The ‘90s was the last decade where the coupe market found favour with buyers. I’ve found a selection of 10 contenders who promise style, handling and performance according to their respective brochures. Picking 1997 as a typical year where you had such a choice of cars, we’ll have a quick analysis of their strengths.
The Alfa Romeo GTV could be considered the best looking amongst this lot, and while 2.0 litre wasn’t the quickest, it was still fun to drive.
The Fiat Coupe was given some rave reviews thanks to its all-round ability but suffered from niggly faults.
The Rover ‘Tomcat’ 220 benefited from a new engine and despite the old design, it was still a quick car.
The Peugeot 406 was another stunner employing Pininfarinas skill to style the car but only shined with the bigger engines.
Vauxhall’s Calibra struggled with the competition for dynamics but was roomy and not bad looking too.
Toyota had been in the coupe game for decades, while not a great sports car they were well made and nice to drive over a long distance.
Arch rival Nissan produced an underrated gem with their 200 SX simply due to its speedy fun drive.
Honda, like the Nissan, lacks the visual excitement of a sports car but like the Celica, also well made and equipped.
The two last cars are closely related but have totally different appeal. The US-made Ford Probe had an impossible task to replace the much loved Capri, but as a stand-alone car especially in V6 form, was swift and had a decent amount of kit.
Mazda’s MX6, not surprisingly had the same attributes but was cheaper with better-built quality.