Buy/Drive/Burn: V6 Midsize American Sedans of 1997

We continue our 2007 and 1997 sedan series with its fourth installment. We’ve covered V6 Japanese sedans from two different decades, as well as American-branded entries from 2007. Today we step back to the midsize V6 sedan class of 1997. The Big Three beckon you with medium build quality, equipment, and value for money in a midsize sedan; a segment in which only GM deigns to participate in 2020. Let’s go.

Note: We’re counting these three as mid-size today, though the Intrepid leans into the full-size category. The Dodge Stratus is too small to play here.

Dodge Intrepid

1997 saw the first generation Dodge Intrepid wrap up its run, arguably as the most stylish car of this trio. It was replaced by a larger second generation the following year which seemed built even more poorly than the first-gen. Developed over its tenure, by 1996 Intrepid had standard ABS, and an Autostick shift-it-yourself feature for the four-speed automatic. Today’s car is well-equipped ES trim and features the larger 3.5-liter V6 good for 214 horsepower. You’ll pay around $22,910.

Ford Taurus

The third-gen Taurus was in its second model year in 1997, as its design went from aero three-box to ovoid, customers were less than thrilled, and Ford began to pay less and less attention to its mass-market family car. The model’s first two years saw a different trim lineup than the latter two, with G, GL, LX, and SHO as the initial group. Base models received a 3.0-liter Vulcan V6, but the LX stepped up to the 3.0 Duratec mill that made 200 horses (instead of 145). Today’s LX sends those horses through a four-speed AX4N automatic. Yours at $21,610.

Pontiac Grand Prix

The popular and cladded Grand Prix was newly in its sixth generation for the ’97 model year. Aggressive in styling and with Pontiac’s Wide-Trac stance, the Grand Prix was a go-to for many family sedan buyers at the time. Just two trims were available on Grand Prix, the base SE in sedan guise, or GT in coupe or sedan forms. The GT sedan (today’s pick) uses the Buick 3800 V6 good for 195 horsepower. Ask is about $20,319.

Three sedans around the $20,000 mark, which is worth the Buy in 1997?

[Images: Chrysler, Ford, GM]

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