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Top 10: Surprising classics of the 1990s

With the latest data suggesting that pre-2000 cars are often better maintained than later models, achieving higher MoT pass rates as a result, is it true that models of the ’90s are among today’s best buys? We reckon so.

Not everything built in the 1990s was brilliant, of course. But even among the mainstream models that many thought would never be considered classics, there’s now growing interest from bargain-seeking enthusiasts. Check out our ten most unlikely classics from that decade.

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Rover 200 – 1995-1999

Rover’s R3-generation 200 eventually went on to spawn the 1999-on Rover 25 and the 2001-on MG ZR. Each of the latter has its own following now, but we reckon the 200-series is the sweet spot in the range. A four-year career means it’s not exactly a regular sight, while the 200’s sleek front end styling (with its narrow headlamps and shallow grille) seems to have aged rather better than the 25’s and ZR’s. For hot hatch thrills, go for the limited-run BRM; for everyday practicality, opt for any regular ‘R3’ in good order.

Read our Rover ‘R3’ review here


   on 2 December 2017

I'm looking forward to a long future with my collection off mk2 Ghia X mondeo's. Just about every luxury that was on offer is used to give fantastic comfort and a lovely drive. I use one off my auto 2.0l silver top models everyday and its a joy. I'm hoping to save at least one 1997 launch spec model as a future classic. I also have a 2000 version sat awaiting a restoration. Ill be be using the auto daily for as long as im able to as so happy with everything about these cars.

Captain-Cretin    on 6 December 2017

A few years ago, I bought my son a mint condition 98 Skoda to learn in, and was devastated when he wrecked it, hooning around in the snow.

They are big on the inside, even for the big 'n tall, cheap to run - I got 49mpg from the little 1.3l engine; an engine that was also surprisingly nippy due to the light weight, and the engines low range grunt.

Slobodan    on 6 December 2017

All death-boxes. Please buy a modern, safe car. If you get hit in this cans, you will not go well.

Husbandofstinky    on 11 December 2017

I could relate to a lot of the above.

For starters, where was the 306? Plenty of them still kicking about and didn't rot. Low tech and easily fixable. I have had many over the years and one up until four years ago when I gave it to father. He still has it and it is still going strong now (2.0 HDi).

I thought about the retro route also but as the last post points out they aren't that solid. If push comes to shove I would much rather be in a modern car rather than a retro wagon in an accident. As great 306's were in a pile up I would put my life and faith in a newish Fiesta/Corsa any day of the week. Pretty light weight stuff back then.

Derek Maddock    on 11 December 2017

I have just sold my Rover 75 Club SE 2.0L V6 Which is in the class of the Rover 25. I am regretting selling it already.
It is still a car of distinction and got plenty of second looks in town. It's sleek lines have often been compared to a Jaguar. I have owned a Jaguar X Type and while the engine of the Jag is better, I couldn't help feeling more cosseted in the Rover.

The paintwork on my Rover seemed thicker and was more resistant to stone chips and boy does it polish up. The bodywork on my Rover had no rust, nor did the chrome, the chassis was also rust free.

I felt safe in the car, as safe as I do in a new car and I have had new cars for the last 16 years but only had them for 3 years at a time. Why? , new cars are boring.

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