1988 Toyota MR2 Reviews - Page 3 of 3

1988 Toyota MR2 T-bar 1.6 16v from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.6 16v Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired72000 miles
Most recent distance78500 miles
Previous carNissan Sunny

Summary:

A 2 seater pocket rocket

Faults:

Clutch has begun to slip.

Slight leak in the seals on the T-bar.

General Comments:

This car is great with the T-bar off as the sound of the K&N is superb just behind your head. In the dry it grips like a dream, but the wet is even better as the back end goes bye-bye if you ram on the gas!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th January, 2003

1988 Toyota MR2 T-Bar 1.6 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 1.6 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 2 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.4 / 10
Distance when acquired116000 miles
Most recent distance117000 miles
Previous carFiat Tipo

Summary:

Stunning

Faults:

Brakes vibrate when braking, need to replace the discs I think.

A little vibration through the steering wheel, although I think I have an off centre tyre causing grief, balancing the wheels has no effect, will replace front tyres and discs when funds allow.

General Comments:

(Mine is a MK1 T-Bar 1.6)

Other than the minor points above the car is absolutely superb to drive, Amazing acceleration once above 5000 RPM (T-VIS System), you put your foot down and have a short wait just to prepare yourself for the dogs of war to be released - it really is quick for a 1.6!!, leaves the majority of other cars in its dust.

Amazing comfort considering it's a genuine true sports car, get a T-Bar model with leather seats.

T-Bar roof is wonderful on sunny days and it's really easy to take the panels out and store them behind the seats.

Electric everything and a really nice driving position, I simply can't praise the car enough - wonderful AND it's cheap to insure.

Just avoid Toyota main dealers, I do all my own servicing and repairs, but genuine parts cost the earth (3 10mm nuts for the exhaust cost £4.78, they were a slightly different thread to normal nuts as well so I had to buy genuine). Toyota dealers have no idea about this car, don't trust their mechanics either - they're useless!

Check for rust in the rear arches and above the windscreen and inside the B pillar, these are known rust areas - avoid a car with excessive rust in these areas.

Get a Dark Mica blue T-Bar car and avoid white ones if you can - they don't sell on well at all.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th August, 2001

1988 Toyota MR2 GT Coupe 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2000
Engine and transmission 1.6 petrol Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired89000 miles
Most recent distance99500 miles
Previous carBMW 320i

Summary:

Pocket-rocket that's hard to fault

Faults:

Nothing.

General Comments:

Having wanted a mark one MR2 since I was a kid, actually jumping in my 12-year old example was a genuine thrill. It didn't matter that I could have bought newer, flashier metal, because the original MR2 still out-handles a lot of modern competition. When Rover set out to build the MGF, it used the old MR2 as its benchmark - shame they couldn't match the reliability...

I chose my car because it had been well-maintained technically, if not cosmetically, although the black leather trim was a draw, too. I've had the alloys repainted (£100 for the lot), and replaced some of the interior trim (you can order it all new from Japan via Toyota dealers – a new leather gearstick was £45). I'm trying to keep the car original, so I'm not lowering it or anything like that – the only change I've made so far is to add cross-drilled, grooved front brake disks, which was well worthwhile.

One thing I do need to sort out is a respray, as the red paint on my '88 is starting to get that white-misted look. I've tried polishing it out, but it's too far gone. It's November now, so I'll wait for the Spring before getting a new top coat put on.

Performance-wise... well, the handling is funtastic. Corners can be taken at speeds quick enough to scare yourself, and - so far - the car hasn't done anything unpredictable. I haven't really succeeded in getting the tail out, and that's not through lack of trying. It just goes quicker and quicker.

I'd be interested to drive a supercharged import version, because I would like to have a bit more go - but only a bit. Too much would spoil the car, as it's a really well balanced package. I might consider a sports exhaust, but too be honest the MR2 is a pretty noisy car anyway, so I'd have to get a bigger hi-fi, too! In the UK, www.fensport.co.uk has really good upgrade prices. There's an £140 +5bhp air-ram from Blitz that has caught my eye...

Overall, I love the car. I've thought about what I'd change it for, and this side of a Lotus Elise (with a hardtop), I'm at a loss. Things like Corrados, 200SXs, Mazda MX6s just seem too big and heavy after the MR2 - it's so light and nimble. Good engineering. I'm kind of tempted by an MX5, but a soft-top in London is just asking for trouble from thieves. It's worth noting that mark one MR2s are only insurance group 11, which is really low for the performance it gives.

Downsides? The boot is tiny - takes about six supermarket shopping bags - but compared to the new MR2 it's pretty good! The clutch can be heavy in traffic, as can the fuel consumption in town if you drive like I do (as in too damn fast). And if you like a lot of bass in your car, then watch out, because it'll cost a fair whack to get subs fitted in special cabs behind the seats - I've checked it out.

But that's about it. What can I say? In ten years time it'll be a sought-after classic, no doubt. And unless I win the lottery, then I for one will still be driving my MR2 in a decade...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th November, 2000

5th Jun 2001, 04:46

Thank you for your wonderful review.

1988 Toyota MR2 Coupe 1.6 16v DOHC from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2000
Engine and transmission 1.6 16v DOHC Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.6 / 10
Distance when acquired101000 miles
Most recent distance115000 miles

Summary:

Lightweight forerunner to the Elise

Faults:

The thermostat in the cooling system stuck closed - the car overheated badly! I replaced it myself and have had no problems since.

A metal clip from one of the rear brake pads fell off and caused a huge racket - it cost £15 for a complete set of rear brake pad clips but I guess it's better to replace them all.

General Comments:

I think it was Autocar magazine which said that the Mk1 MR2 was quicker round the twisty bits than a Ferrari 308 (the equivalent of the 360 Modena at the time).

It's only got a 1.6 litre engine but it revs over 7500 rpm and weighs very little - who needs loads of power? Main criticism is it lacks torque but there are imported supercharged versions on the market.

It is also widely believed to have been a Lotus design before Toyota bought it and had it hand made by Yamaha.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st August, 2000

1988 Toyota MR2 1.6 supercharged from Australia and New Zealand

Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2000
Engine and transmission 1.6 supercharged Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.8 / 10
Distance when acquired140000 kilometres
Most recent distance143000 kilometres
Previous carToyota Corolla

Summary:

Absolutely completely brilliant

Faults:

Nothing so far (touch wood).

General Comments:

Awesome car, goes like stink. It may be 12 years old but it can still frighten a few newer performance cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th August, 2000

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