1 Mar 1994
The sixth-generation Celica was larger, stronger, roomier and safer than its curvy predecessor – but it was even less appealing in design, looking like the three-door Camry coupe it essentially had become.
This proved to be a big mistake for Toyota, as this is the Celica that (temporarily) conceded its sales crown to the bizarrely styled Hyundai Mk2 Coupe from 1996 to 1999.
The engine was again the carryover 100kW 2.2-litre 5S-FE.
In this application it was quieter and more refined, making the ST204R Celica a composed and comfortable sporty 2+2 seater.
It was also commendably lighter than before. Reduced to a hatchback-only model for Australia, this Celica was split into two variants – base SX and luxury ZR.
Initially, all featured a driver’s airbag, power steering, power windows and remote central locking, while ABS brakes were optional on the ZR. But bad exchange rates forced Toyota to drop the standard airbag from early ’95.
During 1994, Toyota also imported 77 Celica GT-Four Group A Rallye cars at well over $80,000 each. This time the 3S-GTE turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine pumped out 178kW of power and 302Nm of torque.
A limited edition Celica SX TTE of late ’94 featured special livery from the GT-Four rally car at no extra cost.
In early ’95 both models gained a rear spoiler while a passenger airbag became optional.
From December ’95 a facelift ushered in a new bumper, revised suspension and improved refinement. The ZR gained dual airbags and side skirts.
In June ’98 another round of changes saw new colours and cabin trim, revised wheel and audio presentations and a driver’s airbag as standard in the base SX.
To keep sales buoyant, the Celica SX-R of late ’98 added new alloy wheels, fog lights, cruise control and sportier cabin trim as standard.
Toyota brought in 10,994 ST204/205 model Celicas in total.