2002 Toyota Celica GT 1.8 from North America


A super fun car with great overall value


To date I have not had any problems with anything wearing or being defective on the car.

General Comments:

Gas mileage is super even when pushed hard.

Car isn't terrific off the line, but once it begins revving it takes off hard.

Car looks terrific, I've had strange girls follow me home more than once...

Cockpit feels great, it wraps around the driver and you feel like you're wearing the car.

Corners and breaks like a race car!

The factory stereo is surprisingly good!

Not recommended for overly tall people.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th September, 2002

14th Apr 2011, 14:54

I'm 6ft 6in and found it comfortable; a little tight, but way better than my reg cab truck...

2002 Toyota Celica 190 VVTLI 1.8 petrol 190 bhp from UK and Ireland


Everything a coupe should be, and more


No faults at all.

General Comments:

A good looking, reliable, economical, and amusingly quick coupe which turns plenty of heads.

The screaming 1.8 litre engine is a peach, revving to almost 9,000 RPM with a spine tingling snarl. Performance, assuming all the revs are used is plain silly for a 1.8 litre normally aspirated engine. 0-60 comes up in about 7 seconds and I can confirm it will pass 130 mph with plenty in reserve. Reckon on 145 ish as a maximum.

Steering, handling and brakes are all superb, and the chassis never struggles to deploy the power, despite the combination of 190 bhp and front drive. The Celica feels brilliantly sorted, and is great fun to hustle round the lanes. Body roll is non existent, grip strong, and on the limit response predictable without being boring. It's a fun and easy car to drive fast.

The other very pleasing aspect of this car is its fuel consumption. Staying under 6,000 RPM (where the valve timing and lift switches to its high rev mode), it easily notches up 38 mpg, and you have to be seriously caning it to ever dip below 30 mpg. That is very impressive for such a quick car.

Dislikes? It's not brilliantly refined on the motorway, and the orange dials look a bit tacky, especially the digital fuel and temp gauges which look completely out of place. The other gripe is the way the engine can also feel a bit lethargic low down, although the kick in the pants it delivers as you howl past 6,000 RPM compensates more than adequately. I still find Toyotas VVTLI more tractable and useable than the Honda VTEC system however, and the engine will pull from under 30 mph in sixth without complaining at all.

Overall, I'm well pleased, and would definitely buy another.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th February, 2002

6th May 2002, 23:22

I have a 1987 Toyota Celica ST and I love it. It is my favorite car to have in highschool. It is a quick little 2.0 4 cyl. engine, and is very good at turns. I would rather have a 2002 Celica, but this little car kicks.

24th Feb 2006, 12:39

I owned a astra turbo coupe and swapped it for a celica 190 great choice feels a lot better and looks the part and the interior is a lot better too, but I think the astra has bit better performance though, but I wouldn't go back never.

27th Apr 2007, 05:06

The 1.8 integra type R, is quicker and better overall car performance wise.

29th Apr 2007, 10:09

Thanks for the informative original review & following comments - it's helping to swing the balance in favour of the the Celica 190 over the CTR for me when it comes to deciding my next car. I totally respect the CTR as a cult hot-hatch, but for me, the Celica is the more characterful car: I mean, what other modern sub-£20,000 or thereabouts coupe looks like that?! Forget the torque issue (not an issue to me - I love the ambiguous nature of the vvt engine. Also, 'cos I'm getting a little bit more old and boring (33!) and the Celica seems like the slightly more practical of the two when considering fuel consumption and front tyre-wear etc.

12th Jan 2009, 05:51

Has anybody considered the FTO Mivec as an option? I'm looking at a 2000 VVTL-i Celica and a 1998 FTO Mivec 2.0 same interior spec ie (climate CD etc). Love the sound of both engines and I appreciate the engineering. For me the Integra is a bit pure as mentioned above, and not that refined! Excellent car though.

The FTO has it on looks (for me), but the Celica interior is much nicer as I do have to live with this car. Any suggestions?

29th Oct 2009, 05:17

I've got a Toyota Celica 2002 vvtli 190 T-Sport, and I love the car, but it's a few weeks now that when I pull away it's got a strange rattle from the engine compartment or exhaust. Could anyone please help me. Thank you, Damian.

29th Oct 2009, 11:23

Probably a heat shield rattling. Nothing to worry about, but if you are bothered by it, jack the car up and have a look, or take it to an exhaust/tyre place, and it shouldn't be a massive job.