Toyota Celica

Coupe buyers love to be noticed - but if you want to be looked at, nothing less than dramatic styling, a ground-hugging stance and aerodynamic extras will do.

Drivers who want to stand out from the crowd will love the Celica GT, as it looks stunning and handles well. But competition from similarly priced rivals is fierce. While the GT is the most distinctive Celica, the £16,650 140bhp version is much better value.

Coupe buyers love to be noticed - but if you want to be looked at, nothing less than dramatic styling, a ground-hugging stance and aerodynamic extras will do.

Since 1999, Toyota's Celica has offered a good-value package for owners wanting something more exciting than a hot hatch, but it is never really stopped passers-by in their tracks. And Mazda's RX-8 and Nissan's 350Z have put it further in the shade recently.

But that's about to change with the Celica GT. Looking like a refugee from a Playstation game, it is based on the 190bhp T-Sport, with lowered suspension, a huge rear wing and a full bodykit. The garish style is completed with side skirts and 17-inch alloys. Inside, the makeover continues with Alcantara suede-effect sports seats and a GT gearknob. Sadly, the effect is spoiled by a poor-quality dash.

The road manners are the same as the T-Sport's, with light, precise steering and limited body roll making this a great-handling car - and comparable with today's best coup�s. But the big wheels ensure the ride is very hard on uneven surfaces, and the high-revving 1.8-litre petrol engine means that the GT has to be driven hard to access its considerable performance. The Celica is priced at £22,595, making it £1,445 more expensive than the T-Sport. That might seem a fair value, but Mazda salesmen will disagree.

The 228bhp RX-8 costs £495 less, plus offers more power, a genuine four-seat cabin and great looks. Still, Toyota is set to drop the Celica next year, which could make this model very rare indeed.

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