Also ’96 is labeled as first year with OBDII but in reality is first year with some OBDII, ’97 is the first true OBDII year, some improvements to the stability system in '97 (with the addition of the yaw sensor and the ICCSII) so while ’96 has only speed sensitive suspension, ’97 is the first year with road sensitive suspension. Generally the differences between ’96 and ’97 are not as big as the ones between ’95 and ’96. But as far as 0-100 time is concerned ’96 is exactly like ‘95 one of the 6.5s years (see the chart bellow).
Problems wise other than the above mentioned:
- Rear knuckle bushings (after 120K, OEM are $$$, there are some cheaper aftermarket solutions)
- Struts (@~100K = the price of the car. No, aftermarket is not a good idea)
- Water pump (@~100K)
- Check the fuel lines (is the car affected by the recall, if so was the recall done)
- Wheel hub assemblies (expect to have issue after ~60K)
- Fuel pump is prone to failure at some point after ~60K (and is murder to replace)
- Dash pad warping (the defrost grille will pop up)
Last but not least, make sure you get a car OEM from bumper to bumper (no cold air intake, no “performance” ignition coils, aftermarket sound and other bling-bling stuff).