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Old 04-04-2009, 06:00 PM   #1
Motor
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2000-2005 Toyota Celica + MR-S Reviews

Road Test: 2000 Toyota Celica
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Hard to believe, but it's been nearly 30 years since the first Celica debuted in 1970. Seeking to rekindle its appeal with younger buyers, Toyota is launching an all-new version of the Celica for 2000, which is lighter, more powerful, and less expensive than car it replaces. A better price/value relationship notwithstanding, the seventh-generation Celica's distinctive sheetmetal-combining soft contours and hard edges-will also be critical in how well it plays with the Gen-X contingent. Designed at Toyota's CALTY facility in Newport Beach, California, and a near dead ringer for the XYR concept coupe shown in Detroit, this high-profile front-drive liftback comes in two flavors: GT and top-line GT-S. We recently drove several prototype versions of both and were pretty impressed.

Pricing wasn't finalized at press time, but Toyota confirmed both models will be more affordable than the current car. Now fortified with edgy styling and newfound muscle, the Celica has more of what it takes to attract enthusiast buyers.
Full Test: 2000 Toyota Celica GTS
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A Race Car for the Streets

It's hard to believe it's been nearly 30 years since Toyota released the Celica to sporting drivers. At its introduction, the Celica was a revolutionary vehicle, providing sports car-like features and performance at an affordable price.

For 2000, Toyota has taken the Celica back to its performance car roots, with new cutting-edge bodywork, a high-revving powertrain and an aggressive suspension that beckons the switchbacks of canyon roads.

A first for the Celica, the GT-S's engine is mated to a standard six-speed gearbox with a short-throw shifter.

No matter where we went, the Celica GT-S drew more thumbs up than we'd seen in recent times. Fuel stops required an extra 10 minutes to answer questions from motorists.

If asked to choose in this segment, we'd have to flip a coin between the Prelude SH and the Celica GT-S, with the Celica having a slight edge due to its new radical design. Either way you'll have a hard time handing the keys back after a test drive.
Toyota Thunder: TRD Celica GT-S - Road Test
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Sharper? Yes. Sharp enough? No.

With its 7800-rpm redline, 180 horsepower that peaks just 200 rpm before that, and an aggressive VVTL-i electronically variable valve-timing-and-lift scheme, the 1.8-liter DOHC 16-valve engine in Toyota's Celica GT-S is plenty edgy. Plus, it's backed by a six-speed manual transmission, and the body wrapped around that engine looks as though it were designed with a knife. But the suspension, while generating impressive performance numbers, feels more civilized than aggressive.

TRD's modifications nudge the Celica GT-S toward the raw-nerve reflexes of a car like the Acura Integra Type R. But the potential is there for Toyota and its TRD division to comprehensively optimize the car as a true, factory-built near racer along the lines of the Type R. There's more power to be had from this engine, more grip to come from this chassis, and we want it all.
2003 Toyota Celica Review
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What Edmunds.com says
A distinctive and entertaining sport coupe biased toward performance rather than convenience.

Pros
Radical styling, rev-happy GT-S engine, outstanding steering/braking/handling.

Cons
Mediocre interior materials, difficult-to-master GT-S six-speed shifter, doesn't offer much in terms of features.
2005 Toyota Celica
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Toyota's sports coupe heads into retirement. We give the final version a spin.

Well, the Celica got a radical redesign in 2000, and the car once again looked like a real sports car. Even better, Toyota actually put in a really good, high-revving powerful engine in the new car. This new Celica won many accolades from the automotive press, and it seemed like Toyota had finally re-secured its place in the sporty car market. However, it appears that this wasn't meant to be, as 2005 marks the final year the Celica will be available in the U.S.

So now that the Supra, MR2 and now Celica are gone from Toyota's line-up, the company has no sports car out on the market. It's a shame, really, because all of Toyota's sports cars are pretty damn good. We figured we should get our hands on the last Celica before it's gone forever. And with that, we bring you our five-day review of Toyota's Celica GT-S.

Either way, this lack of "refinement" really not a big issue overall. Actually, yeah it is. Maybe we wouldn't be as critical if we had the base Celica GT-S, but for the $27,000 asking price of our test Celica, we expect a little more.
Dyno Cell: Toyota Celica Exhaust
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Who's the Top Dog?

In the July 2002 issue, the "Tech Scene" column announced we were going to conduct an exhaust shootout on our long-term 2000 Celica GT-S. We offered any exhaust manufacturer who made a system for the Celica the opportunity to get involved. By doing so, each would be standing by their product, even if it didn't produce the power levels they wished it would--no excuses.

Surprisingly, our office was flooded with systems from nine different manufacturers who wanted to participate in this first-time event for Turbo.

Who was top dog? They all installed easily but, beyond that, we will let you decide which parameters mean the most to you.
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Long-Term Test: 2000 Toyota Celica GT-S
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In case you've forgotten, we purchased a six-speed-equipped Spectra Blue Mica Celica GT-S from South Bay Toyota in Gardena, Calif., in May 2000. Options included ABS, 16-inch five-spoke alloy wheels with 205/50VR16 Yokohama Advan A680 performance rubber, a sunroof, leather upholstery, a regular-size spoiler and floor mats. At that time, this all-new Celica was in high demand, and we couldn't do better than sticker price.

And with several months' experience in the GT-S, our consumer advice editor, Phil Reed, wrote, "The Celica is like a spoiled child that demands attention. But it's also a gifted child, giving sudden, unexpected rewards."

Weaknesses and all, though, our Celica hadn't lost any of its original entertainment value after two years in the fleet. If you like to drive and can cut loose some of life's baggage, put the GT-S on your test-drive list.
Editors' Most Wanted Vehicles for 2002
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Sport Coupe Under $30,000

Winner: Toyota Celica
"Every bit as razor sharp as it looks."


Until recently, Celicas were generally considered slow, overweight and expensive. Detractors claimed they were "secretaries' cars." Not anymore. The 2002 Celica, especially in GT-S trim, is one of the most exciting sport coupes sold, and it's the one we would put in our garage, if given the chance.
Project Celica: Part 1
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Getting Acquainted

By now it's no secret that Toyota's new Celica has won a special place in the hearts of SCC's staff. The first time we got our hands on one, we loved it, and in our review of the factory GT-S for Eight Great Rides this year, we called it "one of the few performance cars truly worthy of that label." It offers a purity of design concept almost unique in today's selection of committee-driven product offerings. And for the most part, the hardware lives up to the promises made by the sheet metal.

When we first tested the GT-S back in the October '99 issue, we noted some unusual features in the stock air filter box. First, the mass air flow meter is integrated into the air filter box, making aftermarket intakes significantly more complex to design. Rod Millen Motorsports has managed however, and we are currently testing its intake. So far, it appears to make about 7 hp and lower intake temperatures by about 5 degrees. We want to put some more miles on it before making a full report, however.

With that, we'll wrap up the introduction to our long-term Celica GT-S project. We hope you're as excited about this project as we are. There's lots of fun to be had, and even more to learn. If you see us out at the track sometime, be sure and stop to say hello. We'll try not to talk your ear off about the Celica--unless you start asking questions.
Project Toyota Celica Part III
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Bolt-On Boost--Blitz Supercharger

Making horsepower is simple right? Slap on an air filter, exhaust and header system and gain 20 hp, right? Well, not really. That may have been true a decade ago when manufacturers still used cast-iron headers and crimp-bent exhaust systems to lower production costs.

Today trying to squeeze extra horses from a late-model import engine can be a bit more challenging. Installing an aftermarket exhaust, header and filter might gain only 10 hp and that is if you're lucky. Many vehicles rolling off the production line already incorporate a tubular header system and mandrel-bent exhaust, laying down a major challenge to the aftermarket. For instance, we squeezed an additional 8.2 hp out of Project Celica by adding a Veilside titanium exhaust and an Injen cold-air intake.

Blitz Japan had developed a bolt-on supercharger kit for the 2ZZ-GE engine. Having worked closely with Blitz North America, we were able to get our hands on a supercharger kit for the Celica, the first in the States. Upon first inspection, we were immediately impressed with the extra large, front-mount air-to-air intercooler that comes standard in the kit.

The Blitz ECU creates more precise tuning and eliminates the chances of overloading the cylinder with fuel, commonly a problem with pump and regulator systems. Also, the chances of detonating from being too advanced on ignition timing or pre-ignition from too much retard is nonexistent.

Driving the Celica with the supercharger took a little getting used to, especially on turns. Activation of the supercharger on a turn could easily have left large patches of rubber on the pavement. And remember, the Celica is rolling on some pretty wide 225/35R-19 Yokohama Parada Spec-2 tires and still easily smokes the hides.

The 2ZZ-GE engine willingly screamed to redline once the accelerator was to the floor but can still be extremely civil in stop-and-go traffic. Overall, fuel economy was not greatly affected, except during the first two tanks of gas when we had the accelerator on the floorboard everywhere we went. Fuel economy was still about 22 to 25 miles per gallon.

The Celica is a real looker, constantly turning heads each time we take it for a cruise but don't let the looks fool you. The front-mount intercooler hints that this Celica is ready to run.
High Desert Showdown
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Battle of the factory-tweaked front-drivers.

Last edited by Motor; 07-31-2018 at 07:18 PM..
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