Note: Press image used as none provided by the writer.
My original motivation to purchase a Toyota MR2 was to experience the feeling of driving a mid engine sport car in an affordable package (unless you consider a Honda Beat to be a sports car). Given this was also my first time driving manual on a regular basis, I needed a vehicle that could tolerate a little bit of clutch riding and synchro crunching as I navigated to perfect the technique of heel and toe. In the process of elimination this left the remaining MR alternatives (Lotuses or Porsches), which were a little too expensive in which to practice and hence the SW20 model was chosen.
My 1992 MR2 is Australian delivered model, and comes with the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine. While no longer considered to be a fast car by today’s standard (on par with a standard VW Golf in straight line acceleration), the MR2 shows it true character through sharp handling and shows its own when driven some nice winding B roads. The engine has decent low end torque – which is adequate for suburban driving – without the need to keep the needle in a high rev zone (each to their own VTEC). However, should you feel the need for more power, import turbo versions are also available. A popular alternative is to conduct a V6 engine swap from a Camry.
For an early 90’s car the standard equipment was premium, with power window/mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control and ABS. Targa removable glass roof panels gave the car an open air feeling.
Thanks to the PlayStation generation and Grand Turismo, part of the appeal of these 90’s Japanese cars is the aftermarket modification scene. The MR2 has established an extensive aftermarket supply of performance parts to choose from, whether it be wild body kits, sport exhausts or a coilovers upgrade. There are plenty of ways to personalise your ride. Want to make your own “Need for Speed” race car or want to keep the original stylish looks with some nice JDM wheels? The choice is yours.
For a car that is now over 25 years old preventative maintenance is key. Oil leaks are common due around the rocker covers and seals are starting to wear out also causing leakage, so start budgeting for the next major service. Be aware that accessibility of the engine is more difficult hence you will be need a trusted mechanic.
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