front suspension (which was kind of neat and ahead of its time, although allegedly a pain in the ass in old age because it had all the world’s ball joints). I assume cost was why we didn’t get that stuff; the DVD system was ¥250,000!
Europe had the model you wish we got; they received the 1ZZ-FE motor with the 6-speed manual and the GT-S 16 inch wheels and suspension. It is the only market I am aware to receive that combo.
I have to respectfully disagree as well. While the styling of this generation bothers me a little less now than when it was new, the tiny greenhouse and high beltline still aren’t appealing. The interior also seemed notably cheaper than the outgoing model. Just my opinion, however.
Not that the majority of 15 year old Camrys and Corollas are in mint condition now, but these Celicas seemed to hit hooptie status way early considering the Toyota nameplate. I remember feeling 10 years ago that almost all the last gen Celicas I saw had missing parts, major accident damage that wasn’t repaired properly (or at all), multiple burnt out lights, etc. These days, I swear I see more 6th gen cars around than 7th. And the 6th gens seem to be in decent shape, too, better seemingly than most 7th gen cars were 10 yrs ago.
It was a tough market to sell a coupe into. This, the Ford/Mercury Cougar, the Hyundai Tiburon and the Mitsubishi Eclipse were probably the last entries in this segment for a long time to come. The Cougar, in North America, was just a stab at trying to get someone under 60 years old in the showroom. They were not like anything else in the showroom at the time and a Mercury franchise was the last place to launch a sporty coupe.
The SUV wave was enveloping everything at the time, and has only gotten more substantial. I sometimes wonder if you were to launch a sport coupe with Rolls-Royce build quality at Yugo price levels that it would sell at all.
This Celica didn’t do much for me; I thought it was rather plain and oddly proportioned. From some angles it reminds me of and I have occasionally mistaken it for the Cougar. Maybe it was better that they ended the line as they did.
I had one of these as a rental for a couple of days. It had the inevitable rental car automatic transmission. In a car with an automatic, I have the habit of resting my board left knee against the door. That didn’t work very well with this particular car. Every time I rested my knee against the door the window would go down. The button for the electric window was in the exact wrong spot, at least for me. Drove me crazy!
Board = bored. Autocorrect be damned.
I went to a Toyota dealer in 2000 to test drive one of these Celicas, but was so unimpressed by the car’s appearance (inside & outside) that I walked out before driving it.
At the time I was 27, single, and looking for my first new car… so probably squarely in Toyota’s marketing crosshairs. Furthermore, I grew up admiring 1980s and ’90s Celicas, so I looked forward to possibly owning one.
But the styling was off-putting to me. It looked racy in pictures, but downright immature in person. None of the classiness that marked previous Celica generations. The interior, I felt, was downright awful… I remember the materials (including the upholstery) seeming cheap, and the high belt line made me feel like a 10-year-old trying to drive a car. I’d never sat in a car that I hated so much.
So I walked out of the Toyota dealership and didn’t regret it. Given the state of the sport coupe market at the time, I don’t blame Toyota for trying something bold – but for me the 7th generation Celica really missed the mark.
Only slightly less horrible than when it came out. And those stuck on tail lights are awful. Nothing organic about them, shapeless, just an afterthought.
Profile of the Celica looks like a teepee roof attached to the body of a car. A whole lot of lines going in a bunch of different directions ! Nothing says sporty like chaos !!
For me one of the worst of the 00s.
Right there with the florid Monte Carlo and 03-05 Saturn L as well as that Mitsubishi Montero SUV with all the lumps and bumps.
It’s been a while so my recollections may be faulty, but my “problem” with this generation of Celica was that it looked a bit fragile. I had almost gotten used to seeing this type of styling on motorcycles so that didn’t really bother me.
The difference in curb weights between the 6th and 7th generation was only 100 pounds? Man, it sure looks like it should be closer to 500 pounds.
That sense of fragility coupled with a low slung driver and passenger seat didn’t appeal to me. And yet, I bought a used Integra about that time that I really liked.
Maybe it was the terrible experience I had at a local Toyota dealership that was the final straw?
I really liked the styling of these when they came out. To my eyes, the design was fresh and original. I really liked the previous-generation model too but, as stated in the article, they were expensive. As I recall, even these were kind of expensive (just much less expensive) and a lot of expected features were options. And options that made the car look a lot better, namely the rear spoiler and alloy wheels, were more pricey than I thought they should have been. Still, if I were about 5 years older (i.e. at the age where I was in the market for my first new car), it’s fairly likely that this is what I would have bought.
Folks, I hate to criticize anyone’s hard work, but the term “hairdresser’s car” is a derogatory expression and doesn’t belong here at CC.
There has to be a better way of expressing a marketing trend without denigrating an identifiable group of people, and without suggesting that a possible association with that group is a bad thing.
Why is the association automatically assumed bad? Better yet, how is this association any worse than the very often repeated trope that so and so cars only appeal to the elderly, or this brand only appealed to the Midwest, or this car was a status symbol of the blue collar?
If one actually sees a product favored by the homosexual community, then say so. That’s a reasonable demographic that some companies actively pursue. It’s not a bad thing to say, just as saying a car is “favored by the elderly” is not bad, either.
But the expression “hairdresser’s car” is absolutely a derogatory expression, it points out undesirable features of a car and associates them in less than flattering terms with a particular group that has been a target of bias and/or hate. It has no place here.
See, it’s just as derogatory to paint the broad brush that hairdressers = homosexual men. Without the statistics in front of me, most hairdressers in the trade seem to be women, and the eggshell cracking way of putting it would be calling the Celica a girls car.
Nobody has ever worded a Buick is a car “favored by the elderly”, it is, without variation, worded “old man’s car”. It should be no less objectionable to someone who’d object to the “hairdresser’s car” expression.
As someone who proudly calls themselves PC and is extremely cautious about offending groups of people, I have to admit I’m a little perplexed that this is an offensive term in your eyes. I apologise if I’ve offended anybody, however this term has been commonly used (especially in Australian automotive writing) for years and there’s no ill-will intended by me. It’s not a value judgement, it’s just saying that the car was seen as being popular with a younger, style-conscious, predominantly female audience that wasn’t necessarily as fixated on raw performance. One of my good friends is a hairdresser so I’m hardly trying to denigrate said group.
Y’know, I really loathe when people say, “Ugh, people need to stop being so sensitive/PC” so I’m just puzzled that I’m now in a position where something i’ve said has been labelled “derogatory”.
Thank you for the apology. It’s not you, or your opinions that are offensive. It’s that particular expression that is offensive. It dehumanizes people in the LGBT community. It reduces them to a tired group of cliched attitudes and behaviors that are unflattering.
I don’t think its being overly – sensitive to point this out. The English language is jammed full of such hurtful expressions that were once widely used and published, but now aren’t acceptable because they devalue human beings. Many such expressions are made worse because they belittle groups that have received significant bias or hatred in the past.
I’m aware of this expressions’ widespread use in Australia. Just because it’s widely used does not mean it’s okay, especially when published in an international forum. The LBGT community faces particular struggles in many places around the world because many nations and cultures still feel its okay to discriminate and hate them. It’s not being overly – sensitive to object to such derogatory expressions, in any form, when the LBGT still has so far to go in achieving the same dignity and respect the rest of us enjoy.
See, I’m inclined to agree with Matt now. Because in 10 years of going to hair salons with a majority female customer base, I’ve seen a male hairdresser a grand total of once. I know the concern about stereotypes, as a member of the community, but I think you’re inferring offensiveness when it’s not there. You presume because I say hairdresser that I mean gay men, and you’re presuming every other time someone has said “hairdresser’s car” they’re making a snide, homophobic remark.
I’m saddened that you would think I would make a loaded remark that belittles a community. Especially considering the fact a huge chunk of CC’s audience is LGBT.
I can’t believe this. You, like Matt are justifying hateful slurs and see nothing wrong with this. I don’t think you two understand what you are saying!
It’s demonstrably obvious that the term is hurtful and the fact that neither of you see this says a whole lot more about your ignorance of the issue than any incorrect inference that I might have. Frankly, if this is the kind of hate that’s okay on CC then I want nothing more to do on this site.
I’d like to add my personal perspective. I myself am a gay man, and have heard that term used in British media before. I wasn’t aware it was used in Australia. I may not have the cultural sense to fully understand the meaning behind the term, growing up in the Midwest US. I never have interpreted that term as a derogatory slur aimed at our community. My understanding of the use is to project the sense that the target consumer is fairly vain, and is chasing trends. The Suzuki Vitara soft top was where I think I first saw the term used in a road test in Top Gear magazine in the mid 1990’s. Now I very well may be wrong about the true meaning, but I do not think William used the term in any way shape or form to illude that we LGBT people are deserving of scorn.
Now that I realize I myself and my best gay friend bought Celicas in the later part of the 1990’s… (Just kidding!) My takeaway is this; I won’t use the term because it clearly means a specific thing to certain people, and I’d rather error on the side of caution on this one. It’s kind of a dumb pun anyway. And I appreciate OntarioMike for being an ally in a world where hate is real. Golden Rule comes to mind here; it’s not difficult to respect others wishes over the use of two words.
Hairdresser is not a slur, it’s a trade. A trade at that that isn’t even specific to a sexual orientation. You could actually make a genuine case that hairdresser’s car is a chauvinistic expression, I actually thought sexism WAS your argument in your initial comment! But either by being misguided or by virtue signaling you alone steered it into an LGBT argument.
There are genuine slurs out there, and I’m guilty of casually using the “f word” as an adolescent, and have long since dropped it because there’s no other modern meaning for that word that doesn’t boil it down to hate, and I didn’t want be caught to use it out of context by ribbing a friend and be associated with truly hate filled people who use it negatively against an actual group of people. Hairdresser however is completely self descriptive, one goes to the hairdresser to get their hair done, and as a generalization it’s not specific to LGBT any more than it is to women, or even heterosexual men(my childhood barber, Ron ,who ran the business with his daughter, for example). There’s an effeminate stigma to the profession perhaps, but it’s still too broad a of brush to paint it with.
Future tip, it doesn’t help you to generalize people you’re arguing with as ignorant in a condescending manner to get your point across. I used to think I was anti-PC, but in the last few years I’ve come to realize I live by it without even thinking about it, and it’s the sanctimony and hypocrisy behind PC that bothered me about it all along. It’s rampant with it’s own divisive form of bullying.
I agree with most you say Matt. I don’t think this is a “PC” situation, however.
This thread is getting dangerously close to politics over what I see to be a genuine misunderstanding. William clearly worked hard for this article, and I’d hate to see it derailed over unintended slights. I don’t smell harm or foul at all.
And as if my avatar isn’t a clear indication, I’d rather be talking about Toyotas.
I agree, and you’re right, I went in defending William and ended up going off track beyond what’s appropriate for this forum, and for that I apologize.
I can assure you that the goal of our regular writers here is never to be hateful, offending, or non-politically correct, and Will was quick to apologize for offending you in any way, even though he was not in the wrong.
Taking non-political correctness shaming to professions, is crossing the line. I mean, I’m a car salesperson. I don’t need to tell you how many bad things have been said about my profession before.
“Hairdresser’s Car” is indeed a commonly used expression that quite simply implies that the car is targeted to younger, image-conscious women. It’s no different than “soccer mom” or “soccer dad” car. It’s not meant to be derogatory, just to identify the typical demographic of the buyer.
I fail to see how the term hairdresser’s car “points out undesirable features of a car and associates them in less than flattering terms with a particular group”.
I’ve never seen the term “hairdresser’s car” used to imply gay men before. But in any event, under your terms aren’t you yourself being politically incorrect by implying something that appeals to gay men is undesirable and unflattering?
My thoughts? You’re overreacting. And quite strongly so.
I’m very comfortable with the LGBTQ community and its issues. I marched for gay rights back in 1971 and later, as I had (and still have) a number of very close gay friends.
When I read “hairdresser’s car”, I totally took that to be the way it’s most commonly used: as a car that has an appeal to younger women, as well as men who have a certain type of taste, as in urban aspirational, or so. People who are more conscious of their looks and their car’s looks than average. To me, it speaks of an attitude, or personality quality, a psychographic, but not at all specifically gay. I had no association with gays when I read that. I didn’t even know it was used that way in some parts.
Of course, gays may well fit into that group, and possibly at a higher percentage than other groups. But I can’t begin to see this as a slur against the gay community. I Googled the expression, and came up with a wide range of definitions and target demographics, including middle aged women, metrosexuals, people who are more interested in the appearance of their sports cars than actual performance, homosexuals, and others.
It’s an expression that’s widely used, and is comparable to “Damensportwagen” in German (“Women’s Sportscar”), that was/is widely applied to similar cars, like the Karmann-Ghia and such, back in the 50s even. It implies a car appealing more because of its looks than its performance. And hairdressers presumably care about looks quite a bit too.
I’m sorry if you’re offended, but it seems rather grossly out of place. I’m almost tempted to use the term “snowflake”, but that’s derogatory too, so I won’t. But I encourage you to focus you energies on genuine discrimination against the LGBTQ community, as there’s plenty of it still out there. But your accusations of harm and discrimination are not welcome here.
Frankly, if any group should be offended, it’s the straight men who drive cars like this Celica that are branded as “chick car”, “hairdresser car”, Damensportwagen”, etc.. As a little kid, I was a bit shocked when I heard the expression “Damensportwagen” for the first time, and it made me feel bad for the (straight) guy down the block who had a K-G. I always wanted a K-G too, but maybe that says something about me? 🙂
Indeed, Paul, this straight man is slightly offended by the tendency for a lower-powered sports car like my old Celica or my current first-gen Miata to be considered not “macho” enough, and branded with some variation of “girl’s car”. (Which insults my wife too. She drove an Alfa when we married and drives a Mini Cooper S today.)
Maybe we’re a little better off without owner characterizations. The cars are more interesting anyway.
By the way, William, thanks for a fine article. Celicas are starting to be forgotten.
I actually kind of liked those last Celicas/MR2s.
Now Toyota gives us fish-lipped abominations!
The styling has aged surprisingly well, as in certain aspects of the design are still with us like the big tall butt and high beltline, but the 6th gen is still more appealing to me. The seventh gen, inside and out the styling is too cutesy, they looked like the automotive equivelant of pikachu from Pokémon.
There was a faux sports car stigma to Celicas to kids in the 90s, even though they should have appealed to us before knowing anything technical about them, and I think that carried over into this generation as those kids got licenses. Everyone loved Supras or MR2s though, which were near unattainable price wise for younger buyers, and this generation MR2 really was a horrible styling flub.
I had pretty much quit paying attention to cars in this segment when this Celica came along. Sadly, it did nothing to make me perk up, even a little. I didn’t care for the styling then and still don’t.
I think this generation is the least attractive of the Celicas. It’s even worse than the 1990-1993 deep-sea-vessel models. There were also occasional problems with the 2zz engines on the GTS – oil starvation in high cornering, oil pump problems, and soft rod bearings.
Great, informative piece, Will. I don’t remember ever having read anything about Toyota’s “Project Genesis” from this era.
I remember taking one of these for a test-drive when they had just been introduced. If I remember correctly, the salesman was looking down his nose at my ’94 Probe my friend and I had arrived in. I got the last laugh, though, because I had no intention of buying and just wanted to sate my curiosity about the new car.
I think the styling has held up really well – its angular looks were a great way to break away from the jellybean look that so many other cars had at the time. The contrast with the preceding Celica was jarring… there was absolutely no styling continuity whatsoever, but thinking about it, the only generation of Celica that seemed like an evolution of the prior model was the fifth generation model that came out for ’90.
I remember thinking of these 7th generation Celicas as being slightly retrograde, though. There was the elimination of two of its body styles. The smaller dimensions. The lower price. I remember reading about how this last model was supposed to signify something of a “return to basics” of the original Celica formula, and so I cut it some slack. I will say that in terms of its styling, the 7th generation looks better in 2017 than the model that preceded it.
Of course the engines were used in the Lotus Elise as well. The previous generation car was ‘fat’ to put it mildly (I had a friend with the notchback JDM model called the Curren) and this was around the size of the original Mitsubishi Eclipse, which had grown fat and irrelevant by the early 2000s as well. Took a while for the styling to grow on me, though. I had first hand experience with the Platz (the four-door Echo) and despite its ‘elephant on roller skates’ looks, I actually enjoyed driving it, and it was very roomy and practical.
I’m not with the majority, but I always loved the heck out of this gen Celica
I sat in o R at a motor show when it was released and was appalled at the interior design, which was full of hard plastics, and just as ugly as the exterior. Clearly the ugliest Celica in my book.
The only good thing about this car was that the top specification engine was decent. Surprisingly the Australian market was gifted with the high end engine. Don’t know how that happened…..
My sis-in-law loved her 86 Celica, but when she saw this at 2000 Auto Show, was like “huh?”.
From comments, seems like Toyota turned off loyal Celica fans and the younger target buyers. And I do agree these last ones seemed to get “unsophisticated” modifications as they aged.
I bought a 2000 GT Celica in 2003. Some 40,000 miles on it. Automatic. Blue. Perfect, I was now the recipient of Toyota reliability and fuel efficiency for a mere $200~ a month and the previous owner had absorbed all the depreciation. The handling is what sold the car to me, speed caution signs on curves meant nothing now. The engine was peaky, the radio worked like it should, the seat and cockpit were what I’d wanted all my life. So why don’t I still have it?
As in I checked the oil two weeks after I bought it and the dipstick was dry. A pair of hastily purchased convenience store quarts of processed dinosaurs later, it was back up to full. Had the dealer (J Pauley Toyota of Ft. Smith, AR) missed this when they prepped the car for sale? Alas…No.
The then not yet an ex and I went for a weekend drive to enjoy the scenery and monitor the oil problem. A tankful of gas later, it was down almost to the fill mark on the dipstick. “Houston, we have a problem”. Off to J Pauley Toyota of Ft. Smith AR for diagnosis. They responded with a filling back up and telling me to come back in when it was low. Wash, rinse, repeat. I underwent an ‘oil consumption test’, which meant an oil change, new filter and a sticker over the drain plug. 700 miles and a quart low later, I was back in for the verdict. It consumed enough oil that Toyota authorized a rebuild. (With about 42,000 miles on it, mind you). Okay, so I got a free rental and waited out the surgery.
Three weeks later, it was given back to me. Good as new, ran just like before. And no charge for anything. I happily drive away, but with a niggling doubt about that famed reliability in the back of my mind. So I check the oil when I fill up again. It’s below the full mark. Back to J Pauley Toyota of Ft. Smith and another oil consumption test. A few weeks and a trip back in to enjoy the spartan waiting area and acidic coffee endemic to all car dealerships everywhere. It’s lower than it was when I checked it before the 2nd test. I complain to the manager that the original problem was never addressed. “Sir, the oil consumption test indicates that it is now above Toyota’s minimum oil consumption rate and that they will not rebuild the motor again.”
I will never darken Toyota’s front door again nor venture onto their lot. Shoddy service and attitude on a level with Volkswagen. They lost a loyal customer who is now on his sixth Nissan. Suck it, Toyota.
I had this low mileage glamour available a couple of months ago – I recall it was under 50,000 km.
KJ in Oz
I have one. It’s not too bad but I don’t love it. Handling is nowhere near as sharp as I’d like it to be. Fine to drive up to 7/10s, but starts to unravel if you push it further.
And refinement is lacking. There is basically no sound insulation from the engine and top gear is way too short for cruising, which compounds the problem.
But it’s still much better than driving a bland sedan or, god forbid, an SUV. And quite practical too, with the lift back.
Back in 2005, I was single and in need of something to replace my BMW 3 series that had become expensive to look after. The Honda Integra was too much of a race car to use as a daily driver and I did not fancy another 3 series. While I could just about afford a Sierra Cosworth, the insurance was sky high. Even though the brilliant Fiat Coupe was not long out or production, there were few good ones on the market. The Celica handled well, looked good and promised to be suitable for my daily commute everything a coupe of this size should be. I still have the Celica, it still turns heads and still serves me well.
This isn’t my favourite generation of Celica. THAT would be the fifth-gen model, which makes my heart pound just looking at it…a red 92-93 GT-S liftback is and has always been my dream car.
But, the 2000-06 generation easily slides into second place. When new, these felt like a return to form: Daring, sporting, and sexy, yet also affordable and attainable. The styling looked MUCH more expressive than the pudgy, bug-eyed sixth generation. Plus, it was the return of the GT-S! I wanted one.
Alas, I couldn’t buy one: I just wasn’t old enough. And by the time I WAS old enough and I had a stable job, lower-risk insurance rates, and enough money to conceivably buy a new car, these had been out of production half a decade and were rapidly disappearing from sight thanks to being thrashed to oblivion by “boy-racer” first owners.