If there's one thing Toyota has always been great at, aside from building reliable family cars, is building reliable and affordable small sports cars. Yes, seriously. Even before the current Toyota 86 and its Scion FR-S predecessor arrived, the Japanese automaker had already long proved itself fully capable of engineering and selling cheap fun. But don't think for a moment the Toyota MR2 was cheap in the sense as a Yugo where 'cheap' also meant 'cheap crap.' Instead, all three MR2 generations represented, in many ways, the every person's sports car.
Just because one didn't have the dough for a new Porsche doesn't mean driving can't be fun. And fortunately, there are still many old MR2s out there but it could be somewhat difficult to find one in solid condition, not to mention stock. Fortunately, we found one. This second generation 1991 model year Toyota MR2 Coupe is currently up for sale on Craigslist Los Angeles for an extremely reasonable $4,450 asking price.
Okay, so maybe it has 193,000 miles on its odometer, which sounds like a lot. Because it is. Thing is, it's a 27-year-old car, so what'd you expect? Remember, it's a Toyota. They can be driven for years, typically without problems. That seems to be the case here. The seller claims it has a clean title and clean CarFax report, and is accident-free. Power comes from a 2.2-liter four-cylinder with 130 hp, with that output directed to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. There was an MR2 Turbo that came with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder offering 200 hp, which was and still is more appealing to speed enthusiasts.
It's not that the naturally aspirated four is a bad engine, but you'll certainly notice that lack of 70 hp. However, this doesn't mean an aftermarket turbocharger can't be added. Heck, if you're daring enough, go for a supercharger. Guaranteed you'll be delighted by the results. Other features found in this beautiful MR2 are upgraded wheels, moonroof, and upgraded stereo with AUX and USB ports. It looks like the body is mostly if not all original, save for the wheels. And, of course, there are those '90s-tastic pop-up headlights.
The second generation MR2 lasted up until the 1999 model year before being replaced by the MR2 Spyder. For those of who grew up in the '90s, however, it was the second generation model that we remember most. Few cars, let alone sports cars, manage to get just about everything right. The second-gen MR2 was one of them. This car was so good in fact that it was on the market for a decade. But perhaps it's best not to think of the MR2 has the poor guy's Porsche, but simply as a great sports car. Period.