Toyota MR-2 Spyder Review – Cheap Sports Car – Light And Pure – TestDrive | Everyday Driver
Why did they build this car? It is weird isnt it. Why did they build this really strange thing? Toyota had been building the mr2. This was the third gen yeah, so it was the third engine of their mission. It was the next generation full dedicated spider of that idea, like two with the target tops before that. Then they made this car and it didnt sell that well, and i think it gets overlooked and forgotten and im so glad we have it as part of it. But i ask because the third generation, you think by the third gen yeah things, get bigger more powerful, yeah faster, more sorted, they went the other direction they just were like you know, which is the weirdest thing. Yes agreed. They went to a plumbing shop to get the door handles. They did that does look like that was a home depot discount doesnt, it yeah youre, watching everyday driver. We make a tv, show podcast and youtube channels helping you find a car youll love. This is our second cheap car challenge and, with the help of auto tempest were doing a year of adventures in 7, 500 sports cars subscribe. So you dont miss a thing, but the thing is its 2200 pounds, its 200 pounds lighter than the miata. Yes, also a 1.8 liter, though, and making very low horsepower. It also is the lowest power here. 138 horsepower 125 pound feet of torque its not a lot, both lighter and less powerful than the miata whats interesting is its faster than the miata 0 60, because it doesnt weigh anything right well.
This particular example has just been driven and im glad weve got it because that does push it under our 8 000 price cap, and you might not have remembered that these things exist heck. I forgot toyota still built them, but yeah youre right, they didnt, sell very well because i think they werent they werent the next generation. You know the the next thing needs to be bigger, better, faster, hotter, whatever yeah to really get customers and heres toyota. Just doing a drivers car just distilling everything down to purity, lightweight theres, no dead spot in the steering theres, nothing there it is superb. Is it possible that toyota was copying off of porchs paper? It does well its not nearly as pretty its not as attractive looks like the boxer for architecture, but but even like the headlights. Looking a little bit weird on the shape and everything like that, it looks like somebody was making the low priced boxster as far as styling is concerned, yeah its successful. I know youre not gon na agree with me this isnt successful, but it feels like somebody was like with binoculars looking at what porsche was doing from toyota and scribbling things down, but the result is very good. It is im surprised that i kind of like it to be honest, but maybe i shouldnt be because you know we both love the mid engine thing so much yeah yeah, it really rotates well. This also feels like a car that isnt going to bite you but thats by virtue of low power, and it doesnt have you know the evs brakes or the tightest suspension its just pure fun, driving yep, but thats.
Why? This is such a contender? Well, we cannot ignore this car with that mid engine architecture. It creates that scenario where its not going to be as forgiving as the piano, if you really pushed it hard, but in this im on a canyon road, its just easy id say its not as forgiving as the porsche either. This is gon na theres gon na be more youll like about the porsche because they tend to look at everything, whereas this just feels like toyota doing its lightweight thing. Yep, i cant explain why they built this car made something wonderfully cheap. What was the busiest game? I agree with you its very surprising, its so small and of all the cars here. You know what were talking about modding yeah, i dont think anybody mods this thing its not the platform to start with. You can certainly buy it and just drive it. You can certainly find a modded and the mods always look like i had to cobble this together because who was supporting this car mod, wise, but whats crazy is at under 10 grand, even under the eight that weve got here. Theres a lot of these out there and there are for years. People have just forgotten these cars exist and it is the cheap way to buy into the engine, but even more so than the boxster. It looks cheap. It feels cheap, but you know thats part of its charm in a weird way.
Yes, its loud in here, but youre hearing nothing of the engine. No, not at all mind you, you dont, want to yeah. This is not the beautiful engine. Note that you want to hear, but this is just fun little drive and oh, that input the steering input thats the the joy about this car well. But i also wonder if toyota, this engine is related to the engine in my lotus race, mine, fifth party and fifth, so yep theres no more gears what this engine is related to the four cylinder thats in my lotus, elise, in the early 2000s lotus changed from A rover motor to this toyota motor and then they changed it up somewhere right, okay, right – and i wonder if that conversation of toyota talking to lotus about putting this engine a variant of this engine in the lotus. If that got toyota thinking about lets, do something a little different lets go. Super lightweight lets focus lets do a different mr2. Do you mean to be able to support other car companies buying their engines? No im just wondering if they were thinking about what the next mr2 gon na be like and along comes lotus to use this engine in their lotus, elise, and they just thought what, if we made it more like the elise. I wonder if that was part of the thinking – hmm, maybe, but that might explain the fact that this is a strange left turn from the two mr2s prior, which also were small and also were mid engined.
But this is just that were gon na lean into spider were gon na. Do something looks a little bit like were looking at porsche a little bit like were looking at lotus yeah, and it made a completely unique animal. It is unique, but the first two generations of the mr2 looked way better than this: its not attractive its, not nothing about it – is its its very slab and brutal and trying to find their voice trying to find themselves and they they didnt, and they just stopped Its got a frog face and a very cheap feeling interior it does, but it it is back to weve, been talking a lot in this discussion about when a car is distilling down the driving, and this has done that very well. The shifter is pretty good. The clutch engagement pretty good the brakes. They dont need to stop hardly anything yeah and the suspension isnt soft, because the car never weighs enough for a car to get soft. So it just feels right. Well, you have that same thing as the lotus, elise, where youre just not going to have consumables, because theres not hard way to burn stuff out. So maybe thats the good thing. Youll never wear this car out, so you can just keep driving and all the same clutch and brakes and suspension keep it cheap drive it cheap, toyota, mr2 spider. There is that does have that going for it all right. I need to drive im excited doesnt, sound, good low.
Nothing about this car sounds good see. This is not the car you want to hear. No, it sounds like im wondering if that engine always sounds that way or if thats, just this one that is surprisingly thrashy for yeah ive, heard snowmobiles and lawn mowers. It is in that range in that range, yes, blowers and also the interesting thing about this dude. The interesting thing about this 1.8 liter you can, you can stop now. Some of those have bigger engines than this too. This 1.8 liter, besides not sounding great its a little sluggish initially now, once you get it above a little well, but its a little sluggish a little sluggish. The car doesnt need power to go quickly because it weighs so little and im not making a comment on the fact that it doesnt have much horsepower because it doesnt. But the point im making is the engine just feels like its rather itd, rather not be bothered for the first 3 500 rpm. It just kind of wishes. Yeah you wouldnt yeah. After about 3 500 rpm, it starts to pick up a little bit of oh, like okay, all right, i guess, im awake well, do something now were doing. It apparently were doing this theres. 5. 000. All right, we got it. We made it were good youre. In last year, by the way i am, i am in last year, yup fifth gear thats were very much in fifth, just hang on to the plumbing and youre good, its a surprising amount of room over here, yep, hey honestly, as far as as far as leg Room and shoulder room its pretty good, its, not quite as tight for headroom as the miata, its a little tight for headroom in here, its like economy, plus about the same living room.
But the air is going over the top of my head. It doesnt itch in the knees, unfortunately, theres, no drinks on this flight, no peanuts, nothing! You didnt work hard enough for first class were gon na close the curtain. Only youve worked hard enough swish. Yes, before this car ive only ever driven one of the mr2 spiders. Once and it was about a decade ago – and i drove it because i was considering buying one howd – your decade go, and i remember pretty well, i remember scaring the salesperson because i went out in a mid engined car and i drove it hard yeah and i Remember, being a little freaked out by it, well thats what im supposed to do exactly, but i was also thinking about wanting to actually drive this car for fun, so i was driving it fairly quickly. Yeah – and i have to say, i didnt remember it feeling this light – this is really low were getting after it. We are for sure feeling the characteristics and thats why we chose this world. This is absolutely an alternate for somebody that thinks i cant afford a lotus. Elise – and i dont want a porsche boxer, i dont know if i can afford the maintenance id like some push in that vein, thats, something that someone other than me will have to explain to you paul im, sorry that youre lost on that dont get it. If you werent going to buy one of those two, but you want something in that vein, this is absolutely along those lines yeah and i think it is sadly overlooked and im amazed.
They are as cheap as they are. I found decent ones of this decent ones of this on auto tempest for as low as five thousand six thousand dollars. Now, when you compare that to that five thousand dollar z3, we had which looked harsh im amazed how much car you get for this. At five thousand dollars, but i i its overlooked man, its overlooked. It is but the good part about being overlooked is that its never going to pop up on peoples radar yeah. Well, maybe it will now discover it well, possibly nobodys going to discover and be like weve been missing this the whole time yeah. Suddenly, we need to go, buy one because youre not part in putting parts on this youre not pouring money into this. Admittedly, like you would a boxster: well, yes, like you, would a miata like you will, with your 350z, you just buy this and drive it barely maintain it and itll keep running because its a toyota, you keep polishing that toyota badge and parking it and just drive It everywhere, but this does beg to be driven on a road like this. Yes theres, just not the next level of this car. True a couple of the cars there is here yeah, but for this one youre still going to be at the back of the pack. Youre still well yeah back, but i i think this is a car where, if you want a miata alternative – and you do want a car you could track at with abandon, i think monster.
I think this is a worthwhile alternative you dont want to be out of, but you want to run with those guys on track day. Go get this car. I think i think its going to run like crazy. Now they are going to have a lot of aftermarket stuff they can throw at theirs. You might not be able to find them. That is an issue, but if youre talking about you just want a fun track car you dont want a miata. You can buy this and change your tires, of course, and this will grip hard and it does already. I mean these are older, tires on this little older than we like to be honest, and it still feels great, and i love the fact that you are getting bargain basement mid engine rotation out of this and the steering honestly theres, not a lot of information, but The steering is light, the car feels light and theres a ton of car feel there is, and i have to admit i am having fun and i do like this car. I just think its ugly and theres other cars i would choose, but i have to admit you got ta look at this. If you just want pure distilled driving, pleasure, yeah, just and thats all its way up there. If you dont want anything else, and you dont need anything else, i guess ive answered my own question, but why doesnt toyota continue to build little things like this agreed that this needs to come back.
I drive this and i really think you know toyota is having a resurgence right now in sports cars yeah with the that they took and now were making a second gen which im thrilled theyre doing in your car. Again theyve theyve brought the super bowl. This should come back yeah what, if this showed up between the two in price, 30, 35 – maybe 40, if you load it out the supers above it. This is where this goes, that with a cheap monster, those two, yes, absolutely its a good matchup right there. I love that were just constantly in search of that purity. Well, but we want sports cars to thrive and live on yeah, with this gathering its awesome to put these cars together and find out what older cars can give you in value yeah, but we cant help but think what if they made it now and what, if They were making new ones and i do think of all the cars weve driven. This is one of the ones that i think is the most compelling at the price because youre the least worried about the reliability yeah and you might not never change the oil. Whatever the last owner may have been, like i dont know, i just started it. I mean that literally might be his entire day, probably his entire description of what it was like to own it. I dont know to change the oil, never changed the tires started.
It turned it off the top down thats all it does so you have that security because its a toyota product yeah, but then you get that somewhat exotic rotation feel because its mid engine. This makes this really compelling and surprising. I agree i wanted to not like it i wanted to. I still want to you want to not like it because its the unattractive bargain basement boxster, and that offends you. It offends thats why i am angry. You cant help yourself its still good, its still good. Much to my chagrin, like chagrin, its still good, except i dont like the plumbing. I understand these. These handles actually are the thing thats all actually dated the interior, the most that, in these super chrome, surrounds that look like theyre, also out of a bathroom thats, really taking this uh, simple interior and making it look like discount isle. Stop what, if we put a giant screen in this, would that help? No, it wouldnt really work right up. Uh yeah pop this up mount a screen in there just mount a screen right there thats. What we need to do i, like that see, were fixing things were solving toyotas problems, they didnt even know they had thats what they need us at. A new mr2 spyder. Yes, the biggest one is to bring this car back. Yes, for sure, clearly do your own 7, 500 or less search click.