Just another curbside scene in Eugene.
The gen1 Outbacks were extremely common here, but their numbers are dwindling pretty quickly. How many head gaskets have to be replaced before it gets old?
On the other hand, gen1 CRVs are holding their numbers at an impressive rate. They seem to be genuinely bullet-proof, in relative terms, anyway.
Obviously box Panthers are becoming a rarity, and the ones still on the street must be recognized.
Which of the three would you take? The CRV for me. I suspect I’d prefer driving it to my Chevy Tracker, which is still sitting in front of our house, awaiting either another off-road adventure or a sale.
“which would you take” – We are going to see some stark dividing lines here…
I think I’d go for them in the order they sit here. Add another wrinkle – what was I actually driving in 1998? A 1993.5 Infiniti G20 as I recall and we did buy a different car late that year, a 5-liter 1998 Ford Explorer.
Which would I be driving in 1998? The one that I was driving in 1998. The Mercury, but mine was black.
NO contest! Have had numerous FMC full size upscale automobiles! 🏆. Currently have beautiful low mileage Town Car Signature Limited. No interest in the others!
Plenty of road salt use here. And harsh seasonal contrasts in cold, and hot, humid weather. The remaining most common of the three? The CRV. The ones I see, do look their age, but not abused. Drivers aren’t that old either.
Funny, I passed a parked 1st gen CRV with the funny column shifter on my afternoon dog walk yesterday, and thought about it in CC terms. Old enough to be a classic, before this class of CUV became very popular and started offering V6’es. But still a very common sight. And as hard as I tried, I just couldn’t recall any instance of having ridden in a CRV of any vintage. Nor any RAV4, come to think of it.
1998 I was still driving the 1971 Poniac T-37 my uncle gave me in the middle of my Junior year of high school (1975/76). My parents got a 1980 Mercury Cougar and I never liked that compared to the Pontiac, it felt like navigating a land yacht. So, because of Subaru head gaskets, I’ll take that CRV, thanks!
I had a 1999 CRV and I got tired of the overall road noise and not great gas mileage. I’d take the Ford for the comfort knowing it will gobble gasoline at a high rate too!
Reminds me of the dull first car choices I had circa 2005. In lieu of “I’ll keep saving for something I want” like I did then, I’ll go with the Grand Marquis, but I don’t dislike these Outback’s. CRV no way, ever.
I would take the CR-V, oh wait….we had 1, long gone. However I bought a used (175K miles) ’03 for my grandson @ 2+ years ago; it’s his daily driver. 🙂 DFO
Although I suppose you could argue that a box Panther is from the tail end of the Malaise Era, I would call this collection “Post-Malaise”. (Very) roughly from ’90-’06, let’s say. And I think that as this era of cars gets further behind us, it will get viewed more fondly. In some ways, at least to me, it was “peak automobile”. There were just enough electronics (fuel and spark control, ABS, traction control, etc) to make vehicles safe and reliable to operate, without being overt in daily operation. No screens controlling everything, and actual operation of cars wasn’t significantly different than it had been for 30 years. You could jump in and operate any car without studying the controls or manual.
Maybe I’m biased because my DD GMT800 fits squarely in this era and I adore it, but I think other folks may come around to this line of thinking as well.
It’s one of the reasons besides sentimental value I never could get rid of my Cougar, I’ve never turned the key and not had it start on the first fire just like you expect in anything made today, it has more than enough power and safety to take it on any road without hesitation, it gets ok gas mileage, it has as many creature comforts as I need, heck with the standard of the era single DIN aftermarket stereo deck even does “infotainment” well, short of a giant LCD touch display(a good thing). I’d drive it every single day if not for the fear of a Tesla on Autopilot inevitably careening into it.
My father had a gen one outback which I really liked, was actually bought from my then workplace at a salvage yard, as had been in a minor front end, got it repaired and it was a great car, I do remember spending half a day rust proofing it, so it may still be around. I particularly liked the 90s velour type interior it had.
the next gen outback that replaced it was better on paper (3.0 6 cylinder) but I didn’t like it as much, even though my dad gave me it, after buying yet another newer one, that car was in my possession up until last year, and only sold it as it was getting extremely rusty.
Box panther, no question. Just a cool design, comfortable, reliable and easy to repair.
That era of Honda and Subaru is like riding around in a tin can.
I would have to pick the Honda CRV, for sentimental reasons.
I had a 1st-generation CRV, a 2001 (my very first New Car purchase), with the somewhat uncommon option of a 5-spd manual transmission. I recall the CRV was peppy around town, but could strain a bit on certain highway uphill grades with multiple people onboard. Overall, though, it was a great vehicle, very easy to work on, and I had no issues with it at all. I miss it!
I would take the Panther.
Fuel injected 302 V8, 4-Speed Automatic. Might even have climate control with plush seat.
What more could you ask for!!
CRV, then and now. Never was a fan of the box Panthers, still evoked a ’70’s vibe, which appealed to those who bought them. I already knew about Subie head gaskets from friends who had them. I was driving a C1500 then and looking for a commuter, having owned a Ford Fiesta, smaller the better. Today, Honda Fit is my DD and love it, so CRV would be closest.