2000 Celica New Car Test Drive
If Toyota's all-new Celica turns your head, then what's underneath its slick, edgy sheet metal should be more than enough to hold your attention. The 2000 Celica is lighter, more powerful, quicker and --believe it or not -- less expensive than the 1999 model. Not a bad way to start the new millennium.
The first Celica was launched in 1971 as Toyota's answer to the American pony car. It was sporty, nimble and youthful, but also reliable and economical. Celica hasn't changed much for the better part of a decade. It grew stale and seemed expensive.
For 2000, Celica has been completely redesigned. It goes on sale October 1.
This new Celica is the first car guided by genesis, a new, youth-oriented marketing wing of Toyota Motor Sales USA. With cars like Celica and the new ECHO subcompact, genesis will try to woo buyers under age 30 as that group begins flexing its consumer muscle.
The Celica GT-S leads the lineup with distinctive styling, nice handling and a high-strung 180-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine developed with assistance from Yamaha. The GT-S retails for $21,165.
Most buyers will opt for the more affordable 140-horsepower GT, which retails for $16,695.
Naturally, the two models vary in standard features: The GT gets a six-speaker stereo with both cassette and CD, power windows, power mirrors and air conditioning. The GT-S adds two speakers and more amplifier power, fog lamps, drilled aluminum sport pedals, power locks, a leather steering wheel and shift knob, cruise control and alloy wheels with wider tires. The GT-S evaluated here had nearly all the options, including a sunroof, leather seats, a rear spoiler and 16-inch alloy wheels with lower profile speed-rated tires. In place of the GT's five-speed gearbox, the GT-S comes standard with a six-speed gearbox. Either model can be ordered with a four-speed electronically controlled automatic that adds $800 to the GT, $700 to the GT-S.