By on May 24, 2018

Today’s edition of Buy/Drive/Burn was inspired by our previous Question of the Day on hatchback crapwagons.

In the North American vehicle timeline, the fading days of the Personal Luxury Coupe (PLC) saw the rise of a different kind of two-door for the masses. Gone was the upright formal vinyl roof, opera lamps, and trunk. En vogue was a sporty fastback profile and a strut-supported liftgate. Attainable and economic sporty driving is the name of the game, and our front-drive trio was right in the heat of things in 1994.

Honda Prelude VTEC

By 1994, the Prelude was halfway through its fourth generation, which debuted for the 1992 model year. Beginning in 1993, the top trim was the VTEC (our selected trim today). With the the 2.2-liter H22A1 engine, the Prelude VTEC delivered 187 horsepower to the front wheels via a five-speed manual. An update for 1994 added translucent needles to the Prelude’s gauges, as well as a standard leather interior. American consumers did without heated mirrors or seats, while Canadian customers had both those options. The final, fifth-generation Prelude debuted in 1997, where it would continue until the 2001 model year.

Ford Probe GT

The shortest overall entry in today’s trio in terms of generations and model years, the Probe existed from only 1988 through 1997. Born of a partnership (later ownership) between Mazda and Ford, the Probe was based on Mazda’s MX-6 coupe and built alongside it at Ford’s Flat Rock, Michigan plant. The second-generation Probe debuted for the 1993 model year, wearing a larger and lighter body than its predecessor. GT trims came standard with a 2.5-liter Mazda V6 that sent 164 horsepower through a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. Dual airbags were standard in 1994, and the dashboard was completely redesigned to accommodate said new feature. Probe’s replacement came in 1999, in the form of the Mercury Cougar. Sad!

Toyota Celica GT Liftback

Toyota’s Celica was brand new for the 1994 model year, with softer, rounder styling (and no more pop-up headlamps). Notchback (trunk) or liftback body styles were available. The top-spec GT in liftback guise had an optional Sports Package to bring the Celica as close as possible to the dearly departed GT-S trim (this option was marketed as GT-S in Canada, anyway). GT Celicas were propelled via the same 2.2-liter I-4 you’d also find in a Camry, which made 135 horsepower (I’d always assumed many more Celica horses). Absent from North America was the All-Trac all-wheel-drive Celica of the prior generation, which everyone agrees was the coolest and most interesting. Celica would live on through one final generation, meeting its expiration date in export markets in 2005. It lived through 2006 in Japan, as its 36-year legacy came to an end.

Feeling wistful for front-drive, sporty liftbacks yet? Which of these goes home with you?

[Images: Ford, Honda, Toyota]

H/t to Chris Tonn for helping me flesh out the three competitors today. He’s the reason you’re not stuck with a 240SX and a Volkswagen Corrado.

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73 Comments on “Buy/Drive/Burn: Sporty Liftbacks Hailing From 1994...”


  • avatar
    CitizenK

    I’m almost certain that the Prelude had a conventional trunk, and was not a liftback.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      Yup, not a liftback. I think in its place should be an Eclipse.

      • 0 avatar

        GAHHH.

        Nobody in the TTAC back room ever realized this on the Prelude. Oh well, can’t change it now.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Come with me Comrade. Perhaps the People’s Court will be merciful due to your service to the State.

        • 0 avatar
          Land Ark

          It’s ok. I didn’t realize until alarmingly recently that the 1990s T-Bird was RWD.

          Same with the Infiniti J30, I always thought it was based on the 3rd generation Maxima (which was confusingly built on the totally unrelated J30 platform).

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Yeah, Nissan didn’t do you any favors there. For the record, the Infiniti is a Y32 platform.

        • 0 avatar
          Willyam

          I was about to suggest alternatives, having watched a high school friend receive one of the pop-up headlight 3-door Accords as a grad gift. However, that died with the 89 model, and going down the line the closest I could get was the Civic Si hatch, which was only made through 93. (I am purposely ignoring the CX/DX/LX etc. as not comparable to a Prelude in purpose.)

          Zut alors! Honda withdraws from competition.

          But wait…quelle chance! The 1994 Acura Integra is a Honda product. I even owned one (in sedan form) until it rusted to powder under me and became a sled when the front suspension fell off. The sparks were magnificent. Still…a good choice for this year.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      That’s purdy bad, slipping past more than one of you “car guys”, probably lots of girls. The Prelude has never been a liftback. But the Camaro still was in ’94. The previous year, the Mustang was too, except “Notch”. Was it the only car to go “both ways”? The 240SX did. Oh yeah the Celica.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    I liked the Probe best. V6 was silky smooth, zippy, shifter and clutch were very slick. Car looked good, good visibility, and surprisingly practical. I really liked mine.

    The Prelude was a Honda, so it cost more. Back seat was not useable. But it’s biggest drawback was the instrument panel. If Oldsmobile had made it, it would be panned. But R&T said it was “unique”. Two horizontalish dials. Really?

    As much as I liked my Probe, 10 years later I got a Cobalt SS Supercharged, and I like it a lot more. Much better driving car! Better ride, better cornering, more power, more mpg, GREAT seats (mine had the optional Recaros). But no hatch and worst visibility. Still, easy choice–I’d take Cobalt SS any day.

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      Ford used to build cars like the Probe for their customers. Today they are merely probing their customers.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      The ’00-04 Toyota Avalon has almost the exact same dash as this Prelude. And the ’88-’94 Buick Regal isn’t all that different either. I like that shape actually, wish it was more common.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    The Celica GT-Four 185/205 are way atop my lust list…

    But that Ford Probe was a significant part of my childhood….not a lot out there like it.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    Buy the Prelude: I was in my prime in 1994 and have a quite a soft spot for Preludes of this era. The back seat was terrible, yeah, and half a dozen other issues… but I’d love to have one now that isn’t totally clapped out.

    Drive the Celica: Super reliable although not the sportiest driving experience. You could commute in it, run errands, and look *slightly* cool while doing it.

    Burn the Probe: My recollection was that Probes were junk, but this is speaking for the 1st generation Probe – not the one pictured above. That being said… I never owned one nor did I know anyone who did. My only memory is seeing these cars in the late 90’s as utterly trashed rolling heaps.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      First gen Probe didn’t have the looks of the second gen, but it was a better built car. Second gen did have that silky smooth V6 though.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        The second gen Probe GT was a much better car than the first generation. By any metric. I still have mine tucked away in the garage. Frankly it is a Mazda MX-6 that looks better and handles better.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I, for one, am a fan of this style of car, though admittedly I’d prefer slightly larger, as in what would now be considered ‘full sized’ like the more recent Monte Carlo.

    Even so, the Ford Probe had some racing heritage, as it was based on the Ford Probe that did reasonably well on the IMSA circuit. And I won’t deny that I wanted the Celica GT and the Honda Prelude VTEC, also for their sporty looks. As such, this B/D/B is an extremely difficult choice.

    I would very probably go:
    • Buy — Prelude VTEC for its looks and for its reasonable reliability at the time, especially with that 2.2 and 5-speed. I’ll admit I would want the Canadian version over the US version considering where I live now, but when I lived farther south, they would have been unnecessary.
    • Drive — Celica GT. Looks aren’t all that different from the Honda but a little underpowered by comparison. Still, probably a fun drive.
    • Burn — Probe. While a great car in many ways, I just can’t get past the brand’s notoriety for unreliable cars. They’re cars you want to own but they seem to nickel-and-dime you to death once they get out of their warranty periods. I’ve not owned a single Ford that didn’t have some little niggling issue that you either put up with or spend too much to fix. Most people can put up with a little rattle here and there, but it seems Ford also has a habit of expecting too much from too little, making breakdowns more common than necessary.

    • 0 avatar
      cimarron typeR

      I actually owned both Gen1 Probe-while college, black/5mt, stripper with plastic wheelcover, kept until 150k or so hard miles, used a bit of oil (common for the 12v 4cyl) but never had any issues
      Bought a 93 Probe GT red over red cloth, 5mt ,also reliable, could walk Celica Gt,Preludes of its generation. The 24v V6 was a revelation having owned 4cyl only.Those 16 inch, 50 series tires were expensive to replace though. I remember the process of ordering Dunlop D60 a2s over the phone with Tire Rack R&T ad in hand.The good ole days for sure.
      My only regret was not getting into SCCA at that early age, with the GT, would’ve been blast for a novice

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      I think Ford gets just what they expect out of their cars. They last the warranty period. Anything beyond that is gravy for the customer!

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Buy the Prelude, sporty for the time and bulletproof. Drive the Celica, nice design although it didn’t exactly jack up your standing heart rate. Don’t even waste a match burning the Probe, just walk away from that POS Ford. Junk. Not even junk, it hoped to one day achieve junk status. I knew three people who signed on the dotted line for that albatross. I’m surprised their test drives weren’t on the back of a flatbed.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Corey, you done broke your own rules!!! That Prelude has a trunk.

    https://cdn04.carsforsale.com/3/1012908/16861731/1003494803.jpg

    Screw it, though…

    Buy the Prelude anyway. It was a great car.
    Drive the Celica.
    Burn the Probe.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    You don’t need to burn the Probe – it will burn itself. At least transmission will burn around 40K, hence you can’t drive it anyway.

    Buy Prelude
    [test]Drive Celica but then go back to your Prelude and keep driving it.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      110K on my ’92 when I sold it. Clutch was still like new. Only thing I ever had to do to it was replace the exhaust.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Automatics on Probe was notorious. Same tranny was residing under hood of Mazda 626, which made that car one of the least reliable during that period.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          A Probe with an automatic? That just doesn’t make sense.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Exactly. Manual is the only way to go. The Mazda sourced automatic was not very long lived.

        • 0 avatar
          Liger

          I had a 89 Probe as my first car, pretty base but with an automatic and alloy wheels. It was super clean when I got it used at 16. It was slow though, so I was pretty happy when it got totaled when someone rear ended it. My next car was a 89 MX-6 GT with an automatic. It would rip the steering wheel out of your hand it had so much torque steer, it was fast for what it was. I loved that car, until the transmission failed.

          My sister had a 89 Probe as well, just with a stick and hubcaps. She didn’t take care of it at all, but it was quietest car I’ve ever heard when it was idling, you could not tell that it was running the engine ran so smooth and quiet. It ran forever, 195k.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Tough!

    Buy Prelude… because Prelude.
    Drive Probe… because moar powah than Celica.
    Burn Celica… very reliable but underpowered despite weight/size.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      This is the correct answer. Sorry Celica, you’re nice enough but kinda boring.

    • 0 avatar
      cbrworm

      I think this is the correct answer.

      While both the Toyota and Honda are more reliable than the probe, the second gen Probe w/ the tiny V6 and MT was a blast to drive. Having driven them all, the Celica doesn’t really belong in this class (IMO).

      I would drive the Probe
      Buy the ‘lude
      Burn the celica.

  • avatar
    John R

    This is a tough one.

    Drive the Probe GT – A buddy of mine had one while we were in High School. It was kinda quick for a mid-90s FWD…at least that how I remember it anyways.

    Buy the Prelude – We all need to get to work, right? Out of the three this is probably the one I would want to deal with everyday.

    Sigh…”Burn” the Celica – If this was the All-Trac it would have been a wrap for the Probe, but I don’t remember this version being that much more thrilling to drive than the VTEC Prelude. What’s more is that I still that generation of the Prelude on the road TODAY. A tough loss.

  • avatar
    RSF

    Buy the Celica. Nothing like Toyota dependability and durability.
    Drive the Prelude. I always thought these were fun to drive cars.
    Burn the Probe. This one looks the best, but the mid 90s fords weren’t exactly Honda or Toyota quality..

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Most everyone has it right already: buy the Prelude, drive the Celica, burn the Probe.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    I owned a used ’93 Probe GT from ’96-’00. Loved that car. Smooth little V6 and slick 5 speed were a lot of fun back then. Not to mention the best looker of the three IMO. So…

    Drive the Probe GT

    Buy the Celica. Because it was ok looking (I find the proportions awkward)And Toyota reliability even though it was underpowered.

    Burn the Prelude. ALWAYS hated that body style. From the unattractive front end and taillights to the odd dashboard. Ugh.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Buy the Celica
    Drive the INTEGRA THAT’S A LIFTBACK
    Probe the furnace

  • avatar
    jpruden

    I owned a 1994 Probe GT… fantastic ride for commuting and *awesome* for doing parking brake slides. My 7 year old daughter kept yelling “Do it again, Dad!” when we’d slide around the corner by our place.

    Traded it in on a 1999.5 B5 Audi A4 and haven’t looked back… until today. Good memories.

    I *almost* traded it in on a 1999 Prelude. OMG… I do not fit in Preludes. Most uncomfortable seating position ever…

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    No.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    I second buying the Integra GSR, the Honda liftback.

    Drive the Probe, that Mazda 2.5L V6 is a sweetheart.

    Burn the Celica because it’s a slow turd compared to the other two. Needs more turbo all Trac.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    How fun, I did this for real back in 94. I bought the Probe GT. Not sure why the Integra, Corrado or the Diamond Star cars aren’t included in this. Important to remember that the Probe GT price was competed with the lower lever Prelude that only made 135HP if I recall.

    These cars weren’t personal luxury coups rather they were hot hatches/borderline sport cars.

    Back to my decision. I was fresh out of college in 93 and was doing well as a car salesman so naturally I needed to bury myself in a new car. My car at time was a hand me down 84 WV quantum with 80+k of hard miles on it. I loved that car and was partial to VWs so I really wanted the Corrado, Green with Tan leather. It was a bit outside what I wanted to spend but was going to stretch for it but the VW dealer wouldn’t take me seriously, wouldn’t even let me test drive it. The dimond star cars were just too rough, I worked for a Jeep/Eagle dealer and wasn’t fond of the Eagle version, the Talon. Test drove the 135HP Prelude and was impressed with it but the Probe was so much faster and handled better. The Prelude had a weird two tier dash at the time as well. Celica wasn’t on my list, too slow and I didn’t understand car reliability yet. I also looked a Sentra SER and really liked it but thought I could do better. The Intergra had just undergone the transformation to the new body style and I didn’t like it. So the Probe GT was for me. Loved the car, fast for the time, the DOHC VS sounded like ripping silk when you revved it up. Kept it for 8 years and it put up with lots off stupid abuse and never had any issues with. They actually ended up being great used car buys and were know for their reliability (the v6 Mazda motor). It won all the car comparos back in the day. It was 12 seconds faster to 120MPH than the Diamond star triplets, was just a tad slower than a Mustang GT 0-60 but handled way better. Plus it fit a mountain bike in the back with the seats down.

    So with my knowledge know I would have waited 6 months and gotten the Interga GSR and probably still have it. But I have nothing but happy memories with no regrets over the Probe GT. It was the last new car I bought till 2017. Given the constraints of the list given it would be:

    Buy Prelude (I get resale value now)
    Drive Probe GT (was best drivers car of bunch)
    Burn Celica (hate to do it with that build quality but just too slow)

    If I had to buy any of the above used today as a 20 year old car it would be the Celica

  • avatar
    Dan R

    Such style and subtlety!
    Will these days ever be back again?
    Enough with the fake grilles and creases. Suddenly its like its 1958 all over again.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Burn the Prelude…The Gen 3 Prelude is one of my favorites of the era. This thing (Gen 4) was ugly and bloated looking from day one in comparison and 20+ years haven’t helped it. Had I been buying in 1994 a used gen 3 (or even 2) would have been high on my list. This would have not been on my list…I hated it.

    Buy and Drive the Probe GT. I test drove a stick sometime around 1994 and it was amazing. In fact if you know of any for sale that aren’t completely used up let me know and I will go buy and drive it. 5 speed only…there is a 50,000ish mile one for sale in California that would have me on a plane BUT its an automatic. And oh yeah…pop up headlights. But for the sake of this argument I’ll class it as my drive entry. At the end of the day there aren’t many left and unless it is a low mileage unicorn garage queen there will likely be worn unobtanium interior bits and that stuff drives me nuts long term.

    Buy the Celica…and let my kid drive it. Honestly my favorite Celica s the Malaise era car, but this would no doubt be a reliable means for my kid to get to and from school in and isn’t so ugly that I don’t want it parked in front of my house…unlike the Prelude.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Did anyone saying buy or drive the Celica actually drive one?

    I’ve driven all of these and the Toyota isn’t just slow, the engine is a slow revving tractor engine compared to the Honda VTECs and the Mazda V6.

    Seriously, the Mazda sounds like a Ferrari and the Toyota a Model T.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Buy Prelude. A car fun enough to drive that they’re all gone now.
    Drive Probe. It was a pretty good effort, and I’d rather run the wheels off this crate to preserve the Prelude.
    Burn Celica. I mean, if I’d bought it I’d probably still be driving it, but it just plain lacks gonads.

  • avatar
    Kalvin Knox

    Buy the Celica,
    Drive the Ford,
    Burn the Prelude because it isn’t a liftback.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    How is the ’94 Integra GSR not on this list??? The actual Honda liftback to buy with the legendary B18 VTEC was the one to own here.

    I’ll sub that in place of the trunked Prelude.

    Buy: Integra GSR cuz VTEC just kicked in yo!
    Drive: Probe GT – Always loved those wheels and the V6 sounded neat.
    Burn: Toyota – styling does nothing for me. meh.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Ok Corey to make up for your error next 3 in the series from this century , and add prices for the cars it adds to the fun,

    Buy the Honda,

    drive the Toyota

    Burn the Ford/Mazda clone,

  • avatar
    bufguy

    The Probe is by far the best looking….but drive….a contemporary VW Corrado SLC…The VR6 blows them all away

  • avatar
    ColoradoFX4

    Buy – Prelude
    Drive – Probe
    Burn – Celica

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Buy: Prelude obviously. Get Mahle 9.0:1 pistons for the FRM sleeves, a tall geared LSD + Accord 4th & 5th gears, Koni/Neuspeed suspension, RL big boy front brakes, generate IG likes.

    Drive: Probe, to confirm the Contour SVT + Duratec is Ford’s better FWD V6 sporty car.

    Burn: Celica, because in the US it was basically an overpriced, ugly, less practical Camry.

  • avatar
    raph

    This may be unpopular but I used to look at that old Probe GT and think if only Ford would have made it RWD and made space for a OHV V8.

    Most dudes thought of the Probe as a chick car but the IMO I thought it was a pretty good looking car overall it just didn’t have the right engine and drove the wrong wheels.

  • avatar
    kkop

    My wife had an MX-6 (first-generation) – V6, manual.

    Pretty sweet ride. So sweet, that when she moved to live with me in Europe, she decided to bring it along. We spent weeks importing, inspecting and registering it.

    When we finally had it on the road, I killed it one crisp winter morning shortly after, by not noticing a patch of black ice and slamming both front and rear of car into a concrete wall.

    I still miss those oscillating dash vents…

  • avatar
    NTGD

    Buy – Prelude for nostalgia’s sake fond memory’s getting around in my friend’s Prelude, and the backseat was usable that sucker carted around 4 6ft+ guys on the regular(I’m sure it was hilarious to see us getting in and out of that sucker)!

    Drive – Probe because I like Ford’s and I’m indifferent to Toyota

    Burn – Celica because I like Ford’s and I’m indifferent to Toyota

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Ohhhhhh, this is hard. I love both the Probe and the Prelude.

    But I think the Probe gets the nod because of that great little V6.

    Buy Probe
    Drive Prelude
    Burn Celica

    Funny you bring up old-school VTEC. My Craigslist perusal of choice today is 2006-09 Civic Sis. I still like the 8G Civic (and at one point had a leased stick EX).

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Buy the Probe because V6 MX6, usable back seats, and a lovely shape.
    Drive the Prelude because ’90s Honda quality and VTEC.
    Burn the Celica because I have to.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Drive-the Probe GT – I’m more of a fan of the MX-6 and it’s coupe styling and rear buckets. A woman I worked with had a black Probe GT and she was very pleased with it.

    Buy-the Prelude – The unique styling (Eagle Vision beak)and un Honda like dash with digital cluster are appealing.

    Burn-the Celica – The Celica went meh when they went FWD. A good Lancia Beta. If they only offered the All-Trac as a DSM Eclipse competitor.

    Yesterday’s buyers of these are today’s compact CUV customers. Maybe we’ll see a future nostalgia trend for sporty functional coupes.

  • avatar
    JRoth

    RE the italics note at the end, when my mom was test-driving a sporty coupe for her empty nest self in ’91 (maybe late summer ’90, catching the first of the next year’s models?), she tried a Corrado and a 240SX. I was on both test rides, but the details are hazy. IIRC, the Nissan took her to 50 in a 25 mph zone without her noticing, which was a deal-breaker (too numb), and I think she didn’t like the visibility of the VW. Ended up with a base model Laser, or maybe one step up. My dad later replaced his ’84 Supra with a turbo Laser.

    BTW, my mom’s first car was a TR3 that she restored for herself circa 1960 (yes, it already needed a lot of work). She always said that real sports cars don’t have roll up windows.

  • avatar
    James2

    Former ’96 Probe GT owner here. Loved, loved, LOVED! the car. Can’t speak about the others, but I miss mine. I wish Ford (or Mazda) still made something like it; the Mustang is too big/porky/expensive. Nobody would buy it of course because CUV, but…

  • avatar
    ptschett

    The Honda fails to qualify and must be cleansed with fire. Sad. I have to admit I’m tempted to call it a “Quaalude” from a 20-year-old memory of newsgroup rec.autos.makers.ford.mustang (why RAMFM cared about those cars, I don’t know.)
    Drive the Probe. I had a coworker in the mid-’00’s who was still hanging onto his ’95-ish GT and that was a neat little car.
    That leaves the Toyota as the one to be bought.

  • avatar
    brn

    Drive the Probe. It was pretty for it’s day, but not anymore. The V6 is wonderful.

    Buy the Celica. It has stood the test of time better.

    Burn the Prelude. It was a POS. Fell apart right after you left the lot. I’d be stunned if any were still running today. If there are, the doors probably don’t work.

  • avatar
    240SX_KAT

    Burn all three FWD cars.
    Buy and drive a 240SX.

    Oh wait, I bought one in 1991 and I’m still driving one today.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    Ok. Im all over this.

    Ive had the following between 1996-2000 as a young adolescent:

    – 1994 Probe GT
    – 1994 Camaro Z28
    – 1993 Prelude SR-V (Si in USA)

    From the 1994 era, the Prelude was an absolute joy to own and wind out. The 5.7 LT1 SBC was very potent and very quick with mod but those F bodies were lacking in ergonomics.
    The Probe had a creamy engine but the 190hp H22 motor in the Honda paired with bolt on’s was so fun to wind out. The instrument layout and quality was just better.

    Its been a lifelong obsession since modifying J series Honda V6’s and LS series GM V8’s since.

  • avatar
    rhduff

    I had a red ’94 Prelude Si and LOVED it. Got totaled when an Expedition turned left on red in front of me. 17 years later, I still miss that car. Fast, light, tossable, dead reliable, and fantastic looking. You could rev the snot out of the engine, and when you did, it sounded amazing and would keep asking for more. Since I bought and drove the ‘Lude, I’d burn the other two. The Celica isn’t as fun, but probably will last longer. The Probe is cool, but not as cool or fun as the Honda. I keep wishing Honda would see fit to bring the Prelude back, but I know it’s not gonna happen.

  • avatar
    road_pizza

    Own the Probe (had a ’90 4 cylinder with a stick, loved it), drive the Cel-ee-ka (love the way those “Project Binky” guys pronounce it :D ), burn the Prelude because that gen was a letdown.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    My folks picked up a 93 Celica GT (which still meant 135hp) with an automatic around 2000 with only 35k on it. The engine/transmission was a let down, but the chassis was a lot of fun. The All-Trac Turbo cars must have been a blast. It was a well-done car in true 90’s Toyota fashion and had it been a stick, it would have been better. Still slow, but better.

    But, I didn’t care for the styling refresh and compared to the other two here, it’s kind of a let down. So, burn the Toyota.

    Drive the Probe. This car was everywhere in my youth in all guises. But the GT with the V6 and 5 speed, which I was able to experience briefly in a 95 Contour, was the one to want. These cars had a presence on the road unmatched by the other two here. I never experienced one personally, but the want was there. It wasn’t the long-term car the other two are, but that’s why you lease it.

    Buy the Honda. The styling is bland in the Honda way, as is the interior. It wouldn’t get you noticed like the Probe, but it’s a bit more than the Toyota, plus it’s better performing. Like all 90’s Honda’s, you better like road and suspension noise, because it’s gonna be there. But for the long term buy, it’s going to be the Prelude.

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