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