A very fun, jawdropping looks, canyon carving, cheap summer car!
Previous owner didn't take the best care of it. I bought it with a blown engine for only $900, and used a 95 Celica GT 5sfe 2.2 liter engine (almost the same engine besides alternator location) and replaced it myself.
Well, after the hassle of getting the engine in, it was a vast improvement compared to my daily driven 103 hp 1992 Celica ST.
I knew I was not getting the fastest or even a "fast" car seeing I did not opt to get a turbo engine. But it's 135 horsepower and 145 lbs. of torque makes it a quick car.
Having the mid-engine, rear wheel drive setup is very rewarding if you learn how to drive it. I started out fairly slow on corners and such the first couple days. As I grew more confident, I started to experiment and the car seems to love the corners and handles like a dream. I have only driven once in the wet, and completely lost the back end on a turn.
Beware if you want a comfortable car, it makes you feel like a part of the road, so if it turns, you turn, but if it has bumps and imperfections, you'll also feel them. A mildly harsh ride. The subpar tires can be partially blamed, but being young, I will sacrifice driving comfort for performance.
The cabin is very ergonomical and is extremely comfortable for me (5 foot 7 inches) but would be a challenge for anyone over 5 foot 10. The instruments are well laid out and the dash has a large tachometer, which is what really matters in a true sports car.
The shifter is in the perfect spot and is close to the wheel, mocking race-car shifting and performance.
Being the non-turbo, it is very easy on the pocket. Insurance is not too high (19 year old male with clean history) and it is very cheap on gas. Regular gas, and getting 26 miles in the city (gunning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd!), and 30+ on the highway.
It actually has useable cargo room. During this summer, I could fit my large hockey bag and goalie pants in the trunk (barely) and put my sticks at an angle in the cabin.
Even though it is almost 15 years old, I words cannot justify the beauty of this car. Even in stock form with it's 14" wheels and large wheel gap, it will grab attention from almost any enthusiast and make them envy you. That's without the t-tops off! Having the t-tops off is a very high mark on this car. It is plain enjoyable.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th November, 2004