Fun, reliable, inexpensive, and a real head-turner
Wear in leather for shift boot and driver's seat, squeaky front struts. Car and tranny are unreliable at best in below 0C conditions.
I bought this car in May of this year as a summer cruiser, and I am not disappointed. I don't know how many previous owners it has had, but I do know the owner prior to the one I bought it from, started building it for serious performance. As such, the car is much faster and better handling than a stock MR2.
The car accelerates very quickly. I haven't gotten used to the car enough to launch it, but once the turbo spools up, it will literally force you into your seat from the acceleration and g-forces. It won't win a race against any of the heavier hitters in the same price range (Mustangs, Skylines, Supras, etc), but it will out handle them any day. The car can take almost any corner at speeds in excess of 60 km/h, which is pretty impressive for a budget sports car. The car doesn't weigh a lot, which adds to the performance. It's a "quick" car, not necessarily a "fast" one. If you're looking for something to impress people with your top speed, don't buy this car. If you're looking for something to embarrass those "fast" cars with at the track, this is for you.
Interior is very comfortable, if small. Not a lot of storage space, especially with the tops in the car. The seats are among the most comfortable I've sat in, up there with luxury and super cars. The trunk is tiny, and the only thing you'll be keeping in the front boot is maybe a briefcase. All this being said, I love the interior for the sole reason that your driving position is almost perfect. You're very low in the cabin, and you feel only inches above the road.
The car's fuel efficiency is alright. About the same as my Honda was pulling with its 2.3L engine. The modified engine does about 24 MPG city driving when I drive normally. Using the turbo too often kills the efficiency, but is too fun to resist. Your mileage may vary.
The car looks and sounds great. The exhaust note is loud enough to get people's attention, but beefy enough for such a small engine that it's good attention. My car is an arctic white, and it looks stunning. You'll turn a lot of heads in this car, and many people who are not car enthusiasts will be surprised to learn it's a Toyota.
Car is almost maintenance free. Placement of the engine makes DIY mechanics cringe, but luckily having a shop do tune-ups and minor repairs is cheap enough and infrequent enough you won't mind. Other than basic tune ups, the engine needs nothing, and the belts are made in such a way that if they go, your valves don't get destroyed.
Seeing as the engine is mounted above the driving wheels, you might think this car would do alright in snow. The N/A engine may, the turbo definitely does not. If you're looking for a year-round car, avoid a turbo engine like the plague.
Overall, the car is about as much fun as you can buy on a budget. I test drove many, many cars before deciding on this one, and I can guarantee this is one of the few cars you will still be excited about driving months, maybe years after the first purchase. Even doing menial chores in an MR2 is exciting. The uncommon factor and great looks add to the appeal of the car for me, and I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a reliable, inexpensive, and fun sports car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 28th October, 2012