1999 Toyota Celica T230 1.8 143 hp / 6 speed
2nd to none, truly a driver's car
From factory, clutch adjustment. Engagement / disengagement too near the floor.
82.500 Km. Right rear shock.
110.000 km. Front wipers, noisy.
180.000 km. Rear washer pump.
240.000 km. A/C, compressor stuck (never checked).
315.000 km. Air flow sensor.
9 years. Battery.
470.000 km. Generator.
High oil usage, due to a design fault in the 1ZZ-FE and 1ZZ-FED engines. I never noticed this before the motor was past 250.000 km. Hence it has not been replaced.
The T23 series should meet the envy of anyone who doesn't own one.
Looks: It's a great looking 2+2 Coupé.
Performance: Looking at the numbers, the car may not seem that impressive, and straight line performance is no better than the papers say.
Front seats: Low seating, not too deep sports seats, OK comfort and good support. Lots of legroom, OK headroom.
Rear seats. Low head room. Depending on driver and front seat passenger, the leg room goes from low to very spacious.
Boot: Big, with good access.
Interior: Light to dark gray colours, give a nice light carbine. Very durable. Leather steering wheel, gear knob, handbrake and door handles. 6 speakers.
Driving position: Low, great. All primary controls at the tips of my fingers, nice big, easy to read dials. Minimum required control and failure indicators, no more, no less.
Gearbox: 6 speed manual, once you get that clutch adjusted, it very smooth, very precise. Short shift and close ratio. It's the perfect gear box.
Motor. The 1ZZ-FE/FED motor is a gem. Very smooth power band. You can drive it nice, calm in the low revs 1500 - 2000 rpm. You can drive swiftly 2000 - 4000 RPM. Or you can drive it aggressively, rev it out at 7000 rpm. I have taken this car into the red zone in 5th gear. If the motor hasn't been replaced, you will find high oil usage. Currently I have to put in 1 liter every 3000 km.
Suspension: Firm, but not uncomfortable.
Handling: This is where the car becomes superior. It's very flat during acceleration and braking, and turning into the corners, it stays flat. The steering is very responsive, but yet it's easy to keep in a straight line. And the feedback is very good.
I have been driving, newer, more powerful, nice cars. And when I come back into this old used car, it feels used.
Then I take it through 2 corners, and I'm sold once again.
Noise: Yes, it's noisy. It's a sports car, not a luxury car. If you can't live with the noise, don't buy a sports car.
How does it compare to the T-Sport (T231 - 192 HP) :
The T230 is a smooth, well balanced package.
The T231 is rough, it's the same car, but with a more powerful, higher revving engine. And a lower gear ratio.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 13th January, 2012