Product Type: Toyota cars
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The Toyota MR2 is a sporty little number
Toyota MR2 (1990-99)
Member Name: Huomenna
Toyota MR2 (1990-99)
Advantages: excellent drive quality, fast, comfortable, cheap to buy, nice to look at
Disadvantages: can be expensive to insure and not practical for families
I need to start this review by saying I absolutely adore this car!
A little bit of background about me:
My Dad, my boyfriend and myself are very much into our cars - especially classics. My boyfriend is a mini fan in particular (owns a '76 pickup) and I'm into Capri's (got a 1969 Auto XL), but we also like to keep a 'sensible' car between us for times when our classics are having work done to them etc. Sensible cars past and present we've owned are a 1.6 VW Golf CL (we still own it, but it's currentl off the road at my dad's waiting for some work to be done), a BMW 318i SE and now the Toyota MR2 G limited japanese import.
When my boyfriends first mini was stolen we needed to get a cheap car quickly for work purposes, and ended up with the BMW - it was a nice car and we kept it for abot 10 months until it developed an electrical fault and the handbrake cable snapped, due to the age of the car it wasn't really worth bothering with so we sold it on and went looking for something else - in steps the Toyota!
What is an MR2?
As we've already established it's a Toyota and put simply it's a mid engined, rear wheel drive sports car - essentially it's a 2 seater with the engine situated over the cars rear wheels. Under the bonnet you can find the battery and the spare wheel (great to confuse small kids with - you can have the engine running, then lift up the bonnet and tell them it's a magic car because they can't see an engine). Behind the engine compartment there is still a boot - it obviously isn't as big as most boots, but it's still fairly deep.
Where to buy?
Well the mk2 hasn't been made for sometime now so you'll have to purchase from private individuals, ebay, traders, auction houses and the like.
How much can you expect to pay?
This will vary massively depending on the precise model, condition, age, mileage etc. Ours was bought through ebay and we won the auction at just £560. So what did we get for our money? This car is a 1993 G limited, solid topped japanese import - it's a 2 litre (no turbo) pushing out 178bhp as standard. It runs very well and has not a single dent or rust spot on it, the only signs of age are a few tiny spots where lacquer has peeled off, a slightly larger patch on the front bumper, and there is a rip to the drivers seat. It also had a long MOT, but no tax. You may ask why such a powerful car in good condition would be so cheap and there is a fairly simple answer - these cars aren't cheap to insure so generally speaking people who can afford the insurance would want a newer car and people who can afford the car can't afford the insurance. This leaves quite a small pool of people who'd want/be able to buy a vehicle like this. That said you can expect to pick up a Mk2 for anywhere between £500 and a couple of thousand.
Is it practical?
Well yes and no - it all depends on what you want to use it for. If you're a family ie. with kids then no it won't be practical at all, this really is a car for single's or couples only. If you're one of them then yes it can be practical - my boyfriend and I proved just how practical it was by doing a 100 miles round trip to Ikea and back, returning in it with a desk, filing cabinet and large office chair (flat packed of course but still bulky). Ok so we couldn't close the boot and had to tie it down with string and I had to sit with my head at an uncomfortable angle wedged under the desktop, but the point is we managed it!
How does it drive?
This is the main reason I love this car - it is quite honestly the best thing I've ever driven. It's comfortable to sit in, the clutch is so easy to control, gear changes are smooth, the placement of the engine gives a good weight distribution that means the car handles like it's on rails you really can chuck it round corners and it hugs the ground. I must admit that I do like fast cars and this thing can really accelerate - it picks up speed at a rapid rate and revs to about 7500 if you want to push it that dar. It will out accelerate pretty much all other non turbo 2 litres on the market and many cars with bigger engines. I cannot fault the way this drives and it's alot of fun too.
I have to be honest this isn't the most economical car ever, but it's not bad either - I don't tend to drive with my foot to the floor, but I don't hang around either and I tend to get through half a tank (around £30 at current prices) every two weeks averaging about 140 miles in that time. As it's a japanese import we do treat this car to premium unleaded - this is a higher octane fuel and fuel in Japan is generally of a higher octane so it should run better on this, although that's not to say you couldn't fill it with standard unleaded if you want.
We haven't had to perform any maintenance to our car so far - these Japanese cars have a good reputation for reliability so hopefully we shouldn't come across any major issues in the near future (touch wood). On the plus side as the car was very popular back in it's production days, and the engine was used in a number of other cars, parts are still quite numerous and easy to get hold of. On the downside due to the position of the engine, anything in the engine bay will be quite fiddly and hard to work on - it's all compacted into a very small area and you have to lean over the rest of the car to reach it, even checking the oil levels is a trial because you can't easily see where to put the dip stick back in! That is the only real gripe I have though and it's a sacrifice I'm prepared to put up with for the improved handling the engine position gives.
Summary: I fell in love with this car the moment I first drove it