One of the best AWD turbo cars ever made
I have spent the past three years restoring this car. You name it, I have replaced it, except for the engine itself and rear differential. This includes the turbocharger, transmission (with clutch), starter, water pump, all belts, CV axles, and numerous other repairs. I have not been able to daily-drive this car from its date of purchase until about a month ago.
Currently, I have minor electrical issues. The wiring to the passenger-side door sensor is somehow screwed up, and I've had to disconnect all interior lights to prevent the battery from running down.
Speedometer does not work, and subsequently the cruise control will not either. I have to judge speed by gear and tach, which isn't as hard as one would think.
The shift quality isn't all that great. This might be due to low transmission oil.
Firstly... this car isn't for everyone. A Celica GT-Four isn't the 'poor man's WRX.' There is nothing poor about it. Parts, for the most part, will be fairly expensive and hard to find. You must use premium fuel, and synthetic oil is a very good idea. Replacement parts should be genuine Toyota. Operating costs are very expensive for this beast, but I'll justify that in a bit.
These cars are extremely rare. Just under 200HP from the factory, and a 0-60 time in the low-7s, AWD, turbocharged. The 3SGTE engine has serious potential if modded correctly, and the sheer grip they exhibit through a turn is frightening. Seats are the most supportive I have ever sat in, even including an '04 STi (keep in mind that the GT-S model has the same seats!).
However, very few people are aware that their winter beater AWD Celica is in fact a rare rally beast. As such, most of these cars aren't kept up to the standards they should be, and work is almost always in order to get them back into spec. Yet, for the person willing to put in enough time, energy, and money to do so, a GT-Four will reward them greatly, even if it is a love-hate relationship. I have spent almost $10,000 on this car since I purchased it. I'll admit I've regretted it more than a few times, but once you put your foot to the floor, let that boost gauge climb, and see the rice-modded Civic next to you fade into the distance as if it's travelling backwards... it's worth it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 12th August, 2006