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Old 08-11-2009, 03:53 AM   #1
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base Boxster vs. MR2 Spyder advantages

As I don't have my first Box yet, I'm still on the fence. Please help pull me to one side if you have an opinion! today, one side is a base Box (say 986) and the other is an MR2 Spyder.

Thoughts?

Mine:

MR2 Spyder:
Cheaper to buy
Cheaper to maintain (due to reliability)
Fairly easy/cheap to modify for speed (SC/turbo/2zz-ge engine swap)
Lighter
More reliable
No significant engine issues (e.g. IMS)

base 986 Boxster:
Classier (Porsche emblem on the hood)
Torquier
Faster
Better sound (engine/exhaust)
More refined interior
Porsche emblem on the hood (or did I mention that already?)



Handling is probably a wash between them. I think they are both nice looking. Porsche likely faster, though I'm not sure how much. It probably feels faster.


any comments appreciated!

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Old 08-11-2009, 04:08 AM   #2
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Mentioning the Porsche emblem as a influence and what sounds like a desire to make many mods makes me vote you toward the MR2.
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Old 08-11-2009, 04:08 AM   #3
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You will never get laid driving an MR2.

You have been warned. That is all...
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:20 AM   #4
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I've owned both - a 2002 MR2 Spyder (which I sold to a friend and have driven recently) and a 2008 base Boxster (which I still have).

MR2 Pro - lower repair costs
better fuel economy
cheaper tires
lower initial cost to buy
more reliable
People sometimes mistake it for a Porsche (is this a pro or a con?)

MR2 Con - Noisy harsh motor
NO TRUNK SPACE
Poor handling compared to Boxster - I never found the MR2 as tossable as its low weight suggests and I had good tires on the thing.
Low power


Boxster Pro - It's a Porsche
Power
Handling - very big difference
Interior Room
Power top
2 trunks - both are bigger than the MR2- the Box has 3 times the trunk space of the MR2
Quality feel
The top down experience is better than the MR2. The wind ruffles your hair just the right amount. The engine noises top down are very, very nice.

Boxster Cons - purchase price
repair costs - expect to pay 4 times more in maintenance than the MR2
worse fuel economy
premium fuel required

To me there is no contest. The Boxster wins hands down. The MR2 cannot be an only car as there is no room in it. The MR2 always feels like it is put together with bailing wire and shoestring. The Porsche feels like it was chiseled from stone.

The MR2 should only be your choice if you are strapped for cash. But if you are then why buy a sports car at all? You would be better off with an econo car based sports coupe.

Last edited by renzop; 08-11-2009 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:25 AM   #5
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I'm a huge sporty Toyota fan... I love my IS300, and the MR-Spyder has always intrigued me. It's very light (2200 lbs), so I'm betting it'll be much more tossable than the already nimble Boxster. The MR isn't particularly fast, as it only has 138 hp, and the mileage is similar to that of the Boxster. Practicality goes to the Boxster... the storage capacity in the Toyota is a joke. You're probably right about ease of ownership, especially with a Toyota built during one of their strong periods.

Unfortunately I haven't driven one (they are hard to come by), so I can't give any back-to-back comparisons. The Boxster does sound better though... far better.

If you do get the MR, don't get the crappy SMT automated manual transmission. I've heard nothing but complaints.

They're both quirky and somewhat unique cars that'll be more than enough to put a stupid grin on your face. The Boxster will be more practical everyday, but the Toyota will be more Toyota everyday...

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Old 08-11-2009, 06:57 AM   #6
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The MR2 will be cheaper, no doubt. It's a fine car and will be tons of fun to drive.

Some of the daily issues you may run into are:

Good MPG
Good interior layout-seats not so great.
It's a bit raw-lots of noise and vibration.
No Storage.
Cheap vinyl top
Cheap to own and operate


The Boxster is, as everyone has said here, more refined. It feels far more substantial.

Some of the daily issues you may run into are:

Reasonable MPG
Superior interior-great seats
Very refined ride
Plenty of storage-do not underestimate this issue.
High quality materials everywhere
Not so cheap to own and operate

Back in '01 I test drove the both the MR2 and the Mazda MX-5. I bought the MX-5. Mainly, because it wasn't as harsh and it had (some) storage. I later traded my MX-5 for the Boxster.

Drive both and let that experience inform your choice.


good luck
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:17 AM   #7
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For the money I second the MX5. I had 3 (94, 97, 03) of them and you can not touch the smiles per mile/$. If you want to know what a manual trans should feel like, get in to any late model 6 spd MX5 and you will see what I mean. As far as I am concerned it is the best shifting manual at any price point.

Is it the same as a Boxster...no, but I am not a youngster any more and was looking for something a little different. I have 2 favorites, the 93 black and red LE with the BBS wheels and the 2003 fully loaded with the 6 spd (the new models have more HP but lost some of the magic of the original models.

Back to Boxsters....the only big advantage, aside from the more powerful engine and that crest on the hood, is the dual truncks, although with a little practice, you can pack a lot in the MX5 if you leave the spare at home.

As to the Toyota....I was never a fan. Too small and no luggage space. At least the Boxster and the MX5 could be a DD.

just my 2 cents. BTW go out and drive them. Which one wants to make you go for a drive.....once you figure that out, buy the best one you can afford. If you choose the Boxster, make sure you keep a little money in the bank in case something goes wrong.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:51 AM   #8
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I have a buddy who has an MR2 Spyder, and I agree that it has absolutely no storage space, and is definitely slower than the base Boxster. I know cause I raced him. LOL

The one thing no one mentioned also was that the Toyota's cheap vinyl top also is not automatic. You have to manually stand there and open/close the top.
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:14 AM   #9
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Hey Guys,

I find these X vs. Y vs. Boxster threads to be interesting. They illustrate the attributes of all types of sportscars as perceived by the members. The lesson I always get is that different folks vote differently with their hard earned bucks. Oppinions, wishes, and suppositions are not the same as purchases.

My two cents: I value balanced, precise handling, braking, and power. The kind of reliable precision and balance that makes pushing a sportscar to its absolute limits a fun experience for driver and passenger. I like a sportscar that has has grunt and grip that give the thrill of hard g-force in all horizontal directions. I like style, the kind that makes me stop and look at my sportscar, even after 6 years, and go "OOOOhh".

I have limits to my finances, so I don't drop the coin on a "Supercar".

I have a real appreciation for the value that the Boxster S provides stock, and for the extra outrageous performance value that mods can bring to it. I consider my S to be the car of a (my) lifetime, and I put my bucks into it.

Buddy, go test drive what YOU can afford, and buy what suits YOUR taste best.....Yugo all the way to Lambo, put your money into YOUR best value.

Happy Trails,
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:20 AM   #10
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The biggest mistake Toyota made on the car was they put the 1ZZ engine in it.

My friend really wanted one until he found out the amount of luggage space there is. It's just as bad as a Lotus Elise - extremely unpractical.

I would compare MR-S to a Miata not to a Boxster. Completely different animal other than they share the same engine location. MR-S feels very bare bone when you sit in it.
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:41 PM   #11
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I'd rather be in an accident in a Boxster than in an MR2. I hope now one ever is, but it happens.
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:21 PM   #12
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2 cars ago I owned an 01 MR2. I agree with what the others have said about it but wanted to add a few tidbits. The city gas mileage was excellent - 30mpg, but the highway was OK at 33. It had a 5spd and 5th was not OD. The ride was harsh due to the short wheelbase. The interior design doesn't get your heart racing. And you had to put your golf bag in the passenger seat. I loved MR 2 - he was my introduction to open air motoring, but I don't miss him.

I traded him for my 01S. The Boxster is a more refined vehicle in every aspect. If you're on a budget, then the MR2 is probably the way to go. If you've got a few more discretionary dollars to spend, find a nice 986.

Also, MR2s are not bullet proof. I perused an MR2 forum in an effort to sell an extra set of wheels and tires I had left over. There was plenty of discussion about catalytic converters or something like that failing fairly regularly. I put 48K mi on mine without any problems but maybe I got rid of it just in time. I'd suggest looking around SpyderChat and get a feel for any problems discussed there. However, the folks there aren't as friendly as on this forum. Many have a snot-nosed kid attitude, maybe because most of the owners are younger. My name there was MR2NoMore and I posted a pic of my LE. While some were very interested in finding out about it, many had rude comments. So watch yourself.

You have some fun choices to make.

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Old 08-11-2009, 06:30 PM   #13
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Sorry I couldn't resist:








It's supposed to be funny
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 941MXVET
It's supposed to be funny
People in glass houses should not throw stones...

Hey I thought we're all hairdressers?
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekam
People in glass houses should not throw stones...

Hey I thought we're all hairdressers?

Dude, I know, I hear it all the time!

Just thought it was a funny pic!
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Old 08-12-2009, 07:29 AM   #16
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Having a 1993 MR2 myself with a 3vz-fe v6 and a Porsche Boxster... I can offer some insight (even though I only have a MKII).

Based on my research the MK3 is a BLAST to drive and auto x, loves being thrown into corners. Extremely reliable and will never leave you stranded (less likely at least).

The MKIII itself may not be torquey but a 2ZZ will solve that. I have seen incredible MKIII's, very capable of outrunning most cars on the road today.
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Old 08-12-2009, 07:33 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekam
People in glass houses should not throw stones...

Hey I thought we're all hairdressers?
I told you... my hairdresser drives a Vette. But she did have an original Fiero (first week it came out... way back when).
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Old 08-12-2009, 08:30 AM   #18
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That's so funny! My wife's hairdresser just sold his Fiero and according to the wife was very depressed about it. She later mentioned to him that a Boxster might be a good choice as a replacement... he didn't think it was the right car for him?
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Old 08-12-2009, 08:47 AM   #19
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My previous car was a 2004 MR2 Spyder. I had a four year lease on it and went to the Toyota dealership with the intention of buying it. The dealer said "Well, before you buy your MR2 let me show you what else I have." Then he pulled out the Boxster and said "Why don't you leave your Spyder here and take the Porsche for the day." And that's all she wrote. Also keep in mind I have a 2.7 base, not the S and there was still no comparison. The Spyder feels like a toy compared to the box with its whiny 4 cylinders.


In my opinion there really is no comparison. If you get the MR2 you'll just wish you had the boxster. It has enough storage space for two medium sized duffel bags. Under the rear deck lid is the engine, under the front is a spare. ZERO storage. The convertible top is manual and made of cheap vinyl that is known to crack. Power and handling do not compare. I loved my Spyder but quickly forgot it when I got my Boxster.

My two cents.
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:52 AM   #20
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I think the limited storage space in the MR2 makes it pretty impractical. The Box has some pretty decent trunks. I can take my Box camping with tent, sleeping bag, folding chairs, tackle box, fishing poles, cooler, etc. That would be impossible in an MR2!

If you're looking to mod the car, then you're probably pretty handy. If you do the work yourself the Porsche maintenance costs aren't all that bad.

Kirk

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