1988 Toyota MR2 Reviews

1988 Toyota MR2 Supercharged 4AGZE from North America

Model year1988
Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership2012
Most recent year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission 4AGZE Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired130000 miles
Most recent distance148091 miles

Summary:

Either a run for your money, or a money pit

Faults:

Overheated due to air in the coolant lines.

Distributor O-ring leaks oil.

Replaced brakes all around.

Replaced supercharger oil ($50, hard to find).

front and rear ball joints.

General Comments:

This car is amazing. The amount of power from this little 4 banger is enough to make that Mustang look at you twice.

My favorite part about this car is the style. As most cars get older, their appearance fades with time. This is not the case for the supercharged Mk1. The raised deck lid adds a more sinister look, not just flat like the N/A model, and the 17 inch rims I have on low profile tires, make the car appear much lower and stanced than the mk2s. It holds up with the new "boxy" styles of newer cars.

Also, this car is very quiet until you mash on the gas, and the supercharger kicks in.

I love this car. 23 years old, and the paint still looks good, no rust, and the rebuilt 4AGZE is still running strong.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th May, 2012

1988 Toyota MR2 T-Bar 1.6 from UK and Ireland

Model year1988
Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 1.6 Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.8 / 10
Distance when acquired109000 miles
Most recent distance113000 miles
Previous carFord Cortina

Summary:

Little Fighter Jet

Faults:

Wheel bearing needed replacing.

General Comments:

This car is seriously quick and a potent handler.

I have driven well about 35-40 different types of car since I began driving and I have never gotten such driving satisfaction from a car as I have from an MR2.

The 1600cc engine with the TVIS system (way ahead of it's time) and short stroke make it an absolute screamer, revving all the way to nearly 8000rpm and leaving most cars in it's wake. it's difficult to comprehend now in 2006 that this little engine produces 120bhp whereas modern 1600's are still on the shy side of 100bhp

I can't compliment the ride qualities of the car enough, I've always been a owner of French cars so am used to a comfortable ride, the MR2 manages to provide a very adequate amount of comfort for a sports car particularly with the leather seats which are a tad firm, but bearable.

The T-bar leaks (don't they all>?!?).

The car has been mechanically sound, I'm told these engines thrive on abuse so I make sure it gets plenty. I've driven the car from England to Munich, Germany and back with no problems at all and will do again next year.

Fuel economy is bearable, compared to my old Mk2 Cortina it's actually around 10mpg better on average

I bought this car with the intention of using and abusing it on the Nürburgring (which it does so very well)

I've never been particularly fond of "Jap Crap" but I'm now making an exception for this model.

If you want to have some cheap fun get one of these (but not mine! lol)

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

Review Date: 6th December, 2006

1988 Toyota MR2 Mk1 Coupe 1.6 NA from UK and Ireland

Model year1988
Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 1.6 NA Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.3 / 10
Distance when acquired120000 miles
Most recent distance120500 miles
Previous carAudi 80

Summary:

Handling, Performance, Rust - It's got it all!

Faults:

The list of faults from the MR2 specialist garage was too large to list!

Nothing actually went wrong with the car while I owned it, but it was in the post...

Finding a good one nowadays is getting increasingly hard.

General Comments:

But it's not all bad news!

I had been looking to own one of these for a long time. They seemed a really nice balance of performance, cost and image. How else are you going to get a mid engined sports car for under £1000? And I happen to like the wedge of cheese looks, even if it did attract comment from my (snobby) colleagues.

I saved up the money and started looking around. Luckily for me I had a sensible car already and was buying an MR2 purely for kicks. I wish I had spent longer, perhaps years longer, finding a really good one as then I could have kept it longer and had more fun.

I'm very glad I did it. I learnt more about driving quickly and safely in the couple of months of owning this car than I had in my 8 years of driving previously.

The engine and gearbox are a hoot. The little 1.6 is a thing possessed. It just revs and begs for more, and it made a really good noise up high in the rev range with a nice Magnex exhaust. It really gave a kick through 1st and 2nd. The gear box was good too allowing swift changes through the short throw stick. I can't think of another mainstream engine that I like more.

The handling is also amazing. It has a nice progressive grip/slip boundary and allows you to feel the grain of the tarmac through the unassisted steering. Controlled Under-steer, Over-steer, Throttle balanced cornering - It's all on offer in this car. With a bit of commitment it gets up on tip toes and starts to dance!

The brakes are also well up to the task with disks all around and not too much weight to stop they have good feel and do the job. I did find them a little snatchy at first and locked them up a couple of times, but this is because I'm used the the blancmange middle pedal in my Audi.

The problem is that the youngest of these cars are now 17 years old, and they were only ever built to last 7-10 years. The engines and mechanicals are bullet proof and seem to thrive on abuse, but the bodywork and structure just isn't up to repeated British winters. I sold mine because a full mechanical inspection revealed a horror story about to happen.

There is no equivalent to this car for the money. I'm now forced to wait until I can afford a Lotus Elise (preferably with a Toyota engine!) So that I can relive the brief days I spent in the company of this car.

I haven't covered the practicalities because to me that isn't what this car was about.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th July, 2005

19th Jul 2005, 19:22

There are still a few good ones out there - they are not all rustboxes. You might have to pay a little more than £1000 though.

30th Jun 2006, 14:06

Where did you get the idea that they were only built to last 7-10 years?

The oldest ones are now 20 years old and many are still in great condition. Very unfair to class all MK1's the same.

What did you expect for under £1000? If you had looked harder, been more selective and paid £2000, you'd still be driving it!

A fair review apart from the above.

Average review marks: 7.1 / 10, based on 11 reviews