How Well Do You Remember Iconic Cars From the '90s?


By: Steven Symes

6 Min Quiz

Image: youtube

About This Quiz

Clinton was in office, big hair was out, grunge was in, and cars were reflecting these changes and more. How well do you know vehicles from the 1990s? Test out your knowledge now!

After the weak performance attempts of the 1980s, automakers were ready to bounce back into the game with some fun rides. The 1990s were full of American muscle, JDM screamers and some thunderous European vehicles. It was a great time to be an enthusiast, even as the SUV craze was starting to wind up, because plenty of sports cars, GTs, and other fun options abounded.

We had put aside the all-flash, no-substance days of the '80s and consumers were looking for vehicles with something under the hood and some technological gadgets convenient to the driver's seat.

Thanks to various technological innovations, automakers were getting creative with squeezing more performance from cars, without violating the strict emissions regulations. That meant designs like Honda's VTEC variable valve system, turbocharging, and other advanced trickery. But these innovations meant some four-cylinder cars from Europe or Japan were able to go toe-to-toe with revered American models, and not everyone liked that. The 1990s were a time of automotive upheaval, helping us to get where we are today.

Just how well do you know the rides from this decade? Are you an automotive Vanilla Ice or MC Hammer? Take this quiz and find out just how much you really know.

This performance car is lovingly called the "Clown Shoe" by enthusiasts.

This shooting brake from the Bavarians first splashed onto the scene in 1998. Because it has a fixed hardtop, it improved on the structural rigidity of the BMW Z3 roadster, which actually makes the M Coupe handle far better in turns.


What famous military vehicle came to civilian life and was endorsed by a movie star?

Arnold Schwarzenegger personally requested that the Humvee be offered in a road-legal package, which became the Hummer H1. The thing was anything but comfortable or practical, but its wide and aggressive stance made it a true standout that polarized people instantly.


What sedan launched Toyota's luxury division into notoriety?

In 1990, the LS400 wowed everyone with its quiet and reliable operation. In fact, Lexus ran commercials that demonstrated a stack of glasses balanced on the hood of this sedan, showing just how little vibration the engine produced, making it an engineering marvel of the time.


This was Ford's little pickup truck.

In 1993, the Ford Ranger launched, instantly becoming a hit. This compact truck is still popular with a cult following today, despite a newer version coming, mainly because the old Ranger was small and highly practical for everyday driving.


This luxury SUV became popular with rappers, among others.

In 1998, Lincoln unveiled the Navigator, a luxury SUV that boasted a lot of attitude and brash styling for the time. Consumers gobbled it up, right at the peak of the big SUV craze, but the model later grew stale and paled in comparison to the Cadillac Escalade.


What was GMC's hot street truck called?

In 1991, GMC decided to drop a massive 4.3-liter turbocharged V-6 in the Sonoma. Even though GMC said it produced 280 horsepower, plenty of people have found their Syclone actually whips out about 300 horsepower, making this truck super fast and powerful for the early 1990s.


You might be able to argue this was a real NISMO supercar.

While you could argue the second-gen 300ZX wasn't as great as the first, it was still highly influential at the time. The 3.0-liter V-6 could be fitted with a turbo, making 300 horsepower at its peak. Nissan used CAD to design this car, which had all kinds of advanced features, like four-wheel steering.


What was the E39?

The E39 is largely considered the pinnacle of the M5. Not only was it powerful, the performance sedan was well-balanced and a blast to drive, making you feel connected to the road or track, instead of the numbness people complain about with the later versions of the M5.


What '90s truck proved that lightning does indeed strike twice?

The second-generation SVT Lightning launched in 1999, making for a great way to close out the decade. It was more powerful than the previous version of the truck, thanks to the supercharged V-8 engine, plus sported plenty of aerodynamic body parts, all with the aim of making this pickup fast, even by today's standards.


This was a '90s car everyone hated seeing in the rearview mirror.

The CVPI was notorious for being everywhere. Thanks to the highly durable nature and pursuit rating, these cruisers were popular with police departments across the nation, making them highly dreaded by pretty much everyone in the 1990s.


What '90s muscle car had an independent rear suspension?

With Shelby temporarily out of the picture, Ford's SVT team stepped up to make the Cobra in the 1990s. It was the 1999 model that debuted an independent rear suspension, making it a real oddball among Mustangs, until the S550s launched.


What Ferrari grand tourer from the '90s is half of a thousand?

Often overlooked, the Ferrari 500 was one of the most beautiful cars to come out of the '90s. In addition, it's a great car to take on a long trip down a twisty, winding road, thanks to excellent handling and a potent 5.5-liter V-12 engine.


What famous '90s car was known as a Nissan R33?

The Nissan R33 Skyline was a fairly potent car, when you got it in turbo form. Tuners quickly figured out that flashing the ECU unlocked a ridiculous amount of power, making these cars popular everywhere except North America.


Which '90s sports car featured a twin-turbo rotary engine?

As the first exported twin-turbo car from Japan, the third-gen Mazda RX-7 launched in 1992 to wow enthusiasts everywhere. Not only was the car curvy and sexy to look at, the 1.3-liter engine pulled hard, making this model notoriously quick and capable.


This '90s Corvette was so exotic, the engine couldn't be made at the Corvette factory in Kentucky.

Right at the opening of the 1990s, GM decided to use its ownership of Lotus and create the most advanced Corvette to date: the ZR1. It featured all kinds of lightweight materials, plus a highly advanced 5.7-liter V-8 engine that pumped out 375 horsepower. Even today, this car is constantly referenced for its visionary design.


This was a hand-built supercar from Chrysler.

The Viper stormed onto the automotive scene in 1992, completely blowing everyone away, and making Corvette owners turn green with envy. It packed a massive 8.0-liter V-10 engine that pounded out what was then a thunderous 400 horsepower, plus it had a completely unhinged nature about it.


This was a '90s supercar from Toyota.

Enthusiasts quickly learned that the new Supra that launched in 1992 was a monster performance car, especially the Turbo model. It took modifications extremely well, too, thanks to the overbuilt engine. In fact, even today, the car is regarded as one of the greatest tuner models.


What 1990s exotic car essentially had a Formula One engine in it?

After the death of Enzo Ferrari, the company decided to take the F40 a step further, adding a Tip 040 4.7-liter V-12 to a curvaceous body, plus a manual transmission. This supercar has been overlooked, but it was the last really pure Ferrari supercar, and it marked the 50th anniversary of the brand.


This British supercar held the record for fastest production car at one point in the 1990s.

Most people don't associate Jaguar with supercars, but the XJ200 took most by surprise when it debuted in 1992. The vehicle had an aggressive look, which it backed up with a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 that pushed 542 horsepower, donated from one of Jaguar's race cars.


This little Japanese roadster was a throwback to British roadsters from before.

Mazda got the idea to make a great roadster, patterned after the many from England that Americans loved, but to really push reliability. The Miata debuted with a big splash in 1990 and to this day, enjoys a cult following.


This car allowed Honda to show it could make something to compete against Ferrari and other exotics.

In 1990, Honda decided it would show off its technological capabilities by making a dramatic supercar, the Acura NSX. Before this car debuted, everyone assumed supercars had to be unreliable by nature, but Honda proved that was absolutely not the case, causing a big shift in the industry.


This 1990s vehicle was the successor to the Countach.

Lamborghini had a tough act to follow up when it stopped making the Countach, but the Diablo was up to the task. Released in 1990, this supercar came in a number of varieties, with the most potent pushing almost 600 horsepower, showing that the Italians weren't about to calm down.


What 1990s car had three seats, with the driver sitting forward and in the middle?

McLaren really outdid itself with the F1, a car that was extreme in its record top speed, precision of build quality and overall styling. Many who have been lucky enough to drive the F1 claim it accelerates without hesitation, handles crisply, and communicates feedback from the road to the driver with extreme precision.


This two-seat roadster is credited with saving Porsche from financial ruin in the 1990s.

Purists were angered by the Boxster, which launched in 1996. It had a mid-mounted engine and a decidedly modern design for the time. The little roadster was able to lift Porsche sales that were falling in the United States and elsewhere, providing the finances to keep the brand going strong.


This sports car from Mitsubishi was highly advanced for the 1990s.

Not only did the 3000GT look amazing, it had impressive performance chops to back that up. Getting the top-of-the-line VR4 version meant you enjoyed all-wheel drive, combined with turbocharging, something that's become quite standard in the industry today.


What was the retro-styled car from Plymouth?

When the Plymouth Prowler debuted in 1997, the car made everyone stop and take notice. It looked fast and retro in all the right ways, except for the ugly front bumper. Unfortunately, the car's 3.5-liter V-6 engine didn't do a good job of backing up those looks.


What '90s Dodge was a rebadged Mitsubishi 3000GT?

The Dodge Stealth was offered from 1991 to 1996, but did not win over a lot of hardcore Dodge customers, since it was actually a Japanese sports car that was masquerading as something American.


What '90s car used the same engine as the Mitsubishi Evolution?

Most people overlook the Eclipse these days, except for its role in the first "Fast and Furious" movie. What they don't realize is the second-gen from the '90s packed the 4G63, the same engine found in the Evolution back in the day, which is why it took to modifications so well.


What model was a '90s performance wagon from Audi?

Before Audi launched its own performance division, it turned to sibling brand Porsche for help building the RS2 Avant. This super wagon paired an inline five-cylinder engine with one massive turbo, unlocking 311 horsepower for monstrous performance.


This was Ford's modern SUV that launched in the early 1990s.

The 1991 Ford Explorer helped modernize the SUV, giving it a much more civilized interior than the Bronco or others than preceded it. It shared a platform with the Ranger pickup truck, and consumers flocked to it as a way to enjoy comfortable utility.


This compact sedan was notorious in the '90s for a "cute" design.

In 1994, Dodge decided to launch the Neon, which was supposed to give compact cars from Japan a run for their money. While the Neon certainly served up impressive handling and decent fuel economy, problems with reliability and the controversial styling held it back.


What was Subaru's answer to the Dodge Stealth?

This sporty coupe had a daring look, thanks to the windows where only part could roll down. It also didn't feature all-wheel drive, something that's become pretty much standard across the board for modern Subarus. It didn't sell in high numbers, and many people don't even know the SVX existed.


What Volkswagen classic was reborn as a bubble?

The Beetle had essentially the same design for decades, but in 1997, Volkswagen decided to put an end to that. The New Beetle was overly bubbly and cute, even featuring a potted flower, completely driving away any men -- as well as some women -- who might have been interested in the car,


What was the performance version of the Ford Taurus?

If you wanted a complete sleeper that looked slow, but was totally fast, the Ford Taurus SHO was a great vehicle for the 1990s. It was something your mom would have driven, but never exceeded the speed limit, and you could borrow for fun times on Friday night.


What compact NISMO featured a low price and rear-wheel drive?

The 240SX wasn't wondrously powerful, since the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine only made 155 horsepower, but the car was also lightweight. Natural steering feel and aggressive gearing made it a blast to tune, and the car is still a favorite in the drifting world today.


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