Skip to main content

The Latest Toyota Celica Information Is A Breath Of Fresh Air, As The Model Won't Go Fully-Electric

Toyota Celica is making a comeback as the GR Celica, and it's much better than we were initially led to believe.

Among the many Toyota sports car nameplates is the Celica, and after 17 years of absence, the budget-friendly Toyota sports car is set for a rebirth. We have been hearing about the Celica's return since 2019 and in January 2021, Toyota trademarked the Celica nameplate for the US. This means that, at the very least, the US and Japan will get the eighth-generation Celica.  

Toyota Celica is definitely coming back and it won't be an EV 

Initial reports about the eight-generation Toyota Celica suggested it would use Toyota's latest solid-state battery technology. I never really believed those rumors, especially given the fact the Celica was always Toyota's entry-level sports car. Another hint was the fact Akio Toyota believes EVs will account for no more than 30 percent of the car market. Then, there's the fact an EV sports car just sounds like an oxymoron.  

What engine will motivate the new Toyota GR Celica? 

The eighth-generation Toyota Celica is expected to be a larger, more luxurious sports car

Our first guess was the G16-GTS, turbocharged, inline-three engine from the GR Yaris, which Toyota is planning to extensively use in other upcoming models. However, this will not be the case. We know the Miata-rivalling Toyota S-FR and the upcoming rebirth of the Toyota Starlet will feature a smaller version of that engine, but according to Japanese sources, the next-gen Toyota Celica will rely on a turbocharged, four-cylinder engine. 

Can this be the 2.4-liter, turbocharged, inline-four we see in Toyota's SUV models? Not likely since this engine was specifically developed to replace the naturally aspirated V-6 in Toyota and Lexus’ larger models. Moreover, the Best Car Web scoop reports that the turbo-four engine in question was in development for several years, indicating it is a different engine or possibly one that is loosely based on the TA24 FTS unit, seen in Toyota Tacoma, J250 Toyota Land Cruiser, and other new Toyota models. This engine will, reportedly, produce 400 horsepower. 

The return of the Celica GT-Four? 

Some generations of the Toyota Celica featured a high-performance, rally-bred variant called the GT-Four. In this modification, the Japanese sports car was very successful albeit with the help of some cheating. The model featured a massive rear wing, turbocharged four-banger, and all-wheel drive. Despite the aggressive styling, the seventh-generation Toyota Celica was much tamer and became front-wheel-drive only.  

Despite a lack of clear indication that the Celica GT-Four is returning, Toyota is, reportedly, giving the future GR Celica all-wheel drive. This will, likely, be the GR-Four all-wheel-drive system seen on the GR Yaris and GR Corolla. We also know the 2025 Toyota Tacoma GR Sport will utilize a version of the GR Four system. Moreover, the new Toyota Celica will come, as standard, with front and rear torque-vectoring differentials, like the ones fitted on higher-spec Toyota GR Corolla models. 

The return of the Toyota Celica might be hinting at a more powerful MR-2 

Don't count on a neo-retro look for the next-generation Toyota Celica

Reports from Japan indicate that the upcoming Toyota MR-2 will sit above the new Celica. If the MR-2 arrives with the GR Corolla's 1.6-liter turbo-three and the new Celica has a turbo-four, how can that be, especially given the aforementioned, 400-horsepower figure? Kirk Kreifels elaborates on the scoop, by suggesting the MR-2 could also get the turbocharged, inline-four engine. That, or the MR-2 has to be extremely lightweight compared to the upcoming Celica, which is said to be a more luxurious sports car.  

The new Toyota Celica will still be practical 

According to Japanese reports, the upcoming Toyota Celica will continue to be a 2+2 coupe. Unlike the GR Supra, which became a two-seater, the Celica will keep the rear seats. As for how usable they will be, it remains to be seen, but Toyota is likely doing this for insurance purposes, just like with the Miata-rivaling Toyota S-FR.  

As for how the next-generation Toyota Celica will look? We only know it will grow in size compared to the last generation. Best Car Web is giving us renderings that seem to be heavily based on the Toyota Camry, but aside from the new front, featuring the signature front blade, I don't think it is a plausible design. 

Where does that put the GR86? 

So far, we have learned that the new Toyota GR Celica will have a turbocharged, inline-four engine, all-wheel drive, and it will be a 2+2 coupe. Most of these traits are present in the GR86 and its twin, the Subaru BRZ. We know the next-generation GR86 will not be co-developed with Subaru and will feature the GR Corolla engine without the all-wheel drive. 

Toyota may be planning for the two models to co-exist since the future Toyota Celica is set to be a more luxurious take on the compact sports car while the GR86 will remain as the more affordable, purer sports car. This can still cause some Celica buyers to deviate towards the GR86 or vice versa, so the two models could be available on different markets. Europe could get the GR86 while North America could get the Celica since that's where the Celica nameplate was trademarked. 

In any case, I think car enthusiasts will be happy that the Toyota Celica will return as an ICE-powered model and not as a fully-electric model. What are your thoughts on the revival of the Celica? Toyota is resurrecting other iconic nameplates such as the Stout pickup and Toyota FJ Cruiser. Which one are you most excited about? Feel free to drop a comment below. 

About the author

Dimitar Angelov's automotive interests made him an expert in a wide variety of vehicles. Japanese brands like Toyota are closest to his heart, although performance cars in general are his favorite segment, which is why he is constantly on the lookout for the best deals on the market. Dimitar Angelov's car passion and knack for the written word led him to complete a Master of Arts in Media and Communications, and classic car restoration. Dim is happy to get behind the wheel of any car and share his impressions. You can follow Dimitar on XLinked-inInstagram, and Facebook.

Image sources: Toyota Celica