this might be a long post, but ull learn a lot if you read.
first of all, wut do you want, manual or auto? if you want auto, then fuck toyota dealership already and buy it from somewhere else. first of all, lets talk about toyota dealerships overall. celicas will be really expensive if they are certified, sticker prices are usually very expensive that you wouldnt believe. i have almost 1 year experience with it. sticker is 19,000$ for 55,000 miles 2000 gts. if you want to buy it from a toyota dealership i tell you to do this, not suggest: be aggressive, be an asshole, and dont go a penny over ur budget, actually try to go down. dont give them numbers, let them throw it at you and you say no, im not paying this much for this old car. if they cant deal with u, dont hesitate to leave man, ull be a bit hurt, but theyll be fucked. this is how they buy their cars. go to kbb.com and see how much the wholesale price is for the exact car they have by putting in the mileage and vehicle condition. if it says 12,000$ wholesale price at kbb, that means toyota dealership bought the car for 8,000-11,000$. dont be fooled by their talk "i paid this much, i paid that much." dont buy any of their shit when theyre selling you the car, like special type of warranty. as of certified vehicle, they basically have the "extended warranty". now is that worth it? depends how you gonna use ur car. r you gonna drive ur car hard or r you gonna be gentle to it? i recommend you buy a certified vehicle if you know someone in the service department, so they can help you out and not give you too much headache of "we dont cover this and that".
remember, when it comes to engine and tranny, theyre sure gonna bother you before changing it if they are. thats why im telling you u need someone at the service department. they will change parts like alternator and starter without bothering u, but how much of a chance is there to have these things break down? and if they do, you can get them fixed with an aftermarket part and it will cost you cheap like 250$ with labor maybe or a 100 more than that.
remember, ur paying about 2000$ more than wut you can pay if you buy the car from anywhere else. is the 2000$ gonna be worth it? if in this 100,000 miles time they only change the alternator and bill you 1200$ then its not worth it cz you could have gotten the same job done outside for 400$ with aftermarket alternator.
as of buying it from anywhere else, if you have a friend or something who can check in the computer auction database and locate and celica, then you would be lucky and save some money if that friend doesnt want to make any profit off of u. if you buy it from dealerships, local, franchise or wutever, make sure you get it inspected before you buy it. my suggestion, actually experience is that independent dealers arent really that good of an idea, cz they have good prices but they dont bargain down too well. when it comes to big dealerships, they want to get rid of their cars so they can open up space in the lot, longer it stays, it will cost them more. theyll just lose money on it if it sits there. so you just tell them "u give me for a good deal and ill get it out of ur lot as soon as the deal is done or else you can take a risk and keep the car there hanging."
as for celicas, overall, it is a fact that they arent as cheap as honda civics, accords, nor rsx. the reason used celicas are expensive is because they are hard to find. there arent too many celicas being sold, you cant find many of them in auctions. ppl didnt buy too many celicas so there arent too many of them to be sold as used. thats why sellers are willing to raise the price bcz the demand is a bit higher than other cars. that doesnt mean that you should jump on any opportunity everytime you see a celica for sale. even at auction the car is sold a bit more expensive than you can think.
come back to the point of if certified is worth it or no. first thing you have to have is patience before money, then you need money. wait and look around for prices, the best deal you can get is from private party, some of them are great condition, some of them even have extended warranty with them. second is to have someone check the auctions for u. at the same time, keep an eye at toyota dealerships, if they are giving a sick deal then try to work it out. as for independent or other dealers, only get the car if the price is right, meaning its at least 2000$ cheaper than wut certified was asking you for the car with the same conditions like mileage and year.
dont be afraid to say no, dont be afraid to talk. i went from one dealer to the other every sunday for 3 months straight and didnt buy any of them. you gotta know wut to say, how to say, how to shut them up, how to prove them wrong so they can drop the price lower. you gotta look smart, or else theyre gonna be smart with u. for every excuse they bring up, give them a good answer so theyll feel that you know wut you talkin about.
overall, no to certified cars unless theyre giving you a killer deal. certified doesnt mean its in perfect condition. good luck man, and lemme know if you need any help or tips.
and damn ths is a long ass post.