The Toyota Celica MK7 was the result of 30 years of innovation and redevelopment, but the end result was a sports coupe to rival other cars costing three or four times as much.
The Celica MK7 makes it onto our list of modern classics because it ticks every single box: great styling, performance, durability and ridiculously good value for money. Shall we take a closer look?
The practical Celica MK7
When we start talking about a sports coupe in terms of practicality, it would be easy to think that it’s either an impossibility or any coupe that you can ferry the kids around and do the weekly shop in must be boring! The Toyota Celica MK7, however, shattered that long-held illusion by offering fairly decent legroom in the back (okay, two six footers might struggle on a long journey) and a frankly cavernous boot. Fuel economy is also excellent (especially in the 140 BHP model) and the VVTi engine behaves beautifully around town.
The fun starts, however, when you get heavy with your right foot…
Performance and fun!
As with nearly all of Toyota’s VVTi engines, both the 1.8-litre versions (140 BHP and 190 BHP) hit peak power high in the rev range at around 6,500 rpm. This means that they can be driven like you’re taking granny out for a Sunday spin, but if you plant that right foot in any gear you’re going to start moving pretty rapidly and enjoy the screaming engine note. The 140 BHP model hits 0-60 in 8.7 seconds, while the 190 BHP manages it in 7.2 – both pretty good for a car in this price range, and fantastic performance in a used car with rock solid reliability!
The handling is sharp and responsive, but it’s not set-up like a go-kart as standard, and, like all Toyotas, the feel through the steering wheel is a little lacking. Despite this, the MK7 is as pleasurable to drive on the motorway as it is on a B-road jaunt.
Buying one today
An immaculate late MK7 (they were in production from ‘99 to ‘06) will set you back around £3,500 to £4,000, but you can pick up a higher mileage car in good condition for much less than that. In fact, £1,500 will find you a relatively clean post-2002 car with a full service history (there were some issues with oil guzzling before this), and that’s cheap classic car motoring!
We wouldn’t blame you if you decided to go for one of these wonderful modern classic cars because they’re real head turners, and we’re sure that the Toyota Celica MK7 will give you years of fun motoring on a budget.