2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder 1.8L from North America


Nimble handling, fun to drive


Nothing so far.

General Comments:

Bought as part of my mid-life crisis. Wanted an Asian mistress and ended up with a Toyota Spyder (Should be cheaper in the end). I'm 6'2" and weigh 225. I tried to fit into a Honda S2000, Saturn Sky and Mazda Miata (both new and old) and found the Spyder had more room for my legs and headroom. Due to garage size, I was limited to the size of car that I could purchase. So far, its fun with the convertible. Wish the rpm's were lower when traveling in 5th.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th December, 2007

21st Jan 2011, 14:45

How did the 6 speed tranny swap work out for you, was it a direct swap? I too have been wishing for a 6th speed and considered what you've done, but can't find any info on it.

14th May 2011, 11:12

http://www.monkeywrenchracing.com/ this is the URL for MonkeyWrenchRacing. They have the 6-speed European style transmissions. At 70mph, the RPM is at 2900! I've been averaging 37 MPG with the 10% ethanol fuel that we use here in Wisconsin.

2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder 1.8L from North America




Nothing at this point. I just noticed that the front window defrost isn't functioning and I'm taking it in to get that checked out.

I have noticed that the leather tops tend to pick up black smudges from the weather stripping during raising/lowering.

General Comments:

Comfort: Leather seats are comfortable, but I have a tendency to slide on them during heavy cornering. The lumbar support is a nice touch.

Economy: I've been averaging 29-30 MPG in combined Highway/City driving using regular unleaded.

Acceleration: Decent acceleration from a stop, but much better during highway acceleration. Lugs at times in first gear at lower RPM, but will light up the tires at 4-5K RPM.

Cornering: Absolutely superb!! I can't give it justice so I won't explain, just drive one.

Braking: Sometimes when I hit the brakes I end up further back than where I started, it's that quick.

Interior: I love it, simple, relatively bare. Would prefer the center of the dash come inward a bit, not quite the feel of a cockpit. Very little room for the legs of the driver, I wouldn't even try to drive one with a shoe size of 12 (US) or more. Right leg rests against the center console, a bit uncomfortable at times.

Storage: Limited. I can fit my racquetball gear behind the seats and very little else. There is no trunk so I generally use the passenger seat for everything.

Trans: This is my biggest complaint! I drove the sequential trans model (which I didn't like as much). That model actually has 6 forward gears, hence the est 34 MPG highway rather than 33. RPM stays much lower than with the 5 spd manual which runs at just under 4k RPM during extended Interstate driving. Why not drop a 6 in both? That being said, the gearshift operation is short, quick, crisp, and a true pleasure to operate. I've been sighted throwing through the shifting pattern while stuck at stoplights.

Overall: I love this car and I'll keep it forever, and since it's a Toyota it will probably last forever. I may have to increase the hp by a bit and personalize it in other ways, but it's really an outstanding car for only about 25K. I gave up my Mitsu Eclipse Spyder GS for this and I'd never even consider going back.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th July, 2004

2nd Oct 2009, 01:57

I have a 2003 MR2 Spyder with SMT. This car is a mini Ferrari and closest thing to it. I have a Solar Yellow and every where I go, people stop and look at it. It is a blast to drive and simply the cutest, best and most reliable sports car for the money.

10th Dec 2009, 07:23


I too own a 2003 Spyder, and I too am having a problem with windshield defrost. Heater and fan work fine, but I can't select defrost.

You mentioned that you had your problem checked out with the dealer and I'm curious as to how the problem was solved.



2003 Toyota MR2 VV-Ti Manual Hard Top & AC 1.8 from UK and Ireland


Bargain thrills and spills with roof up or down!


Only irritating CD Multi changer problems at first, which were finally resolved.

Nothing on the car itself.

General Comments:

To sum up in one word, superb!

As per another reviewer for this car, I sold my 1.7i Ford Puma to experience the MR2 and do not regret it one bit.

I plumped for the hardtop version (it gets cold and wet in Scotland during the winter) and have used the tin lid between October and March.

Great performance for the price.

I spec'd up my model to have all the chrome trims and roll bar etc, not entirely necessary, but it does turn heads when you have both the roof up or down.

Soft top operation is a piece of cake, you can even take the roof down from your seat if stuck in a warm traffic jam!

The arrival of my dog is going to force me to sell this, but when funds allow in future years I would not hesitate to snap one up again as a second car.

Re the lack of storage space, do not buy a two seater sports car if you need a lot of practicality. Otherwise, you can lose the spare wheel and have more than enough room for a long weekend away.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th February, 2004