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The 2005 Toyota Celica is a distinctive and entertaining sport coupe, but you better be small and easily impressed as the cabin is tight and the features list short.
Rev-happy engine in the GT-S, ultraprecise steering, razor-sharp handling and strong brakes make for a thrill ride in the canyons.
Mediocre interior materials, difficult-to-master GT-S six-speed shifter, short features list, poor rearward visibility.
Available Celica Models
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This is the Celica's final year of production. For 2005, the cassette player is no longer standard, though it is still available as an option with the JBL premium audio system on the GT-S.
It is with a heavy heart that we say so long to the Celica. Toyota's long-running sport coupe nameplate will quietly fade into the history books as production slows to a final halt at the end of 2005. Before the current generation arrived, Celicas were often chastised for being slow, overweight and a little on the expensive side. But not anymore, as the latest Celica is a sharp performer that's as nimble as it is stylish. Designed in California, the Celica's cab-forward shape features a high-fashion look with racecar design elements. Sharp-edge panels, dramatic plunging curves, a tall tail and a radically lowered front fascia create stark contrasts. In high-performance GT-S trim, the 2005 Toyota Celica is the martial arts action hero of sport coupes. It is quick, nimble and an absolute joy to drive on curvy roads thanks to ultraresponsive steering and a tightly controlled suspension. Used for commuting, however, the Celica's somewhat stiff ride and high-strung powertrain can take their toll. If all you want is a sporty look, more relaxed cruisers like the Hyundai Tiburon or the Mitsubishi Eclipse might be better choices. Or, if you want something in the middle, the Acura RSX or Scion tC are worth considering. Those cars aside, the Celica is a solid performer that will rarely leave you wishing for more when the road turns twisty. As it is today, the 2005 Toyota Celica isn't necessarily a bad car at all, but it is beginning to show signs of age. Don't be surprised, however, to see the legendary name rise again on some future sport-coupe product. We can only hope it would be as daring and fun as today's Celica.
The front-drive 2005 Toyota Celica is a two-door hatchback with two available trim levels: GT and GT-S. Though the GT has an attractive price, its feature list is rather scant. You'll get the basics like air conditioning and a CD player, but power windows and locks, cruise control and a rear wiper are all optional. These features are standard on the GT-S, along with its higher-horsepower engine. The GT-S also has bigger brakes, alloy wheels, foglamps, a JBL sound system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and sport pedals. On either car, you can order upgraded 16-inch alloy wheels, high-intensity discharge headlamps, a sunroof, a rear wing, keyless entry and leather seats (GT-S only). An "Action Package" is also available on both models, and it adds numerous exterior body enhancements.
The base GT is equipped with a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder dual-overhead camshaft engine rated at 140 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. The GT-S gets a more powerful 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 180 hp and 122 lb-ft of torque. The GT comes standard with a five-speed manual gearbox, while the GT-S features a six-speed manual. Optional on both trims is a four-speed automatic transmission. The GT-S' version has E-shift steering wheel-mounted buttons which allows for "manual" shifting.
GT models come with front disc/rear drum brakes, while GT-S models wear a full set of discs. Both Celicas offer antilock brakes and side-impact airbags as optional equipment. In government crash tests, the 2005 Toyota Celica earned four out of five stars for protection of the driver and front passenger in frontal impacts and three stars for side impacts.
The Celica's interior is stylish, functional and comfortable for two adults and a healthy amount of their gear. A simple, down-swept dash layout, big analog gauges, sporty bucket seats, faux-drilled metal pedals and fashionable metallic silver accents add to Celica's cockpit ambience, but materials quality is less than impressive. Both the GT and GT-S offer a center console big enough to hold eight CD cases, as well as two oversize cups. The rear seats are small and barely offer enough room to squeeze in extra passengers, but folded down, they allow a considerable amount of cargo space.
The Celica's suspension, steering and braking systems provide outstanding handling and performance. There's little body roll, excellent road feel and few surprises when it's pushed hard. The GT-S leans heavily in favor of performance over comfort, so be prepared to make the trade-off if you want the extra performance. The standard GT is still an entertaining drive despite its more forgiving setup.
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