Some 90s Imported Cars
98 Lexus LS 400
Lexus' flagship model is recognized as one of the most reliable vehicles ever built, having held the top ranking in J.D. Power and Associates' U.S. Vehicle Dependability Survey from 1994-2009 and receiving Consumer Reports' highest rankings for vehicle. The 1998 LS 400 received a new engine and some additional interior features: the cabin received upgrades, including a trip computer, HomeLink, retractable rear headrests, reading lamps, and ultraviolet-tinted glass while the climate control gained a micron filtration feature with a smog sensor.
The new four cam 4.0 liter V-8 featured Toyota's Variable Valve Timing + intelligence technology. VVT+i boosted engine power, while lowering emissions and improving fuel efficiency. The LS400's V-8 now produced 290 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque plus a new 5-speed automatic transmission. It could now go 6.5 second from 0-60 and braked from 60 mph to a stop in just 118 feet.
Experiencing success with its upper class Lexus, Toyota, just like Honda with its Acura brand, did just what the Germans do best: quality, quality, quality. Who could have imagined that these Japanese car makers, who just some decades back, were making cars made of little tin cans, could whip up a hyper luxury cars just like Benz and BMWs.
By 1998, the smooth and quiet ride atop these 90s imported cars had put a dent into sales of Lexus's competitors.
1997 Porsche Boxster
The Porsche Boxster is a mid-engined two-seater roadster built by Porsche. The Boxster is Porsche's first road vehicle to be originally designed as a roadster since the 550 Spyder.
The car that Porsche has been wanting to create for 30 years. Following the footsteps of the fabled 911, the Boxter came out with awesome handling, precision steering, adequate power, and a open-top motoring experience. These 90s imported cars were an immense hit. Porsche first made 5,000 Boxster a year, then increased it to 10,000 in 1998. It was opined that without the Boxster, Porsche as we know it would not exist today.
The car was extremely popular at the time, picking up countless end of year awards, and who wouldn't love a car with excellent acceleration, braking and handling. Acceleration was brisk - Car and Driver clocked 6.2 and Road & Track got 6.1.
It was powered by a 2.5 liter flat six-cylinder engine named the M96, a water-cooled, horizontally opposed ("flat"), six-cylinder engine. It was Porsche's first water-cooled non-front engine. In the Boxster, it is placed mid-engine which provided a low center of gravity, near-perfect weight distribution, and neutral handling.
Having demand exceed supply was doubtless a happy problem for Porsche after its recent lean years, and with the development of these 90s imported cars, one happy fan enthused: enthused: "No other roadster offers the same dazzling blend of performance, handling, ride and refinement." These were great 90s imported cars.
1998 VW New Beetle
The Volkswagen Beetle made a triumphant return to North American showrooms in 1998, after having been discontinued (in the U.S., at least) in the late 1970s. With a look that mixed contemporary styling with a retro attitude, it was still distinctively a Beetle, and American drivers loved it. The New Beetle carries many design similarities with the original VW Beetle: separate wings, vestigial running boards, sloping headlamps and large round tail lights, a high rounded roofline.
The VW New Beetle's comeback was based on the idea that the public as a whole buys cars on looks as well as nostalgia. And there is no smarter way to pack your showrooms than remake a car everyone loved. A lot of the baby boomers remember and are still fond of the cars of their youth. They came and viewed the new incarnation of their beloved Bugs. And these 90s imported cars pleased them.
A single New Beetle model was offered for 1998, a two-door hatchback (in two trim levels, base and TDI) riding a 98.9-inch wheelbase. Overall length was 161.1 inches; width was 67.9. The car was 59.5 inches tall. Curb weight was 2,712 pounds. These great 90s imported cars were assembled at Volkswagen's plant in Puebla, Mexico.
Power was provided by a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, 115-hp gas engine or a 1.9-liter, 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine (called a TDI, or Turbo Direct Injection) that generated 90 hp and got an impressive 48 mpg on the highway. Available transmissions were either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.
The New Beetle was built on the VW Golf platform, and a lot of its features were lifted from that model. Power steering, power brakes, power heated mirrors, front and side airbags, air conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, and an anti-theft alarm system were among the standard features.
But the look was definitely similar to that old iconic cars that were a staple of American roads. And yes, they came in bright colors like red, blue, and lime green.
1990 Nissan 300ZX Turbo (Z32)
Nissan redesigned the 300ZX, part of the company's beloved Z sports car line, for the 1990 model year. Nissan utilized the Cray-II supercomputer to completely design the new 300ZX with a form of CAD software. This made the 300ZX one of the first production cars to be developed in a CAD program. In return, it featured a whole host of technological advancements.
An instant hit, the ZX won Motor Trend's "Import Car of the Year" in 1990 as well as "One of the Top Ten Performance Cars". Automobile Magazine honors the 300ZX/300ZX Turbo as its "Design of the Year" and adds it to their "All Stars" list. Road & Track names the 300ZX Turbo "One of the Ten Best Cars in the World", and Car and Driver adds it to their 10 Best for the seven years in which it was in production in America. These 90s imported cars reached the one million sales mark in the 1990 model year, making it the all-time best selling sports car.
Low slung, wide, powerful, smooth handling, powerful engine, solid reliability, it also featured timeless design - classic, sporty looks. It was a showcase of superb Nissan engineering. It not only revitalized the Z fan-base, but it attracted a whole generation of buyers. The Z had a twin turbo engine and a 4-wheel steering system, the two features that the Japanese rivals copied.
Available in three trim levels: the 2+2 hatchback, the GS hatchback, and the turbo hatchback they all came similarly well-equipped, with power windows and doors and air conditioning. The main differences among the trims were body style and engine. The GS and the 2+2 shared a 3.0-liter, 222-horsepower V6, and the turbo had a 3.0-liter, 300-horsepower V6. Fuel economy of these 90s imported cars was about 18/24 mpg.
1997 Hyundai Tiburon
The Hyundai Tiburon, is a compact coupe (sports car) that was produced by Hyundai Motor Company. Buyers in America who heretofore thought of Hyundai as that Korean company which produced cheap, junky cars, saw a better quality car. These 90s imported cars changed some minds as The New York Times Magazine described a car which is "the best combination of comfort/grip and sport feeling, at this vehicle's class".
With production starting in late 1996 Tiburon was first offered in 1997 with base models using the Elantra's 1.8L 130 hp engine while the upscale FX received a 2.0L four-cylinder engine. The 2.0L was rated at 140 hp, base weight was around 2,550 lb, giving the RD Tiburon a higher power-to-weight ratio than the newer GK 2.0L. The 2.0L produces a 0–60 mph time of ~8.3. In 1998 the Tiburon lost its weaker 1.8L engine, giving both models the 2.0L. All versions of the Tiburon manufactured from 1996 to 2002 are known as "RD" Tiburons.
1995 Nissan Maxima (A32)
This Maxima was Motor Trend's Import Car of the Year for 1995. The Maxima SE again made Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1995 and 1996. The secret to this success was the VQ30DE engine which might be the most important engine in the last two decades. This ordinary-looking Japanese mid-size car can hit 0-60 in 6.5 seconds, all thanks to its engine.
The car was redesigned again for 1995 as the A32. The new VQ30DE 190 hp, 3.0 L V6 was the only engine option for the North American market.
Meanwhile, Maxima's primary competitor, the Toyota Cressida, was discontinued after the 1992 model year, with FWD Toyota Avalon, a stretched version of the Toyota Camry introduced in 1994, as its replacement.
1990-1997 Mazda Miata
The MX-5, also known as Miata is a lightweight two-seater roadster, of front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, built by Mazda in the tradition of small British and Italian 60s roadsters - Triumph Spitfire, MG MGB, Fiat 124 Sport Spider, Alfa Romeo Spider and Lotus Elan.
In its first year, the MX-5 Miata was powered by a 116-horsepower, 1.6-liter, double-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine with multi-port electronic fuel injection. It was linked to a five-speed manual transmission, which was standard. A four-speed automatic was optional.
Right from the start, drivers and reviewers alike were impressed with the MX-5 Miata, citing its responsive handling, sporty styling, and reliability as positive points. The Miatas of the early '90s may now have high mileage, but many drivers note they are still going strong. They are plentiful, inexpensive, extremely durable, and these 90s imported cars are still silly fun to drive, even for the inexperienced.
The MX-5 has won many awards including Wheels Magazine 's Car of the Year for 1989 and 2005; Sports Car International's "best sports car of the 1990s" and "ten best sports cars of all time".
1991 Acura NSX
The Acura NSX in North America and Hong Kong) is a sports car that was originally produced between 1990 and 2005 by Japanese automaker Honda. It was equipped with a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout, powered by an all-aluminum V6 gasoline (petrol) engine featuring Honda's Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) system
Honda got it right with the first Japanese supercar that it remained in production, virtually unchanged, for 15 years. The all-aluminum Acura NSX was an amazing feat of engineering for a company known mainly for its engine manufacture. With a high-revving 3-liter, 270-hp V-6 in mid-engine configuration and a sub-3,000-pound weight, the NSX was quick (0-60 mph in 5 seconds flat) and well balanced. And like every Honda, these 90s imported cars were reliable.
Built by Japanese automakers who could bring to it a level of production quality, it brought reliability and durability the Europeans couldn’t. It looked like a supercar should; it was low and sleek, well balanced and athletic.
Despite the original NSX ceasing production in 2005, the marque still has a strong base of fans and supporters worldwide with owners clubs flourishing in Asia, the USA and across Europe.
Today the NSX is still considered by owners of the marque as one of the most reliable exotic cars ever manufactured. Great, great 90s imported cars.
1993 Toyota Supra
The 1993 Toyota Supra had a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine with 220 horsepower. The turbo came with a twin turbocharged engine with a 320-horsepower engine and a six-speed manual transmission. For fuel economy, the 1993 Supra got about 17 to 23 miles per gallon. It was totally redesigned The Toyota Supra was totally redesigned for 1993 resulting in an even more powerful car. The new body style was much rounder and more modern. These 90 imported cars came with conventional headlights, out was the pop-up signature Supra headlights. Airbags and antilock brakes now came standard. The "Mark IV" generation Supra gained almost cult status, especially after a starring role in the film The Fast and the Furious.
1991-1994 Alfa Romeo Spider
This Alfa Romeo is a no-excuses, love me or leave me car, one of those sophisticated 90s imported cars that deserve the respect of its owner. While the fourth series of the Spider differed a bit from the original, with cosmetic “upgrades” and an electronic fuel-injection system for its 2-liter, 124-hp four cylinder, it is still the quintessential Italian sports car for the masses. By the early ’90s it had been surpassed in quality and performance by the Mazda Miata. But the classic, Pininfarina-designed lines are as classy looking today as they were when first drawn in 1964. These 90s foreign autos have a very nice shape and the last real spider with rear wheel drive.