2000 Toyota Celica

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starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown


Body style


Seating capacity

170.5” x 51.4”


Front-wheel drive



2 trims

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2000 Toyota Celica review: Our expert's take

The official start of summer is little more than a week away, and , with it, one’s head turns to thoughts of blasting down a twisting, turning road in a tight little sports car. May I recommend the Toyota Celica?

Just reaching showrooms is the all-new 2000 model, whose resemblance to the previous, sixth-generation model is purely coincidental. The 1999 Celica was handsome and rounded, if a bit flabby for such a youthful car. It also took the styling as far as it would go.

For 2000, Celica looks to its past while looking ahead. The first Celica debuted for 1973 in one trim level (ST) and boasting a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. But it’s the styling of the 1973 model, which openly mimicked Ford’s Mustang, that seemed to be an inspiration for Toyota designers. While the look of the new model is hardly retro, it takes it looks more from a Ford sports coupe than Ford’s own Mercury Cougar.

The body itself is a lovely thing to study. The stance is low with the tires pushed out to the very edges of the body. In fact, although Toyota states that the rear track is less wide than the front, the opposite appears to be true, lending the coupe a race-car like proportion. Note how character lines wrap through the vehicle, providing a sense of motion. Very nicely done.

If the vehicle looks smaller, well, it is. This year sees a longer wheelbase (102.3 inches) and shorter overall length (170.4 inches). Lightness was the key in engineering the new car, so a smaller package is part of the equation.

The car comes in GT and GT-S trim levels, both featuring a 1.8-liter twin-cam 16-valve engine. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the GT. A six-speed is standard on the GT-S. A four-speed automatic is optional on both cars, with the GT-S getting steering-wheel-mounted Formula 1-style shifters that allow the driver to shift gears manually.

GT-spec cars get the base engine with a sufficient 140 horsepower. The one to go for is the GT-S. Yamaha helped with development and the result is a hefty 180 horsepower at 7,600 rpm and 133 foot-pounds of torque at 6,800 rpm and a 7,800 rpm redline.

With those kind of numbers in a car that weighs 2,580 pounds, it’s not hard to figure out the performance equation. This car is fast, albeit with some qualifications. With so little torque so high in the rev band, this car is hardly a screamer off the line, especially if the air-conditioning is operating. Stop and go traffic will definitely find you in the slow lane. Power doesn’t come on strong until around 3,000 rpm, but from there on out, pulling power is strong.

The engine sounds great, making sweet noises that recall race cars. All that power is hitched to a sophisticated chassis that keeps the car planted when the road bends. The Celica stayed flat when testing even the twistiest back roads.

Despite being a front driver, the car seems well-balanced, almost neutral in feel. Opting for the GTS also gives one access to 16-inch wheels over the standard 15-inch wheels.

The ride is quite firm, as one would expect in a sporting car, although bumps in the roadway easily can jar the rear loose. But, this car seems a fair-weather friend, as inclement weather tested the car’s abilities. During almost torrential rains, this car felt squirmy. Even 4-cylinder Camrys handled better, something to keep in mind. But the car’s newly rediscovered muscles makes the old car look flabby.

Accomodations are about what you’d expect in this class. The car sits very low, so low that you look up at Honda Preludes, and coupled with its small size, it can be missed easily by other drivers.

Despite being a 2+2, think of the rear seat as extra cargo space, since only Barbie and Ken can fit back there. Front seats are shapely and supportive. The bottom seat cushion is a little short. The driving position is as race-inspired as the rest of the car. The steering wheel and gua es are perfectly placed. The dash has a large radio with large buttons and good sound. The dead pedal has stylish chrome trim. Neat.

The view out of the rear isn’t that good; ditto the sides, where the seeping styling blocks the view directly beside the car. But sports cars are about compromises.

Cargo space in the rear hatch is good, with tie-down points, cargo tray and cargo net helping store stuff. The cargo tray is fixed, creating an uneven floor when the rear seats are folded.

The interior materials are nicely styled, but the interior has a budget-level feel. Despite that, the car was carefully assembled.

What’s happened to the Celica is a transformation of sorts. The car has always been a sporty car. Good manners, nice styling, not a lot of scoot. But the new GT-S, with its hot engine, crisp modern style and good manners has transformed the Celica into a sports car. Now all Toyota needs to do is produce the Celica convertible that was on display at the New York Auto Show. The seventh generation Celica may be the lucky one for another Toyota best-seller.

2000 Celica GT-S
Engine: 1.8-liter DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder
Transmissions: 5- or 6-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Tires: P205/55R15, P205/50R16
Wheelbase: 102.3 inches
Length: 170.4 inches
Width: 68.3 inches
Curb weight: 2,580 pounds
EPA rating: 23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.2
  • Interior 4.5
  • Performance 4.6
  • Value 4.8
  • Exterior 4.8
  • Reliability 4.9
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Most recent consumer reviews


My first car, the best car!

This was my first car, a silver 2000 GT manual, and it was a blast to own. Comfortable interior, great gas mileage (34mpg on the highway) and cool styling. My only issues were significant oil consumption (approx. 1 qt./300mi), and no anti-lock braking system, but other than that, it was a reliable car that got me to school, work and plenty of adventures.


Purchased off show room floor in Jan 2000

I have kept it "stock", it has over 200K miles and going strong. Just took a day trip 400-mile over Sierra-Nevada Highway 80 back and forth from Benicia, CA, and Reno, NV. I will just say I was in the lead, not a follower on the road. Gas usage is 400+miles to a 12-gallon tank. Major repairs: replaced air condition unit due to my error, catalytic converter, engine due to mechanic error.


Auto needs another overdrive gear

I put an import JDM motor in a 2000. Motor blew from oil starvation @ 116k miles. The GT-S model designed with Yamaha is a screamer with high RPM capabilities. Zero to 25 less than a second, zero to 60 is 6.5 seconds. Low end sucks, I can’t get my auto equipped Celica to spin the tires at takeoff. No burnouts. But over 3200rpm the car hauls. Considering the original motor blew, though, I’m reluctant to spin over 6K rpm. But if fuel economy is your goal, the auto trans has a gear indicator on the dash. Shifts nicely at 2200rpm if you’re easy on the go pedal. Goes into 4th overdrive as soon as you let off the gas and coast. At highway speeds 55-60 mph, car runs 21-2300 rpm. At interstate speeds car likes 73mph at 3200rpm. At 85mph, 3800rpm. This generation Celica would have benefited from a 6 speed auto, better engine longevity and fuel mileage. This dipstick says trans fluid is life of vehicle. Bull. At 116, trans fluid was dirty and grey, not red. Change it with genuine Toyota trans fluid regularly, 60-80 k intervals. PS fluid likewise, had a burnt smell. Car is low, fun in the twisty back roads, not so fun being tailgated by a pickup. Sunroof is great, seats are comfortable with good seating positions available. Car enthusiasts stop and stare as you roll by. Easy to work on. Lots to like.

See all 35 consumer reviews


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Toyota
New car program benefits
36 months/36,000 miles
60 months/unlimited distance
60 months/60,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
7 years/less than 85,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12, 000 miles
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
160- or 174-point inspections
Roadside assistance
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