1997 Toyota Celica GT 2.0 16v from UK and Ireland


A blend of performance and comfort


I have had to replace usual service items, these included:

New brake pads and disks all round.

Cam-belt at 120k service.

Clutch (which I believe was the original, after 130k miles!)

Apart from these, nothing has actually gone wrong with the car in the current two and a half years of ownership, which is impressive given the mileage.

General Comments:

For me, this car has been a perfect all-rounder. It is great as a commuter vehicle, comfortable, quiet and easy to drive, in town and on the motorway, returning fairly good fuel economy. It seats four adults (possibly with slightly dubious comfort levels in the back) and can even fit my bike in the back with the seats folded. At the other end of the scale, it is great as a drivers car, with brisk performance once the revs increase, and well balanced responsive handling. It has provided great entertainment at track days, and is equally fun on a twisty B-road.

From the outside, the Celica looks great in my opinion! Mine is a facelift model (look for the redesigned front bumper with clear indicators) and has been enhanced with 17” alloy wheels and Japanese late spec (JDM) rear lights and clear side repeaters, which give the car a slightly more modern look (no orangey bits!) It has also been mildly modified with a HKS induction kit (sounds good, though I'm not convinced it aids performance) and a GT4 rear strut brace (sits neatly in the boot and really stiffens the chassis in the corners).

Inside, the slightly bucketed seats are comfortable, with the driver’s side height adjustable. You sit in the typical low 'coupe' position, with the well laid out controls wrapping around the driver. Among the toys are: Electric windows, electric heated mirrors, twin airbags, electric sunroof, optional CD (mine has), optional air-con (mine doesn't – well worth looking for on a black car with all black interior, mine gets more than a bit warm in the summer!) All of these still work perfectly.

The boot is a fair size (for a coupe), although the spare wheel protrudes as a lump in the floor, and the high lip & general shape can be awkward for loading.

At low revs, the 2-litre 16V engine is quiet and refined, although not very torquey or powerful. Accelerating hard from low revs, the pick-up improves as the revs increase. Just before the peak torque point, at 5500rpm, a cleverly designed induction system allows more airflow into the engine, producing a more urgent engine note (especially through an aftermarket induction kit), and increasing the power, to a peak of 170bhp before hitting the limiter.

The gearshift is positive and lovely to use, even after 130k miles, although in cold weather, it does occasionally 'crunch' on the first couple of shifts into 3rd (worn synchro I suspect). The gearbox does sound slightly raspy on the over-run, especially in the lower gears, although this has been improved by changing the gearbox oil. The clutch pedal was heavy before I had the clutch replaced, although I think this was due to the clutch fluid, which was replaced at the same time.)

The wide spaced gear ratios can be a bit of a pain on very twisty roads, where you get a bit stuck for choice of 2nd and 3rd at times. This coupled with the slightly slack turn in makes the Celica more suited to more open tarmac with faster corners, where the car rides each bend perfectly & the long gears make best use of the engine (100mph will show on the dial before needing to select 4th)

OK, so the Celica isn't the very best performing front wheel drive coupe, and neither is it the most comfortable, practical, economical car out there, but it gives a near perfect blend of comfort and performance, like a GT badged car should. Look for a well serviced example, don't be too afraid of high mileage, and you won't be disappointed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd March, 2007

1997 Toyota Celica ss111 3.0L (177BHP) from Australia and New Zealand


Hell on Wheels in Style


Brake pads replaced at 100k

Shrinkwrap plastic on S/Steel door trim fell off.

Have had to replace a headlight bulb too.

Oh, and oil, air-filter & antifreeze.

General Comments:

Maintenace has been smooth as.

Shame you guys in the States don't get the opportunity to drive the real Celica. 177 horses under the bonnet doesn't quit on power, its only the length of road that stops ya.

Serious fun.

Seats on most versions in NZ are Recarro, racing, low slung.

Buy them in, you'll not regret it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th October, 2003

20th Mar 2004, 19:13

Sorry to say buddy, but yours cannot be a Celica, they never came out as a 3.0 liter, it's a supra I think you will find.

7th May 2004, 21:05

3.0 must be a typo. The SS3 is a 2.0 with (I think) around 170hp in automatic form.

4th Mar 2007, 10:16

Not very happy with my Celica SS2 I just got, all links had to be replaced as well as the two front shocks, plus putting up with all the rattles inside and out, very poor build by Toyota, it will only be a matter of time before the engine starts burning oil as well, so good bye Celica.

15th Oct 2007, 09:13

Isn't the Toyota ss3 in this year the Yamaha Beams engine, I have the beams engine manual, it has 200bhp and it is a little demon!!

24th Jun 2008, 03:36

The 1996 ss3 gives out 178hp, european spec.

2nd Oct 2008, 14:55

This year was the beams engine with 210bhp, I had an ss111 non beams, amazing car but the super-strut suspension was the biggest mistake Toyota ever made. Yes, if you are aware that every 60k miles it's worth replacing the figure of 8 links, but the wear on the suspension in this time makes for costly replacement. It all seems pointless when the McPherson set up has none of the problems the super-strut has.