2003 Toyota MR2

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$24,645

starting MSRP

2003 Toyota MR2

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

1 trim

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Our 2003 Toyota MR2 trim comparison will help you decide.

2003 Toyota MR2 review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview
Toyota launched its two-passenger, rear-wheel drive sport convertible as a late 2000 model, reviving a name used in the 1990s for a similar mid-engine coupe. Last year, a new model of the MR2 Spyder with a five-speed sequentially shifted manual transmission (SMT) became available.

For 2003, the sequential manual gearbox in the SMT version gets a sixth ratio, and cruise control is newly available. Fog lamps are now standard, the front fascia has been restyled, and a larger exhaust tip is installed. Side air intakes are now color keyed, and instrument-panel graphics have finer gauge gradations.

Similar in size and price to the Mazda MX-5 Miata, which uses a front-mounted engine, the MR2 Spyder has a soft-top that folds manually and includes a glass rear window. The clutch and gear operations in the SMT model are computer operated, and electronic throttle control permits the system to reduce torque during shifts. Upshifts and downshifts are achieved by moving the selector to plus or minus positions or by using steering-wheel buttons.

Exterior
Boldly massive air scoops run along the body’s sides ahead of the rear wheels of the MR2 Spyder. A wide, gaping grille opening dominates the low-slung front end. Large, round headlights are encased in elongated, clear-plastic housings. Front and rear overhangs are minimal, and the MR2’s 96.5-inch wheelbase is 7 inches longer than the Miata’s.

The top folds flat into a well, and a wind deflector mounts behind the seats. Alloy wheels hold 15-inch tires in front, but new 16-inch tires are used at the rear.

Interior
Seating is cozy for two occupants on bucket seats. Standard features include drilled aluminum pedals, a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, a cassette/CD stereo, air conditioning, and power windows, door locks and mirrors. A large, center tachometer dominates the three-pod gauge cluster.

Tall folks can stretch out, but cargo space is virtually nonexistent – it is officially listed at a minuscule 1.9 cubic feet. The sole factory option is a leather-trimmed seat package.

Under the Hood
The MR2’s 138-horsepower, 1.8-liter, dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine is adapted from the one used in the Celica; it teams with a five-speed-manual transmission. The sequentially shifting manual gearbox replaces the clutch pedal and gear selector with a single shifter, but it has no fully automatic mode. Toyota claims the MR2 Spyder can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds.

Safety
All-disc antilock brakes and daytime running lights are standard. Side-impact airbags are not available.

Driving Impressions
The MR2 Spyder is a sweetheart on the road, and it is among the more fun-filled two-passenger models around. It is tight inside, and slipping into the driver’s seat demands a few gyrations that culminate in an abrupt drop-into position. The prospect of controlling almost Boxster-like highway moves on a tight budget makes up for a few imperfections.

Equipped with a capable engine, the MR2 Spyder zips through challenging situations, gripping the pavement tautly through curves. On good pavement surfaces, the ride is surprisingly smooth. The manual gearbox works with easy motion but demands some effort.

The wind deflector can be distracting, but visibility is otherwise good. Faults come mainly in the area of storage space.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.1
  • Interior design 4.5
  • Performance 4.6
  • Value for the money 4.9
  • Exterior styling 4.8
  • Reliability 5.0

Most recent consumer reviews

4.6

As fun as a car gets

I sold a motorcycle to buy this car, and the fun factored increased. It feels as if you are speeding when going 60 miles per hour, so you have the thrill without the chill of worrying where the next trooper is hiding.

4.7

A Joy To Drive

It's not the fastest, or the most luxurious, but a 2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder is a rear engine RWD headturner, that is a joy to drive, especially curvy or mountain roads. Most people dont know what it is, but they sure like it. Storage is minimal behind the two seats. Remove the spare tire to get a little more. Pack light, Get the top down, Hit the road, and Enjoy.

4.0

Fun reliable sporty convertible.

Only drive this car for fun on a sunny day. Short road trips are best due to the stiff suspension. Rides and handles like a go cart due to transverse mid engine design. 6 speed SMT (sequential manual transmission) is unique in a street car. It is an automated manual transmission. Lift off the gas, bump the shift lever up or down to shift gears, foot back on gas. When you come to a stop automatically shifts into 1st gear. Unique exterior styling, some like it some don't. Very limited luggage space in front trunk and behind the seats. Standard with a soft top only. Fun sporty car with Toyota reliability.

See all 35 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?

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