The "true" K-Cars were the Aries, the Plymouth Reliant, the Chrysler LeBaron, and the Dodge 400. They have become very rare in wrecking yards today, so I honor their historical significance by documenting the ones I find. During my junkyard expeditions, I have photographed this '81 Aries wagon, this '81 Reliant wagon, this '82 Aries wagon, this '82 400 coupe, this '82 LeBaron convertible, this '83 Aries sedan, this '83 LeBaron Town & Country wagon, this '85 LeBaron woodie convertible, this '86 Aries sedan, this '86 LeBaron Town & Country wagon, this '86 Reliant wagon, and this '89 Reliant coupe.
The early K-Cars could be purchased with optional Mitsubishi Astron 2.6-liter four-cylinder (complete with "HEMI 2.6" badging), but in 1988, the choices were down to a 93-horsepower 2.2-liter Chrysler-built four-cylinder or a 2.5-liter version of the same engine rated at 96 horses and 13 extra pound-feet of torque. This car has the 2.2.
The "America LE" trim level was the only one available for the 1988 Aries, and it resulted in a fairly Spartan car. Tough, scratchy cloth upholstery and lots of hard plastic were the order of the day.
The MSRP on this car started at $7,695, or about $16,770 in 2018 dollars. That's a lot of car for that kind of money. For comparison, the rear-wheel-drive (and much bigger) 1988 Pontiac Safari wagon went for nearly twice that price.
By 1988, the Aries wagon was looking pretty old, but it was a bargain.