Best JDM Cars Ever Built: The Complete List

Table of Contents

If you’re a fan of JDM cars, then you know that the Japanese produce some of the best cars in the world. They offer great performance, style and value for money.

In this article we will take a look at some of the best JDM cars ever produced. We’ll consider cars that offer a variety of different driving experiences, from the high-performance sports cars to the rally-bred sedans.

So whether you’re a fan of old-school JDM or modern machines, there’s sure to be something on this list that catches your eye!

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the best JDM cars ever built.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, also known as ‘Evo’, is a high performance sports sedan that was produced by Mitsubishi from 1992 until 2016.

The Evo competed in the World Rally Championship throughout the ’90s and ’00s with great success, but it was also sold as a street car. Originally only intended for the Japanese market, it wasn’t until 2003 that the Evo was officially imported to the USA.

Although it is no longer in production, the Evo remains one of the most popular JDM cars. Thanks to its turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive system, the Evo is capable of incredible performance.

It is also renowned for its aggressive styling, which includes a large rear spoiler and wide body panels.

If you’re looking for a Japanese car that combines great looks with blistering performance, then the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is the perfect choice.

Toyota Supra

Toyota Supra Mk IV
Toyota Supra Mk IV (A80)

When it comes to JDM cars, the Toyota Supra is one of the most popular choices. First introduced in 1978, the Supra quickly became a cult classic thanks to its sleek design, powerful engine, and competitive price tag.

Perhaps the most famous Supra of all is the Fourth Generation (A80) which was launched in 1993. The twin-turbo model in particular has always been popular with enthusiasts, thanks to its blistering performance and stylish looks.

In recent years, the Supra has only become more popular, with prices for rare models skyrocketing. Despite its initial affordable price tag, the Supra was always a true performance car, capable of outperforming some supercars.

It’s also one of the most reliable JDM cars on the market, making it a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable and affordable performance car.

Production of the Supra ended in 2002, but made a remarkable comeback in 2019 when the Fifth Generation was launched, utilizing a BMW engine.

Honda / Acura NSX Type-R

Honda NSX Type R

The Honda NSX might be one of the most unassuming supercars on the planet. It doesn’t have the aggressive and angular styling of many of its competitors, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a force to be reckoned with.

The NSX Type-R (or NSX-R) is a special performance version of the car that was originally developed specifically for the Japanese market. As such, it is only available in right-hand drive.

The NSX-R is lighter than the standard car thanks to the stripping out of unnecessary components and a diet of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials.

The result is a car that is capable of unbelievable performance on the track. But despite its capabilities, only a handful of NSX-Rs were ever produced, making it one of the rarest JDM cars out there.

Nissan 300ZX

Nissan 300ZX Z32
Nissan 300ZX Z32

The Nissan 300ZX is a true legend in the world of Japanese cars. First introduced in the early 1980s, the 300ZX quickly became one of the most popular sports cars in Japan.

Thanks to the slick design, powerful engine, and impressive performance of the Z32 generation in particular, the 300ZX was a hit with both fans and critics alike. Today, the 300ZX remains one of the most popular JDM cars on the market.

While it may not be as affordable as it once was, this iconic vehicle is still definitely worth your hard-earned cash, and it can still be considered a bargain given the amount of car you get.

If you’re looking for a classic JDM car that will turn heads and put a smile on your face, you can’t go wrong with the Nissan 300ZX.

Mazda RX-7

Mazda RX-7 FD3S
Mazda RX-7 FD3S

First introduced in 1978, the RX-7 was a trailblazer in the world of rotary-powered sports cars. With its modern design and impressive performance, the RX-7 quickly became a favorite among driving enthusiasts.

Though it went through several iterations over the years, the FD3S model, which was produced from 1992 to 2002, is widely considered to be the definitive version of the car.

Powered by a twin-turbocharged rotary engine, the FD3S was capable of reaching speeds in excess of 150 mph. Thanks to its excellent handling and power delivery, the FD3S remains a popular choice for drift racing and track days.

And with prices continuing to rise, good examples are now unfortunately out of the question for many.

Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R EK9
Honda Civic Type R EK9

If you’re looking for a car that packs a serious punch, then the Honda Civic Type R is definitely worth checking out.

This high-performance hatchback has been finely tuned to perfection, and it really shows when you hit the gas.

First released in 1997 with the EK9, the Type R was a high-performance version of its popular family car, and it quickly became renowned for its incredible performance.

It features a lightened chassis, more powerful brakes, and a high-revving engine that produces an extraordinary performance given its size.

All of this makes the Civic Type R one of the fastest and most exhilarating small Japanese cars on the road.

Several iterations of the Type R have been released over the years, each one more technologically advanced than the last. So if you’re looking for a car that will put a smile on your face, the Honda Civic Type R is definitely worth a go.

What’s more, the earliest Type Rs became legal to import into the USA under the ’25 year rule’ in 2022.

Subaru Impreza WRX STI

Subaru Impreza WRX STI
Subaru Impreza WRX STI

The Subaru Impreza WRX STI is a legend in the world of rally racing, and it’s been a mainstay of the Subaru lineup for well over two decades.

With the STi version first introduced in 1994, the Impreza WRX has been through many changes over the years, but the basic recipe remains the same.

It’s powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and features much of the tech that helped propel it to success in the World Rally Championship.

It also features an all-wheel drive system that helps to keep the car planted on the road, even in the most challenging conditions.

Whether you’re looking for a track day toy or a daily driver, the Subaru Impreza WRX STI is sure to impress.

Nissan Skyline GT-R

Nissan Skyline GT-R R32
Nissan Skyline GT-R R32

The Nissan Skyline GT-R is widely considered to be one of the best Japanese performance cars of all time. The “GT-R” designation stands for ‘Gran Turismo Racing’, and the car lives up to its name.

First released in 1969, the Skyline GT-R quickly became a legend on the racing circuit, thanks to its powerful engine and lightweight chassis. The car was so successful that it dominated the Japanese Touring Car Championship for many years.

Since the third generation GT-R, launched in 1989, it has been distinguished by its all-wheel drive system, which provides exceptional traction and handling.

Over the last two decades the Skyline GT-R has undergone a surge in popularity, thanks in part to its appearances in the popular video game series Gran Turismo.

With prices for good examples continuing to rise, it’s no wonder that the GT-R is often referred to as the king of JDM cars.

Toyota AE86

Toyota AE86
Toyota AE86

The Toyota AE86 is a true icon of the automotive world. First introduced in 1983, it quickly became popular for its lightweight design and nimble handling.

The AE86 was designed as an affordable and lightweight sports car, and soon developed a cult following among drivers who appreciated its performance on the track.

It was surprisingly powerful, thanks to its 1.6-liter DOHC engine. It was also well-balanced and handled exceptionally well, making it a favorite among drivers who liked to push their cars to the limit.

The AE86’s popularity only grew in the years that followed, thanks in part to its starring role in the iconic anime series Initial D.

In recent years, the AE86 has become one of the most sought-after cars in the JDM scene, with collectors paying top dollar for well-preserved examples.

Honda S2000

Honda S2000
Honda S2000

In the late 1990s, Honda decided to give the world a true driver’s car. The result was the S2000, a small two-seat roadster that offered razor-sharp handling, a high-revving engine, and a stylish design.

It quickly became one of the most popular Japanese sports cars among enthusiasts in the US and around the world. Thanks to its lightweight body and precision handling, the S2000 is a blast to drive on both the street and the track.

And with a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that redlines at 9,000 RPM, it’s also one of the most unique cars on the market.

It was in production for 10 years and sold over 100,000 units worldwide, making it one of the most successful Honda sports cars ever built.

If you’re looking for a complete driver’s car from the Japanese market, the Honda S2000 is hard to beat.

Mazda Miata

Mazda Miata (Eunos Roadster)
Mazda Miata Mk1

Originally badged as the Eunos Roadster in Japan, the Mazda Miata is widely considered to be one of the best JDM cars of all time. First released in 1989, the Miata was designed to be an affordable and fun-to-drive sports car.

And it certainly delivered on those fronts, thanks to its nimble handling and peppy engine. Over the years, the Miata has only become better, with each new generation bringing improvements in performance and comfort.

Thanks to its relatively low price tag, the Miata is also a popular choice for budget-minded buyers.

Today, the Miata remains one of the most popular cars on the road, and it’s easy to see why. Whether you’re looking for a weekend toy or a JDM daily driver, the Miata is a great choice.

Nissan Silvia

Nissan Silvia S13
Nissan Silvia S13

Any discussion of the best JDM cars has to include the Nissan Silvia. This svelte coupe was introduced in the early 1960s and quickly became a favorite among Japanese car enthusiasts.

Over the years, it has undergone numerous changes, and has been marketed under the 180SX, 200SX, and 240SX badges, but it has always maintained its essential character.

It’s one of the most popular cars among drifting enthusiasts, thanks to its rear-wheel drive layout and perfectly balanced handling, and it’s perhaps the last model (the S15) along with the previous two generations (S14 & S13), that are the most popular.

Prices for good examples have been steadily rising in recent years, making it a popular choice for collectors.

For those lucky enough to own one, the Silvia remains an icon of JDM culture. It remains one of the most iconic JDM cars of all time.

Mitsubishi Eclipse

Mitsubishi Eclipse
Mitsubishi Eclipse 2nd Gen

In the world of JDM cars, the Mitsubishi Eclipse is a true legend. First introduced in 1990, the Eclipse was designed to be an affordable sports car that could go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Nissan 300ZX and Toyota Supra.

And thanks to its turbocharged engine and alluring bodywork, the Eclipse quickly became a favorite among tuners.

Over the years, the Eclipse has undergone several facelifts and mechanical updates, but it remains one of the most popular JDM cars on the road today.

If you’re looking for an affordable, stylish, and fun-to-drive JDM car, then the Mitsubishi Eclipse is definitely worth checking out.

Toyota Celica GT-Four

Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205
Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205

Produced between 1986 and 1999, the Celica GT-Four was Toyota’s flagship car in the World Rally Championship (WRC) and was driven by some of the sport’s biggest names, including Carlos Sainz, Juha Kankkunen, and Didier Auriol.

The GT-Four was incredibly successful in the WRC, winning the Constructors’ Championship the Drivers’ Championship multiple times.

The car also became a cult classic among car enthusiasts, thanks to its iconic style and rally-bred performance.

In recent years, the GT-Four has become one of the most sought-after JDM cars on the market, with prices skyrocketing as demand continues to grow.

If you’re looking for a truly iconic JDM car, then the Toyota Celica GT-Four is definitely worth considering.

Nissan Stagea

Nissan Stagea
Nissan Stagea

The Nissan Stagea is a unique car that blends the best of both worlds: the stylish design of a luxury sedan with the utility of a wagon.

It’s a perfect car for petrol-head families who need a little extra space but don’t want to sacrifice style or performance.

The Stagea was originally based on the R33 Skyline, and has plenty of power to deliver excellent acceleration. The all-wheel drive variants also provide great traction in all kinds of weather.

The spacious interior is comfortable and welcoming, with plenty of room for passengers and cargo.

And the flowing exterior design turns heads wherever it goes. If you’re looking for a JDM car that has it all, the Nissan Stagea is the perfect choice.

Honda / Acura Integra Type R

Honda Integra Type R
Honda Integra Type R

The Honda Integra Type R was produced from 1995 to 2004, and during that time it became renowned for its incredible handling and performance.

The Type R was only available with a manual transmission, and it came with a host of upgrades over the standard Integra, including a more powerful engine, stiffer suspension, and a limited-slip differential.

Thanks to its lightweight body and powerful engine, the Integra Type R was able to lap the famed Nürburgring in just 8 minutes and 40 seconds, making it one of the fastest front-wheel drive cars at the time.

Even today, the Type R is still an incredibly popular car, and it continues to be one of the most sought-after JDM cars on the market.

The Integra Type R is also quite rare, making it a coveted commodity among car collectors.

If you’re lucky enough to find one for sale, be prepared to pay a hefty price tag. But for many, the Honda Integra Type R is worth every penny.

Subaru Legacy

Subaru Legacy Wagon
Subaru Legacy Wagon

Among JDM cars, the Subaru Legacy is a favorite for many reasons. First introduced in 1989, the Legacy was designed to offer buyers a level of comfort and practicality that was above many other JDM cars at the time.

The Legacy was also available with all-wheel drive, which made it a popular choice for buyers who wanted the added traction and stability in all weather conditions.

In addition, the Legacy is known for its reliability and many buyers have reported that their Legacy has lasted for hundreds of thousands of miles with little or no problems.

With its combination of comfort, practicality, all-wheel drive, and reliability, it’s no wonder the Subaru Legacy is still a popular choice among JDM car fans.

Toyota MR2

Toyota MR2 W20
Toyota MR2 2nd Gen

The Toyota MR2 was first introduced in 1984 as a small, lightweight sports car. It quickly gained popularity for its affordability and driving dynamics.

The MR2 was originally available with a naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine, but supercharged and turbocharged options became available as the platform matured. Today, the MR2 is revered by car enthusiasts for its great handling and distinctive styling.

The second generation MR2, which was produced between 1989 and 1999 is perhaps the most popular with JDM fans, and is often considered one of the best affordable mid-engined sports cars of all time.

It remains a popular choice for those looking for an affordable track day car. Thanks to its small size and light weight, the MR2 is also highly maneuverable, making it a blast to drive on twisty roads.

If you’re looking for an affordable Japanese sports car, the Toyota MR2 should definitely be on your radar.

Mitusbishi 3000GT (GTO)

Mitsubishi 3000GT (GTO)
Mitsubishi 3000GT

The 3000GT was the flagship model of Mitsubishi Motors for many years and is a genuine sports car, with a 3l V6 engine and a twin-turbocharged option for those who want even more power.

The 3000GT was introduced in 1990 and remained in production until 2000. It’s stylish and luxurious, with attractive looks and comfortable interior.

And it’s packed with ’90s technology, from its active aerodynamics to its electronically adjustable suspension.

The 3000GT is everything that a Japanese sports car should be, and it’s no surprise that it’s still popular among JDM enthusiasts today.

If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping drive, the 3000GT is a great option.

Nissan 350Z

Nissan 350Z
Nissan 350Z

Badged as the Fairlady Z in Japan, and first introduced in 2002, the 350Z was an instant hit with enthusiasts thanks to its aggressive styling and powerful V6 engine.

Over the years, the 350Z has only become better, with track-focused editions like the Nismo offering serious performance capabilities.

Even in base form, the 350Z is a thrilling car to drive, and its wide body style makes it one of the most visually striking cars on the road.

Its appearance in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift only served to increase its popularity, and JDM fans all around the world have since hankered for a chance to own one.

The Nissan 350Z is the perfect choice for those who want a fast, stylish sports car that still offers plenty.

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are a number of great JDM cars out there that are worth your consideration.

Whether you’re looking for a sports car to take to the track, a classic JDM car to mod and make your own, or a comfortable cruiser for weekend getaways, there’s something for everyone in the world of JDM cars.

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Adam Chinn writes about the intersecting worlds of classic cars, driving pleasure, and smart investment strategies. Starting his journey at 26, he’s proven that one doesn’t need to be wealthy to begin investing in classic cars.

Adam’s insights have been recognized on platforms such as MoneyInc, Swagger Magazine, and Top Speed.

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