1987 Toyota MR2 1.6 from North America

Summary:

Great car that gets a lot of attention from Law Enforcement

Faults:

Sway bar end links are making noise.

Front Rotors are warped.

Rear calipers are stuck.

One of the metal lines coming from the engine and going to the heater core has rusted.

General Comments:

This car is not very fast off the line (automatic transmission).

Once you get the engine above 3,500 RPM's it is a different story.

Handling is excellent, much better than my Buick.

So many miles and still running strong.

I got the car for free so I can't complain.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th December, 2007

1987 Toyota MR2 1.6 4age n/a from North America

Summary:

JDM tuning beats USDM mod trends

Faults:

Some electrical - my fault.

Bad wheel bearing when I bought the car.

Other than that, very maintenance free.

General Comments:

I've set up my car based on the Japanese tuning methods for mid shipped cars.

Volk racing TE37 16x7 wheels which immediately improved performance all around.

Using pillow ball uppermounts took away any vagueness in the handling once my driving skills surpassed the tuning level of the car. I actually run my suspension settings close to stock with only the front camber being slightly out of stock range.

Running a coilover setup also improves overall handling for the 2. Lowering to a basic 2 finger gap is low enough for the street, and most likely your skills, if you are not an experienced weekend track/autocross racer.

With a 25 offset for my wheels, it pushed them out all the way to the edge of the fenders. Another big improvement! Makes the wheels look 1" bigger - like 17's even tho they are only 16's. Total stability in the rain at 80mph.

Running my adjustable struts medium soft up front and soft in the rear allows the right amount of understeer in rainy conditions. In the dry I run identical med-soft settings for both f and r. On winding backroads I stiffen the dampers to medium and that allows a perfect amount of neutral to slight oversteer to get the rear to point where I want it.

Running an aftermarket rear sway bar also helped tune the rear end for more oversteer or neutral handling depending on the setting, and tightened up the sloppy rear end for more stability. 87's did not come with rear sway bars. Luckily I bought a set of strut housings off of Ebay from an 89 and it had the sway bar mounts, unlike my 87.

These tuning methods allowed me to pick up to around 20 miles per hour more around the corners with complete stability and pure enjoyment that the 2 was designed for. That also includes my increase in driving skills... something that most people don't factor.

I don't run high grip tires on the street for now because that mentality meant that your tires are doing all the work when it should be your whole car working together. My next set will be higher grip tires with the hope that it doesn't ruin my ride quality too much. I've been enjoying the softer side-walled Kuhmo tires - and for everyday driving and spirited driving works better on the street.

Please separate a "race" car from a tuned "street" car. Race settings don't work so well on the street... suspension wise. Street tuned vehicles can outperform any high end stock ride on the street. Street tuned vehicles are fun to drive - imagine that?!

Your skills will improve because you enjoy driving your car... and if someone faster comes along let them pass... you may find out how awful their driving skills are once you get to follow them for a bit.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd March, 2006

1987 Toyota MR2 AW11 1.6 DOHC from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

A classic, seek out a low km one though

Faults:

Added oil to throttle cable when car was bought as accelerator pedal required a lot of force to move.

Clutch master cylinder needed replacement.

Exhaust pipe/muffler mount required re-welding.

Intermittent windscreen wiper temperamental.

Deteriorated rubber seals around windscreen and windows allow water to drip when car is moved.

Radiator hoses leaked.

Sometimes turns over very slowly when starting, possibly from battery drainage.

A drive shaft needed replacing around 195,000km (car required towing to mechanic)

Caster on left front wheel out, causing the car to pull heavily to the left.

Steering wander at high speeds, related to rubber parts in suspension/steering which have detriorated.

Deteriorating paintwork, bubbles in paint of fibreglass spoiler and front bumper.

General Comments:

This was my first sports car, I had saved up a long time doing taxi driving (at the age of 21). MR2's were fairly scarce in Adelaide and this was an acceptable example, it had high km's, but everything worked (power windows, mirrors etc) and nothing seemed to be wrong with it.

I was hoping for trouble free motoring requiring little more than replacing oil, coolant, spark plugs, belts etc. but it seems like everything has started to go wrong with it. This mostly due to the car's age, the previous owner got rid of it just before things started to pack up. I have been unemployed since the taxi driving so repairs are a real headache. Having to keep going to repair shops is far from my favourite activity. There is a whole back catalogue of repairs that need doing to get it back to near 100%.

The one thing that hasn't let me down is the Yamaha-designed 4A-GE engine, it is by far the most reliable component in the whole car and I suspect it will still be going strong at 300,000km.

Working on the car is difficult as the engine bay is constricted and there aren't too many angles of approach, I'm fortunate to be in a place with a car pit, but even this doesn't make things easy.

The MR2 is a very well-designed car and isn't something everyone else has like a Nissan Silvia, 180SX or Skyline. It is a classic that will make anyone who can afford the repairs expected of a car of this age happy. If I could do it all over again I would make sure I got an MR2 with no more than 120,000km and check how deteriorated the rubber components are.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd March, 2005