What car models were the most popular in 1995? To answer this historical question, we turn to such publications as the Car and Driver and Automobile Magazine and their articles at the time. Of course, cars use to cost much less some decades ago, but price alone did not, and still does not, determine the value of a car in its entirety. To see the bigger picture, other factors must be taken into consideration. Thus, the following article describes the best models of 1995, according to price range.
The Best Cars of 1995
When it comes to picking winners and awarding prizes, Americans take a backseat to nobody. And when it comes to rating cars, the magazines Car and Driver and Automobile Magazine are among the first places car lovers turn for the last word. Here are the cars their editors picked as the very best of model year 1995:
$12,000 to $18,000
Geo Prizm LSI
Front-engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger. Base: $12,340.
Comment: The Prizm LSi is os as good as many automobiles twice its price, and it’s a revelation every time we drive one. It steers better, grips better, and goes better than its price leads us to believe (Automboile Magazine).
Chrysler Neo Sport
Front-engine, front-wheel drive, 2-door coupe. Base: $13,567.
Comment: Like the original Volkswagen GTI, which pretty much defined the genre – frugal, front-wheel drive economy cars pumped up with hot-blooded mechanical – the Neo Sport coupe wins your heart with pyrotechnic performance while convincing your wallet with sound financial reasoning (Automobile Magazine).
Ford Contour SE / Mercury Mystique
Ford-engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan. Base: $16,695.
Comment: No other American car in this class has ever driven like the Contour V-6 we had. It was compact and tight, hammered together more like a Saab than a Tempo from the rent-a-car place. It was alert and agile, and it answered the controls like a European sport sedan. (Automobile Magazine).
Mazda MX-5 Miata
Front-engine, rear-wheel drive, 2-door, sports car. Base: $ 16,450.
Comment: If you don’t have fun driving a Miata, you probably don’t have a pulse. At 60 mph, the engin purrs happily in fifth gear. Grab the fist-sized shifter and switch to third, and the purr changes to a rasp. Plant your foot on the floor, and the rpm can easily climb to 7,000. With your hair flying in the wind and a panoramic view, it’s hard to imagine a better car anywhere (Car and Driver).
Ford Probe 24V GT
Front-engine, front-wheel drive, 2-door, 4-passenger sports car. Base: $16,545.
Comment: A beautifully integrated package – practical, comfortable, and easy to drive quickly. Its price is within reach of most new car buyers (Automobile Magazine).
Front-engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 2 or 4-door sedan. Base: $15,180 – $23,000.
Comment: As always, the Accord offers a satisfying combination of practicality, comfort, and refinement that seems to push the right buttons with both ordinary commuters and demanding enthusiasts (Car and Driver).
$18,000 to $25,000
Chrysler Cirrus LXI
Front-engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan. Base: $19,600.
Comment: The Cirrus has a sophisticated control-arm suspension to provide a winning combination of precise handling and a smooth ride. At a base price of $19,600 for a completely loaded Cirrus LXI, this car provides tremendous value (Car and Driver).
Acura Integra GS-R
Front-engine, front-wheel drive, 2+2-passenger, 3-door coupe. Base: $21,070.
Comment: A first-time winner last year, the Acura Integra GS-R captivated us again with its combination of practicality and performance (Car and Driver).
Nissan Maxima SE
Front-engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan. Base: $21,989.
Comment: It may not be lust at first sight with the Maxima SE, but after your first drive, you’ll want one… for the engine, a free-revving 190-bhp, 3.0-liter V-6 that provides bulletlike speed. You’ll want one for the slick shifter and clutch, the precision steering, the enthusiastic handling, and the overall refinement. But you have to think practically. So go ahead and buy it. The build quality is exemplary, the backseat generous, and the price reasonable (Automobile Magazine).
$25,000 to $35,000
Honda Prelude VTEC
Front-engine, front-wheel drive, 2+2-passenger, 2-door coupe. Base: $26,350.
Comment: this is the fourth consecutive win for the Prelude and the third for the VTEC model, which brings the same finely developed hardware to sports coupes that the Accord brings to family sedans (Car and Driver).
Mada Millenia S
Front-engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger sedan. Base: $31,400.
Comment: Mazda engineers are more imaginative and far braver than most, and they turn out great work. But the people we really need to thank are their product planners, who gave us out-of-the-mainstream cars like the RX-7, the Miata, and now the sleek, all-of-a-piece Millenia S… We think this package is a cut above family cars as superior as the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. (Automobile Magazine).
BMW 3251 and M3
Front-engine, real wheel drive, 5-passenger, 2- or 4-door sedan. Base: $31,920 – #36,642.
Comment: Those who genuinely enjoy the act of driving and still demand a practical, compact sedan will have a tough time finding a better choice than one of these three-series Bimmers (Car and Driver).
$35,000 and above
Front-engine, rear-wheel drive, 5-passenger luxury sedan. Base: $36,300.
Comment: Blessed with a compliant, agile, confidence-inspiring suspension that employs double wishbones in front and five links in the rear, the C280 becomes more beautiful as its speed increases. As automobile that feels merely solid and capable on the interstate sprouts the wings of angels when the roads snake through the mounts… The steering is trustworthy and the brakes are strong (Automobile Magazine).
Front-engine, rear-wheel drive, 2-passenger, 3-door coupe. Base : $37,363.
Comment: In miserable weather or for long trips, the RX-7 is not ideal. But for Sunday morning excitement in the mountains, this $37,363 sports car is one of our favorites (Car and Driver).
Front-engine, rear-wheel drive, 2+2 passenger, 2-door coupe. Base: $41,000.
Comment: A luxury coupe should provide the comfort of a luxury sedan, with a rear seat that is at least somewhat usable, and an extra helping of performance and style. The $41,000 Lexus serves up all of those qualities to perfection. (Car and Driver).
Nissan 300ZX Turbo
Front-engine, rear-wheel drive, 2-passenger, 3-door coupe. Base: $41,283 – $43,510.
Comment: The bottom line is that the $42,000 300ZX is a 155-mph sports car that a hard-core enthusiast can drive effortlessly as a daily computer, which is exactly why we fell in love with it when we put 30,000 miles on one during a long-term test (Car and Driver).
Front-engine, rear-wheel drive, 5-passenger luxury sedan. Base: $53,450.
Comment: Surrounds you with leather and wood and wool and with the amience of an exclusive private club. Its road manners are a ride engineer’s ideal. What a a Jaguar sedan should be (Automobile Magazine).
Land Rover Discovery
Front-engine, all-wheel drive, 7-passenger sport-utility vehicle. Base: $29,350.
Comment: It has a strong 3.9-liter V-8 engine and a long list of standard equipment. In a world where everyone including Ford is trying to build a better Ford Explorer, the Discovery has the sort of oddball personality that grabs our attention and won’t let go (Automobile Magazine).
Front-engine, front-wheel drive, 7-passenger minivan. Base: $23,000).
Comment: The Holy Grail for a minivan buyer. It is carlike to drive, so you don’t feel so much like you are piloting a school bus. It has lots of room – seating seven easily. It is low enough to the ground that you can step in comfortably while carrying an infant or other bulky package. And it is plush, comfortable, even for a minivan, luxurious inside, so you don’t feel surrounded by hard plastic (Automobile Magazine).
You Car’s Resale Value Five Years Later
Resale value is based on the car’s rate of depreciation. Vehicles with better resale values have slower rates of depreciation. Generally, the percentage of the original value that the vehicle will retain at the end of five years, is about 50 percent.
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BMW 325i, one of the best cars in 1995. Photograph: Car and Driver