The Toyota MR2 was introduced in the United States in 1985. The Toyota MR2 was meant to be a low-priced car that offered something more to the driver. Several MR2 varieties were introduced over the years, including coupes and a sports car convertible.
The MR2 developed a following during its run and you can still find clubs dedicated to the vehicle online. The MR2, even with its following, failed to sell in the later years. The two-seat coupe was discontinued in 1995. A MR2 Spyder was introduced after, but it too suffered the same fate, this time with only a five-year run.
More on the Toyota MR2
About the Toyota MR2
The Toyota MR2 is known for superior performance and reliability. The base engine was capable of making a few rumbles. The placement of the engine made for a perfect distribution of weight, making handling the vehicle a breeze even in tight turns. Sometimes the tail end whips out when pushed too hard during quick turns. The Turbo model’s 200 horsepower engine made the MR2 into a cheap and fast vehicle. The low curb weight added to the performance level of the vehicle. For a cheap car, acceleration and handling were exceptional at the time. Even the standard MR2 with its 1.6-liter engine was capable of going zero to 60 mph in eight seconds.
Problems were also caused by the mid-engine placement. The interior of the MR2 could be very noisy, especially when the car was going full speed or accelerating quickly. Sometimes the ride could feel a bit uneven as well. Cargo space on the MR2 was not exactly exceptional either, but rarely is space a concern for those buying two-seat coupes. Toyota MR2 Evolution
The first generation MR2 was introduced in 1985. The first models available were in the base trim line before a supercharged trim model was made available later in the run. The Base model had a 1.6-liter engine that produced 112 horsepower. This early Base model was a smooth performer and handler on the road. The Supercharged trim line had a new engine, a 1.6-liter that produced 145 horsepower. The first generation was discontinued in 1989.
The second-generation models were introduced in 1991 after a short hiatus. These second-generation vehicles were a bit bulkier and had a higher curb weight than the previous generation. The body styling was the standard, curvy 1990s style that stayed attractive. The first line was available in the standard or Turbo trim models. The base model came with a 2.2-liter inline-four that produced 130 horsepower. The MR2 Turbo, a favorite amongst MR2 enthusiasts, had a 2.0-liter that produced 200 horsepower. The standard model was available in a five-speed manual version or a four-speed automatic. The Turbo edition was only available with the manual transmission. Toyota MR2 Features
The MR2 had a lot of standard features that set it above the competition at the time. Side airbags were included as well as a titling steering wheel for comfort. Alloy wheels and power windows were available as a package option on the base model and came standard on the Turbo edition. Some other interesting options were available as well, including a T-bar roof that would later set the stage for the convertible Spyder model that succeeded the standard MR2. Air conditioning, cruise control and leather-trimmed seats were also available as options on both models. Many of the features became standard on the Turbo model in the 1993 model year. Anti-lock brakes were still an option, however.
Some MR2 models are still alive and kicking, but it may be difficult to find a model that’s in good condition. The Turbo models are the closest thing a buyer can get. The 200 horsepower engine was able to accelerate zero to 60 mph somewhere around the mid six-second mark, impressive even today. A 10-year-old model might not have the same performance level as those straight off the lot, however. So be careful when making a used car purchase. If you are looking for an MR2 with slightly upgraded features and perhaps a convertible top, have a look at the MR2 Spyder.