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Toyota Celica



NOW for something completely different: when Toyota's California-based designers were told to create a new Celica coupe, they took their brief literally. Park an old Celica next to a seventh generation model and the cars could be from separate manufacturers. The old 2+2 still looks smart and quick but, using styling alone as an indicator of performance, this latest convert to the school of new edge art beats its predecessor off the mark and into the first bend with the engine on tickover.

However, while the linear workout may have given Celica a Santa Monica six-pack, this is no raw muscle machine. The first wave of new Toyota Celicas comes with a 140bhp 1.8-litre engine in contrast to the 173bhp 2.0-litre offered when generation six was launched with a GT badge during the L-plate registration era, followed by a short-lived 200bhp-plus GT-4.

But the biggest seller, towards the end of its run, was the Celica 1.8 ST with a comparatively puny 114bhp. Its replacement is not only more powerful, it is better specified for about the same price, lighter, faster, greener, more economical and cheaper to maintain. Crucially it also stacks up well against key rivals in the ú19,000- ú22,000 bracket such as the Ford Cougar, Fiat Coupe and Honda Prelude Sport.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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