The 90s were a good time for sports car enthusiasts, with automakers improving basically every aspect of their ’80s cars, from performance to usability. The 1990s ushered in a lot of fast and fun to drive hot hatches that almost anyone could afford. But just as there were reliable and durable sports cars from the 1990s, there were also sports cars that are essentially money pits.
While some sports cars on this list will last forever, others have been forgotten, with nothing good to remember about them. So, here are the five best sports cars of the ’90s to buy used and five to avoid, even if they were new.
10 Best: 1991 Acura NSX
Honda’s interpretation of top performance for the Acura NSX was defined not only by power and handling, but also by features such as reliability, visibility and comfort. The 1991 Acura NSX effectively dispels the ’90s myth that supercars are cool to look at, but not so much fun to drive.
Power for the 1991 Acura NSX comes from a 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces approximately 270 horsepower. The ’91 NSX originally sold for $62,000, but given its nearly trouble-free ownership experience after 31 years, the Japanese supercar is going for around $120,000.
9 Best: 1991 Mazda RX-7
The 1991 Mazda RX-7 is a joy to drive with a progressive design. Compared to other sports cars of the era, the Mazda RX-7 is well-built, with a hybrid-type roof that brilliantly combines the qualities of a convertible and a hardtop.
The base engine of the 1991 Mazda RX-7 is a 1.3-liter gasoline engine that delivers up to 160 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque. There are hardly any serious complaints about the 1991 RX-7 and it has turned out to be a nice collector’s item.
8 Best: 1994 Toyota Supra
The 1994 Toyota Supra has gotten quite old and for a sports car that has been around for 28 years, it seems like it was released yesterday. Starting at $40,000, the 1994 Supra is now much more valuable, costing between $78,000 and $148,000. While some sports cars in the Supra’s age range have found a home in the junkyard, a number of features make the 1994 Supra a great classic collectible.
The base engine of the ’94 Supra is a six-cylinder in-line, 24-valve engine that produces approximately 220 horsepower, while the 3.0-litre twin-turbo engine boosts power to 320 horsepower. That said, the Supra’s sleek design and sharp handling make it a cool everyday driver, and there are no recalls for this vehicle.
7 Best: 1995 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4
The Japanese Mitsubishi GTO was introduced to the US market in 1991 as the 3000GT to compete with sports cars like the Nissan 300ZX and Toyota Supra. The VR4 is the best version in the 3000GT family, with four-wheel drive.
Power comes from a 3.0-litre DOHC twin-turbocharged V6 engine producing 320 hp. You may have noticed that the Mitsubishi 3000GT is quite similar to the Dodge Stealth, and that’s because the only major difference between them is the body panel.
6 Best: 1999 BMW M3
If you want to show the world you’ve arrived, just stop in a BMW like the M3. While the M3 is aimed at young people, older owners can feel younger just by trying the high-performance version of the BMW 3 Series.
The M3 E36 comes with a 3.2-liter S52B32US engine that produces 240 horsepower in combination with a five-speed manual transmission. When it comes to reliability, the 1999 M3 doesn’t have many complaints, and 85% of reviewers agree Edmunds gave it a five star rating.
5 Worst: 1990 Eagle Talon
Styled by Chrysler and developed by Mitsubishi, the Eagle Talon should be a great option for those looking for a budget-friendly, turbocharged AWD sports car in America as an alternative to the Mitsubishi Evolution and Subaru WRX.
However, because the battery drained when the car is turned off and the engine failed to start, many Eagle Talon owners were ready to let it go after a few years of ownership. The 1990 Talon has been recalled four times due to problems with the sunroof, windshield and seat belt hinges, affecting a total of 962,663 vehicles.
4 Worst: 1991 Ford Thunderbird
Finding that perfect combination between a sports car and a luxury car isn’t easy, so while it seems Ford has done well with the Thunderbird, some model years have been a bit of a disappointment. The 1991 T-Bird struggles with problems with the engine, transmission and control switches for the door lock and windows.
According to James, a 1991 Thunderbird owner from California, engine runs rough and gives off smoke, with only 45,000 miles on the odometer. The 1991 T-Bird has been recalled four timeswith more than 8 million affected vehicles.
3 Worst: 1994 Ford Probe
Ford worked with Mazda to bring the Probe idea to life from the front-wheel drive Mazda G platform. But Ford was only able to sell about 15,000 units of the second-generation Probe before finally pulling the plug in 1997.
Today, the Ford Probe is largely forgotten, and those who had one have terrible stories to tell about the brakes, engine, paintwork and electrical system. More than 100,000 units of the 1994 Ford Probe were recalled due to concerns about the airbags, fuel filter and orange reflectors.
2 Worst: 1998 Oldsmobile Cutlass
In 1998, the Oldsmobile Cutlass really struggled to keep up with Asian imports like the Nissan Maxima and Toyota Camry, so Oldsmobile pulled the plug on the Cutlass the following year. The 1998 Oldsmobile Cutlass was plagued with engine problems and many owners reported hearing a ticking noise when driving in cold weather.
Loads of 1998 Oldsmobile Cutlass owners also expressed concerns about the anti-theft light occurs sporadically. There have been three recalls on the ’98 Oldsmobile Cutlasscovering nearly 880,452 vehicles.
1 Worst: 1999 Mercury Cougar
When the 1999 Mercury Cougar was introduced as the MC2 concept in 1997, sports car enthusiasts were seduced by its bold appearance, but after a short while it showed its true colors as the mechanical and electrical components started playing up. It is not uncommon to encounter complaints of engine stalling, starting and transmission oil leakage.
Just a few months after the release of the 1999 Cougar, Ford recalled approximately 159,565 vehicles due to faulty throttle cables. The next 8 years saw the recall of approximately 1,045,116 Mercury Cougars from 1999†
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