Video: 1991 Toyota MR2 SW20 Turbo Review
Ahh, the 90s. It was a simpler time, when free trials of AOL came on 3.5-inch floppy discs stuffed into cereal boxes, Will Smith battled city-smashing aliens in Independence Day, and the second-generation MR2 was sold to the public with the same safety standards as a damp cardboard box. This Toyota features all the classic styling you’d expect from a 90s car, plus none of the coddling of a modern vehicle. It’s rear-wheel-drive, mid-engine, and very affordable, which meant plenty of examples were deftly spun into the nearest hedge throughout the decade and beyond.
In this tongue-in-cheek review of the “poor man’s Ferrari” by Regular Car Reviews is on point in explaining how the SW20 Turbo is the most dangerous car ever made. The sports car looks and accessible price means that fearless, hormone-fueled teenagers are the most likely candidate to end up in the driver seat, while the rear-biased handling characteristics makes fertile ground for the full-blossoming of rookie mistakes.
To help demonstrate this, the video uses a coffee-filled jar to illustrate the physics behind weight transfer. When accelerating, weight is transferred to the rear of the car, which helps the rear end bite, offering nice grip. When weight is transferred to the front, such as under braking or when popping off the throttle, the rear tires lose grip, and we are introduced to a particularly nasty habit of the mid-engine vehicle: unrecoverable oversteer.
Those that can survive the hairy personality of the SW20 are treated to an affordable sports car that puts out around 200 horsepower, leaks oil in front of the rear tires, and, much to the amusement of the host, employs pop-up headlights. Just be ready with that counter steer.