Toyota MR2 mk1 AW11 the ULTIMATE review

Toyota Mr2 mk1 short buying guide.
-Thing number 1 is rust. The rocker panels and wheel arches are the first to go. Rust loves to hide under the side skirts right here too. But it can be in the front trunk, in the engine bay and in numerous other places. Look hard.
-If the engine is completely stock does it idle well when the engine is completely cold and when it warms up. The stock idle air control valve system is stupid and is dead on almost all cars.

-Does it maintain a stable idle. Bleeding the coolant properly on these can be tricky and when done incorrectly will result in a bouncy idle.

-Leaks from the radiator and coolant piping aren't uncommon. Oil leaks also aren't uncommon but are mostly easy to fix.

-Does it keep going straight when you let go of the steering wheel? Is the steering feel vague?

-Most of the transmissions have worn out synchros. Check if shifting in and out of all gears is smooth.

-The early ones had fifth gear pop out. Go out on the highway. Accelerate in fifth gear. Does the transmission stay in fifth gear?

-Does the engine pull hard and accelerate normally?

Today we're doing the ultimate review of a toyota mr2 mk1 (AW11 chassis code).

So let's start with first impressions. The exterior, because that's the first thing you'll see and likely the thing you fell in love with if you actually like the mr2. I personally love the exterior of this car. It's unique in a good sense and it's probably the most 80s design ever. This is what they imagined the future would look like back in the 80s, but they couldn't wait for the future, so they made it right away.

It kind of looks like the result of unprotected sex between a jet fighter and a car. Of course it has pop up headlights too. The absolute quintessential feature of every wedge car. So if you're into 80s retro stuff and small sporty compact two seaters this thing will hit bull's-eye like nothing else for you.

However, if we step inside the mr2 aw11 there is a pleasant surprise to be had. I'm 6 foot 2 and somehow i never feel even a tiny bit cramped in this car. my usual driving position even leaves room for the seat to be pushed back a bit more. I've sat in the mx-5 NA and my usual driving position ends up being a lot closer to the very end of the seat's adjustment range.

What's the Toyota MR2 m1 like to drive?

You probably already knew this, but the MR2 is mid-engined. This means the engine isn't in front of you like in almost every other car, but it's behind you for even more jet fighter points. I'm not gonna explain in this video why the engine behind you thing is superior for driving dynamics, but the fact that almost all of the greatest supercars ever have the engine behind the driver should provide enough of an argument to that statement.

So what's it like to drive? The mr2 mk1 is likely one of the most rewarding drives you will have. When it comes to pure driving joy it can stand toe to toe with practically any car.

Is the Toyota MR2 mk1 fast?

Well yes and no. 90% of the mr2s out there were delivered with a naturally aspirated 1.6 16 valve 4age engine with 116 or 124 hp. It gets destroyed by modern hot hatches on the straights. In the corners where power plays a less important road the mr2 is very difficult to embarrass and is a fast car. A supercharged mr2 mk1 with 145 hp and is noticeably quicker.

If you want more power you have several options. You can try tuning the stock 4age 16v in it's naturally aspirated form. This is fun, but making more than 170-180 horsepower is very hard and expensive. If you want bigger power you can turbo your 4age or you can do a swap. The most common swap is a 2.0 3SGTE engine from a Toyota MR2 mk2 S2W20 turbo. This turns the Toyota MR2 mk1 into an mk1.5 and a very capable and fast car. Make sure your suspension and brakes can keep up with the new power.



If you want to race the mr2 mk1 you should know that in the right hands it has great potential, but in the amateur racing world it is almost often outdone by cars like the NA mx5 or even a properly prepped Honda civic or CRX. Mostly, because these cars are easier to drive.

Is the Toyota MR2 mk1 aw11 reliable?

Well it's a Toyota so it's got to be reliable right? Well yes, it's a simple over engineered Toyota from the 80s which means it's much more reliable than a modern car. At least it was 10 or 20 years ago. Right now it's 30 years old and it will need love, care and money to run right.

Ok, so that's reliability done. But is the Toyota MR2 practical? Well, that's something that's super easy to answer. It's not.

Pappots garage: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpYAsizR_ubNZ2nigSURL_Q

Other videos you might be interested in

Snap oversteer: https://youtu.be/k1wxCIqW7KI

My entire build in 10min: https://youtu.be/4lFE4eh2dKY

5 min bie carbs guide: https://youtu.be/YPbtXHqyh8g

Fix a loose steering on the aw11: https://youtu.be/yM_Z4Vh6BHk
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