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

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
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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2 of 56 comments
  • 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.

  • Crown They need to put the EcoDiesel back in the Grand Cherokee. I have a 2018 and it has been the most reliable vehicle I ever owned. 69,000 miles and only needed tires, and regular oil and fuel filter changes.
  • El scotto Y'all are overthinking this. Find some young hard-charging DA seeking the TV limelight to lock this kid up. Heck, have John Boehner come up from Cincy to help the young DA get his political career going. Better yet, have the young DA spin this as hard as he or she can; I'm the candidate for Law and Order, I defied our go-easy office and leadership to get this identified criminal locked up. Oh this could be spun more than a hyper active kid's top.Now I'd do some consulting work for Little Kings Original Cream Ale and Skyline Chili.
  • El scotto Pondering if he has a clean brandy snifter. Well but, ah, I mean the original Grand Wagoneer was fully loaded and had a V-8. The original Grand Wagoneer had an almost cult-like following with a certain type of woman. Attractive, educated high earning women; or those that put on the appearances of being that way.Our esteemed HerR DOKtor Perfessor again shows how ignorant he is of the American market. What he deems "bread-vans on stilts" are highly coveted by significant others that are also highly coveted. The new Grand Cherokee with the new well engineered V-6 will sell as well as the ones from the 80s some of us get wistful over. The only real question will be: LL Bean or Orvis edition?
  • El scotto Well, I've had cats that are smarted than a great many members of congress. I rather doubt that any of the congresspeople Matt named are engineers, finance people or project managers. Ya know, professionals you call in to get a job done.Today is Wednesday, this will be out of the 36 hour news cycle by Friday. Oh it might get mentioned again on OCT 6. Unless there are cute animals to put on TV that day.
  • El scotto Oh My Good Lord Yes! Gents, this is a Caddy that carries on the soul of Caddy. Loud, brash, and apologetically American. Also large and in charge and one of GM's best evah engines. What used to be a flash roll is now bottle service.Can't deal with that reality? There are plenty of excellent SUVs/CUVs on the market. I'm a former Escape owner. The Escape was a sensible lil CUV, this Caddy is just way over the top.Canyon carver? Not a chance, this is based on a Silverado frame. Easy to park? Toss the valet the keys. Will some of the other high-end SUVs have better "soft touch" materials that make car journalist get tingly all over? Of course.This Caddy is designed to eat up huge and I mean huge amounts of American interstate miles. Four people and their luggage? Easily.