The Toyota MR2 had an unusual evolution. It started life as a funky, angular, 80s-tastic baby sports car, then it evolved into a turbocharged four-banger Ferrari knockoff, and for its final act, it transformed into a Miata fighter. As Regular Car Reviews notes in their new video, that one never quite caught on.
It’s hard to pick a fight with the Miata. Even though the MR2 weighed less, had a mid-engine setup and packed a better power-to-weight ratio, it just never caught on the way Mazda’s ubiquitous sports did. It also came out right around the time when increasing safety standards and a preference for SUVs seemed poised to crush the cheap sports car market. In some ways, it never quite recovered from that era.
That didn’t mean the MR2 Spyder wasn’t a great car, or the kind of car we all pine for today. But here was the problem: in a lot of ways, the third-gen MR2 just wasn’t as good as its predecessors. There’s no trunk. There’s no frunk. There’s no factory option for forced induction. There’s no pop-up headlights.
At first RCR calls it the Back to the Future Part III of cars. The first one was great, classic 80s. The second one was everything we loved about the first one, but better. The third one... why are we in the Wild West, and why is this MR2 a convertible?
But then they realize the advantages the MR2 Spyder has. It still looks great today! It’s a cheap mid-engine sports car! You can easily find a nice one for sale now, while its two predecessors are almost always project cars!
Maybe it’s time the third MR2 gets the respect it never got. Also, I like Back to the Future Part III.