By on September 14, 2018

On the last installment of Buy/Drive/Burn, we chose from three family-friendly luxury wagons from the Malaise year of 1975. Several members of the B&B peanut gallery quickly retorted that all three options were awful, and that only wagons from the 1990s were worth pondering.

Bam. We’re back on wagons, 20 years later. It’s now 1995.

Since it’s the ’90s, there are still three Japanese midsize family wagons from which to choose. Picture it: You’re at the dealer in your Nautica windbreaker and stone wash jeans. Your kids are sitting in the showroom, focused entirely on their Nintendo Game Boys. And you’re prepared to pay an interest rate of 9.7 percent on your auto loan.

Mitsubishi Diamante

The Diamante was a new midsize sedan and wagon from the folks over at Mitsubishi, replacing the entirely forgotten Sigma as the company’s upscale offering. Sedans were available starting in ’92, and the five-seat wagon came along for 1993. All models were updated for 1994 to include passenger airbags, traction control, and a new CD player. 1995 was the last model of the station wagon, though the sedan carried on through 1996. All Diamante wagons feature a high level of standard equipment, and were powered at the front wheels by a 3.0-liter V6 producing 175 horsepower. Certainly the Rare Ride of the group, it’s also the only one made in Australia.

Honda Accord

Honda produced the Accord wagon at its Marysville, Ohio plant starting in 1991. Production carried over to a second and final wagon generation for 1994, on the brand new fifth-generation Accord design. Two different wagon styles were available: the base LX trim with a manual transmission, or the more expensive LX trim with an automatic (both had seating for five). Changes for ’95 were minimal, limited to new paint and interior color combinations. Honda did not offer a V6 Accord wagon; all were powered by the standard 2.2-liter inline-four. It sent 130 horsepower through a four-speed automatic.

Toyota Camry

1992 Camry WagonToyota’s third generation Camry sedan and wagon were introduced for 1992 in North America. All examples were produced at the Georgetown, Kentucky Toyota plant, which had been building Camry models since 1988. In 1994, Toyota dropped the previous 3VZ-FE V6 for the aluminum 1MZ-FE engine, maintaining the same 3.0-liter displacement. For the 1995 model year, Camry models received a facelift, as new headlamps and tail lamps kept things current (the wagon’s rear remained unchanged). The top trim 188-horsepower LE V6 wagon is our choice today, and seats seven people in its roomy interior thanks to the rear-facing foldaway seat.

Three Japanese wagons from the 1990s, as requested. None of them earned a successor, but which earns a Buy?

[Images: Mitsubishi, Toyota, Honda]

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107 Comments on “Buy/Drive/Burn: The Japanese Family Wagons of 1995...”


  • avatar
    John Scott

    Buy the Camry because it’s “peak Toyota” – makes you wonder why they didn’t slap a Lexus badge on it.

    Drive the Accord – especially if you can find a 5MT model.

    Burn the Mitsubishi. Sorry, I didn’t make the rules…

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Disagree with me all you want, and I fully expect (deserve?) it, but I prefer the D3 wagons from 1975.

    Otherwise
    Buy: Toyota.
    Drive: Honda.
    Burn: Mitsu.

    Or, do what a great many consumers did, and get a minivan instead. Far more functional/practical. Although, I now have a great deal of admiration/affection/appreciation for the original Odyssey.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      I can’t support the D3s mainly because I’m too young to remember anything before mother’s 73 Super Beetle and our neighbor’s 69 Skylark, which was a massive anachronism even in coupe form on Massachusetts back roads. Five four year olds fit in the VW just fine.

      As for car choices at hand, I have to agree on the buy for the Toyota because it lets you drive the Accord, especially with a manual.

  • avatar
    DEVILLE88

    The choice is obvious……….drive and buy the Accord………..burn the rest.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Don’t do this to me Corey!

    Buy is easy: Camry wagon. Kind of dopey styling but with the benefit of maximum cargo capacity. The XV20 Camry Gracia wagon / Mark II Qualis that followed (saw more than a few in Sibera this summer) do a much cleaner job IMO. But I can’t argue with the bank-vault solidity and cushiness and quality of these things.

    Drive: The BMW-aping Mitsu with its nice V6 in fairly lux interior

    Burn: Accord. I love me Honda wagons, but coupling the decent FB22 to the 4spd auto is what settles this one for me. The sloping rear hatch certainly looks great, but gives up utility to the competition.

    • 0 avatar

      gtem: Totally agree with with you. When I lived in Russia I always liked Mitsu both Galant (bio-design era) and Sigma – both were styled so sweet compared with blandish Carina E/Camry and weird and angular prematurely aged Accord. Accord felt so tinny and cheap! So yes – burn Accord. I actually liked ’92 Camry style wise but it was too big and too expensive. Sigma and Galant were so sweet but latest models were too expensive also and previous model did not age well even though it had more design distinctive than bland Honda and Toyota. In the end I bought Carina II with 4A-FE. It was modern and bland but interior was high quality and under the hood it looked well made. So I would buy Camry, drive Sigma and burn Accord.

      Regarding D3 1975 – I never seen one and have no idea how they drive.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        In JDM land they seemingly had an infinite amount of variants of all of the different sizes of Toyota sedans, to create a unique lineup for each different Toyota store (Toyopet, Corolla, etc). In the Camry lineup of the early 90s, it gets kind of confusing since we got the XV10 widebody, but the corresponding narrow body of that generation is the V30. These narrowbody cars are definitely more common in Russia (lower road tax bracket in Japan so more were bought new). I think my favorite is the Toyota Vista V30:

        iheartjapanesecars.blogspot.com/2016/06/90-94-3rd-gen-toyota-vista-v30.html

        ES300/Windom-looking rear lights but on a narrower body, the front end is particularly nice IMO. There was a pretty loaded up one of these parked down by the river one day near my grandma’s place, truly a classic Siberian landscape: well worn RHD Toyota driven out on dirt roads to a beautiful birch forest.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I’ve never even seen a Diamante wagon, I never knew they even existed until now.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I have some luck with neighbors. One or another had diamante wagon, G8, Mitsu 3000, Corvette, some old boats, panthers… one guy still drives must be 1980 VW rabbit cabrio, his neighbor daily drives some 1960 convertible… volvo 2 door folding roof… I constantly see all sorts of unusual cars here. My boss comes with Panamera and R8 periodically

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        That’s sounds amazing, I love some odd cars even if they’re otherwise [email protected]&t. Subaru Brat or a Daihatsu Rocky comes to mind.

        I know of a junkyard with a ’59 Chevrolet Parkwood station wagon I want it but no way I’m spending an untold fortune to fix that up, those parts are impossible to find. Also has a ’57ish? Imperial – fortunately it’s called for.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    This is an easy one. Buy the Toyota. Reliable and great resale value.

    Drive the Honda. The high point of Honda drivability and handling finesse for the Accord. It will rust out and the A/C compressor will die after about 8 years, though.

    Burn the Itchypussy. Then rake it into a pile and burn it again.

  • avatar
    ernest

    With all due respect, Volvo already solved this puzzle before any of these cars came along.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Buy the Diamante. I’m a simple man of aesthetics and cylinder counts. Of the 3 options, this is what I would have got in ’95.

    Drive the Camry. If these were sedans it would be my ‘buy’. It’s well-known for having excellent reliability and the power is good, but I couldn’t look at that shape every day.

    Burn the Accord. I don’t really like Hondas and there is no way I’d be joining their cultists in the 90s.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Agreed this is too easy.
    BUY the Toyota because duh, Toyota. My teenage son has my father-in-law’s old 92 Camry with 365,000 miles (!) and it runs awesome. When my son is done with it, I want that car, I want to try to get it to half a million.
    DRIVE the Honda but only if it has the manual transmission.
    BURN the Mitsu because if you tried to find parts for that thing they would probably laugh at you. Seriously, there can’t be more than a handful of these left still on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      My cousin in Siberia is currently daily driving a ’03 XV30 K-platform Camry (2.4, rare 5spd, original Russian market car) that just rolled over 1 million kilometers on the clock. Granted, he had to replace the engine with a used unit shortly after buying the car last year. The interior has been reupholstered with nice velour (intended for furniture).

    • 0 avatar

      How someone can choose sewing machine known as Honda over Diamante is beyond me.

  • avatar
    John R

    I like this one.

    Buy the Honda – Swap in a K20 and add coilovers and it’ll be a gem.

    Drive the Mitsu – Purely out of curiosity

    Burn the Toyota – It’s unfortunate, but as someone mentioned up top, I didn’t make the rules.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Buy the Camry because it has two rear wipers.

    Drive the Honda

    Diamante? I haven’t seen one of these in the pick n pull yard in years. Burn it.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Buy the Camry so you can be another donkey in the herd.
      Drive the honda…. what? At least the Camry had a v6 option.
      Diamante? – exactly. It is a diamond.

      • 0 avatar

        Diamante/Sigma was a comfortable luxurious car compared with plebeian Accord according to my neighbor who owned one in 90s. I drove Accord of that era, with manual no less – nothing to write home about, cheap sewing machine is a cheap sewing machine. Prelude might be a different story but not Accord.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I have two different answers:

    If I were in 1995…
    Buy: Accord. I like the idea of a smaller wagon.
    Drive: Mitsu
    Burn: Camry. Too damn dull.

    Circa 2018:
    Buy: Camry
    Drive: Accord
    Burn: Mitsu

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    How do you leave the Subaru wagon off this list in favor of Mitsubishi? For shame, sir, for shame!!!

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Because we’re sick of Subaru. Didn’t they stop sending FWD to US by that time?

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      Obviously, the 1995 Subaru Legacy wagon should be on the list – made in Indiana, available in FWD or AWD, stick or automatic, highly optionable and highly capable, and decidedly not an afterthought (more wagons than sedans were sold). Heck, it was THE pre-eminent Japanese wagon until the Outback version arrived.

    • 0 avatar

      Everyone would have complained about headgaskets and whatever else.

      If the Legacy came in, it’d be in place of the Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Corey,

        here what you should do…
        Make it drive/burn/buy+add.

        Let people add one of their own. But then they must burn 2

        • 0 avatar

          Certainly not. People can barely follow the rules as-is, without adding another layer of complexity.

          They’d insert some pickup truck, or some irrelevant Fiat, or something even worse.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            corey, you are right. This game without final counts, 1st-3rd place and some prizes is useless. Many don’t follow rules and nobody enforces them.

          • 0 avatar
            Tosh

            “or something even worse.” You mean like another Japanese wagon you could actually buy (Subaru). I think you just forgot it existed!

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Even if I like Subarus ideas, I would’ve burned them for being serious money-pits on top of low-grade interiors and next to no rust proofing.

        The Accord wasnt a good wagon, but it at least had the best handling of the cars in the list and a pretty nice interior.

      • 0 avatar
        Willyam

        Good point. However, maybe leave the easy-winner rules out. Maybe you only have to keep the car for a 4-year note or something (the fugly Camry wins as we have the hindsight to know that it would still run and probably be a valuable used car now, if the salt-monster didn’t get it). I come from a Honda family, and had a friend drive one of these early 90’s wagons to 200k easy with minimal love or care, so hindsight colors my vision too much. I’m a contrarion, but I have to go with popular opinion:
        Buy Camry, Drive Honda, Burn Mitsu (unless it burns itself up first, in 93 I was a Dodge tech and a lot of those cars were Mitsus under the badge)

        Now making all three cars oddball Japanese marks? Mazda made a really-weird 5-door almost-wagon 626…

      • 0 avatar
        wagonsonly

        But this was 1995 – largely late enough for people to have forgotten about the blown head gasket in their ’85 or ’86 GL-10 Turbo but still too early to have suffered an HG failure in a Legacy (the EJ25 wasn’t introduced until ’96).

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      Subaru was left off because it would win harder then the Accord.

      In Colorado.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Buy/Drive a 1965 Vista Cruiser. Burn all three 1995 Japanese family wagons…with extreme prejudice.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Camry all the way.

    I don’t get the love for those 90s Accords. I had a 93 and a family member had a 95. Two generations of peak Honda and neither of them impressed me at all. The most solid and tightly screwed together economy cars that I’d ever been in, which is to say that they were still economy cars. Gutless motors, bad automatics, non stop road noise, seats in the floorpan with nowhere to put your legs. A Camry drove like a Lexus by comparison, which it should have because it was. But so did a Taurus. So did a Century.

    Never heard of the Mitsubishi.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Had a ’92 and a ’94 Accord myself and I agree with your assessment, they were very well assembled Honda Civics and like Civics (or really all Hondas of that time) they gleefully accepted the invitation to rust-nation.

    • 0 avatar
      sckid213

      Thank you for saying this. I was learning to drive around this time and the car I took my driving lessons in was a ’96 Civic. My dad is old-school, so we only drove American cars (at the time, a ’94 Deville and ’92 Taurus). Pre-internet of course, but all the auto rags would gush and gush over the Japanese makes. My assessment of Hondas at the time was BUZZY and LOUD, something I wasn’t used to coming from American cars. They felt like-go karts. In a good way for driving fun, but in a bad way from a passenger’s perspective.

      The only Japanese vehicle of the ’90s that TRULY blew me away was the Lexus LS400.

      P.S. To stay slightly on topic, the Camry wagon featured in the article is one of the dorkiest cars (styling-wise) produced in the last 30 years. Blech.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        “P.S. To stay slightly on topic, the Camry wagon featured in the article is one of the dorkiest cars (styling-wise) produced in the last 30 years. Blech.”

        You have seen the current crop of compact cross overs and most current Toyotas, right?

        The Camry wagon pictured look like a sleek eurowagon by comparison. And it doesn’t look like an afterthought like the Accord wagon is.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        You could say that ’90s Honda was todays Mazdas, fun cars loved by the auto press, not practical enough for Joe and Judy.

        • 0 avatar
          Mike Beranek

          Damn right! A modern fwd Mazda’s dash-to-axle ratio was paid for by the back seat and the trunk. Great for DINKs with a puggle but useless once you have cranky, lanky teenagers to cart around.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Look at this Accord – First signs of cheapness of Honda started to appear. It is not properly designed wagon, but rather a sedan with a cutout and a hatch hack job.

    BURN – HONDA

    Drive – Camry – I don’t want to be associated with this soccer-mom-mobile. So, I can rent it for vacation trip and drive

    BUY – Mitsu. I will be looking different from herds of donkeys and knowing that this is built by fine Aussie workers will make me feel great and give me peace of mind.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    Buy the Toyota – I always thought the Camry Wagon was a great idea.
    Drive the Mitsu – It is the unicorn (meaning rarely seen) of the group.
    Burn the Honda – Where I lived at the time, it was rarely seen as well. But looking at the picture today it seemed like a pretty ill-conceived design.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Buy the Camry because it’s the Lexus Camry. And dual rear wipers. It’s boring but that’s why you buy a Camry.

    Drive the Mitsubishi. This was a very sharp if rare design. How a wagon should be done Imo. Loath the brand but respect this. Probably the most expensive and tech laden of the 3 at the time.

    Burn the Honda. I was a Honda fan, but this era Accord never floated my boat and to me represents the mainstreaming of the brand and the demise of their specialness.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Buy: The Camry wagon, the basic car was decent and the back end was nice and brick-like, like a Volvo 145 concept. It also had goofy double wipers. I dont believe that the interiors hold up but they’re nice when they’re in good shape.

    Drive: Mitsubishi Diamante, because I will never find another one roaming the states, this also means it’d be a bad car to own long term.

    Burn: Honda Accord, when Honda made the wagon there was a bit of a price jump between it and the sedan (I dont have the numbers with me), when people complained, Honda raised the price of the sedan. Then theres the fact that the wagon didnt offer much more space regardless if its the 4th or 5th generation, it was replaced with the Accord-based Odyssey which was spacious from what I’ve heard. It still used an interference engine though, which is still a lame move on a family car.

    PS: Link to the concept car: http://www.volvotips.com/wp-content/uploads/Volvo_140_prototype_145_Estate.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “I dont believe that the interiors hold up ”

      Huh?

      If a ’92-’96 Camry interior doesn’t hold up, I’m not exactly sure what else on this green Earth does.

      • 0 avatar
        Mike Beranek

        Yup, my son’s 92 interior looks like 50k instead of 365k. Toyota/Lexus spent a lot on “anti-aging” materials and used it on these Camrys because it was the ES300 as well. I’m impressed every time I get in it.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I will begrudgingly participate, as these wagons are slightly more acceptable than the awfulness that was the previous trio.

    Buy the Honda Accord. I had a 1995 Accord LX sedan, I liked how light it felt, I like how it handled, and I was comfortable in it. Fast? No. Quiet? No. Full of Honda goodness? Yes. I appreciate it for what it is.

    Drive the Mitsubishi. It does seem to be the odd man out here, but it is interesting, unlike…

    Burn the Camry. I’ve always found them overrated. I’ve driven (and ridden in) this generation sedan on several occasions and I failed to see what all the fuss was about.

    Note: if a Taurus wagon were in the mix, especially if it were an LX, it would be burned. The LX had the 3.8L standard, and that was just asking/begging/pleading/demanding for trouble. As much as I love my Taurus sedan, I don’t care for the wagon version any more than I do any other wagon, which is to say very little. I realize they’re useful and practical and blablabla, but I’d easily have taken a Ford Aerostar XLT Sport or a Ford Explorer XLT 4×4 over any (and I mean ANY) wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      “Burn the Camry. I’ve always found them overrated. I’ve driven (and ridden in) this generation sedan on several occasions and I failed to see what all the fuss was about.”

      Thats pretty much the boat that I’ve always been on, I like the wagon for being boxy like a good wagon/CUV should be. Otherwise Honda had better interiors that didnt slowly melt over time. Really both cars are a bit overrated.

      We had a Taurus wagon briefly from the mid 90’s Taurus, “the blob”, it died after hitting a curb ever so lightly (set off the airbags, damaged the transmission).

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        It must have been a decent impact, as I’ve put my Tauruses through hell and never found them to be especially susceptible to such as that.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        “Otherwise Honda had better interiors that didnt slowly melt over time. Really both cars are a bit overrated.”

        What exactly melts on the 90s Camry interior, and how were Honda’s objectively better?

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          At gtem: We’ve gone over this before and I dont want to argue over it yet again.

          At JohnT: It probably was a decent incident, this was years ago so I dunno the full details. We did have a Sable from that same generation that survived sliding into a ditch during winter time.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “At gtem: We’ve gone over this before and I dont want to argue over it yet again.”

            It’s an outlandish claim, so don’t be surprised when it is questioned.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            At gte:

            Where I come from claiming that old things wear out isnt exactly “outlandish”. Thats a claim that only you have challenged thus far.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            The outlandish part is claiming the most over-engineered midsize car perhaps ever made is somehow more prone to interior degradation than lesser contemporary rivals.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            At Mike:
            Indeed, climate, care, many things play a role in aging a cars interior.

            At gte:
            I just popped open my copy of “Car to read their bit on the Camry, my opinion remains the same.

            Compared to an Accord of that time Toyota probably put in more effort (chiefly a better wagon design and no crappy undersized brakes), certainly above the Taurus as well. But saying that its above it to newer or more expensive cars is a bit much.

            I will say this, we’ve discussed the new Camry (XV40) vs this older one. You’re entirely correct about the older Camry being nicer inside.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          When I looked at a Camry the same year of my Accord (and my current Taurus), lots of the plastics were very brittle and lots of little things were broken.

          Yes, the Taurus shows signs of its age and having been baked in the unforgiving sun/heat, mostly in the way of dash cracks and some panels that were grey turning to an odd blue color (namely the tops of the old door panels, the passenger side airbag). But, everything still functions and nothing is necessarily broken.

          The Honda seemed to hold up better, it had more miles than the Camry, but far less than my Taurus does now.

          This is typical of similar examples of each car that I’ve seen/been in. 1996+ Taurus’ dashes don’t crack, but they do begin to curl up around the front edge (by the windshield) and right above the instrument cluster. Not as bad as a late 1990s Buick LeSabre, good Lord, those things are really bad about that. My aunt’s curled up almost halfway before the car had 100k, and she parked it under a car port (out if direct sunlight)!

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            At gte:
            “the most over-engineered midsize car perhaps ever made”

            The contemporary Maxima, Infiniti G20, let alone many European sedans, had more engineering put into them than this era of Camry.

            At JohnT:

            In my Hondas one had a loose mirror and the other a broken center console, but otherwise Honda used pretty good materials back then other than the leather in Acuras.

          • 0 avatar
            Mike Beranek

            Maybe this disagreement over the Camry’s interior is climate-skewed. My son’s has spent it’s life in Chicago and always garaged. I would imagine any car interior subjected to 25 years of Arizona sun would be a basket case, even an LS400’s.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “The contemporary Maxima, Infiniti G20, let alone many European sedans, had more engineering put into them than this era of Camry.”

            The G20 and Maximas were increasingly cost cut and made of some of the most rot-prone metal this side of a Mazda protege. Interiors are of notably worse quality. I agree something like an A4 of the ear has a more advanced suspension and even better corrosion engineering, but in the realm of midsize cars, no one before or since sweated the details and spent time and money on the smallest of things to overbuild them quite like the 92-96 Camry. I invite you to educate yourself a bit by reading Mary Walton’s “Car,” the part where the Taurus engineers tear apart a ‘92 Camry and do a cost analysis and do comparative on-road testing. They had been engineering the DN101 to compete against the incoming ‘94 accord, the ‘92 Camry literally sent them running back to the drawing board.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Maybe this disagreement over the Camry’s interior is climate-skewed.”

            Yea, I can’t speak to this gen Camry but I’ve been in examples of the LX470 and LS400/LS430 with interiors that are warping and sticky. That said, I don’t know of many vehicles from that time period that could hold up well to 20+ year of sun blasting.

            Interior wear is one place where I think “malaise-era” stuff was superior. The thick vinyl and fabric from then seems to hold up better.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            ajla the “cracked and sticky” generation of Toyota interiors was more towards the later part of the 90s and into the 2000s, and like you said seemed to affect the higher-end stuff (Tahara built Prado/Land Cruiser platform stuff, Lexuses). Seems like they were trying to create some sort of higher-end feel to the dashes and ended up with issues on cars that lived in hot/sunny climates.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      > I’d easily have taken a Ford Aerostar XLT Sport or a Ford Explorer XLT 4×4 over any (and I mean ANY) wagon.

      Either Ford improved the Aerostar a LOT between 1986, when ours was made, and 1995 or you are a glutton for punishment.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I owned several Aerostars, my family also bought one new in 1990. They weren’t flawless but they were pretty reliable and durable.

        1986 was the first year, I don’t doubt they had many bugs to work out. I have heard many say that their early Aerostars were particularly troublesome, but by 1990 at least, they were pretty good. I also had a 1989 with over 230k, but I had no idea of its history and I only paid $150 for it, lol.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Buy the Toyota- My folks bought a beige 92 Camry XLE V6 sedan in 1992. It was a great car and put together about as well as any car can be. As others have mentioned, this was peak Toyota. There’s still a lot of these cars on the road 20+ years later, especially where salt isn’t a thing. Compared to my Malaise Buick, even to my newly licensed self the Toyota seemed like a Rolls-Royce.

    Drive the Mitsubishi- This is tough, but I wasn’t a huge fan of 90’s Honda then. I’d gladly take the Honda over the Mitsubishi now, but then, if I was buying or leasing a car, it would have been the Mitsu over the Honda. I’ve had a Mitsubishi of more recent vintage, another oddity in the form of a 2004 Lancer Sportback. It was one of the best cars I’ve ever owned in terms of reliability, but certainly not refinement. The Diamante would have been the “luxury car” of this group, lots of room and V6 power.

    Burn the Honda- I’ve never cared for the styling of these cars in wagon form. Sure, the Toyota is still odd looking, but it’s more useful in size and shape than the Honda. And, the V6 in the Toyota was a wonderfully strong and smooth engine for the mid 90’s at 185hp, even though the Honda 4 wasn’t bad in its own right.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Short Utility Vehicles

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    In a vehicle this small I’d want a stick. The Honda has a manual but only a 4-cylinder. No mention if the V6 Toyota was offered with a manual, but the brief internet searching I did suggests not. I don’t care about the Mitsu.

    Burn them all and buy a Suburban! :)

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Buy: Toyota Camry wagon- This generation and the subsequent model were peak Camry. Rear facing third seat. Plus double tailgate wipers.

    Drive: Honda Accord wagon- With a manual it’s the Prelude of wagons.

    Burn: Mitsubishi Diamante- Granted its unique but the 3.0 has its issues.

    Honorable mention: Subaru Legacy

  • avatar
    snakebit

    Can’t rate the Diamante wagon, though I knew about the Australia assembly. I have no experience, nor do my friends with it. We bought a new’94 Accord DX coupe and added factory AC and 4-spkr cassette from Honda, and kept it for 12 years – no problems with it, not even rust in New England! A close friend bought a ’94 Camry wagon new. It seemed to need rebuilt automatic transmissions about every 140K and he kept it also about 12 years until the next 140K mark(and then switched to Gen II Prius. I rented a 1995 Camry sedan 4cyl for a 500 mile Oregon trip, got super gas mileage(One tankful lasted until nearly the 500 mile mark when I returned it to the airport(very impressed). My only minor problem with the Camry wagon is that, from the back, it reminds me of the GTO Monkeemobile, but realistically, the hardware of the ’94-’96 Camry 4cyl is stellar, and I liked that generation Camry slightly more that our old Accord. I bet a mechanically-good Camry fetches a lot of coin, even now, years later.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Drive Toyota, burn the rest. Toyota should make a Camry wagon again because they quit the Venza.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    Buy the Honda because even though this is the second worst accord generation, it’s probably still serviceable.

    Drive the Mitsu because I’m sure the rattles and decomposing interior would drive me nuts if I bought it.

    Can’t believe I’m saying this, but but burn the Camry because it looks like a hearse.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    Buy the Honda. It’s an Accord. Reason enough.
    Drive the Mitsubishi. It’s quite handsome though parts and service might be a problem now.
    Burn the Camry. I know this is peak Toyota but the Camry wagon is ugly as sin.

  • avatar
    Featherston

    Probably three good options, as this was broadly Peak Japan (even if the particular car was screwed together elsewhere).

    Buy: Camry. I’ll nitpick that I dislike the D-pillars. They were cribbed from the 6th-gen Cougar’s C-pillar, which I also don’t like. Nonetheless, it’s a Peak Camry wagon.

    Drive: Accord. I’ll continue my nitpicking and say that I don’t like the C-pillar; I’d prefer something more vertical and conventional.

    Burn: Mitsubishi, by default. I don’t hate it, but I dislike:
    – the Subaru-esque sides. In fairness, Mitsubishi may’ve beaten them to the market with this. Either way, I still don’t like it.
    – the grille. It looked better on the ’61 Pontiac Catalina.

    I can’t comment directly on the Diamonte, but I was a sometime passenger and driver of a 6th-gen Galant back in the day. Very nice car for its era. Relative to its market, it was almost unimaginably better than 2010s Mitsubishis. If you weren’t there, I don’t blame you for not believing me. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_Galant#Sixth_generation_(E31,_E32,_E33,_E34,_E35,_E38,_E39;_1987%E2%80%931993)

  • avatar
    e30gator

    I test drove a ’93 Diamante back around 2000. It was a low mileage example for sale at the local Toyota dealership. It ran like absolute crap, stalling continuously and burning oil. There’s a reason you didn’t see them on the roads for very long. Too bad, because they were sharp-looking cars.

    This gen Accord always seemed rather cheap to me. My friend’s sister has one back around ’98 and I remember it being rather tinny-feeling and very loud with wind noise on the interstate.

    The Camry might have been the most “boring” of the group, but was every bit as well-built as a W123 or W126 Mercedes, nice-looking, and smooth. It was obvious that Toyota spent real money in engineering and building these things. So, here it goes…

    Drive the Accord (with a manual).
    Buy the Camry twice.
    Kill the Diamante with fire, then repeat just to make sure it’s dead.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Buy Camry,
    Drive Accord,
    Kill Diamante.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    I look at this a little differently having worked on those cars ( did not see the wagon version on a hoist).
    Buy; TOYOTA Good mechanicals, and okay longevity for interior and paint. And especially for this crowd, good brakes.

    Drive; Honda, It shares a problem with the Mitsubishi, terrible brakes. Wear out about once a year in SoCal traffic. Earlier models had the rotor insanely mounted BEHIND THE FRONT HUB. It was necessary to do serious disassembly to access it for machining or replacement. Don’t recall if this had gotten fixed by the ’94-’95 models.
    Burn; Mitsubishi, Since they shot themselves in the foot worse than VW they’re almost out of the USA. Parts will be a headache as has been mentioned in addition to experienced service personnel. And don’t forget those awful brakes!

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Im pretty sure the Honda Accord used that same brake design all the way until 1997. The actual brakes themselves were shared with Integras of that time so they were a bit under-spec for a heavier car.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Yep, Pads were too thin. I know that design, rotor behind the hub, was on the 1980s Hondas and Mitsubishis. Not sure if it got fixed by ’94-95. Funny my then SO had a 1996 Mits Montego SR. It had excellent brakes. Of course it was a BOF truck based SUV.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Buy the Accord. I want a manual. Plus, the 4-banger will be easier to work on than a transverse V6.

    Drive the Mitsubishi. It’s the best looking of the bunch and I’m interested in trying it. I could use it on salty, pot-holey spring days. Although it does require premium, and uses more fuel than the Camry. I wouldn’t expect to drive it much, anyway.

    Burn the Camry. Unfortunately. My buddy had a V6 manual ’92 that he took to 500,000 km and it was a very nice car even at that point when he sold it. But I don’t want to spend much time with a 4-speed slushbox if I don’t have to.

  • avatar
    Farhad

    Buy the Honda – It’s a Honda of the golden age.

    Drive the Mitsu – Unique look!

    Burn the Toyota – It’s a Toyota! There are millions of them around.

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    Buy: I would buy the Mitsubishi because it is the most beautiful looking car in this trio. It probably also drives the sportiest. From 1992 to 1996 us Europeans got the Sigma (our Diamante) in both sedan and wagon form. At the time I always admired the aesthetically pleasing design and thought it was the best looking Japanese car on sale in Europe.

    Drive: The Honda, because after the Mitsubishi it is the second most sportiest car here. I assume this would make an economical long distance cruiser in combination with the 4-cylinder motor and automatic transmission. We did not get this Accord model in Europe.

    Burn: The Toyota. I never could understand the hype around this car. They are certainly reliable but they felt cheaply made to me, and then there are those two wipers at the rear… This generation Camry was sold in Europe but was a sales flop.

  • avatar
    justVUEit

    Buy: The Mitsubishi, even though back in the day I hated that company. The wagon is unique and I like unique. V6 powered with decent oomph in an era when oomph was sadly missing.

    Drive: tough one, this was almost in my burn catagory – the Honda. I want to burn it because the agon roof looks like they shaved off the sedan’s trunk and glued this bubble in its place, kind of like the Saturn S-series wagons. Awkward style. But I decided to keep it in the drive category simply for the stick. I never really met a 90’s era automatic I would say I liked — I merely tolerated their existence. Stick shift all the way.

    Burn: Toyota. If I had to stare at that thing in my driveway every day I’d gouge out my eyes with a rusty spoon. They may have been rock-solid reliable but I refer more than a mere appliance to get me from point A to point B. Sometimes it isn’t about the most cargo room. Besides by the mid 90’s the cult of Toyota moved the aggravate-o-meter well into the red zone.

    My own set of wheels during this error *cough cough* era was a Taurus LX wagon with the 3.8. Motor was OK but the tranny sucked big time, and the stealership network sucked even worse. Service Dept manager told me that Taurus transmissions never blew and I was making up stories of all the dead trannies that had the misfortune to live behind the 3.8. She even went on to accuse me of drag racing it since I commented how I preferred the torque of the 3.8 over the 3.0. So if there’s ever a game of what stealership you’d buy or burn, this one would be the burn.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “but I refer more than a mere appliance to get me from point A to point B”

      And yet you drove a Taurus wagon?

      While the Toyota Wagon was going A to B, sounds like your Taurus was going A to the shop for transmission work :P

      • 0 avatar

        Actually this generation of Camry was Toyota’s answer to the game changing 1986 Ford Taurus. Taurus wagon looked much better than Camry wagon if you did not look too close to see all those gaps and cheap materials. AXOD transmission was problematic though and Ford did not have modern engines – both V6 engines 3.0L(pushrod Vulcan, they did not have DOHC Duratec back then) and 3.8L (also pushrod) were archaic designs from…maybe 60s? And Ford’s I4 was a non-starter. Toyota already had modern DOHC engines and modern manufacturing system. So Camry become a perfect “Taurus” which Ford attempted to replicate with the next generation of Taurus.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Burn em’ all and get Something that isn’t a s#!tbox that screams you’ve given up or are trying to show everyone how smart you are.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      So what does your F150 scream or show other people?

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        It probably screams I’m doing some work or taking the travel trailer out since I have been driving the Fiesta ST most of the time if I’m not doing those tasks.

        But I’ll play the game. Let’s see, small penis, 84 month loan, blah blah blah. Yeah sorry, it’s paid for and still worth a chunk of money to boot.

        I’ll be honest though, if you are rolling one of these you are probably a master mechanic or something. I haven’t seen any of these in a decade. Or you made crap choices and got it for 200 bucks and have no clue who owns the meth in the glovebox when the cop finds it. Flame on.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          If I saw a well taken care of Camry/Accord/Diamante wagon from the 90s (or any well taken care of 1990s car, frankly), it would definitely catch my eye and I’d think “wow, that’s cool, that person really likes their old car.”

          When I see an F150 in traffic, I think exactly nothing.

          • 0 avatar

            When I see F150 I try stay away as far as possible because they are driven like a sports cars and their pilots usually are more aggressive than average. So I try to stay away from trouble since I already had several incidents with pickup trucks.

            When I see Camry I assume that the person behind the wheel is not familiar with traffic laws and rules and probably is inexperienced driver. So I also try to pass it as soon as possible and leave it far behind. Camry driver probably thinks that I am an aggressive driver and hopefully tries to stay away from me too.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would say burn them all. I liked these in their day but their time has passed and the market has moved on. There is not enough demand for station wagons to justify their existence and many on this site that say they would buy a station wagon if offered would probably wait to buy them second hand which would not make it worth the manufacturers to offer a station wagon. I always liked station wagons and was raised with them and owned 1 myself but the market has moved on and there is not enough profit in making one. Whether you like it or not the market is in crossovers and many of those are all wheel drive.

    • 0 avatar
      pwrwrench

      Yep, Jeff S, Most will want the RAV 4, CRV, or Endeavor (if u can find a dealer within 500 miles).
      I have a vague memory of seeing one of these with an AWD logo on the back, maybe the Toyota or maybe a faulty memory.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    “I have a vague memory of seeing one of these with an AWD logo on the back”

    Your memory is correct.

    My sister-in-law in Cloudcroft, NM, had a White ’89 Camry AWD wagon, which she later traded for a 90’s version. They were rare and mostly confined to snowy mountainous areas for all-weather traction.

    I do not remember when the AWD Camry was discontinued but the Highlander, built on the Camry pan and AWD system, took its place. A direct descendant of the AWD Camry wagon, one better.

    But the real people-hauler grocery-getter is the AWD Sienna. Rare, pricey but highly sought-after in Southwest snow country. People that own one drive them ’til the wheels fall off, or the owner dies.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Thanks, Highdesertcat, I just checked and the Sienna is no longer offered in any kind of AWD/4wd. One might think that would be a big selling point in snow areas. I guess Toyota figures if u want AWD get the RAV4, Highlander, or Land Crusher/Sequoia. The Venza is gone from the USA also.
    I did a quick survey and could find no Mini-vans for sale (new) in the USA with AWD/4wd. The previous Toyota (Previa) had it available and IIRC the Chrysler van had it sometimes.
    I know the know ancient VW Vanagon Syncro AWD is much sought after and very pricey for one in decent condition. Those will require lots of TLC.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    I see AWD only on SE and XLE. Min $40K

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