Toyota is known for creating reliable, high-quality vehicles. While the Toyota MR2 may not be the most famous Japanese sports car, it’s a great and notable choice for driving enthusiasts.
This post discusses everything you need to know about the Toyota MR2. This includes the different generations available, their current sale value, the fastest model of the Toyota MR2, and even the new 2024 Toyota MR2 model rumored to come out soon.
Not only is the Toyota MR2 an iconic sports car from the 80s and 90s, but many agree that it is among the best sports cars Toyota has ever built.
The MR2 was Akio Yoshida’s take on the exotic – both in its stylish design and driving feel. Today, we look deeper at what you can expect when buying one.
Summary of Contents
Considering the scarcity and popularity of this majestic model, it’s not surprising that the Toyota MR2 price is not cheap. In fact, it may experience a spike in price sometime soon.
Right now, the average price for Toyota MR2 equates to $19,591. In the past year alone, the lowest sale price was $4,300, while the highest amounted to $61,750. Given this car's uniqueness, many say it’s worth every penny.
With 90s JDM cars’ spike in price lately, many people are wondering: is it too late to buy a Toyota MR2 now? This isn’t surprising, considering the MR2 has always experienced a bit of a cult following.
The Toyota MR2 will likely appreciate in value.
The second generation MR2, chassis code SW20, embraces a unique Ferrari-inspired styling, outstanding performance figures, and affordable prices that practically make the SW20 MR2 a steal in the collector car market.
Compared to other JDM cars from the same era, it is highly probable that the MR2 won’t explode in value or popularity from where it stands now. Even so, it is inevitable that MR2s will continue to increase in value, primarily due to time and the decreasing supply of MR2s on the market.
The number of available MR2 cars for sale is declining as more out-of-production vehicles become modified past their limits and become totaled.
There are already all-original USDM SW20 MR2s with low-mileage commanding astronomical prices on various listing sites.
For example, an all-original 1995 MR2 Turbo with a mileage of 67,000 was recently sold for $61,750 on Bring a Trailer. But then again, 1995 MR2s have always been expensive in the U.S. for their extremely low production numbers. In comparison, a 1991 MR2 Turbo with a mileage of 37,000 sold for $35,500 in November 2021.
And it’s not just the turbo models. A museum-quality 1993 automatic model with a mileage of only 9,000 was sold for $25,500. So if you’re looking for an untampered MR2 within your budget, you may struggle to find and buy an MR2 at an affordable price.
This JDM car isn’t a popular sports car for nothing. The Toyota MR2 has a maximum top speed of 124 mph (200 km/h). It can also go from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) in 8.4 seconds and has a fuel consumption rate of 7.3 liters/100km. Here’s a closer look at how fast a Toyota MR2 can go.
The fastest model of the Toyota MR2 is the Mk2 Turbo. A standard Mk2 has a 2.2-litre inline-four engine and a 130-hp from the Toyota Camry. MotorTrend says buyers can opt for a much more powerful engine like a 2.0-litre turbo.
Instead of using the Camry’s motor, the Mk2 Turbo includes a turbocharged engine upgraded for racing. This MR2 is the fastest version because it produces 200 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque.
With an engine like this, the Mk2 Turbo can zoom from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. Ultimately, the Mk2 Turbo is faster than other MR2 vehicles in top speed, reaching 142 mph, while other MR2 models only hit about 120 to 130 mph.
Although models sold in Japan harnessed over 240 hp, they couldn’t pass U.S. emissions tests, so they couldn’t set tires on American soil.
If you’ve heard rumors that Toyota is bringing back the MR2, you heard right. The return of the new and improved Toyota MR2 is the start of the revival of the three siblings, the Toyota Celica, the Toyota Supra, and the stunning MR2.
The upcoming Toyota MR2 combines a crisp V6 with a modern electric motor and will enter the market with a $52,700 price tag. This is slightly higher than the Toyota GR Supra value, which will retail at $40,000.
Toyota has undoubtedly set the bar high with the sleek and futuristic design of the 2024 Toyota MR2.
The 2024 MR2 has a unique look with sporting bold aerodynamics and elegant curves. Specific models are supported on refined 18-inch alloy wheels in the back, while slightly larger 20-inch alloys boost the front.
This futuristic vehicle has a beefy overhanging hood extending to the tip of the MR2’s nose. From here, the hood connects with a massive grille surrounded by headlamps similar to striking LED light bars.
The MR2 has a striking figure with sharp edges and flowing curves to emphasize it. It is almost reminiscent of a more refined Bugatti Veyron. The model provides side air intakes, making the MR2 look almost extraterrestrial.
The exquisite design of the 2024 Toyota MR2 doesn't stop there. The car also features a vast and stunning trunk, with taillights that flow down to the edges of the MR2’s rear. Lastly, the iconic Toyota logo sits center stage proudly.
While the exterior build is enough to get enthusiasts drooling to let loose behind the wheel, the interior flaunts high-end quality. The car features a sporty, leather, three-spoke steering wheel and small analogue gauges near the top of the wheel.
The futuristic-looking bucket seats are endowed with rich suede materials and splashes of leather. There are also striking red stitches that run along the door sills and center console.
The new MR2 delivers fantastic space and a fair amount of legroom despite being a two-seat sports car. The details, like an infotainment screen or driver-focused features, are unknown. However, the 2024 Toyota MR2 will undoubtedly be spectacular inside and out to turn necks on the road.
Various hybrid, electric, and gasoline engines will be available for the new 2024 Toyota MR2. It's also possible that the new Toyota MR2 will have between 295 and 345 horsepower.
According to reports, the Toyota MR2 plug-in hybrid will feature a 2.9-litre or 3.0-litre V6 engine paired with an electric motor to produce a powerful output.
The days of mega brands releasing only gas options are over, and the Japanese compete with the best while keeping their fuel-efficient and modern creations.
Allowing buyers to recognize which engine type is best for them makes the 2024 Toyota MR2 appealing to a broader market and a good opportunity for many car enthusiasts.
Although Toyota has not announced specific performance figures, enthusiasts can expect increased power, speed, and agility.
The 2024 Toyota MR2 isn't going to come cheap with its modern aesthetic and massive power boost. Nonetheless, given the Japanese company's past releases, such as the GR Corolla and Mk4 Supra, it’s no surprise that the upcoming Toyota MR2 will be enthusiastically received and highly sought after.
Toyota has outdone itself with the design of the impending Toyota MR2. It will push the envelope by developing a revamped vehicle and venturing into the reasonably new electrification era.
We're looking forward to learning more about the 2024 Toyota MR2, and there’s no doubt it will be well-liked when it finally hits our streets in under two years.
The MR2 has a long history of exciting designs and innovations. As the different generations and versions of the MR2 came out, their body styles changed along with them.
Let’s take a quick look at the different types and variations over the years.
In 1986, the bumpers were color-matched to the body with an aero package – complete with side skirts – and leather upholstery was optional. A third brake light had been added as required by the government. The engine received a larger flywheel and clutch. In addition, the rear anti-roll bar was removed.
In 1987, a T-roof option debuted. The engine was strengthened with bigger connecting rods, and power was enhanced to 115 hp. Other mechanical changes included a relocated air filter and EGR valve, updated transmission internals, bigger brake rotors, and a reworked rear suspension.
Outside, new taillights and a revised front bumper or lower lip became available. The center console/armrest was adjusted (the handbrake has been relocated to the right side), the door panels were updated, and a sportier three-spoke steering wheel has replaced the previous two-spoke unit.
The Supercharged variant launched the following year, and side skirts were made standard on all MR2s.
The Supercharged version obtained a rear anti-roll bar in the final year of the first generation, and the car's color-keyed mirrors and door handles became standard on all MR2s. The rear brake light was replaced with a slimmer LED unit. Finally, the side mirrors were made slightly more aerodynamic.
This year, larger (15-inch) wheels became standard, and the suspension was updated to reduce the likelihood of lift-throttle oversteer. This allowed the vehicle to feel less razor-sharp to expert drivers while also being less vulnerable to oversteering for non-expert drivers.
The front lip spoiler was also increased, the transmission synchronizers were renovated, and the shifter was shortened. The T-top became standard on turbo models, the brakes were beefed up, and a viscous limited-slip differential (LSD) was added.
The base engine's output was increased to 135 hp in the 1994 MR2, a passenger airbag was applied, the rear strut towers were reinforced, and the anti-lock brake (ABS) and electronic power steering systems were modified for improved performance and feel.
The rear spoiler was changed from a three-piece to a one-piece design. Additionally, the lower front spoiler and side skirts were color-matched to the body, and the rear taillights were updated, as was the panel between them.
Toyota's mid-engine sports car was dropped from the US market in 1995 after delivering less than 300 second-generation MR2s for the 1995 model year.
The third-generation MR2 gains an automatic transmission option in the form of an automated clutch, manually shiftable transmission (dubbed SMT).
The front and rear end and interior of the second third-generation MR2 were mildly restyled (seats and gauges).
The SMT was upgraded to a six-speed transmission with faster shifting, and the wheels were increased from 15 to 16 inches. A new underbody brace and reconfigured springs and shocks improved the ride and handling dynamics.
The ride height was raised by one inch in 2004, and the manual transmission Spyders gained a Torsen limited-slip differential (LSD). In addition, the car's structure was strengthened for improved crash protection.
In its last year of production for the US market, the MR2 Spyder received a six-disc CD changer as standard equipment.
We’ve mentioned the unique designs and innovations of each generation’s cars. But how exactly do the different generations of Toyota MR2 differ? Let’s find out.
The MR2 made its debut for the 1985 model year to widespread acclaim. Toyota's mid-engine sports car, which was agile, light, relatively quick, and communicative, was a smash hit, with dealers selling them for more than the list price all day.
The base model was priced around $11,000, but it came with plain steel wheels, no radio, manual windows, and no A/C. An '85 MR2 listed for roughly $14k with alloys, A/C, power windows, and a stereo with cassette player.
The MR2 was named after its design: "Midship, Runabout, 2-seater." The wedge-shaped model with flip-up headlights was '80s cool, and a functional air intake on the right side gave Toyota's street-legal go-kart performance cred.
Smaller oil pressure, voltmeter gauges, and coolant temperature inside the MR2 supplemented large primary gauges (speedo and tach). Simultaneously, a thick-rimmed steering wheel and a stubby, short-throw shifter sprouting from a high center console were ideal apex-strafing partners.
The lateral bolsters on the sports seats were plump on the seat back but still flat on the bottom. However, the door panels and high center console were right by the sides to keep people in place.
A 1.6-litre, the 4-cylinder firecracker was mounted amidships. This marvel revved smoothly and eagerly to its 7,500 rpm redline, thanks to its then-exotic double overhead cam, four-valve per cylinder architecture.
Although it only produced 112-115 horsepower, it was enough to propel the 2,400-pound MR2 to 60 mph in around 8.5 seconds with just a five-speed manual transmission.
An automatic transmission was available as an option, though we're unsure why anyone would choose it when the MR2's precise stick was regarded as the best-shifting manual of its time.
The first-generation MR2 had thoroughly usable performance, allowing you to push the engine to redline without attracting ticket gods with too much speed.
The first-generation MR2s were light cars. The naturally aspirated versions measured around 2,400 pounds, while the SC versions were only about 200 pounds heavier. The MR2's only rivals were the Fiat X1/9 (later marketed as the Bertone X1/9) and the Pontiac Fiero.
The Fiero could only compete with the MR2's handling in its final year (1988) when its suspension was revamped, and the X1/9, while handling better than the Fiero, was a slug compared to the MR2. Of course, because Toyota created the MR2, it had low maintenance costs and a long lifespan.
The second-generation MR2 made its debut in 1991, looking like a lighter version of a Ferrari 308/328/348. (after skipping a model year in the US). It gained power, weight, and luxury features in addition to new, attractive styling with more space inside and a smoother ride.
The base MR2 had more power under the hood, with its 2.2-litre, DOHC, 16-valve four producing a respectable 130 hp. Acceleration was decent, with a 0-60 time of 8.4 seconds and a quarter mile time of 16.1 seconds.
The Turbo, Toyota's version of forced induction for this new generation, was the top MR2 of this generation. This led to a healthy production of 200 horsepower and 200 lb/ft of torque. A 1991 MR2 Turbo was extremely speedy, with a 0-60 time of about 6.0 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 14.8.
Of course, the MR2's stellar performance resume included agile handling, with its quick steering and flat serenity proving handy on twisty roads. The Turbo did not come with an automatic transmission as an option, unlike the MR2's base model.
Unfortunately, the second-generation MR2 was removed from the American market after the 1995 model year. This was due to an unfavorable dollar-to-yen exchange rate that drove the cost of Japanese automobiles up. However, it was still manufactured for other markets until the model year 1999.
Now for something entirely different. The MR2 began taking on the wildly popular Mazda Miata in its third generation. As a result, it was transformed into a traditional roadster with a soft convertible top. This MR2 was less appealing than previous generations. However, its personality far beyond compensated for its appearance.
Of course, the MR2 "Spyder" would be (and is) significantly less expensive to own than a Boxster. Honda's S2000 debuted the same year but was substantially more expensive and powerful, so it wasn't a direct rival.
The MR2 Spyder weighed just 2,200 pounds and was powered by a 1.8-litre, DOHC, 16-valve four that produced a respectable 138 hp. Unlike in the past, there was no option for a higher-level, supercharged, or turbocharged engine.
That 1.8-litre engine was enough to propel the MR2 Spyder to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds while using the five-speed manual transmission. For the first two years, manual transmissions were standard on all Spyders, and then, an automatic was made optional for 2002.
This wasn't a typical automatic. Instead, it was an automated clutch, manually-shiftable transmission, like Ferrari and a few other high-end carmakers provided at the time.
Although it functioned effectively, the SMT wasn't programmed for dependability and lifespan.
As a result, it took around two seconds longer to accelerate to 60 mph than a conventional manual transmission. The handling of the Spyder was, as expected, athletic, giving this MR2, like the previous ones, a high FTD (fun to drive) factor.
Owners and car enthusiasts adore all generations of the Toyota MR2 for their performance capabilities, unique style, and overall uniqueness. The MR2 is one of the final mid-engine cars available at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, the supply of MR2s will inevitably decline over time, causing values and prices to rise.
Even so, owning an MR2 today is an excellent investment in a future classic. So why not start by checking out this MR2 from Exotic Car Trader?
There's no telling how high prices will rise, but the only certainty is that an MR2 is a fun sports car to own and one of the least costly mid-engine models on the market.
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