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.