1988 Toyota Celica Reviews - Page 3 of 6

1988 Toyota Celica Alltrac(GT-Four) 3SGTE(2.0 turbo) from North America

Model year1988
Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 3SGTE(2.0 turbo) Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired157000 miles
Most recent distance159000 miles
Previous carHonda Accord

Summary:

One of the best AWD turbo cars ever made

Faults:

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.

General Comments:

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

10th Mar 2007, 21:56

I think and I agree the CELICA is really a beast.

1988 Toyota Celica GT-Four 3S-GTE(2.0 DOHC turbo) from North America

Model year1988
Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 3S-GTE(2.0 DOHC turbo) Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 2 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 1 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.5 / 10
Distance when acquired157300 miles
Most recent distance158558 miles
Previous carHonda Accord

Summary:

Vastly expensive, yet well worth it!

Faults:

I bought this particular car in very poor mechanical shape, yet cosmetically it was pretty decent. Major work includes:

Front CV axles.

Rebuilt stock Toyota CT26 turbocharger.

Timing belt/water pump.

Transmission replaced with US-spec tranny, 111K miles on it.

Clutch replaced with ACT Spec-2 Unit.

General Comments:

These cars are very rare; 10,000 made worldwide, and only 2,500 imported to the US.

The GT-Fours are AWD and turbocharged, and handle as such. Somewhat nimble yet tanky-feeling, but when you punch the throttle, off you go. I can't adequately describe the control you have in this vehicle... it rides and accelerates like the sports car that it is.

Comfort is top-notch, and interior amenities include automatic climate control, cruise control, power steering, ABS, very decent ergonomics, even for the age. The seats are some of the most comfortable I've ever been in, and the only car that I know of that offers power adjustable bolstering as well as lumbar support.

Operating costs are, unfortunately, very, very high in my case. I have spent a lot more time fixing this car than I have been driving it, and it is highly advisable to have a daily driver car while you own a GT-Four, or at the very least, make sure you buy one that is in pristine condition. Turbochargers _will_ wear out on these cars. Drivetrains are very solid, although mine had problems due to abuse. The engines themselves are finicky on the maintenance, but otherwise up to Toyota standards. Make sure you fix any leaks promptly!

Power? This car has it. Passing traffic on the highway is no problem at all, and the GT-Four offers enough power to waste annoying boy racers at the stoplight, if that is your sort of thing to do. The 'Four doesn't have as much raw power as the Subaru Imprezza WRX or the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo... but as far as reliable turbo AWD bang for the buck, you'd be hard-pressed to beat one. Add that to a powerplant that with smart modification can still show those other cars a thing or two, and you have a good package.

All in all, I am satisfied with this car. It has been a major pain to fix, but the GT-Four has a certain mystique and character to it that somehow keeps me glued to it. If I could do it over again, I would have purchased one, but maybe one with not as many problems.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st October, 2005

Average review marks: 7.1 / 10, based on 18 reviews