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1998 Toyota Celica REVIEW logo 4/6/2017

Con: Only available in GT model, high price, funky styling.

Pro: Toyota reliability, fuel efficient, fun-to-drive.

What’s New: For the 1998 Toyota Celica, the Celica ST trim is eliminated. GT's get more standard features and one new color: Caribbean Green Metallic.

Review: The Celica has long been ahead of its time as far as styling is concerned. Seems like you just get used to the funky looks of the latest Celica and Toyota unveils a new one to challenge your retinas.

This version of the Celica, while toned down somewhat from its predecessor, is still difficult to swallow at first glance. If not for the odd headlights and oversized rear spoiler, it would be a very pretty car. But it's not. Reminding our staffers of several species of brutal underwater fish, the front styling is just too radical.

However, the interior of the Celica is quite nice, with a subdued driving environment that places all the controls in all the right places. The effect is somewhat Teutonic in nature, and is nicely complimented by upgraded, snug, supportive seats, covered in fabric.

Under the hood of the GT is a 135-horsepower 2.2-liter four cylinder that moves the Celica briskly but without fanfare. Four-wheel discs are standard; ABS is optional. The GT is available as a coupe, liftback or convertible this year. Compared to most of the competition in the sport coupe class, the Celica is woefully underpowered. But boy, it's as reliable as Grandma's pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving dinner.

A new convertible version appeared for 1995, and is the most attractive Celica drop-top in a decade, despite the bulging headlights and gaping air dam. Powered by the same 2.2-liter engine, but hauling around some extra weight, don't expect the Celica convertible to force you back in your seat while doing the on-ramp shuffle.

And at a starting cost of nearly $25,000, we have three words for potential drop-top buyers: Mustang GT Convertible. The Celica is solid, reasonably sporty and has an outstanding reliability record. We can't recommend it, though, when less expensive and speedier cars like the Pontiac Sunfire GT, Mustang GT Convertible and Acura Integra LS are available for the taking.


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