MotorWeek checks out two sides of the ’90s Japanese car scene

MotorWeek’s Retro Reviews let you feel nostalgic about a huge range of classic cars, and the latest two releases offer a look at two very different sides of the Japanese car market in the 1990s. The video above shows off tuned examples of the Mazda RX-7 and Nissan 300ZX. Check out the clip below to remember the 1997 Honda CR-V, if you want to reminisce about something a little more utilitarian.

The RX-7 and 300ZX were among the era’s best Japanese sports cars, and these examples’ suspension and engine overhauls gave them an extra boost. Peter Farrel Supercars tunes the Mazda, and the vibrant yellow paint and body kit make it look ready for an episode of Initial D. The updated powertrain stands up to the mean styling and gets the RX-7 to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds. The Stillen 300ZX GTZ sports a giant wing, and new turbos take the output to 465 hp. It sprints to 60 in 4.9 seconds.

The CR-V sits on the opposite end of the automotive spectrum as the tuned RX-7 and 300ZX, but it’s even more important in a historical sense. The Honda (along with the Toyota RAV4 and others) was among the progenitors of today’s mega-popular compact crossovers. These early examples set the foundation for offering buyers a utilitarian vehicle in a comfortable package with good fuel economy at an affordable price. The CR-V had some quirky charm, too, like the removable picnic table hidden in the cargo floor.

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