Tag Archives: Toyota MR2

2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder Review

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Despite all the attention on Toyota’s plain Jane but reliable Corolla and Camry sedans, Toyota did actually have a reputation for making affordable sports cars. Reputable examples of this are the Supra, Celica, and the MR2. In 1976, Toyota came up with a proposal for a vehicle that placed an emphasis on driving dynamics while providing typical Toyota virtues such as reliability, affordability, and fuel efficiency. Akio Yashida, the man behind the original MR2 decided on a mid-engine configuration for optimal handling balance. A company known for its practical and ordinary cars, the  1984 MR2 proved that Toyota could make fun and affordable sports cars. Even though it was powered by small engines, the MR2’s sub 2,500 pounds curb weight gave it unbeatable balance and go kart reflexes. Combine the legendary handling with typically Toyota quality and reliability as well as affordability, and the first generation MR2 would become one of Toyota’s greatest cars ever made. My friend’s mom who currently drives a Mercedes C250 Coupe told me her first car was a supercharged 1988 MR2 five speed. Even though she has had some sweet cars over the years as well as four Mercedes-Benzes, she still claims the MR2 was the best car she ever had, and would buy another one if Toyota still produced them. The MR2 was redesigned in 1989 (North America got the second MR2 in late 1990 as a 1991 model year car). In contrast to the first generation’s angular styling, the second featured curvier and shapely styling. The second MR2 also gained weight significantly and horsepower was increased. While it was commercially successful, MR2 purists did not like it as much as the first due to the loss of delicate handling as an effect of the increased curb weight. In 1999, Toyota redesigned the MR2, bringing it closer to the weight of the first generation, and coined its moniker, MR2 Spyder. Sadly, Toyota discontinued the MR2 Spyder in 2007 (2005 in North America).  Continue reading

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