Top 10 car adverts of the 90s

Papa and Nicole are still synonymous with the Renault Clio today

Not everyone appreciated car adverts during the 1990s, but years later they’re still serving up plenty of entertainment value. Check out consumer site Honest John’s top 10 favourites – “from the brilliant to the bizarre”…

  1. Renault Clio

    Papa and Nicole, along with their limited conversational exchanges, were a little naff in the ‘90s, but the 30-second tryst-like snippets were so widely discussed that the father and daughter duo became as famous as the car itself.

  1. Ford

    The song “Driven by You” by Queen’s lead guitarist Brian May was used in a minute and a half showcase of classic Fords, including the Orion, the Granada MKIII and the Sierra. Epic.

  1. Land Rover Freelander

    Mimicking the freeing of wild animals into the African savannah, this subtitled advert shows a Freelancer released into its “natural habitat” for their Born Free campaign.

  1. Rover Metro

    “The only small car good enough to be called a Rover” is how the 90s advert describes the reimagined Austin Mini Metro under its new badge. Words and phrases used by Car magazine following its 14-month, 50,000 mile test drive, are “eager” and “astounding”.

  1. Peugeot 306

    Two decades ago, you couldn’t help but cringe as you watched a softly-spoken siren seduce the owner of this small family hatchback. The eagerly receptive ‘stranger’ later turns out to be her husband.

  1. Citroen ZX

    “Everything about it says quality”, is the sign-off for this spy-chase snippet that exudes cheesiness rather than class. The agent calls the ZX her “department’s latest piece of technology” as she leads the chase before watching a car-full of baddies get lifted by a crane.

  1. Fiat Seicento Sporting

    Fiat invites you to “be small again” and channel your young, rebellious self by driving one of the teeniest cars on the market. The ad features a red-headed youngster running out of school, before cutting to her adult self, swerving in and out of traffic in her new Seicento Sporting. Sold?

  1. Volkswagen Polo

    Driving a car off a skyscraper is probably not the easiest way to test twin airbags and ABS brakes, but it’s how VW decided to get the point across for its new Polo with optional safety extras.


  1. BMW 3-Series

    Balancing an E36 saloon on the windscreen of a 3-Series convertible is the low-key approach that BMW chose to get across its point that “on balance, they’re safer”.

  1. Vauxhall Tigra

    People who iron creases into their jeans, those who split their restaurant bills precisely, and anyone who folds their pyjamas are unlikely to enjoy getting behind the wheel of the “fun to drive” Tigra, according to Vauxhall’s 1995 ad.

Has watching these old school car ads made you want to switch up your motor? You can get a quote for a new car here.

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