How different are today's cars from 90s cars?

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3,941
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Ohio
From an ownership perspective, what is it like to own a modern, 2010+ car, as compared to a mid '90s car? What are your impressions? To those who have made the jump, what was it like? Is your life a lot better now? Thanks for your input smile
 
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8,576
Location
Ohio
I would add the chassis seem stiffer and have more integrity and cars usually ride better and quieter and handle better. And there's less maintenance. That's the pros. The cons are cost and complexitiy.
 

01rangerxl

Site Donor 2021
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10,322
Location
Birmingham, AL
Originally Posted By: JRed
The interiors are nicer.
That kind of depends on the make and model. Some manufacturers have become real cheap with the cloth and carpet. Also, some cars still have painted interior parts that wear easily. Overall interiors seem to have fewer squeaks and rattles though.
 
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11,697
Location
Illinois
I don't think maintenance is that much less than the 90's cars. Most 199x cars have at least one if not dual airbags. Today cars have multiple air bags. Wheels and Tires. Only "sporty" cars had 16" wheels, and aspect ratios were 65 or higher for most pedestrian cars. Today, I think 16" wheels are the low end wheels for most cars, and most aspect ratios are UNDER 65. Higher performance cars may go down to 35 or 40 for the aspect ratio, and 20" wheels are not uncommon. More safety stuff. TPMS and stability/traction control are common or even mandated today. Rare if even available at all in the 1990's. More vehicles are using some sort of variable valve timing. It was pretty rare in most 1990's cars. Transmissions are getting more gears. A typical automatic had at most 4 gears, manuals were 5 speeds. Today you can find 8 speed automatics and 6 speed manuals, not to mention the CVT transaxles. Hybrids. Today we have them, in the 1990's, they were in engineering. Those are the ones that come to my mind right away.
 
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5,968
Location
Houston, Texas
The cars these days have too much [censored] on them. It's gonna be interesting to see what happens to these vehicles in 10 years. Some of these vehicles have 4 catalytic converters on them.
 
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11,196
Location
NY Capital District
Originally Posted By: TomYoung
They used to have amazing cars - Saturns, Pontiacs, Plymouths, Hummers, Mercurys....
You lost all credibility when you put Hummer in that list.
 
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11,196
Location
NY Capital District
Also, I really only have my cavalier to compare to but- modern cars are... A. Safer due to stronger design and materials, and multiple airbags. B. Built much better overall in terms of Fit and finish, material quality, NVH, and a general feeling of solidity. C. Generally have better mix of handling/ride characteristics D. More gadgets and gizmos, for better or worse E. More efficient, more powerful engines and more efficient automatic transmissions.
 
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24,721
Location
Dallas,Tx USA
Originally Posted By: Nick R
Originally Posted By: TomYoung
They used to have amazing cars - Saturns, Pontiacs, Plymouths, Hummers, Mercurys....
You lost all credibility when you put Hummer in that list.
Yeah,I hate those things. Aren`t they just plastic Suburbans?
 
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744
Location
SW Missouri
Remembering that 1991 was 20 years ago, here are some additional differences: Power door locks, rear window defrosters, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, air conditioning, power windows and power driver seat were all optional. Leather seats were only available on luxury vehicles/top end models. Most engines had only 2 valves per cylinder and many if not most American V6 and V8 engines were pushrod, not overhead cam engines. 2.5L, 4 cyl engines had about 110 HP and 135 lb-ft of torque, compared to 175/170 today.
 
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11,196
Location
NY Capital District
Originally Posted By: aquariuscsm
Me,I HATE the interiors of today`s cars with a passion! They`re all made from the cheapest plastic on the planet,and all look the same.
Compared to WHAT? I've sat in 90s cars, and spent a lot of time in a cavalier. Granted, that's a cavalier, and you don't need to tell me how horrible they are. But I cannot say that I've ever been anything more than unimpressed with the materials in any 90s auto. As far as design, that is false as well. I'd compare most 90s model year interiors that I've experienced to the lowest end Dodge Caliber. Cheap feeling, cheap looking. Compare even a modern day Corolla, known for being cheap, or a Cruze which has some of the highest interior quality in it's class, or a modern Lexus or BMW. Or a 90s pickup. My dad had a 94 GMC Sierra, and my grandfather had a 99 Silverado. I've been in modern day pickups. The difference is mcdonalds versus a steak dinner at an expensive steakhouse.
 
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24,721
Location
Dallas,Tx USA
Originally Posted By: motor_oil_madman
The cars these days have too much [censored] on them.
HUGE 2nd! How much would it cost to fix one of those fancy electronic gizmos once it breaks. Sure,all that stuff`s cool when it`s new,but once it starts to gradually all quit working?
 
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11,196
Location
NY Capital District
Originally Posted By: OldCowboy
Remembering that 1991 was 20 years ago, here are some additional differences: Power door locks, rear window defrosters, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, air conditioning, power windows and power driver seat were all optional. Leather seats were only available on luxury vehicles/top end models. Most engines had only 2 valves per cylinder and many if not most American V6 and V8 engines were pushrod, not overhead cam engines. 2.5L, 4 cyl engines had about 110 HP and 135 lb-ft of torque, compared to 175/170 today.
It's true. Modern, mid 2 Liter I-4s make more power than most 3.4-4.0L V6s from the 90s, and more than most big block V8s from the 60s and 70s.
 
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11,196
Location
NY Capital District
Originally Posted By: aquariuscsm
Originally Posted By: motor_oil_madman
The cars these days have too much [censored] on them.
HUGE 2nd! How much would it cost to fix one of those fancy electronic gizmos once it breaks. Sure,all that stuff`s cool when it`s new,but once it starts to gradually all quit working?
Because crank windows, basic stereos, vacuum actuated Cruise control modules, carbeurators, NEVER had ANY problems EVER. And at the time they WEREN'T pretty expensive to fix. Talking to my grandfather the other day, he was telling me that cars today aren't really that much more expensive to repair than they used to be- when you factor in that new cars back then were generally well under 10 grand.
 
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744
Location
SW Missouri
Originally Posted By: motor_oil_madman
The cars these days have too much [censored] on them. It's gonna be interesting to see what happens to these vehicles in 10 years.
That's what my grandfather said when he bought his new 1927 Ford Model A with new-fangled inventions like a 3-speed transmission, 4-wheel drum brakes, conventional brake and clutch pedals, and a safety glass windshield.
 
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18,623
Location
Michigan
Originally Posted By: Nick R
Also, I really only have my cavalier to compare to but- modern cars are... A. Safer due to stronger design and materials, and multiple airbags. B. Built much better overall in terms of Fit and finish, material quality, NVH, and a general feeling of solidity. C. Generally have better mix of handling/ride characteristics D. More gadgets and gizmos, for better or worse E. More efficient, more powerful engines and more efficient automatic transmissions.
Going with this...BUT...my old 93 Cavalier had no problem getting mid 30s on the highway...
 
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18,623
Location
Michigan
Originally Posted By: OldCowboy
Originally Posted By: motor_oil_madman
The cars these days have too much [censored] on them. It's gonna be interesting to see what happens to these vehicles in 10 years.
That's what my grandfather said when he bought his new 1927 Ford Model A with new-fangled inventions like a 3-speed transmission, 4-wheel drum brakes, conventional brake and clutch pedals, and a safety glass windshield.
+1 Get easier to fix after a while...
 
Messages
8,576
Location
Ohio
I do think cars have gotten more expensive to repair recently. I think the early 90's had the most usable technology from a cost-benefit stand point. This is offset somewhat buy lots of "cheaper" and many times lower quality chinese made auto parts. I use to get American made better wuality parts even OE for less.
 
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