1997 Toyota Celica Review

Used Celica for sale
List Price Estimate:$648 - $1,506
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Toyota Celica model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Toyota dependability, fun-to-drive, fuel efficient
  • Styling, high price

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. 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.

1997 Highlights

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.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1997 Toyota Celica.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4.88 out of 5 stars
Wow!
Oh, joy!,02/19/2007
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.
97st6gc5spdhbk,05/19/2012
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!!!!
neecey,04/13/2011
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
slyfox,02/04/2003
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.

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 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.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Toyota Celica?

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Which used 1997 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) 1997 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 1997 Toyota Celica.

Can't find a used 1997 Toyota Celicas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Toyota Celica for sale - 11 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $20,641.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 12 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $8,535.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota Celica for sale - 7 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $20,065.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota for sale - 3 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $13,794.

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.

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Check out Toyota Celica lease specials