1989 Toyota MR2 T-bar 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Fast, nimble and FUN!


Mainly rust, to most body panels, sills and non-critical chassis components.

Worn leather on seats.

Ignition coil intermittent fault.

General Comments:

What can I say about the open-top T-Bar MR2? If you can live with the "soft" reputation, and the rust, this car is so much fun.

Only moderately quick, but handles beautifully, fast enough to exhilarate and great on the limit.

For a 17 year old car with 130000miles, I use it every day and it's only really let me down once, which was cheap and easy to fix.

Dealer support is great, they stock all parts (although expensive) and are happy to help keep these cars on the road.

Nothing special on paper, but just amazing to drive, with fantastic reliability.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th September, 2006

1989 Toyota MR2 T bar 1.6 (16v) from UK and Ireland


Good Fun on a budget



General Comments:

I've always wanted a Mk1 MR2 so was happy with my purchase. I knew it would not be as quick as previous cars, I've had a fair few 6 cylinder BM's including the E30 325i, E36 325i and the E28 M535, all fast in a straight line, but a handful in the twisty stuff.

The MR2 in contrast is the best balanced car I have ever driven. Mid engine and rear wheel drive results in a very responsive drive, you can really push the car into any corner and it grips and grips some more, it generally tends to understeer before it oversteers, which is nice and predictable as I like it, buy an old BM if you like going backwards, I've tried it a few times and didn't think much of it.

The MR2 is slightly underpowered, but not by much, too much BHP would effect the handling, but I still think another 20bhp would be useful, although 120bhp from a 1.6 is respectable. Totoya did produce a supercharged version which had the extra BHP and I imagine that is an almost perfect sports car.

The brakes on the MR2 are also strong, with disks all around, but generally its accepted that most need new rear calipers by now which seem to be a weakness, along with the rear arches which suffer from rust.

The engine is strong and likes to be reved, I've done approx 10,000 miles in mine since purchase with no reliability problems. which isn't bad for a 1.6 with 150,000 on the clock.

The T bar is nice on sunny days, as it can be removed so you can appreciate open top driving.

The car is also good on fuel due to its light weight and small engine, average 30-35 mpg.

There is even a boot which you can get 6 shopping bags in, and more storage space under the bonnet.

In conclusion if you are looking for an economical, reliable, sports car for under £1000, with exellent predictable handling, for B road blasting I can think of no competition.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th November, 2004

21st Jan 2005, 15:22

That was a good review which makes me want to get a Mr2 T-Bar which I will thanks to you. GOOD JOB MAN!

11th Mar 2005, 07:18

I agree with the guy above - great review telling me exactly what I wanted to hear. I'm 22 and have a Fiesta Zetec S which I'm ditching for something older and cheaper and really fancied a Mk1 MR2 (how common are mk2s!?). I think you've swayed my mind.

Thanks again!

23rd Jun 2005, 02:51

A retired engineer living next door to me has just restored a Mk1 MR2. 'F' reg, built up from the bare shell, painted a nice Peugeot metallic blue, full leather, stainless exhaust, anthracite grey OZ alloys, beautiful car. Built it for his son-in-law to use as a track car, but son-in-law can't find the time to get the proper use out of it. I know he would consider selling if the right offer comes along, and after reading your review, I am convinced. Watch this space - it could be mine in a couple of months???

20th Jan 2006, 17:59

Just an update to my original post, I sold my mr2 and have regretted ever since. One the look out for another.

28th Apr 2006, 13:08

I'm in a similar position to you - I'm on my 3rd six-cylinder E30 and as nice as they sound and as much as I like them, the novelty of a 25mpg average was wearing off and I was considering selling it and getting something smaller, but with the all important "driver appeal".

Anyway, somebody wrote my 325 off last week and I'm seriously considering a Mk1 MR2 with my payout. My other options are a Mk1 CRX, a Mk2 CRX (Del Sol?) and MX5. Decisions, decisions...

4th Sep 2009, 18:54

Just an update to my original post.

I purchased another MR2 Mk1, which I use for track days. It's great, such cheap thrills and out handles so much more expensive machinery. Ace cars...