2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder 4 cylinder from North America


Decent car for a modest driver, but can be dangerous in the wrong hands


Nothing yet. The car is actually pretty tough.

General Comments:

This car was bought instead of a Porsche Boxster, and what a mistake that was! This car can be very dangerous to a novice driver trying to show off. There is a tremendous amount of understeer, and it is very easy to over correct at high speed.

The car is pretty quick into 2nd and above, and the acceleration is not bad.

The seats are very firm and are not meant for long trips.

When the top is up there is zero visibility. The mirrors are small and useless.

The dash of the car is in my opinion boring, and does not invite the feeling of driving a sports car. Everything is cheap plastic, and there isn't anything that catches your eye. The gauges can be hard to see if you're tall like me, and they are set so far back they are sometimes hard to see in the shade.

The engine in this car has been very reliable so far, and the car is Toyota tough.

As I mentioned earlier, the understeer can cause problems, and I put the car into a curb yesterday. The only damage done was a crack in the fender splash guard line, and it was a quick and easy fix that I did for 40 bucks in my garage.

Overall this car would be best suited for a girl who wants something sporty looking, but is economical and cheap to keep on the road. If you are looking for something that will be fun, that will be a bit easier to drive and safer, I would recommend a Corvette.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th April, 2011

2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder 1ZZ from North America


Fun, quick, but the engine issues killed it for me


Until recently (the last month) the only issue was oil consumption, which is common for this engine.

In the last month, the idle speed control valve and A/C have both failed, and the engine is eating 2 qts per 1000 miles.

General Comments:

The car handles very well, brakes very well, and is as fast as one could expect from a car with a 138hp engine.

This car was a Toyota Certified Used car, which comes with a 7/100,000 drivetrain warranty (not Toyota's warranty, it's through an insurance company, but this company is also owned by Toyota). Since my car was drinking a ton of oil (as a large number of the pre-2003 models did), I figured this was a no-brainer, and the engine would get fixed. The problem is common, and Toyota is aware of it.

However, because I didn't just run the car out of oil and spin a rod bearing or throw a rod (like most people do), but instead kept the oil up, the warranty has initially been declined because of "lack of evidence" (my car being verified to consume 2 qts per 1000 miles notwithstanding, for some reason).

See, the rings wear, which throws oil into the catalytic converters in the manifold, which degrades the honeycomb in the cats, causing them to fall apart and drop into the main catalytic converter, causing an increase in backpressure, causing the rings to wear out faster, causing more oil to get burned, etc. The car went from eating a quart of oil every thousand miles to eating a quart of oil every 500 miles in only 10,000 miles.

The car received oil changes (at the dealership, which I have proof of) every 3000 miles, and no notes were ever made of it consuming oil. I was the first person to catch it. So essentially, I did everything I was supposed to do: maintained the car at a dealership, babysat the oil level, put NO aftermarket modifications on the car, brought it in under warranty, and I'm actually being penalized for it, because everyone with the EXACT same problem who just fries the motor gets it covered - no problem.

As a small side note, Toyota says that it's normal for it's engines to consume up to 1 qt of oil per every 1000 miles, but miraculously, no one has this in print, and no one is willing to provide this in writing. This isn't surprising considering they say to change the oil every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, so this admission would mean you'd have to tell customers it's normal for them to have to put 5 to 10 quarts of oil in their cars between oil changes.

Even though the dealership can verify there are no leaks and can verify the catalytic converters are falling apart, and can verify this is a common issue, it's going to take me spending a couple of weeks dealing with the DSPM, the Federal Trade Commission, the CA Insurance Commission, and (potentially) the Attorney General before they acquiesce and do the right thing - the thing they should've done to begin with.

Don't misunderstand me, I know it'll end up getting taken care of, but people shouldn't have to jump through these hoops to do it.

I should also mention, I've worked for Toyota for 13 years. Way to take care of your people, guys.

P.S. As a Toyota employee I can tell you that only the 1MZ-FE, 3VZ-E, and 1ZZ-FE engines had any major issues. The 1MZ and 3VZ engines are no longer produced, and campaigns addressed both of their issues. The 1ZZ's issues were addressed by a change in the manufacturing of the block in mid 2002, and the oil consumption issues no longer affect the newer models with this engine, so anyone considering a new Corolla or Matrix needn't worry.

All in all, Toyota makes some of the best cars on earth, and when they don't, they usually address problems swiftly and completely, and I still won't buy anything, but a Toyota product.

This particular car is just junk.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st January, 2006

11th Feb 2006, 09:52

Just out of interest, does the garage servicing your car know you are a Toyota employee?

5th May 2006, 13:21

What a mess!!! Hope you get them to fix it.

You mentioned that this is a common problem with pre 2003 models. Do you know if this issue was fixed for the 2003 thru 05 models?