Welcome to Used Car Face Off, where we find two similar or similarly priced used cars and ask you which one you would buy. Choose wisely!
Ah, yes, the sports coupe craze of the 1990s. I'm sure it seemed like a great idea at the time, and the market was sure flooded with them. Then just like that, they started dropping off. Names like Integra, Celica, Probe, Eclipse are gone from the automotive landscape, for better or worse.
But who actually misses them? To find out, I've assembled a couple nameplates from the '90s sports coupe era and you decide which one you'd take home.
Who remembers the Eagle Talon? Actually, who remembers Eagle? Outside of those who owned one, there are few who recall this product of the Diamond Star venture. The Talon was actually a sharp little car, better than the Plymouth Laser and the formerly popular Mitsubishi Eclipse.
Stuff like this '95 Talon TSi wasn't as boy racer-y as an Eclipse, but the two were usually at the forefront of spoiler trends of the era. But this is a performance machine, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four powering all four wheels through a five-speed manual. Hotter stuff than the usual front-drives of this category.
OK, it's not exactly a quality product. The interior looks even worse than it did back in '95. I hope there's a faceplate for that detachable radio. These were fragile machines, too. But like a nice, unmolested Integra, seeing a clean Talon puts a smile on my face. Even if it has stupid, stupid wheels. Stupid.
Perhaps, though, you were more of a fan of another Japanese-American creation. That would be the Mazda MX-6 of 1993-1997. It shared its bones with the Ford Probe, but was way more attractive. This 1993 MX-6 LS is a rare example of one of the most beautiful shapes of the decade, mated to the everyday usability of a 626 V6. It too has a spoiler.
The first MX-6 was a box that hid some technical brilliance – stuff like turbos and four-wheel steering. The second-generation shared pretty much everything under the skin with the conventional Probe. But it added refinement the DSM cars could only dream of (or get in the third-gen Eclipse). A 2.5-liter V6 only made 164 horsepower and it's mated here with a four-speed auto, but this is a cruiser. You look like a grown-up in this.
I really expected to find a ton of late-model MX-6s on the Internet, but there's not a lot out there anymore. The person who had one of these classy MX-6s didn't necessarily wrap it around a tree, but these weren't cared for cars, either. This one has 158,000 miles and is definitely well, um, used.
I like these MX-6s, but they don't excite me the way turbocharged, all-wheel drive goodness like the Talon does. It's crazy, and that's a good thing. If you buy a clean one, keep it as is. Unless it has nasty wheels, then do something about that.