Overall this car has been a joy to own and has given me many happy memories. But owning the car has not been without its costs. Owning the car in a year I was towed home three times. The first occasion was when the radiator developed a hole. A new pattern radiator was £150, which took most of a weekend to fit. The second instance was driving back from a friends house the rocker cover gasket failed spraying oil on the exhaust manifold. This was cheap to fix, but difficult to fit due to rounded bolts. The last occasion was coming back from a car show at Silverstone when the voltmeter slowly started dropping. Upon later inspection turned out the diode pack had failed. Toyota wanted £80 for a new diode pack and £300 for a complete alternator, as the whole alternator was looking tired I decided to go with a new pattern alternator at £150. My car is a very early example (Revision 1), and now 15 years old so its not expected to be without fault. My main pet hate is when working on the car its often difficult to get access especially in the engine bay.
Driving the car is always pleasurable, but not as I expected when I was looking to buy one. The engines power is very linear so you not put back in your seat like you would from a turbo power car. But a quick glance at the speedo reveals you are doing faster than you expected.
The mid engine layout with rear wheel drive is ideal for sprints, as the rear wheels don't tend to wheel spin like a fwd would when trying to pull fast. Cornering is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde story. In the dry the car is very stable and doesn't mind what speed you turn into the corner. However in the wet it’s a different story, the car becomes very twitchy and can easily spin. I spun mine after 4 months when exiting a roundabout, as I changed up to third, the back end stepped out very wide. My first reaction was to give it some opposite lock. The back end snapped back the other way and spun all the way round. The back end stepped out because as I let off the throttle to change gear the weight transfers from the back to the front, meaning the rears lose grip and slip. The earlier models (90-92) are well known for their snappiness, which was mostly resolved after 92. This was a bit of a wake up call and ever since I’m always a lot more careful in the wet.
It’s definitely a very different car to drive, the enclosed cabin gives a unique character. The boot is fairly big as well, although we did struggle to fit a week’s luggage in during the summer.
Insurance is not too bad, I pay £700 for fully comp for a 22 year old and 4 NCB.
I do recommend this car, although I would not rule out looking at a turbo model as well, the performance is a lot better with not much of a insurance hike (£200 for me). Although these can be more dangerous in the wet.