Toyota Celica Review

Gumtree Rating

4.5 rating

The model that brought Japanese cars to the rally stage, the Toyota Celica is a legend in some circuits. A car that looks good, feels good and is loaded with tech, the Celica adds some loveable charm to the coupe segment. Although the seventh-generation iteration wasn’t built for rallying, it’s still a roaring fire-breather if you want it to be. It’s been around since the ’70s, so you’ll find several variants in the used market, but they all stand for the same values: good looks, decent practicality and great fun.

Visit the Toyota Celica model page to explore available cars and learn more.

What we think about the Toyota Celica

Few cars feel as good as they look, which makes the Toyota Celica a rare find.



Sharp styling


Great handling


Well-built and reliable


Rear seats are tight

Mileage drops after significant use

The Toyota Celica was in production from 1970 to 2006. It has always been sold in coupe form but the fourth-generation Celica from 1986 made the headlines with its sleek styling. The fifth generation launched in 1989 and was again a big hit, with the Carlos Sainz edition being the most popular. Finally, the seventh-generation iteration was launched in VVT-i form and wasn’t marketed for rallying – but still delivers on styling and performance.

Driving performance of the Toyota Celica

Our Driving Rating9 / 10

The fact that the Celica can boast about 26 years of rallying history should speak for itself. It’s not an understatement to say that this coupe is heaps of fun, unlike the 4X4s and family cars that Toyota is otherwise known for. If you want higher performance, look for the GT4 badge that stands for four-wheel drive as well as even an even sportier feel. However, the latest generation wasn’t developed in this variant and the GT badge only includes a bodykit. No matter what model you go for, expect nothing short of a ground-hugging grip that complements the dynamic steering response.

Safety and reliability of the Toyota Celica

Our Safety Rating7 / 10

The Celica hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, but thanks to Toyota’s impeccable reputation for reliability, you have little to worry about. However, when buying used, it’s best to give the cars a thorough test and check their service history carefully. All models of the latest gen come with four airbags, central locking and a car alarm – but you’ll need to check for suspension alignment issues, kerbed alloys and crash damage. Sixth-gen cars are likely to be modified heavily, so you’ll have to be extra careful, and for the fifth generation you may want to keep an eye out for uneven tyre wear.

Under the bonnet of the Toyota Celica

Our Engine Rating8 / 10

All UK models come with a six-speed manual, and with the latest generation, you’ll have a choice between a 140 bhp or a 198 bhp VVT-i. The 140 bhp is tepid but still good fun. Meanwhile, the 198 bhp makes the Celica a genuine sports car, although you’ll only get real delivery at the higher revs. The GT4 from the sixth generation delivers 240 bhp, with top speeds hitting 152 mph. If you can afford regular maintenance, it’s the car to have for that legendary rally feel.

What you'll find in the Toyota Celica

Our Design Rating9 / 10

No matter which model you pick, there’s no doubt that you’ll get noticed. Complex curves, functional aerofoil and clean lines result in a stunningly detailed design. Although it isn’t a true GT, the latest-generation Celica comes with lowered suspension, a huge rear wing and a full body kit. You can also get 17-inch alloys to amp up the sporty looks. Curvy styling and twin headlights are the hallmarks of the sixth generation. Look for models with Alcantara or partial leather trims for just a bit more comfort.

Comfort and interiors in the Toyota Celica

Our Comfort Rating7 / 10

As a coupe, the Toyota is really only designed for two people – despite the larger size of the seventh generation. At the back, there’s enough legroom for two adults, but headroom is limited. But the boot is a proper hatchback style and is fairly large. Additionally, the seats fold to give you extra luggage capacity, which should be enough for a shopping spree or a road trip. In the cabin, there’s just a couple of cupholders and little bins, but nothing significant.

Toyota celica dashboard

What features you'll find in the Toyota Celica

Our Features Rating7 / 10

Standard equipment in seventh-gen models includes alloy wheels, body-coloured bumpers, a CD player and electric mirrors, and you can upgrade to models with a sunroof, lumbar support or sports seats. It’s also advisable to get one with a fitted AC unit for year-round comfort. But for the most part, it’s likely you’ll have to do some work to the cabinetry to get it up to your standards. Expect to fork out a little extra for replacing cloth trims or modernising the dashboard.

What fuel efficiency to expect from the Toyota Celica

Our Fuel Consumption Rating8 / 10

The 190 bhp model of the latest-generation model delivers about 43 mpg, although with practical use, you’ll probably find it gets a lot less. On older cars, fuel efficiency is really dependent on the amount of TLC. If you get your hands on one that has had frequent oil changes and comes with a complete service history booklet, you’ll likely find that it performs better. Watch out for oil leakage before you buy to avoid having too many maintenance issues on your hands.

Running costs of the Toyota Celica

Our Cost Rating8 / 10

Due to the Celica’s affordability and low insurance rating, the running costs usually add up if you pick one that’s been heavily modified over the years. A tell-tale sign is an incomplete service history or worn-out tyres, which may have resulted from changes to suspension geometry. But the good news is that affordable replacement parts are easily available, and even servicing costs are quite low. If you have to do anything more than a couple of cosmetic changes, make sure you budget it into the price.

Our verdict of the Toyota Celica

4.5 rating

4.5 / 5 Gumtree rating

If you want to get your hands on a rally legend, the Toyota Celica is one of your best bets.