It’s hard to compete with
Honda in any decade, and it’s especially difficult during the automaker’s golden age in the mid-1990s. But there are some contenders for the best cars of 1994, including its own
Acura luxury division.
In 1994, things seemed bleak: Olympic ice skater Nancy Kerrigan suffered an attack leaving her unable to compete; O.J. Simpson briefly fled from the police in his infamous white Bronco; and everyone who had access to the internet was using Netscape Navigator. One of the few hopeful beams of light, though, came from the automotive industry.
By 1994, auto manufacturing had achieved new heights in efficiency and technology, bringing on some of the most exciting builds of the decade.
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The best cars of 1994
In the mid-90s, SUVs were starting to grow in popularity, but the family sedan still reigned supreme by consumer demand. Here’s a list of the top cars of that model year.
The best car of 1994: Honda Accord
KBB fair market range: $950 to $2,300
Powertrain: 2.2-liter, 4-cylinder engine with 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic
The practical four-door sedan was anything but boring. In 1994, Honda released a newly-redesigned
Accord, featuring updated interior materials, more passenger room, and an incredibly quiet ride. The 1994 Accord was an upgrade in comfort and design.
Its exterior was made with heavier panels than before, and special noise-dampening joints made the ride smooth and peaceful. Available in three trim levels, the Accord aimed at satisfying the need for a daily driver, a family car, and a close-to-luxury ride, all in one package.
The best luxury car of 1994: Acura Integra GS-R
KBB fair market range: $1,100 to $2,600
Powertrain: 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine with 5-speed manual transmission
The GS-R is the top trim offered for the 1994
Acura Integra, and the little three-door sports coupe brought a lot of power for a small package. Its 1.8-liter engine made 180 horsepower, which was contained in a luxury package with a comfortable plush interior and sexy, sporty exterior. A top-notch suspension put the Acura Integra GS-R over the edge as an enhanced package for driving enthusiasts and car lovers.
The best SUV of 1994: Toyota 4Runner
KBB fair market range: $1,700 to $4,200
Powertrain: 2.4-liter 4-cylinder or 3-liter V6, with a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission
Toyota 4Runner is well-loved for off-road action and on-road performance. In 1994, the 4Runner brought a little class and sophistication to the rugged performance standards of off-roading and winter weather driving.
Today, 4Runners from the mid-90s are still on the road and running great, with many drivers earning the honor of joining the 4Runner’s 400,000 Mile Club. Reliability and functionality tend to be Toyota’s bread and butter, and what better combination could you ask for in an SUV?
The best luxury SUV of 1994: Land Rover Range Rover
KBB fair market range: $1,200 to $3,100
Powertrain: 3.9-liter or 4.2-liter V8 with 4-speed automatic transmission
Range Rover came out just before the luxury SUV market started to take off in the late ‘90s. Range Rover, though, is considered by many to be the original luxury SUV. It makes our list not only because it’s synonymous with off-roading culture, but also because it offers a smooth ride on city streets and is still embraced by brand enthusiasts today.
The Range Rover is known to handle just about anything, but be warned: it comes with a few quirks and some expensive repair costs if you insist on original manufacturer parts. If you’ve got the money to invest in upkeep, and truly love the off-road driving experience, the 1994 Range Rover might be a good fit for you.
The best family car of 1994: Chrysler Town & Country
KBB fair market range: $836 to $2,000
Powertrain: 3.8-liter V6 with a 4-speed automatic transmission
Chrysler Town & Country is where minivans met luxury. In the 1990s, it was pretty loaded. It came with power locks and windows, a luggage rack, leather seats and panels, and wood panel trim—it even had a hood ornament.
But beyond the superficial, the Town & Country minivan is synonymous with performance. You can still see lots of 1994 models on the road today, and they’re running just as well as ever.
The best sports car of 1994: Ford Probe
KBB fair market range: $880 to $1,700
Powertrain: 3.8-liter V8 engine with a 4-speed automatic transmission
The perhaps unfortunately-named Ford Probe brought performance and style to mainstream markets as a collaboration between Ford and Mazda. You can see the connection with the Probe’s retractable flip-up headlights, borrowed from the
Mazda MX-5 Miata. The 1994 Probe was also one of the first cars to offer standard dual airbags.
But let’s talk about performance. Its 164 horsepower propelled the little two-door coupe to 60 mph in just 7 seconds, outpacing its contemporary and inspiration, the Mazda MX-6.
The best truck of 1994: Dodge Ram 1500 Regular Cab
KBB fair market range: $1,300 to $3,100
Powertrain: 3.9-liter V6, 5.2- or 5.9-liter V8, or 8-liter V10
In 1994, the
Dodge Ram 1500 literally changed the face of the American pickup truck. It went for a radical new design that invoked images of big rigs, and beyond the facelift, it brought the power.
The Ram, while it was still a subsidiary of Dodge in 1994, offered the largest cab of any American pickup truck at the time. It also had great, big doors and a reclining driver’s seat—a first for pickups.
Its 8-liter V10 brought a phenomenal amount of power for pickup truck drivers who didn’t want anything to do with diesel engines. It got 300 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. The 1994 Dodge Ram lineup is still reverberating today as the year that made the Ram pickup truck brand what it is now.
What cars came out in 1994?
As the Beanie Baby craze took off in 1994, so, too, did several new car models introduced that year. Here’s a lineup of some 1994 debuts that you might remember:
2.5- to 3.2-L 4-cylinder or V6
1.6- to 1.9-liter I 4 or 2.5-liter I6
A hatchback version of the regular 3 series line
Built for the track and based on the 911 Turbo
Featured suspension tuning by Lotus
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How to save money on used car insurance
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