Why do you think the mk3 Toyota MR2 is so underrated?

The question I think all mk3 MR2 fans wonder is why is it so often overlooked? A couple of years ago I got to spend a week with the red car you seen in the photos here (that’s not me driving, by the way!) and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was.

The easy answer is to say that it just looks the softest. The mk1 is all angular, and the mk2 looks like a budget supercar, but the mk3 is much less individual in its styling. It was also less powerful than the outgoing model, which will immediately make a lot of people write it off.

It’s a shame, because it’s a genuinely brilliant little car. It feels more powerful than the 138bhp suggests, and it handles brilliantly. Steering is quick and changes of direction are fast, and if you’re too enthusiastic with the throttle on a roundabout it doesn’t take much to kick the back out!

Any owners care to add to the debate, agree or disagree?



Because it looks awful

05/18/2016 - 14:33 |
6 | 4
Fad Hill

In reply to by 2bias_

That’s like your opinion, buddy. I’d prefer beating someone in a race in a “girl” car.

05/18/2016 - 15:54 |
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Antonio 3

In reply to by 2bias_

I like “girls cars” like the 95 stang, miata and mr3 and boxy cars like the mr1 and the trueno. So your opinion it’s valid too

05/18/2016 - 16:14 |
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Looks like a frog with an inverted power bulge

05/18/2016 - 14:37 |
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In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Have you ever heard of a body kit ?

05/18/2016 - 14:42 |
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Enter your comment…

05/18/2016 - 14:42 |
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It doesnt have the same charm as the other generations. Looks that dont make me go “Oooooh Aaaaaah” but since theyre very uncommon it makes them unique in their own way

05/18/2016 - 14:42 |
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Dave 12

Let me start by saying I love this car and I’m thinking about having one for my next track toy but I think the reasons are threefold.

Firstly it doesn’t look great stock. It looks like a girls car. There’s no way around that but a few mods can do it justice. I think most people when they first saw the mk3 were severely disappointed with the styling but tbh I think it’s matured well.

Secondly 138bhp is less than the least of the mk2’s. I mean the rev.2 had 145 odd and most buyers try and avoid it. I don’t really know why Toyota didn’t make a faster version of the mk.3 but that’s just the way it is. Again we’re back to mods.

Thirdly the mk1’s and mk2’s by the mid 2000’s were dirt cheap and therefore a more attractive option than a £20k car. The prices are equalizing now 10 years on but it’s just taken a bit of time. Now you can get them in good condition for well under £5000 people are starting to say “hey it’s not that bad!” but I’m not particularly surprised they didn’t say that when they were more expensive.

05/18/2016 - 14:42 |
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CZ 69% Muscle

In reply to by Dave 12

I remember Wikipedia mentioning that they did make a go-faster ZZW30 of sorts.It was either a TRD turbo kit or a special edition,can’t remember.They added a turbo at some point which upped power to about as much as the 2ZZ-GE

05/18/2016 - 15:40 |
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You are spot on Dave. I think the biggest reason you listed is the the lack of power. MK1’s get around this i think beacause swaps are easy and cheap but engine swaps and power upgrades for the mk3 are much more difficult and a LOT more costly.
It may be a great handling car but Toyota took 2 huge steps backwards with the mk3. It is definitely the biggest flop of the trilogy, but thats like saying Mass Effect 3 was the biggest flop of the mass effect trilogy. It was but it was still a fantastic game.

05/19/2016 - 06:58 |
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In my opinion it doesn’t look great 😕

05/18/2016 - 14:48 |
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Neil Winn

Because the majority of ‘petrolheads’ go along with the popular choice - the MX-5 - even though the mk3 MR2 is far more rewarding to drive. Tiff Needell, Chris Harris and Richard Hammond all favour the little Toyota.

05/18/2016 - 14:49 |
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As a Mk2 owner there were a few things that made me choose a Mk2 over a Mk3, and things I believe that made the Mk2 a difficult act to follow.

  1. Firstly I find the styling of the Mk2 far more appealing than that of the Mk3, the pop-up headlights were a massive turning factor!
  2. The Mk2 has more power and more tuning capabilities and support.
  3. Not that I am often one to fall to this kind of stuff, but the Mk3 has a reputation as a “hairdressers car” and is not looked at by other enthusiasts as favourably as the Mk2.

Overall I like the Mk3, but there are many factors which made the Mk2 a preferable choice!

05/18/2016 - 14:49 |
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Have you ever driven the Mk1?

05/21/2016 - 03:36 |
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Its not a prius….

05/18/2016 - 15:50 |
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Ian m

138 is as much as a prius, but thats all you need

05/18/2016 - 15:51 |
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