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

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.

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]

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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. toyotaofsarasota.com/inventory/new-2019-toyota-sienna-xle-premium-awd-4d-passenger-van-5tddz3dc8ks210486

  • 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.

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.
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