Having driven TT's, Boxsters etc, this car is the most involving and down right fun of the lot, although the least practical.
Ride / Handling : About town, the car is comfortable, and although the ride is hard, and it somewhat bobbles over pot holes, the suspension is very supple and soaks up larger bumps very well.
At speed the car feels very stable and firmly planted on the road. Body roll is not noticeable at all in the corners, the car will break away and oversteer quite easily, but this is all part of what is an immensely exciting driving experience.
Steering : About town, the steering is light, very guick, with less than half a turn of the wheel for most city corners. At speed the steering simply takes you exactly where you want to go, point the car, and it takes you there.
Performance : This car is much faster than the stats would suggest. It will clock 60 in 7.0 seconds in good conditions, but this will take practice. Fishtailing away from the lights is not uncommon, and is both very enjoyable, yet very controllable. Applying some lock and booting the car will enable you to fishtail in most conditions. The car is very fast up until about 85-90, but as per most smaller capacity 4 pot cars, the hike from 80 - 130 takes some time. 30 - 70, the car is faster than a boxster.
Braking : The weight, and stability of the car facilitate very late breaking, that feels very controllable. Overtaking on short straights before corners feels very safe because you feel confident that you can scrub off a lot of speed very quickly. Fantastic.
Interior / Equipment : Solid and functional like most Toyotas. No rattles of any real note, leather is good quality. Visibility is good, and particularly aided by the glass (as opposed to plastic) window in the back of the car. The stereo is very good, but the doors tend to resonate at any real volume, could probably be sorted by sound deadening material such as dynomat. Leather is good quality.
Practicality : You could squash a hiking rucksack in the areas behind the seat, and another normal rucksack on the spare wheel at the front, but that's it. Forget cases of any sizes, unless your traveling on your own when you can use the passenger seat. Roof is very easy to put up and down, and can be put up or down in about 60 seconds. Economy is very good, better than my old 1.7 Puma, even when pushing it. Insurance is cheap as the car is only group 13.
Notes : If you get a non-hardtop version, don't let the dealer tell you you can't fit one (which they probably will), you just need to find a dealer who'll do the job, or go direct to Toyota. If your DIY minded you can do the job yourself with the kit from toyota in less than an hour.
Comparison to closest rivals :
MX5/Miata - Dated design in terms of dynamics and engine. lousy interior.
MGF - Again, Dated design, lack of attention to detail and quality in comparison.
Elise - Elise is faster, but even less practical, comfort and gadgets non existent.
Summary : A total hoot, but unless like me you drive to work and back, do a bit of shopping, and then ponce around at the weekend, your going to need a second car. Almost as good as an Elise in the driving, yet much more comfortable and easy to live with. Cheap to run, fast, reliable, but no storage space.
Buy one if the storage issue is not a problem, you won't regret it.