Buy/Drive/Burn: American Luxury SUVs From 1992
We’ve been on a Nineties streak lately, and our last four editions of Buy/Drive/Burn have all taken place within the decade. Well, ready your baggy beige suit and adjust its extensive shoulder pad region, because today we talk 1992. Specifically, Gtem suggested three luxury SUVs which were very popular with middle-class families across the country.
Ford, Oldsmobile, and [s]AMC[/s] Jeep — which makes it to your garage?
Before we continue, please refresh yourself on the rules of the segment if you’re unsure. And some of you are unsure.
Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer
Debuting in model year 1991, Ford’s new Explorer model was a direct challenge to the midsize SUVs seen below, offered by Jeep and General Motors. A replacement for the not-so-family-friendly Bronco II, this Ranger-based SUV was a two- or four-door model in Eddie Bauer trim (four doors for purposes today). 1992 would be the last year of Eddie Bauer trim dominance, as it was trumped by the Limited trim and its luxurious script for 1993. Power here is provided by the 4.0-liter Cologne V6 engine from the Ranger. Recall there is no upmarket Mercury version with its waterfall grille — it won’t be invented until 1996. Two-tone and gold Eddie Bauer font rule the day here. It looks great in various environments, from the parking lot of Stern’s to the parking lot of Lazarus.
The most luxurious version of Chevrolet’s S-10 Blazer, the Bravada’s target market was the well-heeled. It was the first truck offered by the Oldsmobile brand since the 1920s. Ford’s aforementioned Limited trim was added to the Explorer in part because of the expensive Bravada, where there was no base model. The Bravada also debuted for 1991, built on the hugely successful GMT330 truck platform. Often seen in black or maroon with gold badging, the Vortec 4300 V6 pushed power through all four wheels via SmartTrak all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is a trick GMC would use later on other SUVs to denote luxury, as opposed to rough-and-tumble selectable 4×4 systems. Upgrades for 1992 saw a revised instrument panel up front and an increase to 200 horsepower.
Jeep Cherokee Wagoneer Limited
1992 was the final year the XJ Cherokee would see duty as the mainstream family hauler over at Jeep. The introduction of the more luxurious and comfortable Grand Cherokee in 1993 changed the Jeep lineup fully (and permanently). Jeep offered a luxury Wagoneer trim of the XJ Cherokee starting in 1983. There, Wagoneer played the wood-clad role of smaller brother to the tony choice of the wealthy, the Grand Wagoneer. Speaking of which, 1992 was an oddball year at Jeep. The Grand Cherokee was not yet on sale, and the Grand Wagoneer was discontinued after the 1991 model year. Just for 1992, the Cherokee Wagoneer Limited carried the weight of three models. The only unibody vehicle of our trio, the Wagoneer gathers speed via the classic 4.0-liter inline-six of AMC persuasion. By this time, power is up to 190 raging Wisconsin-bred horses.
Which gets your hard-earned cash, and which are borrowed and burned?
[Images: Ford, GM, YouTube]
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- Dukeisduke I tried watching the live reveal last night, but after 15 minutes of jawing by MT+ personalities (and yes, I like Chris Jacobs and Alex Taylor), I turned it off.
- Paul MBAs gonna MBA.
- Zipper69 Clearly beyond German thought processes to simply keep A for IC engine and use "E" for all other so you can have a A6 and a E6.
- Ianw33 It makes me laugh how many complaints i see here in the comments section. Leave it to "car enthusiasts" to be unhappy with the fact that a mainstream auto manufacturer produced a 1K HP car with a warranty that isn't $250K+. can't we just be happy that something crazy/fun exists like this before its gone, even if its not your cup of tea?
- YellowDuck This is a completely vulgar vehicle. I understand that that is the point, but still...pretty douchey.
Doesn't the Jeep cause Panty Dropping Incidents (PDIs) with women in their 40s who still wear sorority jewelry? If so, burn the other two.
Buy the Jeep, leave it in the garage, and with those smoooooth wood panels it will be worth some money in 20 years. Drive the Oldsmobile - its a mediocre platform from a mediocre brand, but they tended to drive well and didnt have too many gremlins for the first few years. Burn the Eddie Bauer. These were massive POS vehicles built to a budget. Leather seats cracked like an old biker jacket at around 40k miles, less in extreme climates. Bushings wore, electrical components failed, the rear wiper would dislodge and leave a brown rust streak down the rear hatch. Yuck!