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By Jim Mateja
July 27, 1992
This subcompact two-seat Toyota coupe came out in the 1985 model year to vie with the Pontiac Fiero for young people`s attention. MR2 not only looked good, the 1.6-liter, 16-valve, 4-cylinder enginedelivered surprising pep while barely sipping
fuel. And the sticker price was a mere $10,999. Fiero is gone, but MR2 lives, though sadly it is decked out in radicalgarb and carries a price tag young people no longer can handle unless theyopt for a 3- or 4-year-old model. The MR2
starts at $17,658, and the 1993 turbocharged model we tested was in an even more rarefied atmosphere at $21,218. Ouch! And it`s not price alone that brings on that exclamation. Toyotaboasts of a performance suspension, but the car we tested
provided a bumpy,rocky ride with lots of metallic pings when traveling over anything other thanflat surfaces. Another annoyance came from the removable, glass T-top panels, whichprovide open-air motoring. When left in, the glass didn`t have enough
tint to block glare. And with all the glass from the windshield and the T-tops, ittook a long time for the air conditioning to make a dent in the discomfort in the passenger cabin. Yet another gripe was that the boot surrounding the five-speed
gearshiftlever stood so tall that we typically grabbed a handful of it when reachingfor the lever. The MR2 looks good (though we still favor the squared-off rear end of the original `85 rather than the ``aero`` look of the `93); the 2-liter,
200-horsepower, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine doesn`t lack for power; and theaddition of driver-side air bag as standard and anti-lock brakes as optional($1,130) are pluses. But at nearly $22,000 ($26,000 with options on thetest car), the MR2 is in a
league most fans can`t play in. If they can, theyshouldn`t have to settle for the aggravations.