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Why Don't We See Toyota MR2 Spyders Anymore?

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author photo by Will Kinton January 2017

The MR2 Spyder is one of the coolest, most unconventional Toyota models in modern memory. It was an inexpensive, midengined convertible that weighed less than the contemporary Mazda Miata, which made it an excellent alternative. It was basically an affordable Lotus Elise (with a similar engine!) made by a company known for reliability and ease of ownership. By all measures, reviewers agreed that it was a pretty great little car.

The people seemed to agree, as well. I remember seeing the MR2 Spyder on the road fairly often when it first came out. Even though the car was always a niche product, Toyota managed to sell 7,233 of them in the first model year. While the final model year only ended up with 901 MR2 models moved, Toyota managed to sell a bit under 30,000 of them in the U.S. over 6 years of production. That isn't a small number -- especially for a fairly impractical 2-seat sports car.

So why don't I see MR2 Spyders anymore?

Right now on Autotrader, there are only 105 for sale across the country with an average price of $8,500, with zero in my local area. This doesn't make any sense to me, because by all measures, this car should be at least as well-loved and visible as the Miata.

The way I see it, there's a few possibilities for the fate of the MR2 Spyders. First, maybe all the people who have them are holding on to them. It could be that the owners keep them in garages as a third car, taking it out when the weather is nice or speculating on the potential future value. It's also possible that the original owners daily-drove them until the wheels fell off, consigning them to the junkyard -- but that would take a lot of driving, because these cars are known for their reliability. The third possibility is that people crashed them, but I everything I've heard points to the third generation MR2 being incredibly docile and easy to control.

Honestly, I have no idea. I hope that they're all out there, waiting in garages for sunny days and twisty roads. I hope that the MR2 Spyder becomes as well-loved as the previous generations. And I really hope that Toyota starts building interesting cars like the MR2 Spyder again.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Why Don't We See Toyota MR2 Spyders Anymore? - Autotrader