Toyota MR2 Spyder

The Toyota MR2 Spyder was a mid-engine, rear drive sports car produced with a convertible top that seats two. The Spyder was a breakaway from the T-top convertibles offered from the MR2 line in the past. The Spyder, introduced in 2000, was a cheap entry into the world of the roadster and ran until 2005. It did not last long due to poor sales.

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About the Toyota MR2 Spyder

The Spyder is well known for a lot of embarrassing reasons. Marketing of the Spyder in French speaking countries did not go as planned since the MR2, when said aloud, sounded like the word for feces in French. The name had to be changed to the MR Spyder in France at a great expense to the company.

The Spyder was not well known for its design aesthetic. Instead of the rounded cuteness of a normal roadster, the Spyder was boxy. The front of the vehicle had bulging headlamps that gave the car the appearance of a wild-eyed creature, especially when paired with the back spoiler that was offered as an option on some of the models. Some experts and car enthusiasts compared the MR2 convertible to a Pokémon, a children's cartoon, especially when it was painted yellow.

Toyota MR2 Spyder Evolution

The MR2 Spyder had its genesis as a T-top MR2. These were the first convertible style vehicles introduced in the MR2 line. The convertible Spyder was introduced in 2000 in one trim line.

The first Spyder offered anti-lock brakes, 15-inch wheels, and a lot of standard entertainment equipment. Under the hood was a 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder that only produced 138 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque. For a sporty road vehicle, this was not a very exciting package, even at the price. The five-speed manual transmission did give the driver amazing control over what the engine could do.

In 2002, a five-speed Sequential Manual Transmission was introduced, making the MR2 Spyder the first cheap vehicle with a fully automated clutch manual system. The sequential system made switching gears fast and easy. Acceleration of the engine, oddly enough, did suffer a bit. The Sequential Manual Transmission is better implemented on a vehicle with a bit more engine power to spare.

Some aesthetic changes were implemented as part of the Spyder mid-life refresh. A new front and rear fascia was installed and some changes were made to the interior including the control panel.

Toyota MR2 Spyder Features

The car itself is fun to drive and able to whip around on the roads with superior handling. The driver’s seat is low, giving the car the real sporty feel you’d expect from a roadster. Storage space inside the vehicle is impossible; there is barely enough room for the driver and passenger.

The convertible top is also a bit of a problem. The interior of the car is extremely noisy when the top is up. Wind rushes along the top and creating a terrible noise. The Spyder might be great when driven in a sunny location where it barely rains, but the car is not a good choice for rainy locales.

The Spyder is not the safest car out there, but it does perform fairly well. The front of the vehicle crumples easily on impact, keeping the driver somewhat safe. Airbags are included for the driver and the passenger, although curtains and side impact airbags are not available. Side impact beams are included in the vehicle design however.

One thing you can expect when purchasing a Spyder is reliability. The Spyder, like many other Toyota vehicles will continue to run for years as long as you purchase a well-maintained vehicle. The suspension and the brakes on the Spyder will wear. The early Spyders from 2000 do have faulty engine manifolds, so avoid these vehicles if you don’t want to shell out for an expensive repair. The small engine means low insurance prices and good fuel economy. The Spyder will get 23/30 mpg city highway.

The 2005 model year is priced at $10,977 for the base, while a 2000 model would cost half that. If you are looking for a sport vehicle, the MR2 Spyder may be the vehicle for you. Reliable and safe with low running costs, the Spyder is comparable to a lot of other roadsters on the market during the same period. Try to buy the newest models available for the best safety and better styling on the interior and exterior.

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