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Toyota MR2 (1989 - 1999)

Last updated 6 October 2013

More powerful than the original MR2, mini-Ferrari looks, better handling and ride from 1994 onwards, cheap prices
Doesn't handle as sweetly as its predecessor, 1990-1992 models can be a bit naughty, especially in the wet, misaligned suspension quite common


The Toyota MR2 grew-up for the 1990s with its first major model change. The appealing 'Midship Runabout' gained organic styling, and a 2.0-litre engine in naturally aspirated and turbocharged story. Aside from the obvious styling changes, and the larger engine, the MR2's main change was that it went further upmarket - but once road tests criticised its handling and propensity to lift-off oversteer, the MR2's image was tainted with enthusiasts.

Toyota soon sorted the problem (which wasn't actually reported by everyone) with changes to the suspension geometry, tyre sizes and power steering in January 1992. The overall result was a change to safer understeer for the majority of the time - less sporting perhaps, but safer. The MR2 remained in production for a decade, but never captured the imagination of the enthusiasts like the previous generation model did. Standard model with 119bhp didn't set the tarmac alight, but the GT with 158bhp, wias much more useful - even better after the 1994 facelift, with 174bhp. Turbocharged Japanese models with 225bhp have a following - and offer a lot of performance for the money. Currently, the MR2 is still available for little money, unless in excellent condition, but just like the previous MR2, its time will come.

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