2002 Toyota MR2

Change year or car

Change year or car

$23,735

starting MSRP

2002 Toyota MR2

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

1 trim

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2002 Toyota MR2 trim comparison will help you decide.

2002 Toyota MR2 review: Our expert's take

By

Toyota’s MR Spyder is a four-wheeled doodlebug. A doodlebug is kin to the ant lion, a name that seems descriptive: big and small at the same time.

The MR Spyder is small. It has a 96.5-inch wheelbase, an overall length of just 153 inches and it weighs a scant 2,195 pounds. Even though it is physically small, it has the performance of a much larger car because it weighs so little. The 1.8-liter, four-cylinder cranks out a modest 138 horsepower, but in a light car that is sufficient to make this tiny two-seater scamper to 60 miles per hour in 6.95 seconds. Performance is a reflection of power and weight, not just outright power. A side benefit, of course, is that you can scoot around town and still not have to stop at every gas station. The only downside to this engine is that it gets rather vocal at maximum rpm.

A bit of history. The original Toyota MR2 came out in 1985, and it, like this car, was a pocket rocket with a reasonable price tag. Through various iterations, the MR2 grew larger and more expensive. Production was discontinued in 1995. In 2000, the MR Spyder came back, and it reflected the philosophy of the original: light, small, quick and reasonably priced.

The MR Spyder is a basic sports car. You don’t get into it as much as you put it on. You sit low and close to the ground. It handles like a big go-kart. It has a manual top and almost no luggage space. Driving fun is its primary job.

The test car was equipped with a most interesting option: a sequential manual transmission. The SMT is a sophisticated system that uses computer-controlled actuators to work the clutch and gearshift. It is as convenient as an automatic, yet it has the interaction of a manual. It adds $780 to the base price of $23,735.

Slip the gear lever into neutral to start the engine, then slide it to the right. Ease down on the throttle and the car moves as the clutch is automatically engaged. Shifting gears can be done by nudging the lever forward or backward, or by using tiny buttons on the steering wheel. Similar but more sophisticated systems are used in Formula One race cars, for example, but they shift in a split second. The Toyota system shifts about like a normal person. It is smoothest if you feather the throttle slightly between shifts. The computer even revs the throttle for smooth downshifts Zipping through a succession of corners, going up and down through the gears with the steering wheel buttons, is quite fun.

All things considered, I would choose the standard manual transmission instead of the SMT. Drivers who haven’t learned how to drive a manual transmission, however, or those who want to play racer, will find the SMT right up their alley.

Balance and light weight are what give the MR Spyder a high fun quotient. The engine that powers the rear wheels is located right behind the driver’s back, so the car has good front-rear weight distribution. The suspension is firm enough to keep the body flat in turns and the ele ctro-hydraulic steering has great feel. Four-wheel disc brakes, with standard anti-lock, scrub off speed impressively.

The cockpit is small but well finished. Those of us past 50 may find ingress and egress a bit challenging because the seats are so low to the ground. Once in, however, the seats are most comfortable.

The biggest complaint I have with the MR Spyder is lack of storage space. There is no trunk, front or rear. Small bins behind the front seat are the only place to carry things if there are two people.

Putting the manual top down is a breeze. It stows behind the front seat with a click. A little windblocker helps reduce wind turbulence in the cockpit.

Price
The base price of the test car was $24,515. Options included leather seats, power locks, carbon fiber dash trim and floor mats. The sticker price was $26,150.

Warranty
Three years or 36,000 miles.

Point: Toyota’s MR Spyder is an inexpensive, lightweight wo-seater that has the handling of a go-kart. It darts through turns with glee and stops fast. The 138-horsepower engine gives good performance because the car weighs only 2,215 pounds.

Counterpoint: The lack of luggage space means this is almost strictly a city car. If two people are in the car, even bringing home a couple of sacks of groceries can be a challenge.

SPECIFICATIONS:
Engine: 1.8-liter, 138-hp 4-cyl.
Transmission: Sequential manual Rear-wheel drive
Wheelbase: 96.5 inches
Curb weight: 2,215 lbs.
Base price: $24,515
As driven: $26,150
Mpg rating: 25 city, 30 hwy.
> >

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.4
  • Interior design 4.8
  • Performance 4.8
  • Value for the money 5.0
  • Exterior styling 5.0
  • Reliability 5.0

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Garage kept, excellent condition

No issues, great mechanical condition. No dents no dings. Just need to free up some garage space. Garage kept. Interior is also in excellent condition.

5.0

Tons of fun, a real value

I always wanted a Miata, but their interiors are so small, I am 6'2" and 235 lbs. I fit quite comfortably in my MR2 Spyder. With a 5 speeed manual and excellent mid engine handling, the car is a gas to drive. There is a real feeling of driving engagement. I am getting 31 mpg. Never had a problem. Toyota reliability. With such limited production lots of people have no idea what it is and I get questions. Yes, storage is pretty limited, but this wasn't made for family cross country treks. I purchased the car in April 2017 with 42k miles and now I have 50k with no problems.

4.9

I love my mr2

I get great gas mileage. It handles great. I've owned it 6 years, I've had no issues with it. 2002 with 120,000. Miles and still going strong!

See all 26 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Toyota
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
60 months/60,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
7 years/less than 85,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12, 000 miles
Powertrain
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
160- or 174-point inspections
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2010

Scion xD

$14,900

starting MSRP

2008

Pontiac Vibe

$16,855

starting MSRP

2004

Toyota Celica

$17,570

starting MSRP