Our 1994 Toyota has the same MR (Mid Engine/ Rear Drive) drivetrain layout typically reserved for the more expensive and exotic cars. Coupled with Toyota’s legendary reliability, this sleek mid-engine coupe offers incredible handling, fantastic acceleration, great fuel economy, and low cost of ownership. Finished in one of the MR2’s most desirable colors, Super Red II (3E5,) this example looks stunning on a set of classic gold Rays TE-37’s making it impossible to miss. The body has been well preserved, is free of any notable dents or dings, and the sheen from the clear coat glints off direct sunlight nicely, and the car is definitely a head-turner.
The interior has received a few light upgrades, just as the rest of the car has. The steering wheel has been upgraded to a Momo, tri-spoke, smaller diameter steering wheel. It’s blue accents dress up the darker interior and pair nicely with the red driver’s bucket seat. Behind the wheel, the controls are all driver-focused, and the upgraded short shifter feels very direct and notchy. Both seats are in good shape, sans a typical bolster tear on the driver’s side. The leg support and bolstering is premium, and the car does well on long cruises in terms of comfort. The switchgear is all at hand, and the ergonomics are not bad for such a small sports car. Also included for convenience are power windows and locks. Door cards, dash, headliner, and carpeting are free of any stains or markings. Rarely seen, polished door sills protect the paint from scuffs, and add an upscale aesthetic. Toyota did invest in nicer interior materials than the rest of the competition, and the dash is still unfaded and lacks any cracks or distortion. While the cabin is snug, there is plenty of glass to aid visibility, and daily driving is anything but cumbersome. For summertime, our MR2 is equipped with cold A/C and during the winter months, heat can be utilized as well.
The 1994 models had a host of upgrades, but the most important was to the motor. Now boasting more power, and quicker throttle response, Toyotas 4th generation of their 1998cc feels like a perfect match for the chassis. Mechanically there have been quite a few nice additions made to this particular coupe. Power comes from the most desirable powerplant, the mid-mounted, two-liter, 3S-GTE. With only 97K verified miles, this little two-liter is just barely broken in. It benefits from a new 12V battery and oil and filter service and fires up every time. The four-cylinder settles quickly into a constant idle, and revs freely. A polished, Fujitsubo exhaust gives the turbocharged mill a deeper bark and looks aggressive to boot. The vehicle accelerates well, even by 2019 standards, and makes really good power down low for a turbocharged motor. The 5-speed transmission feels strong, and a rows happily through the gears without any issues. Steering and handling are considered two of this models’ best characteristics, and this particular one really delivers. Lacking T-tops, the interior has fewer squeaks and rattles and is notably less prone to water intrusion. More importantly, the platform is more rigid and has a lower center of gravity than those equipped with the glass panels up top. Ride height has been lowered with a set of performance dampers produced by Blitz and can be changed and adjusted to suit one’s driving environment if the roadways are less than perfect. These units are beefier than stock, lower ride height, and offer to handle with less body roll. New tires wrap those rare Rays rims and offer plenty of grip in wet and dry conditions.
For the true enthusiast, it doesn’t get much better than this Toyota. A reliable, turbo, mid-engine car is a rarity nowadays, but this one ticks all the boxes. A real turn-key Japanese Classic, this MR2 won’t last long!
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB complaint first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.