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11 Affordable 90s Cars I Want for My Dream Garage

Once again, our intrepid journalist spent his day daydreaming, this time to come up with a list of affordable 90s cars he'd love to have in his garage.

See also: 14 Affordable 80s Cars I Want for My Dream Garage

When I was but a tiny teenager in the 90s, the new vehicles roaming the streets of my neighborhood were becoming more modern. Automakers were looking at aerodynamics and driving pleasure with renewed focus, and powertrains were starting to gain power again. Manufacturers began to dream of their brand's past again by concocting models inspired by... the past, while at the other end of the spectrum, the technological content on board the vehicles was more complex and omnipresent than ever.

In a radical departure from my previous 80s-dream-car exercise, I increased my theoretical budget just a bit, from $25,000 to $30,000. That’s not peanuts, I agree, but hey, to get a special car in very good condition, you have to be willing to pony up. In any case, with $30,000 in your pocket, forget about getting anything remotely resembling an exotic supercar. Plus I have a confession: even within this list, some choices don't entirely respect my self-imposed budget.

Beyond money, there are no specific criteria save for the driving pleasure I’m sure I would feel driving these cars. Here we go.

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Mazda MX-5 (1990 – 2000)

Mazda MX-5
Photo: Mazda
Mazda MX-5

Unveiled at the very end of the 1980s, the Mazda MX-5 Miata doesn't really need an introduction anymore, three decades on.

The convertible is already the number-one selling roadster in automotive history, but that's not why the first-generation MX-5 Miata is still so popular with enthusiasts. Nor is that because of the neat retractable headlights, a feature that will be removed from the spec sheet for the second-generation model.

No, for simplicity and pure driving pleasure, the MX-5 Miata is the perfect example of a car that is reliable, fun and inexpensive to maintain, and above all, a car that shows you don't need a monstrous engine under the hood to keep a smile pasted on your face.

Mazda MX-5, from above
Photo: Mazda
Mazda MX-5, from above