2003 MR2 Spyder New Car Test Drive
Toyota's two-seat MR2 Spyder is a modern sports car with back-to-the-roots feel. Like some Ferraris, its engine is mounted just behind the passenger compartment and ahead of the rear wheels, providing great balance and handling.
Redesigned for the 2000 model year, the big story for 2002 is the SMT model, with its new five-speed sequential manual transmission, which uses no clutch.
The MR2 hasn't changed much since its rebirth after a five-year hiatus; in 2001 leather was added as an option ($660), but virtually everything else is standard, including an AM/FM/cassette/CD sound system, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, alloy wheels, tilt steering wheel, wind deflector, leather steering wheel, and glass rear window with defroster.
Cruise control is standard with the SMT model and its sequential manual transmission, but unavailable with the manual transmission. The Spyder comes in seven colors, with either black or red cloth seats, or tan leather interior.
All MR2s come with the same engine as used in the Celica GT, a 1.8-liter, 16-valve four-cylinder, with variable valve timing and electronic management technology like that in its family-member Lexus.