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Reader test: Toyota MR2

2009-10-14 09:26

James Fitzpatrick, Edenvale

It is rare these days, to find a car that can turn heads and, at the same time, turn you on. Cars that make your knees tremble, pulse quicken and smile broaden. I give you, my Toyota MR 2…

This is the second one I have owned, and to sum up, I loved it then as I love it now - in fact, even more so. This example, seven years old now and a rare find indeed in such good condition, is just as I remember it when I had my first one in 2001.

Let us move through the cons, but fans will know them already:

Space – no doubt, it is still a small car, with no boot, no back seat and just a few storage compartments. This is not one for the family holiday.  

Rear view – still massive blind spots when reversing, but improves phenomenally when the top is down.

Tight fitting bucket seats and stuffy interior – a pleasure once you’re in, but getting in to them… Well, to quote Mike Brewer, "it is not a car you sit in, you kind of slot into it…"

The spirit of Toyota

Now the pros and why I would still want one after all this time…

For starters, it handles like a dream.  All experts always agreed this car had near perfect, flawless handling. In short, this is a fun car to drive.

Whilst well known, it is still rare enough to turn most heads – especially with the paint job buffed and the top down. If you want people to know you have arrived, nothing says, "I’m on my way to the top" like an MR 2.

In its class, it runs circles around the competition. Around corners and challenging stretches of road, nothing compares with the handling prowess and sheer driving pleasure. With an added advantage of it being built out of good quality, reliable Corolla parts, it doesn’t cost you a small fortune to service and maintain.  

And of course, the je ne sais quoi, what makes you buy one of these? For me, it was easy. I have been in Toyotas all my adult life, so call me biased against other brands if you will, but I just missed the car.  

Words do not do the car justice. It has an innate connection, with me – the driver – that cannot be adequately described. She (the car) seems to respond to what I want, rather than the actual act of driving. To those who have driven the MR 2, you know what I’m talking about.  

The only sad thing about this piece is that all the newer Toyotas I have driven, from 2007 onwards, have been so flat, and dull, with engine designs concentrating more on economy than driver enjoyment that they all pale in comparison to this masterpiece.  

Getting into an older MR 2 really brought this home to me. Toyota, listen to your consumers. Your new cars are boring. Bring back the Toyotas of yesterday! Chase the wind. Bring back the MR 2!

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