1986 Toyota MR2 Reviews - Page 4 of 6

1986 Toyota MR2 4 cylinder. from North America

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 4 cylinder. Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired187000 miles
Most recent distance230000 miles

Summary:

Nice joy ride

Faults:

Parts.

Air conditioner.

Struts.

Speedometer.

General Comments:

There was a 200.00 broken part when I first purchased the vehicle. I do not know what this part was, but it prevented the vehicle from running once it was started.

The A/C was broken when I bought the car.

The struts were in bad shape. The car rattled even when I drove in a straight line. This car also had problems with wheel alignment, because it had been wrecked without repair.

The speedometer did not work either and it was a real pain trying to guess how fast I was driving.

I have owned 3 of these cars and I would say that they are really good buys, but totally over priced. They have awesome power that you just wouldn't believe without driving it yourself. Nice joy ride.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th November, 2003

1986 Toyota MR2 1.6L DOHC from North America

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.6L DOHC Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired208000 kilometres
Most recent distance254000 kilometres
Previous carGMC Safari

Summary:

A great, fun car at a great price

Faults:

The alternator died a week after I bought it. (208,000km)

Clutch slave cylinder two weeks later.

Brake rotors warped (very common for this model year)

Replaced oxygen sensor at ~252,000km.

Head gasket blew at 254,000.

Front shocks/struts are worn out.

General Comments:

The best car I've ever owned. I would definitely buy another, albeit only as a second, 'toy' car. It handles like a rollerskate, rides well for a sports car. The engine offers enough power to cruise at speeds above 150km/h without any fuss or cacophony.

The mid-engine layout allows more leg room than almost any car I've driven, including full-size sedans. (and I'm 6'3") Visibility is excellent, and the build quality is superb.

The only drawbacks to owning it as a daily driver are the small storage areas. I just sold it, and I miss it already.

If you are looking to buy one, avoid cars with rust problems. Better to buy one with a good body and bad mechanicals.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th September, 2003

1986 Toyota MR2 Base 1.6 4AGE from North America

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.6 4AGE Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.6 / 10
Distance when acquired168000 miles
Most recent distance175000 miles
Previous carPontiac Firebird

Summary:

A lovely car, a blast to drive, and inexpensive to obtain and maintain

Faults:

I bought the car with a bad alternator. I have gone through two more since then, but I believe that to be the fault of the alternator remanufacturing company, rather than the car.

Speedometer was inop when I bought the car. The fault was in a broken speedometer cable, which was fairly easy to replace, if somewhat time-consuming.

The driver's side power window was nonfunctional when I bought the car. I determined the problem to be in the motor, and was able to replace the faulty motor with an Ebay part for only $45 or so. Replacement was not at all difficult with hands small enough to fit inside the door panel.

The original leather driver's seat has worn badly in the car's seventeen-year life. I plan to recover the seat. Also, the leather cover on the steering wheel has worn very badly, and the shifter boot was torn when I bought the car. Replacing the shifter boot was very easy and quite inexpensive.

The radio aerial was eaten by a low tree in my yard. Replacement was somewhat difficult, but the factory antenna, with cable, was very inexpensive.

The factory stereo would not output to the left channel while the tape player was in use. I replaced the stereo unit with a CD/MP3 player and am very happy with it now. Replacement was the fastest and easiest of all of the cars I have installed stereos in.

The original dash speakers had begun to crackle by the time I took ownership of the car.

The synchronizers have begun to wear, especially in second, third and fifth gears. The gearbox has never been rebuilt. I will do this myself within six months, at the same time that I replace the clutch. The gearbox has an audible whine in the very top of third gear.

The original muffler had rusted through and developed a hole the size of a golf ball. My car sounded like a Honda until I had the muffler replaced last month, at a very reasonable cost for such a large, oddly shaped muffler as the MR2's.

The props for both the engine cover and the front boot have broken their clips, and now rattle incessantly when driving at any speed. They are not so loud as to be intolerable, but the rattles are always present and irritating at times.

Both rear strut cartridges have blown their seals, causing serious wheel-hop upon breaking a tire loose. Taking a corner too fast, while accelerating, can cause the car to shudder violently until the driver lets off the accelerator and regains traction.

The car's paint has stood the years well, but the black plastic trim on the sail panels has faded badly. Also, each of their retainers has either cracked or will very soon. These trim parts are very rare, and will not be cheap to replace.

The original weatherstripping still seals well. My car has no leaks, around the windows, the doors or the sunroof.

Air conditioning does not cool as well as it should. I will be converting to R-134a within one year, and will solve any problems at that time.

The clutch has begun to slip more than I would like, under hard acceleration in gears. This is a normal wear issue, but needs to be replaced soon.

The cabin trunk-release cable has been broken since before I bought the car. Replacement will be difficult as it is routed through the firewall into the engine bay, and then out into the trunk. I will wait until I replace the clutch and engine before I attempt to install a new trunk-release cable.

General Comments:

I love this car. I love everything about it. Each time I drive it, I find some spectacular reason to praise Toyota's brilliant engineering, and each time I walk by the car I admire its unique styling.

In its day, the MR2 truly was a thing all its own. It had a rev-happy motor with variable intake timing, a very nice interior with supremely comfortable sport seats, and an extremely reliable, economical powertrain - especially for a sports car. It also has a very low curb weight, around 2300lbs, which obviously aids in its acceleration and handling; but the car has proven its ability to protect its passengers in collisions.

I have a very few complaints about this car.

First, while the MR2 is powerful enough to be a ton of fun to drive, it is not quite powerful enough to be competitive in autocross or track racing. Fortunately, any of Toyota's marvelous 4AG series will fit into the MR2, including the later Supercharger engine, the famous twenty-valve engine with independent throttle bodies, or an 11,000rpm Formula Atlantic engine. A later MR2 Turbo motor, the 3S-GTE, will even fit with a little work and a big shoehorn :)

Second, sound quality is not as good as I would like. The car has only three speakers total: two set into the dash, and one subwoofer underneath the driver's seat. Replacing the factory speakers and deck with quality aftermarket units has helped a great deal, but I would like clearer sound.

Since I paid only US$1280 for this car, I did not expect what it has given me. I have had from it more than eight months of nearly unbroken service, getting better than thirty miles to the gallon, on occasion. It is a very forgiving car up to its limit, but can snap around when traction is compromised, due to its engine configuration. It has lived through my first few months of driving with a standard transmission, and it has no problems whatsoever with even heavy rain.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th September, 2003

6th Sep 2005, 12:59

These 1.6L fours do not have variable valve timing in the truest sense. It is really just a dual runner control for the intake manifold. Huge difference which could be misleading.

1st May 2007, 15:35

I recently purchased a MR2 and proceeded to strip the interior, Weld in a roll cage and swap out the previous engine which was bagged and replaced it with a Corolla engine. I must say that after coming in 2nd and 3rd against much more powerful Subaru's and various other rally spec cars in amatuer rally racing, this little car hauls and handles beautifully. If you should ever get the chance enter in a rally and turn some heads.

19th Oct 2009, 22:40

My speedometer cable just broke and I can't get it out. Are there two cables running from the motor to the dash? Also are there any tricks to replacing it. I couldn't pull out the broken cable, it's stuck.

Average review marks: 8.0 / 10, based on 18 reviews