The ultim. driving machine? There is a substitute!
By min time on Sunday, August 19, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 180,000
overall rating 10 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
Pros: "best performance per dollar. Rewarding to drive!"
Cons: "tall OEM pop-up lights ...many owners do like them"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned 3 MR2's. The first was a yellow '92 turbo T-top with a TD06 turbo which I owned for 7 years - very fast and fun. The second is a white '95 hardtop NA which I converted to turbo with a gen III 3SGTE. The third is an original silver '93 turbo hardtop which is my autocrossing competition car. As of now I still own the last two MR2s, and would not sell either at any price!
Some people may describe those of us with a history of multiple MR2 ownership as "hoarders" or perhaps fanatics. After all, why in the world would you need/want one - let alone two - impractical cars?
Well it comes down to performance, price, reliability and ease of maintenance (in addition to some "car guy craziness" too).
Performance/Price: I would argue the amount of performance per dollar on a well maintained MR2 is second to none. The MR2 is extremely agile, and based on my autocross experience, a stock MR2 keeps up pretty well with similar classed late model cars. Now, sure, there are better performing cars, but with the addition of the right springs, struts, swaybar and wheels&tires, the MR2 can out-corner newer and heavier sports cars. With the addition of a boost controller, the MR2 can very much challenge even the 400hp sports cars out there. I won't claim that a lightly modded MR2 will outperform 500+ sports cars/exotics out there, but you're talking 8-100X the cost!
Reliability: I bought my first MR2 with 189k miles, sold it with 220k miles. most of the issues I had was with aftermarket parts, but the Toyota parts were solid. The engine block seems indestructible, the transmission is solid (though some synchro problems have been reported on '91s,'92s). The other two MR2's are equally reliable - never once leaving me stranded in 10yrs of ownership. Twice this year the '93 was put to the test: driven >500 miles loaded with tires, tools; driven hard in autocross competition ; driven back >500 miles loaded. The car just felt happy on the highway going up/down hills/mountains to and from the events, and felt even happier under hard cornering/ braking/ acceleration at the events. These cars were meant to be driven!
Maintenance: a mid-engined car is not particularly easy to work on, however I would characterize this as an inconvenience rather than an insurmountable problem. Once you know the ins and outs of the engine bay, it is pretty easy to perform all maintenance. There are excellent online resources to help, such as the MR2 Owner's Club. With these resources you can progress from doing oil changes to complex and involved upgrades/repairs. Parts are available from numerous sources as well.
So, there you have it: The MR2 has unparalleled performance/dollar, it is highly reliable, has friendly online community and is relatively easy to maintain. What more could you want in a sports car (or two+)?!"
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