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2001 Toyota Celica REVIEW logo 4/6/2017

Con: Lousy power point location, tight GT-S manual gearbox, GT-S engine more noisy than powerful at low revs.

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

Edmunds Say: The 2001 Toyota Celica is a distinctive and entertaining sport coupe biased toward performance rather than convenience.

What’s New: No changes this year to the 2001 Toyota Celica.

Review: Considerably leaner and meaner than most Celicas produced between 1985 and 2000, the 2001 edition of Toyota's stalwart sport coupe is attracting buyers in droves. Styled in California by Calty Design Research Inc., the cab-forward shape features a high-fashion look with racecar design elements. Sharp-edged panels, dramatic plunging curves, a tall tail and a radically lowered front fascia create stark contrasts. The look is polarizing, and plenty of consumers are voting on the success of the styling with cash in hand.

There are two versions on sale: a base-level Celica GT, and a more-powerful GT-S. An all-new 1.8-liter, four-cylinder, DOHC aluminum engine powers the Celica GT-S. Hitting an impressive mark of 100 horsepower per liter of displacement, the engine generates 180 ponies at 7,600 rpm and 133 foot-pounds of torque at 6,800 rpm. The GT-S power plant, co-developed with Yamaha, utilizes Toyota's new VVT-i engine technology. Similar in concept to Honda's VTEC, the system can adjust both valve timing and lift. The GT model's adequate 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine produces 140 horsepower and 125 foot-pounds of torque at 6,400 rpm.

Celica GT and GT-S are both available with different variations of automatic and manual transmissions. GT comes standard with a five-speed manual gearbox. Optional on both trims is a four-speed automatic transmission, equipped with E-shift steering wheel-mounted buttons in the GT-S. These allow for "manual" shifting of the automatic transmission. As an exclusive feature in this class, the manual transmission in the GT-S features six forward gears, but the gates are tight and it's easy to select the wrong gear.

Suspension and braking systems provide outstanding handling and performance. The front suspension utilizes MacPherson struts with offset springs and a solid anti-roll bar. The rear suspension is a double-wishbone design with a camber-control function and a solid anti-roll bar. ABS is optional on both models. The Celica GT rides on 15x6.5-inch steel wheels with 195/60 R15 tires, while the high-grade GT-S features 15x6.5-inch alloy wheels on 205/55 R15 tires. Both models offer optional aluminum alloy wheels, sized 16 inches for the GT-S.

Celica's interior is stylish, functional and comfortable for two adults and a healthy amount of their gear. A simple, downswept dash layout, big analog gauges, sporty bucket seats, faux-drilled metal pedals and fashionable metallic silver accents add to Celica's cockpit ambience. Both GT and GT-S offer a center console big enough to hold eight CD cases, as well as two oversized cups. The rear seatbacks also can be folded forward, providing additional cargo space. Driver and front-passenger airbags are standard, and side airbags are optional. GT-S models can be equipped with leather.

Until recently, Celicas were generally considered slow, overweight and expensive. Detractors claimed they were "secretary's cars." Not anymore.


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