UK Car Road Test

Toyota Celica Coupe 190 2001

 Movie Clips of this Car

Exterior Movie Interior Movie

 


Toyota's Celica has been around for so long it could be considered an antique. It was initially launched in1978 so it's almost as elderly as the legendary VW Golf.

Toyota Celica 190

Ultra cool

It certainly doesn't look like an antique. The name may be elderly but the car is youthful and still thriving on it's virtuous looks.
Sports Coupes almost became extinct back in the early 90s. which was partly due to insurance premiums rocketing and the market being flooded with high power saloon cars in various guises. However, the Celica survived and how fab it is that we still have it!

In practical terms it's not fit for camping holidays or monthly food shopping but, hey, who cares? What we want them for is the exciting driving experience, along with good looks at affordable prices.

The Celica tested is the 190bhp version with full spec including metallic grey finishing. It looks very stylish, modern and a little aggressive. 
It has only 1800cc of engine which is quite small and without any type of force-fed charging of any description.

The front bumper of the Celica is reminiscent of the 996 Porsche with a hole in the middle. The lines throughout the car are neat and tidy, giving shape to this oval wedge. The rear is enhanced with a spoiler which fits perfectly and actually looks like it belongs. So many boot spoilers seem to detract from the cars they are fitted to and give a terrible DIY appearance.

The interior is very sporty with a high mounted centre tunnel housing the cup holders and gear shift. The height of the tunnel is considerably above the seat, making the gear stick higher than left hand which is unusual in modern cars (it also states the type of car you are sitting in).
The seating is very well finished with at least one cow hide used to cover the interior area. The leather trim stitching is very intricate, the headrests are part of the seats with ventilation by means of a small crescent shaped hole. I guess one seat size fits all in Japan. The rear seats are bucket shaped and not as detailed as the front. They are also very uncomfortable for any length of journey, the occupant space being tiny and only allowing small children access in and out with any ease at all..

Would a hole this small cool the engine?

Looks just like a Fiat Coupe

The general look of this car is very unique with shapes, body lines and molding all adding to the designer details.

 

Air Conditioning
Air Conditioning
Cigarette Lighter
Cigarette Lighter
Climate Control
Climate Control
Electric Mirrors
Electric Mirrors
Electric Windows front
Electric 
Windows front
Leather Steering Wheel
Leather 
Steering Wheel
Leather Upholstery
Leather 
Upholstery
Radio CD Player
Radio 
CD Player

Heated Mirrors
Heated Mirrors

The Celica has many features fitted as standard, even in the introduction model. The one we tested was fully kitted with climate control, leather sports steering wheel and much more listed.

Gothic-looking air vents

Toyota tacky stereo
The Air system is very aesthetically pleasing,  it's easily understood and works exceptionally well.
The operating buttons have a soft touch function and the temperature control is accurate, with strong fans for extra ventilation.

The Celica tested had an electric sunroof fitted which was pure extravagance as the air conditioning does not work very well if the roof is opened. And why, if it wasn't hot, would you open the roof? The wind noise is quite high at speed when it's open so it's just better to use the air con.

 

The engine and gearbox section is where I was quite surprised. I thought 1.8 litres without any turbo or supercharger would be a little slow.
Then I noticed the rev counter goes up to 8,000rpm before it red lines and there's the gear stick boasting 6 forward gears, add all this to the interior-styled trim and the sporting exterior and surely the car's engine would equal to the rest?

A very aplomb 1800cc engine

Variable valve timing

Service Interval Insurance Group Safety Rating Smog Rating
10000 15 Not Available Band (D)
Engine BHP CC Fuel Inj.
16 Valve DOHC 189 1796 Yes
Cyl Camshafts Valves/cyl Compressor
4 Double 4 None
Top Speed 0 to 60 BHP per Tonne
140mph 7.4seconds 166
MPG@Urban MPG@Cruise MPG@Speed Fuel Type
24.6mpg 42.8mpg 33.6mpg Unleaded

 

The figures above suggest a stunning drive, but is it?


Well, the gears are very close together which is understandable as there are lots of them. They are also on a very short longitudinal selection. The clutch is very light and easy to use, there is also a very large steel foot rest next to the clutch pedal to rest your left leg between gear changes. However, in this Celica you are always changing gear so you don't expect to use it unless cruising on the motorway.

The speedo shows 160 mph and this is the fastest of the Celica range. It also revs higher than some motorbikes I have ridden.
However, it drives like most sports cars in its class but did not impress me with its power output. The gear change is assured and the car drives without any excess noise from either end. The exhaust system is nicely suppressed and the engine spins balanced and quietly. 
I did like the general drive and view, the only irritating factor being a noisy rear parcel shelf which I have been informed is a common problem.

After driving the car for some time and covering many miles, I decided to basically thrash it to get it to perform. When I revved it beyond all normality, it transformed itself into what I originally thought it would be - a powerful Sports Coupe. Unfortunately, this power output is between 6500 and 8000 revs and you really have to let the engine breathe with the cams spinning like an airplane turbine to achieve what this engine can deliver. It does rev very quickly and that is probably enhanced with the gearing in the six speed gearbox. The Celica is reasonably powerful in normal conditions with ability to access greater power, which is nice. However, I question how many miles the car would last if driven continually for its max power beyond 6500rpm not creating any serious repair bills?

The Celica we tested had already done 82,000 miles. If I had driven it as hard as I did for all of these 82k miles, I would probably own a bag of bits rather than this outstanding sports car. Maybe the person who drove it before me drove it even harder than me and perhaps Toyota deserve an enormous pat on the back? Whatever, the fact is that the car does perform very well but only at  very high rpms.
This style of driving is not really consistent with modern roads. Speaking personally (and probably for quite a few other drivers), what would be nice is a torquey mid range and the ability to deliver prompt power without having to wind the engine up into a frenzy.


Factory fitted rear spoiler.

Ultra modern lighting.

Technical features such as ABS, catalytic converter and the independent link suspension on this car could only have been dreamt of when the Celica was first launched. These fitments to this Coupe are very effective and very light in weight 

Alloy Wheels
Alloy Wheels
Catalytic Converter
Catalytic Converter
Disc Brakes Front & Rear
Disc Brakes Front & Rear
Halogen Head Lights
Halogen Head Lights
Power Assisted Steering
Power Assisted Steering
Rev Counter
Rev Counter
Independent Suspension
Independent Suspension
Intermittent Wash Wipe
Intermittent WashWipe

Who cares about safety when you're driving a car like the Celica? Surley the point of owning such a car  is for its power and good looks?
The type of person who drives a car such as this may well also use a cabriolet or even consider a motor bike for fun. The Celica is fitted with various airbags and impact protection which are standard fitment on most modern cars and all work well in the unfortunate event of an impact at speed. The body mass of this car and the physical size is small and therefore probably not the best to be impacted with a black taxi. The Celica is engineered very well and safety zones with collapsing impact features are evident. Overall the car is strong for its size and probably better than my initial expectations.

Small stylish drivers airbag

Very ugly seat airbag

 

Alarm
Alarm
Antilock Braking System
Antilock Braking System
Deadlocks
Deadlocks
Engine Immobiliser
Engine Immobiliser
Front Twin Airbags
Front Twin Airbags
High level brake Light
High level brake Light
Locking Fuel Cap
Locking Fuel Cap
Locking Wheel Nuts
Locking Wheel Nuts
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Remote Central Locking
Remote Central Locking
Side Impact Protection
Side Impact Protection
Visible Identification Number
Visible Identification Number

 

The Celica is very secure. The key system is coded and the engine will not come to life unless the correct coded key is used. Its engine management system works very well in keeping the owner as the only driver. The thieves know this which means that you have more likelihood of being removed from the car or having your house burgled for the keys. Toyota also protect the alloy wheels from being removed illegally by their use of security locking wheel nuts. These can be taken off without the proper key but it is quite time consuming.

All in all I really enjoyed this car. It offers a distinguished shape and style with affordable purchase costs, cheap running costs and moderate insurance premiums. It could not be considered for transporting more than two people comfortably or for carrying DIY cargo from your local sales depot. It is clear that what you see is what you get. If you are free from children or taxi driving this is an excellent car to consider.

Toy who?

190 re-iterated in red.

 160 is 20mph more than the car can achieve.

For those who don't know.

You have to be quite nimble when getting in and out of this car - your parents and elders would not be too impressed if you kept turning up offering them lifts. But, hey, is that not a perfect scenario?


 

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UK Car Road Test Toyota Celica Coupe 190 2001

UK Car Road Test Keywords: SportsCelica Coupe 190