Toyota MR2 (2000 – 2006) Review

Toyota MR2 (2000 – 2006) At A Glance


+Great fun to drive. More minimalist than previous version. Goes and handles just like a sports-inspired roadster should.

-Virtually no luggage space. Prices are still high. A broken rear window means replacing the whole hood. Dangerous hidden corrosion to rear crossmember. 5 hour job to replace stretched parking brake cables.

The third generation of Toyota's 'Midship Runabout' arrived in 2000. While the manufacturer told a tale of getting 'back to basics' it was still a million miles away from what the original Mk1 so brilliant. That said, by the standard of the day the Mk3 was still a fine car.

Motoring journalists loved to call it the 'everyman Lotus'. What they meant was that it offered all the fun of the Lotus without the steep price tag or reliability issues. The biggest talking point about the third generation was the fact was a proper convertible. 

Power came from the 1.8-litre VVTi engine, which could reportedly be tuned to 200PS... although that much power in a lightweight shortwheelbase car sounds like a recepie for disaster. Oh, and the car had virtually no luggage space at all ensuring that it was very much family unfriendly. A perfect future classic for the upcoming midlife crisis, then.

Ask Honest John

Can you recommend a fun, reliable car for £3000?

"Since I was 17, I have had quick and fun cars. Would you be able to suggest a car that has good handling, a turn of speed, fairly reliable and around £3000? A tough ask, I know, but might you be able to help, please? Thank you."
We'd recommend a Mazda MX-5. They're popular for a reason – brilliant to drive, cheap to run and very reliable. £3000 will get you a third-generation model from around 2006. Also consider a Toyota MR2 – they're a bit rarer and not very practical, but provide mid-engined thrills for not a lot of cash. Otherwise, a hot hatch might be a good option. You might find a Mk5 Volkswagen Golf GTI within budget.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Should I buy a Mercedes-Benz SLK or a Mazda MX-5?

"I'm looking to buy either a Mercedes-Benz SLK or a Mazda MX-5. My budget is £2500. What are the pros and cons of both, please?"
Pros and cons of the MX-5: And the SLK: We'd recommend the Mazda. They're mechanically simpler and are very cheap/easy to maintain. There's also an excellent support network and more on the market – so you can be picky about condition. Watch out for rust, though. As an alternative, look at the excellent Toyota MR2.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What future classic should I buy for £2500?

"I have £2500 to spend on my first future classic car and was wondering if you could help? I'm torn between a number of candidates e.g Toyota MR2 MK3, MG TF160, Mercedes SLK 230 or a Mazda MX-5. It will only be used during the summer and needs to be reliable and not too costly to maintain."
All fine cars. I reckon you should go out and drive them - but before you do, make a list of what's important to you. If you want pure driving satisfaction, you make want to go for a Mk1 MX-5, if you like creature comforts then a Mercedes SLK may be more up your street. A car is only reliable as its previous owners, so check the history. Parts prices are a concern with any classic and can be hurt by the fluctuations in currency. You could always price up various items for your shortlist. For example, service items like spark plugs and leads, oil filter etc. Or items like brake pads and discs. But do also check out the prices of panels. Do you have a classic-friendly specialist nearby? How are you planning to store it? You'll need to take these things into consideration, too.
Answered by Keith Moody

Is a Toyota MR2 a good choice as a weekend car?

"I am hoping to buy a Toyota MR2 as a weekend car. What engine size is best, auto or manual? Which is the best year, hard top or soft top? If possible I would like a low mileage car with a good history for up to £7k. "
A £7000 budget will get you pretty much any MR2. As a weekend toy, I'd be looking for a third-generation model. This is the last MR2 to be sold, with the latest ones registered in 2006. If you're lucky, you mind find a TF300 model - one of the final 300 sold in the UK with desirable extras such as leather/alcantara seats and a twin exhaust system. Expect to pay around £5000 for a good one of these with low miles and full service history. I'd be looking for a manual as it suits this kind of the car and the SMT gearbox can be troublesome. If you'd prefer something older, you'll get a good Mk1 or Mk2 model with your budget. An original Mk1 would be a very cool, retro weekend toy that will be fun to drive and also be eligible for many classic car shows. They like to rust so do your research and give it a full inspection before buying one. Visit our classifieds here:
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Toyota MR2 (2000 – 2006) cost?