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FeaturesBest of & Buyers GuidesThe greatest new cars of 1993

The greatest new cars of 1993

Mike Brewer Motoring rewinds thirty years to the cars launched in 1993.

If you were ready to buy a new car in 1993 there were some great new models to choose from.

From family hatchbacks to supercharged luxury new cars of 1993 were in abundance. Some have lived on, while others are no longer in production. Let’s turn the clock back three decades, yes you read that right 1993 was indeed 30 years ago!….

Vauxhall Corsa

The greatest new cars of 1993

When Vauxhall launched the replacement for the popular Nova supermini in the UK it brought with it a new name – to British buyers, anyway. Larger than before and with more rounded styling, the Corsa was practical, efficient and easy to drive which is just what most buyers wanted. Cabin design and quality took a step forward, too, and for those wanting something a little livelier the sportier GSi model fitted the bill.

Peugeot 306

1993

Pretty Pininfarina styling marked out Peugeot’s new entrant in the family hatchback sector, and it went on to be a big seller. Buyers could ultimately choose from hatch, saloon, estate and cabriolet body styles and the 306 boasted a wide range of efficient petrol and diesel engines and well-balanced ride and handling. The GTI-6 brought extra punch – and a six-speed gearbox – and the lightweight Rallye is sought after by today’s enthusiasts.

Toyota Supra

The greatest new cars of 1993

The Supra name dates back to 1978 but it’s the A80 version we have here, a model launched at the Chicago Motor Show. Featuring a more muscular appearance compared to its predecessor, the UK got the twin-turbocharged variant which was impressively quick thanks to its 326bhp output. Plenty got tuned and modified to produce far more than that, but an original example still feels special today. UK sales ended in 1996 after 600 had been shifted.

Ford Mondeo

1993

The replacement for the Sierra was leagues ahead in just about every department, and it marked a shift to front-wheel drive for Ford’s family car. Cabin quality, refinement and handling all impressed while a vast range of engines and trim levels catered for every need and pocket. And covering every base, there was a choice of hatchback, saloon and estate body styles. The Mondeo is no more but the original really was great.

Aston Martin DB7

The greatest new cars of 1993

Okay, so it went on sale in September 1994 but its launch at the previous year’s Geneva Motor Show earns it a place here in the new cars of 1993 list. It began life as a Jaguar XJS replacement before passing to Aston who equipped the classy coupe and convertible with six-cylinder and V12 engines, along with a luxurious cabin. The DB7 also borrowed plenty of components from elsewhere, including Ford switchgear and Mazda rear lights…

BMW 3 Series Compact

The greatest new cars of 1993

When BMW wanted to steal sales from the likes of the VW Golf this was what they came up with. Based on the E36 platform but with a less sophisticated rear suspension design to keep costs down, the premium badge attracted plenty of eager buyers. Some reckoned the hatchback styling looked a little awkward, but the Compact drove nicely and offered reasonable punch in 140bhp 318Ti form.

Citroen Xantia

The replacement for the BX featured sharp styling, a wide range of petrol and diesel engines and Citroen’s famed hydropneumatic suspension. Spacious and comfortable, more than 1.2 million were made and while it lacked some of the quirks marque enthusiasts expected it was a convincing family car. And for something a little more special there was the Activa model that featured an active anti-roll system for amazing handling.

Porsche 911 (993)

The greatest new cars of 1993

The replacement for the 964 generation was claimed to be 80% new, and being the last of the air-cooled 911s guaranteed it a place in Porsche history. Available in two- and four-wheel drive forms the stunning performance was backed up by top-notch quality and superb handling, and the Turbo was a proper supercar. Producing 408bhp, it could hit 60mph in less than 4.5 seconds and 180mph. No wonder the 993 is so sought-after.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

It’s the W202 generation we have here that was launched as a replacement for the popular and long-lasting 190. The classy saloon and estate had plenty of appeal, from a refined and well-built cabin to a strong combination of ride and handling. The engine range included supercharged petrol and frugal diesel units, but for proper punch it was hard to resist the lure of the C55 AMG with its potent V8.

Rover 600

The greatest new cars of 1993

It might have been a Honda Accord underneath, but Rover’s re-style looked good and was accompanied by a comfortable, well-equipped cabin. The 600 was good to drive, too, and for those after a little more excitement the Ti model that arrived in 1994 would have suited rather nicely. The turbocharged engine made 197bhp which was enough for 0-60mph in 7 seconds and a 143mph top speed.

Renault Laguna

The greatest new cars of 1993

The replacement for the angular 21 model featured softer styling, and all versions offered an appealing combination of space, comfort and strong equipment levels. A more practical estate version joined the hatchback in 1995, too. And if the smooth V6 engine proved a bit thirsty then the rest of the petrol and diesel engines were easier on the pocket. Success in touring car racing added a bit of motorsport glamour as well.


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