Buy/Drive/Burn: Japanese Two-doors for a New Century

buy drive burn japanese two doors for a new century

Last time on Buy/Drive/Burn, we took a look at three two-door, mid-market offerings from American brands for the 2001 model year. Most people hated such a Sophie’s Choice.

Perhaps things will be a bit better today, as we cover the same market segment with offerings from Japan.

Toyota Camry Solara

Toyota brought back a two-door Camry for the 1999 model year, though it was not in the format some buyers expected. Instead of a standard Camry with two fewer doors, Toyota presented a sporty take on the idea and added the new Solara moniker. Underneath, Solara was based on the prior-generation Camry and built in Ontario. Camry engines of 2.2 to 3.0 liters were used, with five-speed manual or (mostly) four-speed automatics on hand for shift duty. A 2001 facelift revised the grille, tail lamps, and headlamps, and brought different wood. The base engine from 2001 was upgraded to the 2.4-liter mill from the Camry. Today’s selection is a base model 2.4L with a five-speed manual.

Mitsubishi Eclipse

A new third-generation Eclipse debuted for the 2000 model year, and boy was it a big deal at the time. With sporty, plastic-clad and slab-sided styling, the Eclipse said New Millennium in a big way. Riding on the Chrysler ST-22 platform with the Sebring coupe we saw last week, the Eclipse was powered by 2.4- or 3.0-liter engines, with four-speed automatics or five-speed manual transmissions. There were seven trim levels of Eclipse, and the most basic one was the RS. Today’s choice, it came with the 2.4-liter SOHC Mitsubishi engine and the manual transmission.

Honda Accord Coupe

Nothing was particularly revolutionary or unexpected about the sixth-generation Accord, even in slightly more rakish Coupe guise. Introduced for the 1998 model year, it was nearing replacement in 2001, though the generation broke SOPs and carried on five model years. In late 2000 Honda revised North American Accords with new front fascias, side skirts, bumpers, tail lamps, and wheels. Trims in 2001 were four for the Coupe, and included two levels (four- and six-cylinder) of LX and EX. Today we’ll have an LX with the 2.3-liter inline-four and five speed manual.

Look at all these manual transmissions! Which midsize Japanese two-door gets your cash in 2001?

[Images: Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi]

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  • Eng_alvarado90 Eng_alvarado90 on Dec 11, 2019

    Buy: Solara. It's become interesting with time and a 5 spd seals the deal. Drive: Accord. I just don't like the styling of the 6th gen coupe. My fiance had a CL 2.3 and 5 spd. It was a nice experience until the head blew at 155K. The clutch was as good as it gets. Burn: Eclipse. It pales in comparison with the other two.

  • GenesisCoupe380GT GenesisCoupe380GT on Apr 07, 2020

    Buy the Eclipse and burn everything else. There's something to be said for a car with a huge aftermarket support system and a passionate following

  • 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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