The 90’s represented a spectacular decade for cars. Manufacturers made a paradigm shift from the overly boxy and poorly proportioned designs of the 70’s and 80’s. The 90’s witnessed many groundbreaking changes in the auto industry. Lets look at some of the best autos of the 1990s
The designs were marked by straight edges with curves on the T-square model. Cars became mechanically simpler and safer with airbags. They were also surprisingly fun to drive irrespective of the compulsions of mass production.
Technology finally caught up with emission requirements, and brought back power-packed performance and speed into the 4 wheel drives while complying with the regulatory norms.
Here are some of the popular cars of the 90’s.
1. Mazda Miata
Mazda was surely doing something right when it got Miata out on the roads. The NA chassis sold over 400,000 units in a year. Now this is an iconic 90s car
It claimed the world record for selling most cars in that class. The car has no fancy turbo, gimmicks, or roof. It was a simple two-seater that was sold with the acronym line ‘Miata is Always the Answer’.
Until 1994, the Miata was sold with a 1.6L four cylinder. Later it was stuffed with an additional 241 cc of displacement to get more power. Miata was slow on the straight lines achieving just 60mph in 8 seconds.
However, it was the corners where this roadster really showed its true colors. Natural handling and light weight with an equal weight distribution made it a bragging hit.
2. BMW M3 – German power sedan.
The 3 series was BMW’s contribution the auto world in the 90’s. However, M3 really took the cake. This is subjective in the US as only the scraps of the European model made its way here. However, all things said it was still a pretty good car and in demand for a long time. Its the car you would have dreamed of having if you grew up in the 1990s.
The M3 could gobble up corners with well-balanced suspension while ZF transmission could change gears smoothly. This makes it a lot easier for people to escape all the gunshots and violence in cities like LA and Chicago – certainly in the early 90s before the 3 strikes and your out laws began to take effect.
The engine was not left behind with the signatory BMW growl. The inline 6 could make a spectacular sound when revved. The engine was quoted as mechanically perfect by most car enthusiasts of the time.
3. Acura NSX – A wow of a 90’s sports car
90s saw the height of Acura and Honda engineering. Acura Integra and Honda Civic were already taking the crowds when NSX was launched by Acura. Honda packed in a 290 horsepower 3.2 L V6 engine into the back of a sport coupe by the late 90s. They did this just because they could. This is one of our favorite 90s sports cars.
It made the NSX a pleasure to drive with a rear engine and a rear wheel drive. The weight had a lot to do with the stability. Acura shaved off more than 500 lbs. by being the world’s first all-aluminum production car. The price tag made it an attainable sports car of every many.
4. Mitsubishi Eclipse
Diamond Start Motors war incorporated in 1989 with a partnership between Mitsubishi and Chrysler. Three iconic and nearly identical car rose from the burning embers of this partnership. These were the Plymouth Laser, Eagle Talon and Eclipse.
These cars became great because of the 4G63 that was the power plant borrowed from the Evolution. The GSX was the cream on top. A respectable 210 horsepower was pumped to all four wheels in this 4-cylinder turbo coupe.
5. Honda Civic
If there was ever a straight shooter in cars, then it was the Honda Civic. It was the archetype of a college car. Car riding had already taken on the term joyride by then and manufacturers were pushing for more fun in every ride.
The Honda Civic was an EG-generation car with an ESi badge. It had a 1.6L engine that was perfect for college students.
The EK-generation which was EG’s successor became even more popular. It had an available VTEC engine whose fame outlasted the 90s and entered the millennium. The coveted SiR variant is still present defying depreciation blatantly.
6. Nissan Sentra
Nissan was a really desirable brand in the 80s and 90s before its partnership with the Taiwanese brand Yulon Motor. It made a number of memorable models such as the California, the Pulsar and the Sentra.
Sentra was known for its ECCS engine. Many people swapped it for the legendary SR20, turning the Sentra into a pocket rocket. However, what really got people’s attention were the antilock brakes. The ABS feature made the Sentra a popular ride in the 90s.
7. Lexus LS400 – Iconic 90s Japanese Car
Lexus proved to the world that luxury was not just a mistress of the Europeans. Lexus was in fact designed to give competition to the S-Class. It was just as big, comfy, and luxurious as the S-Class with the same level of engine quiet.
Toyota had already made a name for itself with Cressida in the 1980s. People knew Toyota as a brand; had tried the cars and loved it. The 90s saw immense popularity for the Lexus in the luxury market. Consumers could not get enough of Toyota’s reliability.
8. Ford Ranger
1993 saw the introduction of second generation Ford Ranger. The car lasted until 2012 until it was finally discontinued after 2 decades. Compact trucks are on the decline and Ranger was the last of its kind. The F-150 (but the F-150 becomes the premier pickup truck in the 21st Century) truck is too bulky and large for the jobs most people use a truck for.
The Ranger was perfect for handymen, contractors, and exterminators who could put their supplies while frequenting hardware stores. The American market was more about style and convenience than size back in the 90s when the Ranger became popular.
9. Audi RS2 Avant
The world was a boring place before Audi had a sports division. Fortunately, Porsche was just a call away. This is not quite a 90s muscle car but is the closest to that in this list. The RS2 Avant was the dual conception after the two began collaborating and listening to people. It became an instant winner under the spotlight during the 90s.
The car was Audi’s iconic 80 Avant with a modernized B4 platform. The hood was fitted with an inline-five cylinder motor with a single giant turbo powering the 2.2 L engine. The iconic Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system got 311 horsepower unleashed on all four wheels at the same time.
The car can accelerate from 0-60 in just 4.8 seconds. However, that is not the single most amazing feature. The fact that it could complete a half sprint quicker than McLaren F1 is what made heads turn.