The MR2 Should Have Come With A V6

Now this is one of those reviews that will probably have no influence on you, or your buying experience. That being said, the v6 swapped Toyota MR2 is just too good not to share.


The MR-2 I drove had a 3.0L v6 and a 5 speed manual transmission. The transmission is the same factory MR-2 transmission, which bolts right up to the Camry’s V6. Yes, you read that right, the 3.0L V6 swapped into this MR-2 is out of a late 1990’s Toyota Camry. In order to shove a v6 into an MR2, you need three things:


  1. A new engine mount
  2. A custom ground wire
  3. Patience


Arguably, the third is the most important. If you’re familiar with MR-2s, you know the engine is behind the driver, tucked in an area the size of a breadbox. Engine swapping an MR-2 is like playing the game “Operation” but on a much larger scale. But once you manage to cram your late 90’s Camry V6 into your MR-2… whoa.


It’s still not a fast car, but there are more reasons to do the swap. Let’s go through them now:


  1. The car does get a performance boost. The stock MR-2 comes with a 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine. There is a turbo model, but if you have the turbo: keep it the way it is. The V6 offers more torque and power than the stock engine, for not that much more weight.
  2. The owner of this particular MR-2 is a bit of an MR-2 nut, and so this is his daily driver. To and from work, rain, snow, or shine, this orange MR-2 has daily duty. You may think it’s a little crazy, but think about it. Under the hood, it’s a Camry, one of the most reliable cars ever made. Every parts store from here to the border carries almost every part for a Camry’s engine, making parts easily accessible. Need a head gasket? AutoZone has one for a buck twenty-five. Need a rebuild kit? NAPA has one for sixteen dollars. Those are not real prices of course, but you get my point.


So how does the V6 MR-2 drive? Really well actually. It feels like the car should have come with it from the factory. Around 180hp, the car is a quick little thing. It doesn’t feel “buzzy” like smaller displacement high-revving cars normally do. It feels like an athlete jogging rather than a fat kid sprinting. You don’t have to bother the motor too much in order to give you the power.


I love the idea of “what if” cars, and this is an example of one. This is what would happen if Toyota had put a V6 in the car from the factory. And you know what? They should have. It wouldn’t have out shined the Supra, or Celica, but it would have offered a better naturally aspirated MR-2 experience. If it’s true that there are infinite amounts of realities, I want to jump to the one where Toyota gave the MR-2 a V6.


Watch my video review:








Written by Zack Pradel