1996 Toyota Celica Review

Used Celica for sale
List Price Estimate:$711 - $1,655
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Toyota Celica model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

The Celica has long been ahead of its time as far as styling is concerned. Seems like you just get used to the funky looks of the latest Celica and Toyota unveils a new one to challenge your retinas. This version of the Celica, while toned down somewhat from its predecessor, is still difficult to swallow at first glance. If not for the odd headlights and oversized rear spoiler, it would be a very pretty car. But it's not.

Reminding our staffers of several species of brutal underwater fish, the front styling is just too radical, despite some slight revision for 1996. However, the interior of the Celica is quite nice, with a subdued driving environment that places all the controls in all the right places. The effect is somewhat Teutonic in nature, and is nicely complimented by snug, supportive seats, covered in a new-for-1996 fabric. New wheelcovers for the ST and two new colors are also new this year.

ST models are rather basic, and power is supplied by a 1.8-liter twin-cam four cylinder that makes a whopping 105 horsepower. Front disc/rear drum brakes are the only ones available on the ST, and ABS is optional.

Under the hood of the GT is a 135-horsepower 2.2-liter four cylinder that moves the Celica briskly but without fanfare. Four-wheel discs are standard; ABS is optional. Compared to most of the competition in the sport coupe class, the Celica is woefully underpowered. But boy, it's as reliable as Grandma's pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving dinner.

A new convertible version appeared for 1995, and is the most attractive Celica drop-top in a decade, despite the bulging headlights and gaping air dam. Powered by the same 2.2-liter engine as the GT but hauling around some extra weight, don't expect the Celica convertible to force you back in your seat while doing the on-ramp shuffle. And at a starting cost of $24,000, we have three words for potential drop-top buyers: Mustang GT Convertible.

The Celica is solid, reasonably sporty, and has an outstanding reliability record. We can't recommend it, though, when less-expensive and speedier cars like the Probe GT, Neon Sport Coupe and Acura Integra are available for the taking.

1996 Highlights

Front and rear styling tweaks, a new spoiler, new wheel covers, two new colors and revised fabrics debut this year on the 1996 Toyota Celica.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1996 Toyota Celica.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
A+ All the way!!!
Lipweb,10/29/2006
GT 2dr Hatchback
Since day one this vehicle has been a blast to drive. It rides tight and performs great, although a few minor adds like exhaust and an air intake will go along way - power wise. I've had nothing but comments on my car and everyone I take for a ride in it almost instantly wants one. I owned a Z-28 t-top Camaro before my Celica and now own a newer convertible Camaro pushing over 300HP as well as an Eclipse GT pushing over 240HP and my favorite of the 3 is still the 4 cylinder Celica GT.
5 out of 5 stars
The most fun car I've owned
Clare Kline,09/16/2017
ST 25th Anniversary 2dr Hatchback
Being a stick shift, traffic is not fun, but for the open country I drive, the car is really great. Very fuel efficient, minimal maintenance needed, and corners perfect.
4.63 out of 5 stars
Fantastic quality automobile... Classic
Keith,01/25/2009
GT 2dr Convertible
This car was owned by my brother first for 4 years. It went through many drivers when he owned it and was always extremely reliable and economical to own. I bought it a few months ago after a minor accident. I fixed the imperfections and am now driving it everyday. It's getting about 23 mpg with the top down most of the time. It shifts very smooth and takes corners effortlessly. Acceleration is about 10 seconds to 60 mph (automatic) and has about 93k on it. The styling is classic and even though a '96, not out of style in the least. Mine is black on black and always gets great comments on it's looks.
5 out of 5 stars
Favorite Car!
Vanessa H,10/19/2004
GT 2dr Hatchback
It took me a while to find the exact car I wanted...and it was completely worth the wait! This was the best car I EVER had! We've been together for 7- 8 years and it's still in EXCELLENT condition!

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1996 Toyota Celica

Used 1996 Toyota Celica Overview

The Used 1996 Toyota Celica is offered in the following submodels: Celica Hatchback, Celica Coupe, Celica Convertible. Available styles include ST 2dr Hatchback, ST 2dr Coupe, GT 25th Anniversary 2dr Convertible, ST 25th Anniversary 2dr Hatchback, GT 2dr Coupe, GT 2dr Hatchback, and GT 2dr Convertible. Pre-owned Toyota Celica models are available with a 1.8 L-liter gas engine or a 2.2 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 130 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1996 Toyota Celica comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Toyota Celica?

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Which used 1996 Toyota Celicas are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Toyota Celica for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Toyota Celica.

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Find a used Toyota Celica for sale - 11 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $19,579.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 10 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $12,151.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota Celica for sale - 4 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $24,955.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Toyota Celica?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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