Which Of These Three Affordable Japanese Sports Cars Would You Prefer To Crash In?

Editorial

It's a factor to consider when shopping for one of these cars.

Choosingthe perfect car is an outright challenge and for most people it is often dictated by one factor: price. But shouldn't safety be your top priority? What we’vedone is compile a list of cars, similar in spec and price, and assessed the safeness of each. The cars we decided to focus on are Japanese sports cars from the 1980s. So, if you’re looking for a 1980s Japanese sports car you onlyneed to make one decision, all prices being equal: Which would you prefer tocrash in?

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Let’s start with the Starion. Released into the wild by Mitsubishi in 1982,this turbocharged, 2.6-liter four-cylinder sports car had up to 200 horsepower, could spin in circles, and could also break down. In fact it did that a lot. Italso sometimes came with ABS and a limited-slip differential. Seeing as how ABS is safe, but the Starion didn’t always come withit, and sometimes came with LSD, which isn’t necessarily safe, it almostseems like the safest option would be to get a Starion with ABS and no LSD. Atleast the Starion keeps you on your toes: you never know what you’re going toget. Still, crash tests showed almost favorable results.

Just remember that things could always be worse. For instance, the seat belts could stop working.

Yes, things could be worse, but only maybe with the Nissan240SX. In 1992, this car came with the KA24DE engine, a dual-overhead cam2.4-liter inline-four. It had open slip (in its base model), and was with ABS in earlier years in its SE model. So if you got an SE, you’d have ABSand still an open-slip. Nevertheless, the 240SX did well with safety, at leastaccording to Kelly Blue Book. Make no mistake, the 240SX is just as capable ofcrashing into a tree as any other car, possibly due to its wheelbase, a featurethat makes it almost too easy to drift. You could always go for the all-out version. The SE model starting in 1991 had ABS, a limited-slip differential and Nissan's Super-HICAS system.

That was all-wheel steering, where in the middle of a drift the rear wheels would cause you to spin in a circle and off of a cliff.

Finally we come to the Toyota MR2, second generation. Thiscar was magnificent in many ways. Its engine was mid-mounted, and it hadexceptional handling being that it was basically a go-cart. It came with ABSand side impact bars, but only one airbag, and it belonged to the driver. Themid-mounted engine makes for some sharp cornering, and that can get dicey veryeasily if the driver is not used to it. It didn’t have a whole lot of power, atabout 130 horsepower out of its 2.2-liter inline-four, but that’s OK becausethe mid-mounted engine provided plenty of danger in the way of handling. Let itbe said that it’s a tough choice to consider which car is more dangerous.

What makes it more fun is that it’s almost impossible to find official safety ratings for any of these cars. Some forum users, however, swear by the MR2’s ability to keep occupants safe.

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