Buy/Drive/Burn: V6 Midsize Japanese Sedans of 1997

buy drive burn v6 midsize japanese sedans of 1997

Last week we challenged you to pick a Buy from V6 versions of the 2007 Toyota Camry, Nissan Maxima, and Honda Accord. The overwhelming feeling in the comments was in favor of an Accord purchase (and I agree with you). Today though, we step back a decade to the 1997 model year.

Does the Accord still win your vote in the Nineties?

Honda Accord

In 1997 the fifth-generation Accord is in its last model year, finishing out its short run since 1994. Available with two doors as a coupe or four as sedan and wagon, the Accord uses various inline-four engines or a single V6 depending upon the market. Trims are many for the sedan and include Value Package, Special Edition, EX, DX, and LX. Top-spec is the EX with automatic and 2.7-liter V6, today’s choice. 170 horsepower travel through the four-speed automatic. With leather, the EX costs $22,650.

Nissan Maxima

The Maxima is midway through its fourth generation in 1997, a body style that continues through the model year 1999. Unlike the Accord, Maxima is available only as a four-door sedan. Trims are limited to SE, GXE, and GLE, with a five-speed manual transmission available at the lower two trim levels. All GLEs come equipped with a four-speed automatic, as we aren’t yet in CVT world. All examples are powered by the same 3.0-liter VQ30 V6, which means 190 smooth horses travel through the front wheels. A top trim GLE asks $26,899.

Toyota Camry

Camry is new for 1997, as Toyota introduces the XV20 follow-up to the landmark XV10 of 1992 to 1996. There’s no Camry wagon in the lineup, and the coupe becomes the separately labeled and styled Camry Solara which changes its customer base considerably. Camry sedan is available in CE, LE, and XLE trims, as SE fades away. A five-speed manual is available only in CE guise, with a 2.2-liter inline-four or the 3.0-liter V6. Said V6 creates 194 horsepower, routed through the four-speed auto in today’s pinnacle XLE V6. Yours for $24,088.

These three sedans have greater gaps in asking price in the Nineties than they do in the 2000s, but which one is worth your dollars?

[Images: Honda, Nissan, Toyota]

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  • Conslaw Conslaw on May 24, 2021

    There are really no losers here. I bought a 1996 Altima, but I was really tempted to add another year or so to the loan and buy a Maxima. (I paid under $16,000 new for my Altima, well below the base versions of the Accord or Camry.) I test-drove an SE-5-speed, and it was fun, a lot less boring than either the Accord or Camry. Since I have to pick one, I'd say buy the Honda. Drive the Nissan, burn the Toyota. Truthfully though, there wasn't a bad car in the batch.

  • Eng_alvarado90 Eng_alvarado90 on May 24, 2021

    Buy: Camry. You couldn't get a more reliable mid size sedan back in 97 (and I think that still stands today). Drive: Maxima. VQ30 is a great engine, it must be a fun ride. Burn: Accord. Those early Honda V6 were thirsty and not quicker than the 4 cyl Accords. It also looked old. Not a bad vehicle in any way but it was edged by the other two.

  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.
  • Cprescott I assume that since the buses will be free to these companies that these companies will reduce their bus fare.
  • Scott Mopar4wdthanks for those stats. But if 40% of suv buyers are 65+ that is not a long term strategyat 70 I’m perhaps not germane as I have only 2 cars now and replace only when they’re stolen
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