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.