6. Buick Roadmaster LT1
The legendary Roadmaster nameplate returned to the Buick lineup in 1991 after a 33-year long hiatus. The car was basically the same as other offerings from General Motors in the same class. However, the Roadmaster had some luxury options and one interesting engine that turned this comfy cruiser into a muscle car.
The engineers at Buick found a way to install a Corvette LT1 5.7-liter V8 engine into the Roadmaster’s engine bay. The LT1 produced 300 HP in the Corvette. But in the Buick, it delivered 260 HP, which was more than enough.
5. Chrysler 300C SRT 8
The Chrysler 300C is an interesting car because it is one of the last, if not the last, true American box sedans. It comes with big V8 power and a chrome grille. To some people, it looks like your typical rental car and is nothing to be excited about. But then there’s the 300C SRT-8.
The SRT-8 comes with a 6.1-liter V8 Hemi engine that pumps out 425 HP, sending a glorious soundtrack through its twin tailpipes. The SRT-8 is fast, as getting from 0 to 60 mph takes around 4.9 seconds. The top speed was over 170 mph.
4. Toyota Camry V6
For most people, the Camry was never a performance car. It has always been a boring sedan for family-oriented car buyers. However, just take a look at the stats of the 2018 model.
The Toyota V6 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 301 HP. It sends all that power to the front wheels over an intelligent eight-speed automatic. In fact, the new Camry can achieve a 0-to-60 mph acceleration time in just 5.7 seconds. That is significantly faster than some of the most renowned muscle cars.
3. Dodge Spirit R/T
The Spirit was a Dodge economy model they presented in the late ’80s. But when Dodge presented the R/T version, things got interesting. The base 2.2-liter four-cylinder that developed only 90 HP got a turbo upgrade, producing an impressive 224 HP and 218 lb-ft of torque. For the 1991 model year, that was a hefty power level coming from an economy car.
The newfound power raised the performance to a whole new level. The Spirit R/T could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds, and that was Corvette territory back in 1991.
2. 2005 Subaru Forester 2.5 XT
Nobody would consider the 2005 Forester XT a performance machine. After all, it’s a mid-size family SUV concentrating on comfort, but with a twist. The Forester 2.5 XT has a 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four engine that delivers 207 HP.
It has an extremely capable all-wheel-drive that adds up to a surprising acceleration time from 0 to 60 mph of 5.7 seconds. Those performance numbers make it a Porsche Cayenne Turbo rival.
1. Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited
Today, fast SUVs are nothing special, but in the ’90s, they were extremely rare and obscure. However, Jeep produced one that will be a collector’s item in the near future. It is the 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited, a one year, top of the line model they equipped with every luxury item possible, as well as a 5.9-liter Magnum V8 producing 245 HP.
Although 245 HP doesn’t sound impressive today, it was a lofty number for late ’90s SUVs. The Grand Cherokee 5.9 could be considered a Jeep hot rod long before the modern SRT versions with their powerful Hemi engines. Although they only built about 15,000 if them, the 5.9 Limited is a definite future classic.
These are 25 of the most convincing sleepers ever made. They may look ordinary, but they pack a punch under the hood. Drive one of these down the road and you’ll own the stoplight.