|CARS & BIKES
Photos by Jack G.
aggressive-looking new Toyota Celica
Beasley test-drives the new Toyota Celica
laid out instrument panel
the seventh generation Toyota Celica has hit the market. The all-new Celica uses
aggressive surfaces and sharp lines to captivate onlookers on the outside, and smooth
arches to create a sense of union between the driver and passengers on the inside.
There are two models of the new Celica, the SS1 and SS2. I had the chance to drive the
SS1. For power, both engines in this lineup use the 1.8 liter, VVTL-i (Variable Valve
Timing and Lift-intelligent) BEAMS (Breakthrough Engine with Advanced Mechanism System).
The big difference is the maximum output, with the SS1 at 145/6400rpm and the SS2 at
I was impressed with the styling of the Celica. The seats were sports-style with high
backs and were very comfortable. The instrument panel was well laid out, offering the
driver easy operation of all systems. However, the first thing I noticed on entering the
SS1 was the tacky center console. The shape is an upside down teardrop which looks good,
but the cheap plastic was out of place in this nicely styled car.
That aside, the Celica was flawless, as with most Toyotas. The SS family is styled to be a
sports car, and most sports cars don't have much room in the back. This is not the case
with the SS1; there is more than enough room for two. The trunk is also spacious; you
could easily go on a weekend trip with as much luggage as you like.
engine offers good gas mileage
Now, down to the
real nitty-gritty: Does it all work the way it should? Steering is excellent thanks to the
power-assisted rack and pinion system and the suspension. I could handle the curves of my
favorite Route 19 with ease, even with four people in the car. There is plenty of power
for a small engine, although I wish I could have had the chance to drive the SS2. The SS1
falls a little short when it comes to aggressive sports car driving in first gear; you
just can't get the extra revs required to push the edge of the envelope. It's a very
well-mannered car for city driving with an occasional outing for fun - just as long as you
don't push it too much.
I liked the Celica SS1 and would have no problem driving it on a day to day basis.
Compared to the Honda S-2000 or the Ford Mustang Cobra, the Celica won't match up - but it
isn't designed to. This car will give you good gas mileage (14 km/liter), seat four
comfortably and presents a style statement of its own. People on the street did stop and
look at my red Celica. If you want a really fast, gas-eating sports car look somewhere
else. If you want a luxury, high-priced sports car look somewhere else. If you want an
economical, good-looking, well-made city and sports car, this just might be your ticket.