Buy/Drive/Burn: The Japanese Family Wagons of 1995

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

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

Toyota’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]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Pwrwrench Pwrwrench on Sep 16, 2018

    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.

    • Ajla Ajla on Sep 16, 2018

      You can still get an AWD Sienna.

  • Pwrwrench Pwrwrench on Sep 16, 2018

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

    • Gtem Gtem on Sep 17, 2018

      " I just checked and the Sienna is no longer offered in any kind of AWD/4wd" It is, just not in the trim you wanted I guess.

  • Lynchenstein @EBFlex - All ICEs are zero-emission until you start them up. Except my mom's old 95 Accord, that used to emit oil onto the ground quite a lot.
  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.
  • El scotto So now would be a good time to buy an EV as a commuter car?
  • ToolGuy $1 billion / 333.3 million = $3 per U.S. person ¶ And what do I get for my 3 bucks -- cleaner air and lower fuel prices? I might be ok with this 🙂🙂