Sedans & Coupes

A Toyota MR2 Spyder Could Be an Affordable, Sporty Daily Driver

Buying an older used sports car is a fun and affordable way to get something more unique. While you can find used Mustangs and Chargers all over the place, some less popular cars are harder to find. Although they are rare, some of these discontinued cars aren’t popular or expensive, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good cars. The Toyota MR2, for example, is a reliable and affordable mid-engine car, and for the right person, it could even be an excellent daily driver.

Daily driving the Toyota MR2 Spyder

The Toyota MR2 Spyder isn’t a conventional option for a daily driver. They are relatively uncommon cars, with a lot of common parts from other popular Toyota cars. The car is undoubtedly fun to drive. The small engine sits behind the driver and passenger seats, making it one of the most affordable mid-engine cars. The engine doesn’t provide any impressive amounts of power, even in the turbo version.

A close-up of a Toyota MR2 Spyder's dashboard.
2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder interior | Rick Meyer via Getty Images

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The car may not have a lot of horsepower, but it’s small and lightweight. The mid-engine placement balances the car’s weight and allows it to handle well, making it a fun choice for weaving in and out of traffic or taking a weekend trip through a windy mountain pass. The car’s lack of horsepower makes it more fuel-efficient and enjoy in daily traffic, and the availability of a comfortable 5-speed manual transmission makes your commute an adventure.

Making sacrifices

Like with most sports cars, you have to make some sacrifices to really enjoy daily driving the Toyota MR2 Spyder. For one, there really is no trunk space. A small plastic frunk — a storage space under the car’s hood, offers a small but not usable amount of storage. This space was designed to hold the car’s spare tire, but many drivers remove the tire to provide the car with a little bit of cargo capacity, though not much.

A silver 2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder parked at a scenic outlook.
2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder | Toyota

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Like the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Toyota MR2 Spyder sits relatively low to the ground, and this can make getting in and out of the small vehicle relatively difficult and uncomfortable for most people. The interior doesn’t have a lot of space to offer the driver, and with an adult passenger can feel a little bit cramped. Behind the seats is a sliding-door compartment that offers just a slight amount more storage space, and it locks on either side for extra security.

The Toyota MR2 can be found for less than $10,000 and while it isn’t the fanciest option for a sports car, it is unique. While it may require some sacrifices in comfort and cargo capacity, it might just be fun enough and cheap enough option to buy one for your daily drive.