1997 Toyota Celica Review
1997 Toyota Celica Review
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Used Celica for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Toyota dependability, fun-to-drive, fuel efficient
- Styling, high price
For the 1997 Toyota Celica, the GT Coupe is gone, and Fiesta Blue Metallic can be specified for cars equipped with black sport cloth interior.
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Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 1997 Toyota Celica GT 2dr Hatchback and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.36 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Avg. Compact Car
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. 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 fabric. Get black sport cloth, and you can select Fiesta Blue Metallic paint, which is new for 1997.
ST models are rather basic, and power is supplied by the same 1.8-liter twin-cam four cylinder found in the Corolla DX. This powerplant 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. GT is only available as a liftback or a convertible this year, because Toyota dropped the coupe version. 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 nearly $25,000, 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 Pontiac Sunfire GT, Mustang GT Convertible, and Acura Integra LS are available for the taking.
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4.88 out of 5 stars
1997 Toyota Celica GT Limited Edition 2dr Convertible
I bought this car just shy of two weeks ago and I cannot believe how pleased I am already. The GT is a performance machine that lives up to every expectation. It gets going in a hurry, feels like it will never let go of the road, and makes the driver truly a part of the drive. Sitting in this car felt like home to me right from the start of the test drive. It is also a Toyota, which … gives me every confidence in its reliability. Finally, the fun-to-drive factor is way beyond a mere "10." The only negative I can find about it is the placement of the cupholders. But this is a non-issue placed alongside the overwhelming positives. It's a winner.
5 out of 5 stars
Amazing little cars.
1997 Toyota Celica ST 2dr Hatchback
I'm amazed at the quality & overall craftsmanship Toyota put into this car. It ALWAYS starts. 5 speed combined w/ the 1.8 4cyl makes gas mileage INSANELY good! Full tank gets 400+ miles. Car is also super light & brakes easily/quickly. I've seen alot of people complaining about a 'lack of power' ...really? If you wanted power why would you buy a 4cyl "Sports" car? I've never had a … problem passing someone when needed. All-in-all I feel this car makes for aa good investment. 193k without a problem here!
4.88 out of 5 stars
Best car by far!!!!
1997 Toyota Celica ST Limited Edition 2dr Hatchback
I bought this car 10 years ago, and she runs like the day I got her...Just hit 150,000 miles and have never had any mechanical problems at all. That amazes me! Shocks are starting to show signs of needing replacing, power antennae motor went and that's all I've have to deal with in the last 10 years..I get an avg of 35 MPG. I can't say anything bad about the reliability or drivability of … this car.. I LOVE IT!!!!!!
4.63 out of 5 stars
Fun car-simple too
1997 Toyota Celica GT 2dr Hatchback
I've had this car for 4 months now and it truely is a blast. Great handling (FWD), good acceleration (could use a little more at times). Toyota Quality. And the best of all, you are more likely to see 100 preludes, cavaliers, or sunfires before you see just one of these beauties on the road. Toyota should have kept this style, it's much better than the new celica … body design. Overall, try it and you will love it.
1997 Toyota Celica Hatchback Features & Specs
- Base MSRP
- MPG & Fuel
- 25 City / 32 Hwy / 28 Combined
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.9 gal. capacity
- Type: front wheel drive
- Transmission: 5-speed manual
- Inline 4 cylinder
- Horsepower: 105 hp @ 5200 rpm
- Torque: 117 lb-ft @ 2800 rpm
- Length: 174.2 in. / Height: 50.8 in.
- Overall Width without Mirrors: 68.9 in.
- Curb Weight: 2415 lbs.
- Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 16.2 cu.ft.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestNot Tested
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintNot Tested
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test0
More about the 1997 Toyota Celica
Used 1997 Toyota Celica Overview
The Used 1997 Toyota Celica is offered in the following submodels: Celica Hatchback, Celica Coupe, Celica Convertible. Available styles include GT 2dr Hatchback, GT 2dr Convertible, ST 2dr Coupe, ST 2dr Hatchback, GT Limited Edition 2dr Convertible, and ST Limited Edition 2dr Hatchback. Pre-owned Toyota Celica models are available with a 2.2 L-liter gas engine or a 1.8 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 135 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1997 Toyota Celica comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.
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Should I lease or buy a 1997 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.