Next-generation Toyota MR-2: new illustration…

Last Updated:

It seems there have been rumors of a new, 4th-generation Toyota MR-2 for so many years now. Just like a “new Celica”. Although the rumors did turn out to be right about the Supra. They did come up with a new one. So maybe we could actually see another MR-2?

Toyota seems to be in flux right now. Mainly re-thinking their electric future. And now embracing EVs. They claimed they always did. That it was just a “communication problem”. (Just like the Chinese spy balloon was just a lost weather balloon I guess). That means a mid-engine 2-seater sports car is probably not a priority. Especially if it’s not an EV.

The first generation MR-2 came out in 1984. Although I always thought the design was a bit clumsy, and even a bit old looking, it was a breath of fresh air. The design was basically a production version of the SA-X Concept from 1981. ( the concept did look much better). The MR-2 started at $11 000 in 1985. That same year, the price range of a Honda Accord was between $8100 and $13 100. The MR-2 was definitely an affordable sporty mid-engine car. Its main competition in the US was probably the Pontiac Fiero. (Although at that time, the Fiat X 1/9 was still around). The Pontiac started at $8000. While the Pontiac looked great, reliability was definitely an issue. Something you didn’t have to worry about with the MR-2.

Today, a Honda Accord costs between $27 300 and $37 900. That would put a new MR-2 price at around $33 000. Which seems hard to do these days. Or not? A new 2023 Mazda Miata still starts at a reasonable $28 000. It’s not too crazy to think Toyota could come up with a small mid-engine 2-seater for a few thousand more.

The market for such a thing is practically gone. You just can’t really go back. Toyota sold 6830 new Supras in 2021. A far cry from almost 35 000 in 1986. Again, things could be different with an EV. An affordable 2-seater electric car…

f they do come up with a new one, I really hope it doesn’t look like the illustration above. The MR-2 should have a simple friendly personality. Not something that tries too hard…

These are original ads for the 2 generations of the Toyota MR-2. The second generation came out in the US in 1990. As usual, it was bigger (by almost 10 inches) and more powerful. But it was also much more refined and almost looked like a Ferarri.

The 3rd generation was introduced in late 1999. And it was now chasing after the popular Mazda Miata. And the design was much more generic than the previous generations. I mean, what a step backward from the previous one.

Conversation 4 comments

  1. My first car at the age of 18 was a 1985 Toyota MR2. Absolutely loved that car for years. It taught me alot of basic mid-engine rwd dynamics and corrective steering control at a very young age. So much fun to drive and an incredible 1.6L Twin Cam 4 with a high (at the time) 7500 rpm redline. A snickety snick 5spd manual also. The 2nd generation MR2 was actually my favorite, even though I never owned one. I would love to see Toyota bring the MR2 back, or maybe even a GR MR2 or just GR2. Fun fact: MR2 actually stands for Mid-ship Runabout 2 seater.

  2. Yes, the second generation was a really nice-looking car while the first version looked like a poor man’s Ferrari or Lotus minus 60 inches. Currently there is no way to build a small little EV as they battery packs are still very large. We are still years away from smaller denser batteries with further range and more power. And that would most likely be solid state batteries. They also perform much better in the cold. I think that’s the reason why Tesla hasn’t unleashed their sports cars yet.

    I am more interested in the small FJ Cruiser thingy.

  3. Dont bother, Toyota. Its a declining marketshare you’ll never access with the terrible designs you’ve produced lately – see Supra (its awful)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *