Sporty/performance car; Built in Japan
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door coupe
  • 2-door hatchback
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,500 – $5,100*

1995 Toyota Celica 2-door convertible

1995 Toyota Celica GT 2-door hatchback

1996 Toyota Celica GT 2-door hatchback

1996 Toyota Celica 25th Anniversary 2-door convertible

1996 Toyota Celica interior

  • Acceleration (GT)
  • Optional antilock brakes
  • Fuel economy
  • Instruments/controls
  • Steering/handling
  • Cargo room (exc. hatchback)
  • Engine noise
  • Rear-seat room

Even though the price may be high, if you want two-passenger fun and reliability, a Celica is worth the extra bucks–partly due to Toyota’s reputation for quality.


Curvaceously redesigned for 1994, Toyota’s front-drive sports coupe came as a 2-door notchback or hatchback, in base (ST) or more costly GT guise. Dimensions grew slightly, including a 2-inch increase in overall width. The fresh front end sported four round headlights. Dual airbags were standard, and antilock braking optional. The previous-generation All-Trac and convertible models did not return. A new 1.8-liter, dual-overhead-cam 4-cylinder engine went into the ST, while the sportier GT got a carryover 2.2-liter four. Celicas employed a standard 5-speed manual gearbox, but a 4-speed automatic transmission could be installed in any model.

Yearly Updates

1995 Celica
A convertible joined the lineup, as a ’95 GT model. Convertibles had a standard power top with a glass rear window and electric defroster, as well as power rear-quarter windows. Coupes showed no significant change this season.
1996 Celica
Coupes could now be ordered with more prominent “contoured rocker panels.” These were add-on lower side skirts, aiming to provide a sportier look. Toyota installed extra sound insulation this year, in an effort to respond to complaints about excessive noise levels in Celicas.
1997 Celica
No more GT notchback coupes were marketed, but that body style remained available for ST Celicas. The GT’s engine gained five horsepower.
1998 Celica
The ST model and its 1.8-liter engine are gone for ’98.
1999 Celica
Toyota dropped the notchback, leaving only the hatchback and convertible. A redesigned Celica appeared for 2000, with styling inspired by Indy race cars.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Two dual-overhead-cam 4-cylinder engines powered Celicas in this generation: 1.8-liter for the ST, and 2.2-liter for the GT. The GT’s engine rose from 130 to 135 horsepower for 1997. Either might have a 5-speed manual transmission or 4-speed automatic.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/208
Engine HP 105-110
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 115-117
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.2/132
Engine HP 130-135
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 145
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

Handling is where Toyota’s Celica excels: crisp, responsive, with fine grip in corners and minimal body lean. You get a surprisingly supple ride too, even in a GT with the stiffly sprung Sports Package option. Sure, it’s stiffer and choppier than other Celicas, but you get a little extra cornering precision with that Sport option. Braking is good too, though it would be better if more models had antilocking.

The 1.8-liter dual-cam 4-cylinder engine in an ST is smooth and lively with 5-speed manual shift, and economical, too. Optional 4-speed automatic saps its strength, because the engine lacks low-speed torque. The GT’s 2.2-liter engine feels a lot stronger at all speeds, but makes plenty of noise doing it, roaring and throbbing in hard driving. As for economy, a GT hatchback with manual shift averaged 25.7 mpg. Tires aren’t quiet, either–in any Celica.

This is a typical 2+2 layout, with little rear space for adults, and six-footers face marginal head clearance if a Celica coupe is sunroof-equipped. Controls and gauges are well laid out on a modern-styled, convenient dashboard. Trunk space is passable in notchback models, but the hatchback offers more cargo volume. The convertible’s top is power-operated, but blocks the rear view substantially and robs rear-seat room and cargo space.


Model Tested: 1996 Toyota Celica GT 5-speed

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 7
Ride Quality - 3
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 2


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 6

Total: 43


2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.9 177.0 68.9 51.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
6.8 15.9 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 34.1 44.2 18.9
2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.9 177.0 68.9 51.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
10.6 15.9 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
34.3 29.2 44.2 26.6
2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.9 174.0 68.9 50.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
16.2 15.9 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
34.3 29.2 44.2 26.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Celica 2-door coupe


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 148
Injury 104
Theft 81

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: Automatic transmissions may shift harshly due to rubber check balls in the valve body wearing out. (1994-99)
Brake noise
Description: The original-equipment brake pads make squeaking noise. (1994-96)
Climate control
Description: The rear-defroster terminals tend to break on convertibles. (1995-97)
Audio system
Description: The Fujitsu 10-CD changer has a tendency to not accept or eject CDs. (1994-97)
Vehicle noise
Description: The fuel-door release cable rattles. Installing foam pads inside the fender usually quiets it. (1994)
Description: Proper wheel alignment may not be possible unless a special steering knuckle bolt is used. (1994-96)
Convertible top
Description: Due to the balance rods rubbing, the convertible top wears at the sail panel near the rear window. (1995-97)

Recall History

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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