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The seventh-generation Toyota Celica sport hatchback began rolling into dealer showrooms last month as a 2000 model, completely redesigned from the roof to the road.
This subcompact sports-car wannabe is designed for people who like the looks of a sporty vehicle, but can't afford a real sports car. The new design, a product of Toyota's California studio, is worthy of a vehicle a lot more expensive than the Celica's mid-teens to low $20,000 base prices.
Two models are offered: the base GT, which lists for $16,695, and the uplevel GT-S, which we tested. The GT-S, which lists for $21,165 before extras are tacked on, gets a bit more power than the GT model.
Both vehicles carry the same basic 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, but a special variable valve timing and lift system in the GT-S engine gives it 180 horsepower, 40 more than that of the GT.
That extra power takes some effort to get to, however, since the GT-S engine doesn't reach peak …