What Car from the 1990s Would You Buy Today?

The 1990s may still not seem especially distant, but plenty of cars from that decade are now old enough to be formally considered classics. Odds are you’ve already seen some rolling around on classic plates.

Of course, the decade doesn’t seem that particularly distant because there was AOL and email and DVDs—you know, modern stuff—so it can’t be all that far in the past. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. And if you squint real hard, you can even recall the movies that you saw on some lazy summer day in 1996, when you’d camp out in the multiplex because it was too hot to be outside. Life was good. And cars were also surprisingly good.

Younger Gen-Xers and older Millennials are now in the late thirties or early forties, and they’re thinking back to that carefree decade and their very first cars. Some are finding the pull of nostalgia irresistible, but while finding a copy of that first car is still somewhat affordable, tracking down an example in mint condition is proving increasingly difficult.

Which is perhaps why we’re now seeing a massive rush on some coveted machines from that decade, in all segments.

Among SUVs the J80 Land Cruiser and its Lexus twin are being swept up everywhere you look, while a minty Toyota MR2 Turbo will set you back some serious coin (or bitcoin). A tidy GMC Yukon GT 4×4 is just the ticket for some SUV fans, while even a seemingly commonplace truck like an early Toyota Tacoma has become difficult to source in clean condition. Thankfully, we have states like Oregon, Washington, and Idaho that hold our nation’s strategic supply of non-rusty Tacomas. Even that strategic supply isn’t bottomless, however.

A car doesn’t have to be objectively good for someone to long for it. Some of the top-selling cars and SUVs of the decade were compromises—and could also become very compromised very quickly as a result of some neglect. The SN95 Mustangs, for example, had notoriously rattly interiors, while seemingly “solid” cars could experience problems difficult to imagine today, like blown gaskets or cylinder wear just a few years into ownership. And a car doesn’t have to be particularly expensive for someone to still want to buy another one, which is why some people currently collect early Saturns or Hondas.

Are there any cars from the 1990s that you would still buy today, whether you’ve had one before or would buy for the first time? Let us know in the comments below.

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