1986 Toyota MR2 4A-GE 1.6 cc from North America


Fantastic driver's car if you can find a good one


Well, after 241,000 miles (and having the car 18 years) head gasket blew at 110,000.

1st engine got full of carbon and rings scored the pistons. I was told some of the 4A-GEs did this and nobody knew exact reason although 4 valves in a tiny combustion chamber probably has something to do with it.

General Comments:

I have had this car for 18 years and never tire of driving it. It weighs about 2250 lbs so even with a 112 hp engine it goes (0-60 in 8 seconds). I think given the current market one could call it a "poor man's Lotus Elise".

Steering response is instant and it corners flat.

Seems a bit to me like a 7/8ths scale version of a Lotus Esprit, although you want to find one with the rear spoiler - improves the back end looks tremendously.

Engine loves to rev - 7200 red line - get 30 mpg in town and 35 on the road.

The one complaint I've had is that the driver's side foot well narrows a bit giving one a bit of a claustrophobic feeling on long (600 mile day) trips. But I rarely take it on such long trips. It is a perfect urban car for zipping in traffic.

This month's issue (4-07) of Automobile Magazine mentioned this car along with the Acura NSX and early Porsche Boxster as one of the best "affordable mid engined cars" - I have to agree. Of these 3, "Mr. 2" is by far the most affordable - although finding decent examples is getting difficult.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 15th March, 2007

10th Jan 2010, 18:44

The fact that it has 4 valves per cylinder has nothing to do with it being unreliable, 16 valve 1.6 liter engines have been around for ages and the 4age is one of the best. This example must have been run out of oil or something at some point in its life. If you think 4 valves per cylinder is cramped, you should see the 20 valve version Toyota did around 1997. I have one with about 120k miles on it in my Corolla and it runs great!

1986 Toyota MR2 1.6 16v petrol from UK and Ireland


Best car I've owned


Sump rusted and became porous, had to be replaced.

Needed new front steering bush to get rid of clonking sound.

Has had new radiator, alternator and water pump.

General body corrosion, especially rear arches and sills.

Has had reconditioned brake calipers all round.

Stainless steel coolant pipes at rear of engine corroded and were replaced.

General Comments:

Although the car has needed a lot of new parts in most cases they were replacing the original items. It has still been expensive to run, with manufacturers parts being excessively expensive. Dealers don't know how to look after the car - find a good specialist.

To drive the car is as good if not better than when I first had it. I have been looking for another car recently and tried out an M3, TT and Boxster, but none of them gave the same precision or connected feeling as the MR2. It's eager rather than super fast, but always fun to drive. For the money, what else are you going to find?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th July, 2004

10th Aug 2004, 07:32

I wasn't actually saying that the MR2 is better than these other cars, rather that you feel more connected due to low weight, ideal weight distribution etc. I have just bought a TT V6 - a fabulous machine, but the MR2 is a better pure sports car.

Seeing as the car only cost me £1200 five years ago I don't have to justify the purchase!

14th Nov 2006, 06:26

Great review from someone who obviously has experienced various cars. Yes, you can compare the MR2 to the Boxster though in terms of price & performance they are different levels, but both are mid engined sports cars with similar feel. I have owned both and MR2 MK1 gives somehow more driving satisfaction. Saying that - when buying one - it not easy to find a good example - it`s not just rust, but weak engines, worn suspension & gearboxes or weak brakes that are commonplace as I have noticed.