1 Nov 2002
By CHRIS HARRIS
Toyota upgraded the MR2 Spyder’s controversial five-speed automated sequential shift manual with a stronger and faster six-speed variation – but there was still no regular manual model available.
There were also improvements to the handling, ride and safety aspects of the tiny Toyota sports car, along with progress in comfort and fuel economy.
The latter was aided by the sixth gear’s lower-rev highway cruising abilities. There were no engine changes, so the 1.8 VVTi’s outputs remained at 103kW and 170Nm.
Stability control was also added, along with larger rear wheels and tyres, bigger brakes, suspension bracing for a stiffer body and chassis, and revisions to the steering response.
Redesigned bumpers, new headlights and tail-lights, and minor dashboard and trim revisions are the visual giveaways to the ’03 model year MR2.
The TTR Limited Edition MR2 Spyder from March 2004 added black leather interior trim, air conditioning and a TTR emblem.
In April 2004 Toyota tackled the MR2 Spyder again, by stiffening the body structure again for improved crash-force dispersion, a better ride quality and improved dynamics.
The suspension was also recalibrated to fit the changes, while structural alterations to the pedal box and door panels are designed to lessen respective foot and torso trauma on impact.