Cheap and Cheerful: The 2006 Toyota Celica
The Toyota Celica is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated cars Toyota has ever built. Initially designed in the 1970s, the Celica most of us know and love is either the 6th gen model from 1993 or the 7th gen model which made its debut in 1999 and remained in production until 2006. Although it was relatively popular for its time, the Toyota Celica could never live up to the Supra's legacy. Truth be told, the Celica was supposed to complete with much smaller and more affordable ‘sports cars’ back in the early 2000s. It was never designed as an outright sports car, but more of a stylish coupe aimed at a younger audience.
I've decided to highlight a Toyota Celica for this week's 'Cheap and Cheerful' section simply because I think they're an absolute bargain at the moment. Not only are they extremely affordable and actually quite fun, but I reckon they will start to go up in price in a few years’ time. I'm not saying the Celica will ever become a collector's item, but I do think that they've bottomed out in terms of price, so you shouldn't lose any money as far as depreciation goes.
This particular example I'm highlighting today is a base 1.8 VVTi model that's only done 51,000 miles and is currently listed on our website for a price of £3,695. I've chosen this particular listing because the Toyota Celica in question is a late 2006 model, meaning it's one of the last few cars to roll off the assembly line.
Visually, I think that the Toyota Celica is a good-looking car, and I'm sure most of you will probably agree with me. When it first came out, it was hailed as something of a design icon. You have to remember that during the late 1990s and early 2000s, the automotive industry was undergoing a massive change. SUVs were on the rise, the popularity of sports cars was slowly decreasing, and cars like the Toyota Celica weren't as common or as popular as they once were.
The Celica has a slightly unusual shape because it looks like it should be mid-engined, and yet the engine is located at the front. Speaking of that front end, I love how pointy it is, especially with those large vertical headlights and that significant bonnet scoop. It still looks quite modern and sporty even by today's standards.
The rear of the car is still my favourite angle though. I love how small and square those tiny little tail lights look, and I'm quite a big fan of that spoiler as well. Having seen a few Toyota Celicas without a spoiler, I'm convinced that keeping the spoiler is the way to go.
As far as cars which look great but aren't particularly fast go, the Celica has to be up there, especially given how cheap it is in the context of 'performance' cars.
Inside, the Toyota Celica isn't what you'd call breathtaking, but it does have a decent cabin given its age. The first thing you notice when you get in it it is just how cheap most of the materials feel. Being an early 2000s product, this is more indicative of that era of cars rather than the Toyota Celica itself. Still, it feels less premium than the first-generation Audi TT, but I do have to say the build quality is high.
This is a 14-year old car, and yet, the seats are in a wonderful condition and the dashboard doesn't have any cracks in it. This car has definitely withstood the test of time and passed it with flying colours.
The seating position is great though, as is the lovely steering wheel and the pedals which are perfectly spaced out for heel and toe. The Toyota Celica is marketed as a 2 + 2 practical coupe, but in reality, the rear seats are best suited for kids or shorter adults. Most people seem to use them only on shorter journeys or as more storage space.
Engine and Performance
UK variants of the Toyota Celica came with a 1.8 L VVTi 4-cylinder engine. The flagship variants produced as high as 190 horsepower, but this being a base model, it produces a slightly more restrained 140 horsepower and 128 foot-pounds of torque. That being said, it'll still sprint to 62 mph in 8.7 seconds and top out at 126 mph. Not ridiculously fast by modern standards, but quite brisk if you want to have fun or go out for a spirited drive.
The joy of the Toyota Celica lies in the driving experience itself and not how fast you're going. Think of the Toyota Celica as an early version of the Toyota GT86. It won't wow you away with how quick it is, but it'll give you a massive grin on your face every time you drive it.
In a way, the Toyota Celica is the perfect performance car because it gives you everything you need without being too complicated or overpowered for its own good. You have to drive the car yourself as it doesn't have any driver aids, it isn't so fast that you'll end up in jail or lose your licence, and it can even be a great daily driver as it isn't too bad in terms of fuel economy.
Model: Toyota Celica
Trim: Coupe 1.8 VVTi
If I was in the market for a good-looking coupe and only had a few thousand pounds to spare, I'd take a long hard look at the Toyota Celica. It's a great driver's car that won't get you into too much trouble, but will absolutely teach you the basics of driving and make you a better driver in the process. Anyone who says they don't enjoy revving out and driving a Toyota Celica is lying. Find out for yourself by checking out the used Toyota Celica cars for sale on DesperateSeller.co.uk right now.
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