1997 Honda Torneo 1.8 VTi
Available for: $10,995
As far as quirky commuters are concerned, this Torneo 1.8VTi checks all the boxes for a dependable daily that's both fun and frugal! Paired with a slick shifting 5-speed manual gearbox, this 1997 is perfect for hypermilers, Honda Die-Hards, or the discerning driver in need of a unique yet reliable daily. Finished in Supermarine Blue Pearl (B-84P), the exterior of this one shows well for its age, save for a couple of blemishes and scuffs from 25 years of prior Japanese use. Sporting a set of nifty OEM rainguards, this one certainly stands out among the crowd and with only 58k verified/documented miles on the clock, she's barely getting broken in as well. For a special Honda that delivers in both quality and performance, this Torneo is a Japanese Classic like none other!
The interior is comfortable, spacious, and feels just about on par with any equivalent Acura offering of the time. The seats are well bolstered and trimmed in a velvety patterned cloth. Showing no notable defects outside of some expected discoloration they're plenty comfortable for running your day-to-day errands, and power windows, locks, and power mirrors work in tandem to make the drive more accessible as well. The driver benefits from a tilt-adjustable steering column, and dual front SRS airbags are on hand to give some additional peace of mind to any passengers along the way. The center stack is intuitively designed, housing OEM audio and a fully functional digital automatic climate control unit. For the warmer months ahead, cold A/C is rapidly accessible with hot heat on tap for the winter to follow. The dash materials are all in good nick, the soft touch grey vinyl shows no discernible cracks or other miscellaneous UV distortion, and the complementary flat black accents aren't too worse for the wear either. The rear bench serves up enough space for three additional passengers, and the trunk has ample room for other cargo as well. Overall, this cabin is well-appointed for what it is, and we feel the next owner should feel quite good about its condition. That's not to say this one is perfect as the LCD screen on the odometer is spotty in a few areas, the power folding mirror function is inoperable, and there is some wear on the steering wheel and gear shift. On the positive side, we've even retained the factory-carpeted floor mats for the new owners and it's clear this car was cared for in a prior life.
Under the hood, Honda's F18B may not be the most widely known powerplant to the US market, but with numerous parts and servicing shared with our Accords here stateside, it remains a more economical version of the beloved F23A engine. This single-cam VTEC mill still has plenty of get-up-and-go, and our trained technicians have performed a few key maintenance items to get this one ready for the road ahead. She starts up promptly, care of a new 12v battery, and settles into a smooth, hiccup-free idle thanks to new spark plugs across the board. The short-ratio 5 speed gearbox makes the drive a bit more involved, and this one shoots right up to highway speeds without issue. Power is hammered down to the front wheels with ease, and the stock suspension is plenty compliant over even the harshest of road imperfections. New front inner and outer tie rods assist with dialing in the handling, and if an abrupt stop is required, new front and rear brake pads are on hand to ensure you slow down safely. The ABS light is illuminated, but stopping power is not hindered. To further aid handling, stopping power, and comfort, we've even wrapped all four corners in new Falken rubber, sure to quiet down any unwanted road noise and deliver plenty of grip in all seasons for tens of thousands of miles to come!
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB compliant first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.