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2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder

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2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder Review

Young drivers like the good performance and strong handling, but not the style.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

Entering its second year of production, the 2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder looks just like the 2000. It obviously targets young drivers who want a high-performance vehicle but don't have enough savings to buy a luxury roadster. Still, it offers strong performance and it handles like a dream.

Overall, this great car appeals to young drivers. However, a few notable features hold it back. The ragtop lets you enjoy summer weather, but it doesn't rise automatically, so you have to hop out whenever it starts raining or gets too cold for comfort.

Much more important than this minor inconvenience, though, is the styling. If you want the feel of a high-performance roadster, then this makes one of the best cars that you can buy without mortgaging the rest of our life away. If you seek a convertible that makes you look cool, you should really look elsewhere because nothing about the 2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder's aesthetics looks cool. The exterior almost encourages jokes, and the interior has a sparse, outdated look.

The Range

Body Styles: convertible
Engines: 1.8-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual
Models: Toyota MR2 Spyder

What's New

The manufacturer makes no changes for the 2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder.

Exterior

The 2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder has a lot of good attributes, but the exterior styling certainly is not one of them. Frankly, it looks a little ridiculous with its bug eyes and cropped nose. The windshield erupts from the hood in a way reminiscent of Herbie the Love Bug. Sure, its low profile gives it a sporty style, but the designers seem to have forgotten their target audience.

The ragtop causes a bit of a problem, too. Unlike most convertibles, you must get out of the car to put the top down. That doesn’t seem like a big deal for people who live in places with consistent weather. Anyone living outside of the southwestern U.S., however, curses this manual feature after a few surprise changes in the weather.

Interior

The 2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder's interior does not win any awards for beauty. It no-frills design favors function over aesthetics. Despite its dated appearance, though, it comes standard with some impressive features. Power accessories, air-conditioning, and a tilt steering wheel come with every MR2 Spyder. Still, you won't have many opportunities to add extra features unless you want to invest a lot of cash in aftermarket products.

The MR2 Spyder offers a lot of good features, but it lacks one important thing: a defroster for the rear window. If you plan on driving with the top up during chilly seasons, you have to take care of frost on your own.

Performance & Handling

The 2001 MR2 Spyder contains a 1.8-liter, twin-cam, 16-valve four-cylinder that offers 138 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. That might not sound like a lot, but it proves adequate for this small car that only weighs 2200 pounds. Step on the gas and you can hit 60 mph from a standstill in just seven seconds—impressive for a car at this price. Sure, you can find cars that shave a couple seconds off the stopwatch, but it will cost you about twice as much.

If the power doesn't impress you, then the 2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder tries to win you over with its excellent handling. The mid-engine design helps stabilize the MR2 Spyder’s weight, allowing it take curves easily. Perhaps more important than anything, the MR2 Spyder offers a fun drive. While it obviously targets young drivers, sitting behind the wheel makes anyone feel young.

Safety

The 2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder has some excellent safety features, including electronic brake force distribution, four-wheel ABS, front and rear ventilated disc brakes, and a passenger-airbag deactivation switch.

Records offer no information from either the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration about how the 2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder protects passengers in crashes.

EPA Fuel Economy

Toyota MR2 Spyder: 22/27 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Fun to drive
  • Affordable

You Won't Like

  • Hardly any cargo space
  • Dated design
  • Seats don’t adjust

Sum Up

Young drivers like the good performance and strong handling, but not the style.

If You Like This Vehicle

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