Product Type: Toyota cars
Newest Review: ... I have no hesitation in recommending this car! I did not own the Car for long as my Insurance was costing me through the roof... more
A great two seater roadster
Toyota MR2 Roadster
Member Name: count_zero
Toyota MR2 Roadster
Advantages: Fun to drive and reliable
Disadvantages: Storage space
Year: 2002 (02 plate)
The buying decision:
I had finally reached the point where I had the money to buy a decent new car while being sufficiently free from responsibility to be able to choose an impractical, fun car.
I'd wanted another two seater convertible ever since a youthful dalliance with a clapped out Triumph Spitfire which spent more time on blocks than on the road. Luckily, most of the leading manufacturers now include one in their lineup since the introduction of the MX-5 in the early nineties so the choice was good.
With a budget of between £18-20,000 the choice came down to a new MR2, MX-5 or MGF or a slightly older Z3. Bearing in mind I bought the car in 2002 I won't say to much about purchase price. This was around the time of aggressive import options and excellent deals were possible from dealers, this is no longer the case.
I felt the MX-5 was a little long in the tooth by this stage and has a slightly sedate, comfortable look to it. The same applied to the MGF which also looks a little 'chubby' for what should be a sporty car. Even two year old Z3's were going for more than £20k so were never really an option. The MR2 has a definite sporty countenance and being a relatively new model (at the time) had a freshness that I liked. A couple of test drives later and I was convinced and a deal was struck, trading in my venerable Audi 80 for a princely £100.
The MR2 is a great looking car. It strikes the right balance by looking sporty and aggressive enough without trying to be something it isn't. From the over-large lights at the front to the grill over the engine at the back everything works. It really is a ringer for the Porsche Boxster and even after a couple of years ownership I have to look twice when I see either. The choice of colours is good, I went for the dark blue (metallic) with black hood and never had a moments regret. It looks great in all colours, although I'm not a big fan of the red.
The roof is very easy to take down and put back up. Easily a one person job and can be done from the drivers seat. When down, the folded roof will sit concealed in the rear parcel shelf and looks very tidy giving nice straight lines. You probably have to be outside the car to ensure it folds completely but this can be done in seconds. With the roof up a good level of soundproofing is provided and it is easy to think that you are in a hardtop. A big positive is the heated, glass rear window. As I say the soundproofing and insulation are very good so I was never tempted by the optional hardtop plus the extra cost and storage problems counted against it for me.
With the leather pack the interior has a very high quality, luxury feel to it. The seats are comfortable and supportive and you sit nice and low with your legs out straight in front of you. All the trim has a feel of quality and ergonomically everything is well positioned.
The MR2 is a joy to drive. It is a sporty car rather than a sports car but the driving position and responsiveness enhance the feeling of exhilaration. As with other Toyota's, the drive is excellent. Everything feels precise and direct, steering, braking and gear change are smooth and clean. Long journeys can be undertaken without any fear of discomfort.
There are three ways to drive the MR2 as a convertible. With the roof up you have a feeling of enclosure and solidity you'd expect from a hard top, external noise is minimal. With the top down and the windows up you begin to understand why you bought a convertible. The world opens up and the feeling of light and space is fantastic. In this way the MR2 can be driven at almost motorway speeds with minimal turbulance, noise becoming a factor only at high speeds. With the top down and the windows lowered you get the full, wind in the face, convertible experience - awesome! Unless it's raining you can have the top down all year round if you want, it certainly is a nice feeling on those crisp sunny winter days - just wait for the heater to kick in and you'll be fine.
This is a modern, Japanese, car so everything you would expect from build quality, reliability and support is there. In all the years I owned the car I never had a problem. Minor issues were dealt with swiftly and courteously by the Toyota dealer and I would (and have) happily deal with them again. The body and roof are easy to clean and maintain and after three years of being parked outside showed no sign of fading. With the hood up fuel consumption is pretty good, but motorway driving with the top down will reduce your return noticeably.
The obvious one is storage space. This was not even a consideration when I was buying the car but to be honest the space available is minimal. There is enough room for a couple of (soft) weekend bags but nothing approaching a boot-sized space. When even the sales literature claims the glove box as significant storage space you know you're not getting much. The other problem I noticed was that some of my taller friends (6'2" plus) found themselves looking over the top of the windscreen, this isn't a problem for me but if you are tall this is definitely an issue. There is nothing else I would put forward as a negative, if you want something more powerful you're going to have spend more than this.
This is a great car, I don't believe you can get a better looking, better performing, more reliable car for anything like this money. If it wasn't for the onset of children I'd still be driving it, unless I had found the money for a Boxster.
Summary: Great fun, probably best sub £20k roadster.