By on May 1, 2019

We’ve talked about the Nineties in a couple of recent QOTDs, and today we’ll do it once more. This inquiry was generated in TTAC’s Slack foyer, where Adam Tonge mused about styling from the greatest decade.

What domestic Nineties ride has aged better than all the others?

The rules for today’s game are simple, and three:

  1. All selections must be model years 1990 to 1999.
  2. Picks must be from a domestic manufacturer, even if sourced from an import (eg. Mercury Villager).
  3. Any bodystyle is eligible except for trucks.

And that’s it; the rest of the field is wide open. Let’s get you all started out right.

Here’s my pick — the third-generation Cadillac STS. It narrowly squeezes into our game with a debut in 1998. Caddy’s boxy, afterthought first-generation STS debuted as an upmarket sporting trim on the standard front-drive Seville in 1988. The more modern K-body generation bowed in 1992 in SLS (Seville Luxury Sedan) and STS (Seville Touring Sedan) guises. While the eagerly anticipated 4.6-liter Northstar was not available in the new models’ first year, Cadillac replaced the trusty 4.9-liter V8 in the STS for 1993, and the SLS in 1994.

In 1998 the SLS and STS moved to the G platform, shaving off a few inches of length. The leaner, meaner STS boasted 300 horsepower, while the SLS made do with 275. Styling was more serious, more sporty, and aimed to look substantial. It did then, and it does now. The STS receives my vote as one of the best-aging domestic cars of the Nineties (with a nod to the Regal above).

Let’s hear your selections.

[Images: Cadillac, Buick]

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138 Comments on “QOTD: Graceful Aging of the Nineties Variety?...”


  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Like the choice of the Cadillac STS – I really wanted one of these, test drove a lower-mileage SLS and really liked the power. But I didn’t like the coolant smell coming out of the engine. ::sigh:: Those Northstar engines.

    Related: I’ll add another GM Northstar powered car, the Oldsmobile Aurora. My dad had a ’98 that he owned for almost 20 years. His was actually quite dependable with no major engine issues. Most problems ended up being from age and outdoor storage out in the country.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Love the STS and Aurora too, but I can’t get past the Pukestar. Maybe we can drop in a 5.3 Vortec out of an Impala SS?
    I vote for a car that I actually owned, one that was ubiquitous in the 90’s, the Chysler LHs. At least the Intrepid and Vison, maybe not the Concorde or New Yorker. When this car dropped in ’93, there had never been anything like it- “Wow, a full-sized sedan that looks cool!” It also handled well and was pretty fast if it had the 3.5.
    If you allowed imports, I’d probably pick the NSX. Still stuns even today.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      With the V-8 in a FWD, you get to deal with transmission issues instead of engine issues. The 4.0L V-8 in the Aurora didnt suffer the issues that the 4.6L version in the Cadillacs did, at least not nearly to the same degree.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Sorry, should read “with the 5.3L V-8…”.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        My ex-in laws had an Aurora for a zillion years, and it never quit on them. Very nice interior as well – the ’90s plague of GM craptasticness and cheap-outs largely skipped the Aurora. GM was obviously serious about that car, and it shows – too bad it wasn’t as serious about the Riv that rode on the same platform.

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      “Love the STS and Aurora too, but I can’t get past the Pukestar. Maybe we can drop in a 5.3 Vortec out of an Impala SS?”

      With the 5.3L, you get the combo of a good engine with a wimpy transmission (4T65E-HD). With the N*, you get a flawed engine with a durable transmission (4T80E).

      Figure out how to mate a 5.3L LS4 with a 4T80E and you’ll have my complete, undivided attention.

  • avatar
    mitros

    The first generation Ford Probe 1989 t0 1992 set the trend for the transition from the boxy linear 80’s styling to the look of the 90’s that took other manufacturers years to adopt

  • avatar
    mitros

    The first generation Ford Probe 1989 t0 1992 set the trend for the transition from the boxy linear 80’s styling to the look of the 90’s that took other manufacturers years to adopt

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      I’ll add the 2G Probe GT (’93+) to my list. Those still look great today.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Probe is a good one! Unfortunate name aside, 2nd gen GT with the rear spoiler delete is one of my favorite styled “everyman’s” cars of the 90s. Fantastic sounding Mazda 2.5L V6 too, too bad we got the detuned 160hp version and not the 200hp 7500rpm screamer!

  • avatar
    j3studio

    Are coupes allowed? If so, let me put a vote in for the 1995-1999 Buick Riviera. The last, lovely roll of the dice—striking when new and still handsome now.

    The supercharged 3800 V6 option was often chosen in these cars (it was standard in 1998 and 1999), so they were reasonably spritely. Of course, the Riviera was on the same platform as the aforementioned Aurora.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      You stole mine!

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t think the Riviera has aged all that well. It’s unique, sure, but the pinched look front and rear and general shapes are quite old.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I’m forced to agree. I respect Kyree’s love for the car, but the Aurora had it all day long.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I’m with Corey and John on the Riv – it was awkwardly styled back in the day, and I don’t think time’s been very kind to the design.

          The fact that the remaining ones have been relegated to urban-cockroach status doesn’t help its’ case much.

        • 0 avatar
          bullnuke

          One of my co-workers drove a new gold ’98 Riv to work right after she got it. It looked a bit odd to me and I told her so. She also thought it was odd looking but it drove well she said. Then I remembered that she was driving it for free as her husband owned one of the local Buick-Pontiac-Chevrolet-GMC dealers and this all made sense.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      Unique yes, but the Riviera is one of the most painfully mid-90’s domestic designs. A Sperm Whale comes to mind

  • avatar
    gtem

    Very interesting topic Corey, looking forward to responses. Yes in terms of styling the STS is a very good choice, too bad mechanically they age anything other than gracefully :p

    In a similar vein, I think the Oldsmobile Aurora (both first and second gen) have still look relevant today (well, more than that: much BETTER than most cars today).

    Cadillac Catera is another handsome car IMO.

    I need to ruminate on this a bit more!

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Jeep Wrangler :)

    Actually most SUVs of the boxy variety age pretty well. Grand Cherokee and even the Cherokee still look good to me

  • avatar
    ajla

    I assume the ‘domestic only’ stipulation was to keep us from picking Jaguars, Porsches, and BMWs.

    Anyway, my choice under these rules is the ’98 Trans Am. It’s definitely a ‘period’ design, but I think it still looks wicked today.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    I’m still loving the looks and ride of my 97 Pontiac Grand Prix SE, 3.8, bought it new, everything except a few windows still work, including the air, cassette, and heads up display! Except for the front bumper being faded you would think it’s only about 10 years old instead of 22.

  • avatar
    stereorobb

    i cant think of many domestic 90s cars that dont stick out like a sore thumb now considering the styling has changed so dramatically in the last 20 years. the STS is a good choice though as it was ahead of its time and still looks sharp on the road today, too bad its got a northstar blowup box engine.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I have some bias, but I think most things from ’90-’10 (give or take) generally looked alright. It wasn’t a time of amazing beauty, but it was a nice transition period between the Brougham gingerbread of the past and the steriod-injected bionic sea monsters of today.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I agree, car companies seem to place more emphases on getting better over all then they did on styling. They also were going belly-up which didn’t leave a lot of money for product development

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        It’s just as well – the wind tunnel now determines everything but the front and back clips. The styling of the 1960s to early 1970s caught the wind better than the sails on Old Ironsides, but they looked good.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Agreed Alja. I have a hard time thinking of a car from the era that I think is truly “ugly.” I may thing some are less pretty or moer bland than others, but nothing makes me wretch like some cars coming out these days.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Could we inject ‘70s-‘80s for a moment here? On my way home from work this evening, I saw a mint-condition, Ace-Of-Base (no tinted glass, just like my grandmother’s ‘78 Futura which also didn’t have A/C), Ford Fairmont 2-door sedan, ca. ‘78-‘80!

      For a domestic ‘90s choice, the STS is good, provided one has $$$ for N* care and feeding. I must also give the Church of the 3800 its due, and go with the Bruick Regal of the generation pictured above. Last, the Chrysler cloud cars.

  • avatar
    jmmemoli

    I still fondly remember my 94 Lincoln Mark VIII. I must admit a little jealousy every time I see one go by. That engine may not have been a powerhouse, but it was the smoothest V8 I ever owned. There was not a smoother ride at speeds over 100.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    I had a ’99 SLS and it was smooooth. No Northstar related issues. Very nice interior.

    My picks however would be a 92 Mark VII LSC (owned two) with runner-up being a Mark VIII (also owned two, one LSC).

  • avatar
    bg

    As long as you mentioned the 90’s Cadillac STS/SLS, I want to offer up their two-door variant, the 1990’s Cadillac ETC (Eldorado Touring Coupe?).

    The sail pane behind the rear-side window is reminiscent of the same panel on the 1960’s Eldorado.

    On the ETC the bold, squarish rear side windows, especially the vertical where it meets the sail pane contrasts just enough with the mostly organic/aero blob shape of the car to create just the right amount of visual “tension” that always draws my eye.

    And all the cars in the STS/SLS/ETC family are low…much lower than today’s tall-boys.

    I’m not sure I’d want to live with one as a daily driver, but I love the way they look, and I feel they have aged well; not because they still look contemporary, but because they look timeless.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Hmm…tough. The Lexus SC3/400 would be my go to, but domestic so…

    I’m going to throw out a couple nobody has mentioned. The STS would be on my list as well, but has been mentioned.

    The Gen 1 Saturn S series. I say this because the car flies in the face of today’s peak grill high hoodline designs. It was a good looking car and managed to do the floating roof better than anything today. The Twin Can Coupe looked good too.

    The Gen 1 (86-91) and Gen 2 Taurus (91-95) I think. There were a million of them but when you see them today you see why. They looked good, especially for the boring sedan they were.

    89+ Mercury Cougar/Ford Thunderbird. The early ones before any sort of refresh happened. Just a sleek design.

    Mark VII and pre refresh Mark VIII. Personal preference on both but I think they both have held up well.

    Lastly, not a true domestic but allowed under the rules…Dodge Stealth. I see them and 3000 GTs on occasion. Still think they look great though of the bunch they are most clearly a 90s car. I’m OK with that and they hold up.

    Like the River/Aurora and the Eldorado Touring Coupe, but they’ve been mentioned.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    ’94-’97 Camaro. Pre fish-mouth “facelift”. Not as exuberant as a Firebird, but still has presence.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      Agree with this completely. Never been a fan of the post-facelift ones, but the early 4th gens are by far my favourite Camaros of all time styling-wise.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Riv! Riv! Riv!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      My dad had one. I’d say the styling was…ambitious, and the interior was a craptastic disaster. But it did have the supercharged 3800, so it was a runner, and a solid handler.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    E39 BMW 5-series. Clean and simple. Still looks good today, particularly a 528i or 540i with the sport package and its wide tires.

    Honorable mention to the BMW E36 3-series and Mercedes W210 E Class. These designs also aged pretty well.

  • avatar

    The first generation Aurora and only generation Intrigue. Both still look like stealth fighters today.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    In no particular order…

    1) Chrysler 300M
    2) The O.G. Olds Aurora, and I’d add the Intrigue and Alero. Say what you want about Olds, but it didn’t die for lack of good looking cars.
    3) ’91 Buick Park Avenue
    4) ’93 Camaro Z28

    And I’d definitely add the ’92 Seville to my list, even though it wasn’t my suggestion.

    The shame of this is that so many of these are used up by now, so they’ve been relegated to Urban Wasteland Trawlers. But these are all solid designs.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m down with 300M exterior, just the interior falls down.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Not only does the interior fall down, it falls apart. Twin threat!

        (My ex father-in-law owned one of these and an Aurora, and had them both for a long, long time.)

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Good one on the 300M! Really sharp cars, especially in that sporty trim with really skinny tires. Were the interiors that bad? I thought they were still actually pretty nice and predated the Diamler/Cerebrus era.

        • 0 avatar
          CheersandGears

          I test drove a 300M up against an Aurora and a CTS of the time. The 300M really didn’t have a great interior, it felt like a really big Sebring. I ended up in the CTS for the great handling and ride combination, but in retrospect, I should have gone with the Aurora.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          The craptastic was strong with the 300M’s insides, gtem. I’ve heard stories about how the LH cars weren’t all that reliable, but my (ex) father in law had good luck with his. Then again, he was in his 60s, and had money to keep the thing running with.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            LH’s largely had good engines (except the 2.7), but the transmissions were subpar, and everything else was clearly built to a cost (my ’95 Intrepid had an appetite for tie rod ends).

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            The 3.5L in my 1996 Concorde died well before 200k, and then there were electronic issues, power steering racks, the list goes on. I briefly had a 3.5L Intrepid as well, lots of the same issues that the Concorde had. The Concorde’s previous owner was a female doctor who maintained the car by the book at the dealership. It was one thing after another until it finally gave up the ghost and I junked it. Such a shame, because it was so clean with a like-new body and interior. I literally couldn’t sell it for a few hundred bucks.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I’m gonna put in a plug for the second-generation (1990-1997) Town Car. That formal, squared-off styling looks great these days.

    • 0 avatar
      d4rksabre

      Heck yeah!

      Actually, I’ve really come to like the clean lines of the ’92-’97 Crown Vic/Grand Marquis as well. It’s a much classier look given how ubiquitous the more bulbous face lifted versions were. The long trunk lid taillights are a great look.

      https://www.jimclick.com/assets/stock/PressKit/White/640/C6MEGEB3.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Agree with you all. ’92-’96 Town car kept the formal styling but successfully modernized it IMO. Likewise the “aero” vic/marquis are excellent, much better than the “whales” that followed. Did I get my Panther terminology correct? lol

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          You did, and I agree, styling wise. I prefer the 95-7 Town Car or Crown Victoria styling wise, I just cant help but be dissatisfied when I drive a Crown Vic.

          Ps, how annoying is it when you see them called a “crown victory” on craigslist?

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Not to mention that the interior quality seemed to drop quite a bit with the 1998 redesign, at least on the Town Car.

            I agree; “crown victory” is annoying.

      • 0 avatar
        redgolf

        Had a 95 Grand Marquis I bought in 2010, it was a one owner Tennessee granny special with only 54K miles, beautiful looking, running, riding car! I drove it for 5 years sold it with 124K miles getting most of my money back!

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      Kyree right as usual. Those Town Cars to me are almost timeless. They could make it today with minimal changes and it would still look great.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    First gen Dodge Viper, GTS Coupe.

    The Riviera? Seriously? It always looked like it had a glandular condition. Woulda been a beautiful boat though. The Aurora had it beat, but it hasn’t aged well either.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    For me, it is still the 1992 – 1995 Pontiac Grand Am GT. I’ll never be able to explain it, but I have always found the coupe to be an amazing well done design. It balanced aggressiveness (though undeserved) and sleekness in a way that just appealed to my eye.

    Also, one which I actually owned, the first gen Chrysler Sebring coupe. I found it much more attractive than the Avenger.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      Absolutely, just landed in this country at the time as a kid and I found Grand Am nice looking and American, without looking like an old granny car like the Caddy and Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Well damn, I thought I’d be the only person crazy enough to nominate the Grand Am coupe. If you can overlook the mandatory Pontiac Cladding, it’s a very clean, attractive design.

      • 0 avatar
        CobraJet

        I had a 94 Lumina Z34 coupe. While not a very reliable car, I did like the looks of that coupe body. Chrome dual exhaust tips looked good also.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Buick Park Avenue 1991-1996

    Just clean, simple, and beautiful. And the supercharged 3800 option made it easier to live without a V8.

    Church of the 3800 says: “As it is written, let it be done.”

  • avatar
    ahintofpepperjack

    GM’s vehicles from this era usually still look decent. The GMT400 trucks still look great, and the C5 Corvette does as well.

    Ford vehicles from this era have not aged well.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I think you’re right about ’90s GM styling, unless you’re talking about Pontiac, which spent the entire decade attention-seeking.

      Heck, even the Malibu still looks pretty good today.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    One of my “beater” cars was a ’91 Park Avenue that I bought for $3k. This was in ~2002. Great highway car and such a smooth ride; so smooth that I got a really high $$ speeding ticket in it; even though I had a ~370hp modified ’86 Monte Carlo SS in the garage at the time.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    was supposed to be a reply to PrincipalDan

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I still get compliments on the 1995 Taurus I daily now, a lot of people go on to say “I always liked those cars” or something similar.

    I think the 1996 Taurus, as bold and controversial as it was at the time, has aged well and still looks fairly modern 20+ years on. Despite being more successful, the Camry looked dull even then. Accords still look clean and tasteful, but not as modern as the oval Taurus.

    As was mentioned, many Oldsmobile cars were and still are good looking. The Mark VIII still looks good today, and the 95-7 Town Car as well. I happen to like the 1998+ Continental, it looks (and drives) far better than the Town Car introduced the same year.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Pontiac Grand Prix widebodies were damn nice looking cars.

    I like the later Ram Air Trans Ams with the twin scoops

    2nd gen Eagle Talon

    Avenger/Sebring coupes still look great if well kept.

    Rules be damned, the 2nd gen Ram single cabs are just about peak truck in terms of styling, tech, and durability. The TJ Wrangler and first gen Grand Cherokee are gems too.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Thought of another I would love to have even today – 1990 Olds Touring Sedan (Ninety-Eight based). ALWAYS loved the look of these and they were rare even new. Great interiors as well. My Mom and G’pa both had various Olds Ninety-Eights in the 80s and 90s, Regencys and Elites, and there was something about the way they drove, they just seemed better put together than a lot of other GM stuff, with just a tiny little edge to the handling that to me elevated them above their Buick counterparts (I owned a couple of both).

    https://i2.wp.com/www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/1990-Touring-Sedan.jpg

    • 0 avatar

      Down with square Touring Sedan and its basket shift handle. Sharp in black, perhaps with red leathers.

      • 0 avatar
        MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

        “Down with square Touring Sedan and its basket shift handle. Sharp in black, perhaps with red leathers.”

        So you are suggesting a Touring Sedan in colors to match the 1993 Limited Edition Miata? How many ways can I say YES lol

        http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/1/1361/561/3400280002_large.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I was a fan of the ’80s front-drive 98, and the Touring Sedan. I wasn’t a fan of the ’90s redo, though.

      • 0 avatar
        MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

        “I was a fan of the ’80s front-drive 98, and the Touring Sedan. I wasn’t a fan of the ’90s redo, though.”

        Agreed, although we had one of the last ones with the cutoff rear wheelwells and it was a great car, if not a classic beauty :)

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Supercharged Cougar XR7. Must be black on black, manual. Unbelievable instant torque from a 3.8. Impressive smoky burnouts without touching the brakes (heal-n-toe) from it’s shear weight, real heavy for its day.

    Not very fast, but a great drifter. It just looks ultra smooth and super classy notch.

    curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2-lt-rear-3-4.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      They made those in manual?! Had no idea this car even existed.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      So is that the Cougar version of the Thunderbird SC?

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Yep and yep. The dealer I worked at had one on the used car lot that wouldn’t sell, so every time I needed the shop-truck and someone was hogging it, bam it’d take the XR7 for a spin, literally. You know, to keep the battery charged and stuff.

        • 0 avatar
          MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

          I feel ya. I sold Fords from 03-05 and I look back on that time as pretty much Golden for FoMoCo. If I needed to run somewhere or do a dealer trade, I’d grab a Lightning, SVT Focus or Terminator Cobra. Good times. Also enjoyed the New Edge GT’s and T-Birds. Even a base model manual Focus was pretty delightful to drive.

  • avatar
    formula m

    Pontiac Bonneville SSEI circa 1994

  • avatar

    One that visually ages gracefully, but mechanically does not is the Mark VIII. God help you if the rear center light goes out, that part has been out of production for years. Then there is the air suspension to worry about.

    Lincoln really needs to do a Mark IX, but with their current styling direction, there is no way for them to make it look as sleek as the Mark VIII was.

    I’m biased though as I love long hood, short deck, personal luxury coupes. I drive one from the decade prior to the one we’re discussing.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Looks like a used ballast goes for about $200 on Ebay, not ruinous. IIRC replacement air suspension parts are surprisingly affordable (pair of rear airbags for $100 for example).

    • 0 avatar
      jmmemoli

      I went through the hassle and expense of rebuilding the air ride suspension. It lasted another few years before going out again. After I traded it in, I learned that the kit to transition to traditional spring/strut was cheaper and easier; doh!

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I dont know, I think the current Lincoln front and rear treatments on a CD6-based coupe would look pretty good, perhaps the *slightest* of spare tire humps in a nod to the past. It might not look as sleek, but not all Marks were as sleek as the VII.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      So tempting. If only it were closer.

      https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/cto/d/lincoln-mark-viii-lsc-1998/6876167085.html

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Coupe: MN12 Thunderbird, Cougar and Mark VIII-The modular V8 is smooth and reliable. Interior quality could be better.

    Mid sized Sedan: Buick Regal GS-The almighty 3800SC with the handling package.

    Luxury Sedan: Seville STS-The Northstar gets its share of criticism but are repairable with a gasket kit and improved head bolts.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      I had a 1997.5 Regal GS and a 1999 Regal GS with Y59 handling package. .I didnt want the chrome wheels as the machines aluminum looked bigger than chrome on the same size. It had a Addco 1″ rear sway bar for better handling.

      It had Thrasher ecu and pulley and would leave Mustang GT’s and Audi A6 4.2 V8 in the dust. It was right at 13s in the 1/4 mile.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        A Buick that out runs V-8 sports cars. Now who woulda thought. Oh. Its norm. Too bad there arent YouTube videos of stock 1999 GTs running 13s in the 1/4 mile. So how is “being fast as” the same as “leaving in the dust”? Oops, forgot, its norm.

  • avatar
    1500cc

    I agree with the STS and Auroras mentioned above. Although I personally like the LT1 Camaros, I’m not sure they hold up universally.

    I would also like to add the Allante.

  • avatar
    scott25

    The vast majority of my suggestions have been said already: original Aurora, facelifted Catera, pre-facelift 4th-gen Camaro and Firebird, Mark VIII. The Eagle Talon is also good but they barely tried to cover its Japanese origins. Same with the Geo/Chevy Tracker.

    I know no one will agree with me but the original 1995-99 Sunfire Coupé is such a simple and iconic design, like the Beetle equivalent for Ontario millennials.

    It’s not a 90s design but the Cherokee is just so simple and timeless.

    • 0 avatar
      Igloo

      I will definitely agree with the’98 Sunfire Coupe, good looking car. Almost bought and I still like the look of the 1998 4-door Ford Escort.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I always thought they could’ve done more with the Mercury Tracer of that generation. Giving it the ZX2’s 130 HP Zetec and about 50% more sound insulation (along with better NVH reducing engine/subframe mounts) would’ve made a big difference.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      If we’re picking ’90’s J-bodies, it’s the ’95-99 Cavalier coupe for me (am an Ontario Millennial, owned a ’97), since it’s just that little bit cleaner. Although, the Sunfires were decent looking until they went overboard with the cladding (and ’95 Sunfire GT over ’95 Cavalier Z24).

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Maybe because I didn’t spend my early teenage years in this country. I found super heroine comics with muscular fake boobed women unattractive, just like the bubbly vehicles like the Caddies and Buicks. They are like 40 year old women with curves at both the right and the wrong places, instead of a thin and flat as a pancake teenager.

    Am I making any sense? I don’t know, but these domestics (mostly from GM) definitely are not my cup of tea.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Where is the love for sports cars? Since you said domestic manufacture I will nominate the BMW Z3M made in South Carolina. I think it is better looking that any subsequent Z4, and the styling holds up better today than the contemporary C5 Corvette, which looks strangely under-tired.

  • avatar
    retrocrank

    Without doubt, the American built vehicle that most influenced the 90’s automotive world was actually the most influential vehicle built in the 1980’s; the Gen 1 VW GTI from the Westmoreland PA plant. Every single tuner kid, drifter, and all of the hot oriental hatchbacks owe their existance to the first hot hatch, the first gen GTI. It’s what scared soccer moms and metrosexual males into minivans, and later SUVs and Priuses. Everything even remotely interesting built in this country in the 90s owes a deep debt of gratitude to that one car – otherwise the 90s is absolutely completely forgetable, or at least should be because that’s when the current SUV/CUV craziness started. The ONLY car from the 90s that was significant was the last of the air cooled Porsches. Even the last of the Mohicans, the 993 series cars, were still real 911s; the 996 onwards have become mass-produced (albeit pricey) technowonder plasticized behemoths. Extremely competent no doubt, but lacking the necessity of driver involvement to drive quickly (and yes, I have the experiences to know this). The BMW 6-cylindered E34/E39 models with a six speed stick might be contenders. But neither of these were built in Murka, and so I stick to the opinion that nothing worthwhile came out of Murka in the 90s. Nothing.

  • avatar
    TheDutchGun

    Impala SS
    STS
    Aurora V8
    90-92 Ford Mustang LX 5.0 both body styles Wasn’t a big fan of GT trim styling.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Best rental car of the 90’s?

    1) Cadillac Catera – I didn’t have to maintain that bucket of sh*%
    2) Olds Intrigue – best of the bunch of them. The rental versions came with cloth, but it felt better than the awful leather in the Buick Regal.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I’d go for either the 2nd gen Probe or a 1992 Cougar

  • avatar
    1st_one

    First generation Olds Aurora, Intrigue and Alero. I would also nominate the 95 Grand Am GT.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Have to pick the STS. As mentioned (often) The Old Man would lease a new one every year from their introduction until this millenium. Did have one N* fail. GM flatbedded the car home from Muskoka and delivered a new one to him.

    Next would be the Mark VII LSC. Still has a ‘presence’.

    After that would be the Aurora, which was not ‘intended’ to be an Oldsmobile.

    Then any ‘big’ Buick with the 3800. Quiet, dignified,well screwed together and with a power train as reliable as an anvil.

    Finally a Bonneville. Preferably with a supercharged 3800. Bit of a ‘boy racer’ and all the buttons on the steering wheel might be off putting.

    In retrospect the much maligned GM put out some pretty good designs in that era.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    Olds Intrigue all the way. Not only attractive then and now, but durable enough that I still see plenty of examples on the road in good condition, even on the salt-coated streets of Ohio.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Dodge Stealth R/T AWD (red)
    :-)

  • avatar

    Most American cars from 90s looked good and I would say timeless design especially when you compare with 80s. Yes even ovaloid Ford Taurus. Well even ’92 Toyota Camry! I liked new Oldsmobiles esp. Aurora and Alero. But GM interior were such low quality sometimes horrible, even compared to Ford. I was shocked when saw them first time since in Russia I was used to European and Japanese cars. They also lacked the refinement of Japanese or German cars including ride quality. Panel gaps were wide and uneven on all GM cars, close up they did not look that good in person. Engines were ancient OHV pushrods. The rest of the world switched to DOHC in 70s-80s but GM persisted even in 21st century.

    So which design was my favorite? Aero Crown Victoria (our traffic police had them – remember sitting in one in center of Moscow waiting for traffic cop to write down accident report – it had a beautiful blue leather), Impala SS, Ford Taurus both ’92 (up-close looked crude though) and ’86, Aurora, Gran Prix.

  • avatar
    DownUnder2014

    The Big ‘American’ Three here in Australia were rather different…and the offerings were almost completely different (especially with GM). Plus Chrysler withdrew in 1981 and sold their operations to Mitsubishi.

    So using the ‘Big Three’ (Chrysler, Ford and Holden):
    Small Sedan:
    1. The KF Laser TX-3 (the KE was better but it stopped in 1989).

    Medium Sedan:
    1. Ford Telstar
    2. Toyota Camry/Holden Apollo (XV10)

    Large Sedan:
    1. AU Falcon (1998-2002). The styling has aged better than the VT Commodore, IMO.
    2. VP Commodore (1991-93). The lightbar is pretty cool, so it edges out the VN.
    3. TH/TJ Magna (1999-2002). The 3.5 V6 is rather quick in these, especially with the 5-Speed Manual. The styling has aged relatively nicely.

    Chrysler’s lineup here consisted of one car, the Neon. It still consists of one car now, being the 300!

  • avatar
    DownUnder2014

    As for the US market:

    Subcompact/Compact:
    1. 2G Ford Escort/Mercury Tracer
    2. 1991-94 Cavalier Wagon.

    Mid-size:
    1. Oldsmobile Aurora (both gens, sadly N*-engined, I wonder how the V6 is though)
    2. 2G Taurus
    3. Chrysler LH cars (they don’t age well but look nice)

    Full-size:
    1. Gonna get crucified for this one, but 1998-2011 Ford Crown Victoria
    2. 1991-96 Buick Park Avenue (EU-spec though)
    3. Toss up between 1992-97 CV and same era MGM…


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