10 Best & Worst Toyota Celica Years [2024 Ranked]

Source: autobild

The fast and cheap Toyota Celica was introduced in 1970 in the US with a low price tag compared to the Mustang. Its lower beltline and large windows gave it a more modern appearance while providing ample passenger space, efficient fuel economy, and a robust engine.

The Celica gallantly clocked 35 years, an accomplishment few vehicles can match. Regretfully, the manufacture of the Celica began to decline and was eventually discontinued by the end of 2005.

With a car that is nearly twenty years old, reliability is obviously an important factor to consider. For this reason, we have chosen to focus on specific years of the used Toyota Celicas with a bad reputation for reliability. Stay tuned for more information as we also explore the reliable years you can still buy in 2024.

The worst years to avoid the Toyota Celica are from 2000-2002. The best years to buy the Toyota Celica are 1992, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, and 2005. This result was concluded from trustworthy sources such as NHTSA, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Kelley Blue Book.

Worst Toyota Celica Years to Avoid

It’s common knowledge that Toyota is among the most reliable automakers. So, it’s reasonable to assume that the Celica provides excellent reliability. But, as with any car, some Celica years and models have had more issues than others. Some of the worst years for Toyota Celicas are shown below:

  • 2000 Toyota Celica
  • 2001 Toyota Celica
  • 2002 Toyota Celica

3. 2002 Toyota Celica (4.09 Rating)

Source: Pinterest / Carsdata.net

While 2002 isn’t the most dependable year for a Toyota Celica, it is one of the years to avid. There may be fewer gripes about this model than the ones from 2000 and 2001, but there are still some serious ones. Most of the complaints were related to airbags, and the main point was that they wouldn’t deploy in an accident.

Unfortunately, this model was also prone to transmission-related problems. This problem has been reported by one owner of a 2002 Celica with 65,000 miles (104607.36 km). After hearing some strange noises, they took the vehicle to a mechanic, who discovered it had gearbox problems. Unfortunately, the required repairs are projected to cost at least $1,000.

Used car shoppers should consider the 2002 Celica only if they can find one at a bargain price. Having said that, be aware that it has serious dependability concerns, like problems with the transmission and airbags.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints

2. 2001 Toyota Celica (4.02 Rating)

Source: manorparkclassics

While the 2001 Celica does have better dependability ratings and fewer complaints, it is still best to steer clear of that particular year’s Celica models.

The transmission, a common source of complaints for many automobiles, was the subject of multiple reports for this model year. According to one customer, the Celica GT’s gearbox failed at 36,000 miles (57936.384 km). The engine had to be replaced without a warranty, which was expensive, even though their extended warranty covered the transmission.

Moreover, the 2001 Toyota Celica had oil sludge problems more often than any other year. A major complaint voiced by several online communities regarding the 2001 Celica was its high oil consumption.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints

1. 2000 Toyota Celica (2.9 Rating)

Source: YouTube / Rev Match Ruben

Nearly everyone agrees that the 2000 Toyota Celica was the worst year for this sporty coupe. This statement is further justified by declaring this model year worst from CarComplaints.

The 2000 Celica’s engine is the most problematic part regarding reliability. According to one owner, the engine of the Celica GTS was quite unstable. On two occasions, the engine gave out at about 65,000 miles (104607.36 km) in spite of driving very fast. The user was liable for the exorbitant $5000 repair bill every time.

Even more concerning is the fact that several have mentioned serious problems with the piston rings in their 2000 Toyota Celicas. This problem was encountered by one customer at around 110,000 miles (177027.84 km) while driving their Celica GT. For all the reasons listed above, staying away from the 2000 Celica would be wise.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints

Best Toyota Celica Years to Buy Used

Based on user reviews and reported issues, the following years of the Toyota Celica have been determined to be the most reliable:

  • 1992 Toyota Celica
  • 1993 Toyota Celica
  • 1998 Toyota Celica
  • 1999 Toyota Celica
  • 2003 Toyota Celica
  • 2004 Toyota Celica
  • 2005 Toyota Celica

7. 1992 Toyota Celica (4.29 Rating)

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Numerous owners have lauded the 1992 Toyota Celica for its outstanding blend of speed, reliability, and athletic appeal. Supporters from all around the nation, including those in Tucson, Provo, Houston, and Kansas City, have nothing but praise for its handling and performance.

The car’s durability and reliability are shown by its excellent mileage records, with some people claiming to reach 280,000 miles (450616.32 km) or more. In addition to its impressive mechanical capabilities, the 1992 Toyota Celica is highly regarded for its stunning design and eye-catching features, such as its pop-up headlights.

Among the many reasons for the car’s continued success among auto aficionados, reports consistently highlight how simple it is to repair and how readily available replacement parts are. For anyone looking for a car that combines style, efficiency, and long-term dependability, the 1992 Toyota Celica is a good option to consider.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints

6. 2003 Toyota Celica (4.33 Rating)

Source: Carid

When it comes to design, the Celica is unmatched. In addition to its eye-catching design, the 2003 Toyota Celica is beloved for its superb handling, especially in tight bends. When the engine reaches about 8300 RPM (3129.02 kph), it makes a pleasant sound that enhances the driving experience and makes for an exciting and unforgettable journey.

Redesigned for 2003, the Toyota Celica features a more modern front and back end. The Celica’s front fascia and bumper have been updated to include a larger upper air inlet. The car’s updated shape is complemented by newly optional high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, while the rear lights have been reworked to mimic the projector-style appearance.

Toyota has upgraded the GT-S model’s interior with a JBL sound system as standard equipment and reworked the center dash cluster to make it easier to read. Models equipped with JBL speakers now come standard with a power antenna. Solar Yellow and Zephyr Blue Metallic are the two new colors for this year.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints

5. 1993 Toyota Celica (4.40 Rating)

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The first model of the sixth-generation Celica series was the 1993 Toyota Celica. This model appears to have arrived with many component perfections, as one would anticipate from a car in its sixth generation.

It comes in three distinct body types: 2-door notchback, 3-door liftback, and 2-door convertible. This Celica model boasts near-perfect feedback from buyers and a gorgeous appearance, even though it is a 1993 ride. With 4.9 out of 5 stars on Edmunds and 4.5 out of 6 stars on KBB, this vehicle has more than 100 reviews and is highly recommended.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints

4. 1999 Toyota Celica (4.49 Rating)

Source: classics

With its appealing 2-door form, the 1999 Toyota Celica is another attractive option. The 1999 Celica came in just two body styles—a hatchback and a convertible—in contrast to the 1991 model. Toyota decided to discontinue production of the Coupe version in the 1999 edition.

With its 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, this Celica variant can only generate 135 horsepower. It could lag behind competitors like the Chevrolet Camaro Z28 and Ford Mustang GT in terms of acceleration. However, it provides an exceptional degree of dependability and comfort.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints

3. 1998 Toyota Celica (4.55 Rating)

Source: Carsguide

Another dependable model is the 1998 Toyota Celica. However, the ST trim is no longer offered by Toyota, therefore, it is exclusively available in the GT model.

As a result, the carmaker was likely able to put more effort into the GT trim that was still available. An intriguing fact about the 1998 Toyota Celica GT is the increased number of standard equipment compared to earlier models.

An additional option for this vehicle is a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine that can generate 135 horsepower. Nonetheless, the coupe, liftback, and convertible body styles are all present, unlike the 1999 model. Users and critics alike have nothing but praise for this model. Plus, there aren’t many major concerns about the 1998 Toyota Celica either.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints

2. 2005 Toyota Celica (4.59 Rating)

Source: Toyota

Among the seventh-generation Celica vehicles, the 2005 model year was another great one. It has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 125 pound-foot torque and 180 horsepower. The 2005 Toyota Celica, assembled in California, has an aggressive and appealing exterior design and comes with certain safety measures.

There are two trim levels for the 2005 Toyota Celica: GT and GT-S. In contrast to the GT’s 140 horsepower, the GT-S is capable of 180 horsepower. Additionally, the GT-S comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, but the GT only comes with a five-speed. On both versions, a four-speed automatic gearbox is an optional option.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints

1. 2004 Toyota Celica (4.9 Rating)

Source: Car sales

The best Celica model up until this point has been the 2004 model. Indeed, not a single vehicle of this model has received a single recall on NHTSA. It is more upgraded from the 2005 model year, which is already among the best Celicas, regarding safety and tech features.

Many 2004 Celica owners have praised the car’s longevity, low maintenance needs, and affordable price, pointing out that the vehicle can reliably go beyond 200,000 miles (321868.8 km). From the 140-horsepower GT Hatchback 2D to the 180-horsepower GT-S Hatchback 2D, the 2004 Celica offers a wide variety of power.

The 2004 Toyota Celica is available in two trim levels: GT and GT-S. An optional Action Package is available for the GT, thereby increasing the trim level to three. Although there are a few drawbacks, like lack of legroom in the back, the 2004 Celica is still the best model year for anyone looking for a fun, dependable, and fashionable small sports car.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints

Common Toyota Celica Problems

Despite its relatively minor flaws, the Toyota Celica is not without its share of frequent faults, particularly with cars from the early 2000s.

Some of the most common issues that arise with Toyota Celicas are listed here.

  • A squeaking noise coming from the engine
  • The engine uses too much oil.
  • Problems with the powertrain
  • During critical situations, the airbag does not deploy.


1. Is the Toyota Celica a reliable car?

The reliability and durability of Toyota Celicas are well-known. Their long lifespan, sporty performance, and durability have earned them great respect. The Celica is listed on repairpal.com as having a solid 4 out of 5 rating, proving it is one of the most dependable Toyota models.

2. Are Toyota Celica expensive to maintain?

Most people think the Toyota Celica doesn’t need much care. However, the age, mileage, and general condition of the vehicle might affect the total maintenance cost.

The Celica typically costs $526 per year to maintain, according to a breakdown provided by repairpal.com. Compared to the average car, which costs around $900 per year for maintenance, this one is significantly cheaper.

3. Which Toyota model is the most reliable?

You can’t go wrong with the Celica as an example of Toyota’s reliability, but several other models deserve your attention as well. The reliability, durability, and excellent performance of these cars have ensured their spot in this 2024 best Toyota vehicles list.

4. How long will a Toyota Celica last?

A Toyota Celica has a long lifespan with regular servicing. It is reported that some models can endure for over 200,000 miles (321868.8 km).

Wrap Up

Selecting the appropriate model year and conducting thorough research is crucial if you’re in the market for a Toyota Celica. While certain years have a stellar reputation for reliability and performance, others are better left unexplored owing to a host of difficulties. If you consider things like maintenance, driving habits, and age/mileage, you can select a Toyota Celica that will provide you with many enjoyable years of driving.

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