2015-2016 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Sporty Cars

The sporty car segment is divided between sedan-based coupes like the Dodge Challenger, and purpose-built sports cars such as Mazda MX-5. Sales in this segment are cyclical and driven by novelty. New designs sell well for a few years after introduction, with sales tapering off in subsequent years.

The biggest news for 2015 is the release of the first all-new Mustang in many years, as well as the anticipated fall release of the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5. An early-release 2016 Nissan 370Z is already on sale but the car features only minor updates from 2015. Those keen on the Volkswagen Eos should act quickly as it is in its last year and VW has announced it won't be replaced. 

A note about mileage: The APA's posted fuel economy figures for 2015 are from the U.S. Department of Energy as the figures from the new test used by the Canada EnerGuide were not ready as this information was being compiled.

Chevrolet Camaro  Hyundai Genesis  Nissan 370Z  Subaru BRZ  
Dodge Challenger  Mazda MX-5  Scion FR-S  Volkswagen Eos 
Ford Mustang       

Chevrolet Camaro

Specifications


 

 

 

What’s new
Last year for the current Camaro. The 2015 model year is the last chance to buy a Canadian-built Camaro as production is moving to the United States.

Performance
Smooth, powerful V6 engine. The V8 lacks the punch and melodic thrill of the V8s in the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger. The manual transmission on V8 cars requires a lot of effort to operate. Smooth automatic transmission. Precise steering. The brakes are powerful but brake feel is unsatisfying due to a hard pedal. Fidgety ride and tramlining on cars fitted with the 20 inch wheel and tire package. Restricted outward visibility due to tiny windows. The cabin reflects a '60's aesthetic with a few modern touches as well. Sub-par cabin materials. The front seats prove uncomfortable on longer trips. Small adults can be reasonably comfortable in the rear seat, but ingress/egress is difficult. Surprisingly good trunk space. 

Comments
The standard 3.6L V8 produces 323 horsepower. Two 6.2 L V8s, the normally-aspirated SS and the supercharged ZL1, are available. New for 2014 is the normally-aspirated 7L 500 horsepower Z28 model. Lightening measures including less sound-proofing and moving air conditioning to the options list result in a 146 Kg weight savings. The Z28 is equipped with a variety of performance enhancements including Brembo carbon ceramic brakes.

Pricing
Overpriced 1LT, 2LT and 2SS trim upgrades. The V8-powered 1SS is priced $9000 more than the V6 1LT. The 2SS costs $9400 more than a 2LT. The convertible body style will set you back from $5700 to $6500 more than a similarly-equipped coupe. Poor value leasing, showing GM does not want these cars back.

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. Numerous complaints regarding defective timing chains on the 3.6L V6 built prior to 2010. A GM extended warranty recommended if you plan to keep a V6 car longer than the powertrain warranty.  


Body Style:  2CP, 2CV
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
3.6L-V6 (323 HP)*, 6.2L-V6 (6A: 400 HP, 6M: 426 HP), 6.2L-V8 S (580 HP), 7L-V8 (505 HP/Z28) 

Transmissions: 6M*, 6A 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 12.4L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.8L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/160,000
Current Generation Debut:  2010

Country of Origin:  Canada

 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: N/R

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Dodge Challenger

Specifications


What’s new
Significant late life remake with revised exterior styling, an updated interior including a new dashboard and an eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the previous five-speed unit< High-performance Scat Pack and Hellcat models are now available. New active safety features are available for 2015.

Performance
On the road, the Challenger is a re-interpretation of Muscle Cars of the past. Vivid acceleration with the 5.7L V8 and incredible thrust from the 6.4L V8 in the Scat Pack version. The manual transmission has a smooth, docile clutch and a precise gearchange. The 3.6L “Pentastar” V6 provides lively performance. The new eight-speed automatic transmission works well with any of the available engines. Predictable handling is allied to a very comfortable ride for a sporty car. The Challenger’s great weight leads to some body roll in tight corners. The brakes stop well but lack staying power. The revised cabin is very "school of Chrysler" and features Chrysler's excellent infotainment screen in the centre of the dashboard. Comfortable front seats and adequate rear seat space for a car of this type. Logical controls are purloined from Chrysler's universal parts bin. The roomy trunk has a high sill.

Comments
The Challenger is a retro-flavoured traditional “Pony Car” based on the platform that underpinned the previous-generation Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. The long-hood, short deck proportions and Coke-bottle shape recall the 1970-1974 Charger (and related Plymouth Barracuda), but with sleek modern surfacing. The Challenger is bigger than the Mustang and Camaro in key dimensions. Power units include a 3.6L V6, a 5.7L V8, a normally-aspirated 6.4L (Scat Pack) and a supercharged 6.4L (Hellcat). Power reaches the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, or, on V8 models, a six-speed manual.
Pricing
The base SXT model is very nicely equipped. Good value SXT Plus upgrade. The R/T package is good value as it contains a lot of equipment as well as the V8 engine. The high-performance Scat Pack model includes about $1500 in additional features compared with the R/T but is priced about $9000 higher. The Hellcat model is a bit of a unicorn as it was sold out almost the minute it was introduced.

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. Unproven V6 engine. The powertrain warranty on the high-performance models is only three years/60,000 km. 


Body Style:  2CP
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
3.6L-V6 (305 HP)*, 5.7L-V8 (6M: 372 HP, 8A: 372 HP), 6.4L-V8 (485 HP), 6.4L-V8 S (707 HP) 

Transmissions: 6M, 8A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  12.4L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.8L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning as well as blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings.

Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000 (3/60,000 only on SRT8, Scat Pack and Hellcat)
Current Generation Debut:  2009

Country of Origin:  Canada

 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: N/R

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Ford Mustang

Specifications

NEW

What’s new
The 2015 Mustang is now on sale.

Comments
The first all new Mustang since 2005 went on sale in the fall of 2014.
Roughly the same size as its predecessor, weight gain was minimized by the use of aluminum for the hood and front fenders of the new car.
The styling looks a bit thick and chunky in photos but looks sleeker in person. That said, it looks so much like its predecessor that only the most ardent Mustang fans will be able to spot it as the new one. At least the aluminum hood and front fenders help to restrain weight gain. The cabin, with a dashboard reminiscent of the original Mustang, features a twin cockpit design with the driver's side dominated by large format gauges for speed and revs. The dash centre stack contains a large touch screen that can be bypassed in favour of more conventional audio and climate controls, a relief by those frustrated by the MyFord Touch interface. Interior materials are more attractive than previously.
Engine choices include 3.7L V6 with 300 horsepower, a 420 horsepower V8 and a 2.3L turbo four that produces about 305 horsepower, roughly the same as the V6.
The new Mustang is equipped with an independent rear suspension, which may improve the ride, and enhances packaging, as the vertical space once eaten up with suspension movement can now be devoted to the trunk and rear seat area. The previous model was already considered the best handling of the domestic cars in its segment.

Pricing
The new 2.3L turbo four boasts only five more horsepower than the standard 3.7L V6 but
Ford is encouraging buyers to spend more by restricting the optional equipment that can be purchased on V6 cars. Moving up from the base 3.7L to the 2.3L EcoBoost model costs $3000, which includes about $1700 worth of additional equipment, leaving about $1300 for the extra five horsepower of the turbo four. When additional standard equipment is accounted for, the GT's V8 engine is priced about $10,000 than the V6 and about $7000 more than the 2.3L turbo four. Compared with the coupe, the convertible body style will set you back anywhere from $5000 to $5500 extra, depending on the model. Poor lease value.

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. Revised engines are unproven.  


Body Style:  2CP, 2CV
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
2.3L-4 T (305 HP) 3.7L-V6 (300 HP)*, 5L-V8 ( 420 HP)

Transmissions: 6M, 6A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  12.4L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings
Additional airbags: No side-curtain airbags on the convertible. Driver's side knee airbag

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2015

Country of Origin: United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: N/R

Mod. Front: G

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Specifications


What’s new
Four-cylinder turbo engine has been discontinued, leaving only the normally-aspirated V6 for 2015. Likely the last year for this car in this form.  

Performance
Tested with the V6, the Genesis coupe is a big, fast, bellowing brute. Prodigious thrust is allied to a thrilling soundtrack. Though it possesses a precise gearchange and a progressive clutch, the clutch is so heavy that stop and go driving in traffic becomes tiresome very quickly. In addition, the gearchange is too close to the driver’s torso when the seat is positioned to allow for clutch disengagement. The automatic is a better choice than the manual. Handling is secure, but not especially agile, and the ride is on the resilient side of firm. Precise, nicely-weighted steering and strong brakes. The low seating position combines with the high body sides to inhibit outward vision. The drooping rear side windows don’t enhance visibility as much as anticipated. The dashboard is stocked with big, clear gauges and straightforward controls. The front seats grip occupants but aren’t in any way confining. Though rear seat access is awkward, seat comfort and legroom are reasonable for this type of car. The coupe uses the same platform as the previous Genesis sedan but doesn’t share its upmarket cabin fittings or impressive refinement. Excellent audio systems. Shallow trunk.

Comments
A single engine, a normally-aspirated V6, is available for 2015. Power reaches the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic.

Pricing

The base model delivers a pleasing price/value proposition, the premium package is good value but the GT trim level is overpriced. Good value leasing.

Reliability
Not rated. insufficient info available due to limited sales. Most other Hyundais are reliable. 


Body Style:  2CP
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
3.8L-V6 (348 HP) 

Transmissions: 6M, 8A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  14.7L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additonal airbags: None

Warranty:5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2009

Country of Origin:  South Korea

 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: N/R

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



2016 Mazda MX-5

Specifications

NEW

 

 

What’s new
All-new MX-5 goes on sale in the fall of 2015.

Comments
With chunkier looks than its predecessors, the fourth-generation MX-5 (originally marketed as the Miata in North America) signals a new styling direction for Mazda’s sports car. Except for the engine, this MX-5 is new from the ground-up. Using what Mazda refers to as its “gram strategy”, every gram of weight has to justify its inclusion in the design. Mazda’s efforts paid off, as the new MX-5 is about 100 kilograms lighter than before while meeting ever more stringent safety standards. The MX-5 has only been shown thus far with a soft top, not the retractable hard top used previously.
Power from the 2L inline four found under the hood of various Mazdas finds its way to the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. Sales are expected to start in the fall of 2015.

Pricing
No pricing details are available.

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. 


Body Style:  2CV

Occupants:  2

Engines:
2L-4 (160 HP estimated) 

Transmissions: 6M, 6A 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  n/a
Highway Fuel Economy:  n/a
Active Safety Features: No information available 
Additonal airbags: No information available

Warranty: 3/Unlimited, 5/Unlimited
Current Generation Debut:  2016

Country of Origin:  Japan

 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: N/R

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



2016 Nissan 370Z

Specifications


 

What’s new
Early release 2016 model boasts revised suspension tuning and standard Bluetooth on all models. 

Comments
The 370Z is spun off the Infiniti G37's FM platform. The 370Z is fast and very agile, but a bit rough-edged and extremely noisy. While visually arresting, with a taut, muscular stance, it does look a bit brutal. The cabin, with smooth flowing shapes and attractive materials, succeeds where the exterior fails. The sole engine on offer is a 3.7L V6 with 332 horsepower. Power reaches the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic transmission. Optional on manual transmission Zs is a feature that blips the throttle on downshifts to better match engine and transmission speeds. With about 400 units sold last year, it hardly seems worth bothering to offer this car in Canada any longer. 

Pricing
The convertible is priced $9000 to $9500 more than the equivalent coupe version of the Z. Overpriced Touring Sport package on the convertible and overly expensive Touring, Touring Sport and Nismo versions of the coupe. Good value leasing.

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. Predicted reliability is above average. Rapid tire wear.  


Body Style:  2CP*, 2CV
Occupants:  2

Engines:
3.7L-V6 (332 HP, 350 HP Nismo) 

Transmissions: 6M, 7A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  12.4L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9L/100 km

Active Safety Features: None

Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000


Current Generation Debut:  2009

Country of Origin:  Japan

 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: N/R

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ

Specifications


What’s new
FR-S: 1.0 special edition limited to 75 units. BRZ: Aozora special edition.

Performance
The BRZ's rev-happy 2L flat four delivers solid power from idle to the redline, but abrupt throttle response can destabilize the car if the pedal is prodded too heavily when exiting a corner. Using the gears to keep the revs up through curves proves beneficial to stability. The manual transmission has a carefully chosen sextet of gears engaged by a short-throw gearchange that requires some care to properly engage the desired gear. Docile clutch. The optional automatic transmission is faultless and delivers better fuel economy than the manual. The BRZ shines in terms of suspension composure, agility and stability, especially on sinuous roads. There is virtually no roll, even in brisk cornering, where the limited slip differential helps get power to the road. The downside of the unflappable handling is a punishing ride that copes poorly with scarred road surfaces. The BRZ's steering is precise but lacks any tactile excitement. The dashboard houses three main dials displaying disappointing graphics. Straightforward minor controls. Dour cabin materials combine with a very 1980s aesthetic to make for a dull cabin. Comfortable, grippy front seats and a good driving position due to long seat travel and a telescoping steering wheel. Big doors allow relatively easy access unless parked in tight quarters. The rear seats are virtually impossible to access and are so small as to be unusable. Reasonable trunk space for this type of car.

Comments
The Scion-Subaru joint-venture compact rear-wheel drive sports car is upon us. The Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ are powered by a normally-aspirated 2L boxer four producing 200 horsepower, an astounding figure for an engine of that size. Both direct and port fuel injection are used. Power reaches the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Suspension is via MacPherson struts at the front and double wishbones at the back. The concept for these light, compact coupes is said to go back to the rear-wheel drive Corollas from the mid-80s. Unlike behemoths like the Genesis Coupe, Mustang and Camaro, the new coupes (Scion dimensions), at 90 mm (3.5 inches) shorter, slightly wider and 180 mm (7 inches) lower than a Corolla, are truly compact. Styling is hardly arresting, but looks taut and sporty on the street. The central core of the cars are shared, with each having unique front fascias and bespoke rear lights. Roughly 2500 units of this platform were sold in Canada last year, with the FR-S accounting for roughtly 1500 units of the total.

Pricing
FR-S: The additional charge for the FR-S Release 1.0 special edition is roughly twice the value of its contents. Good Sport-Tech and Navigation options. The FR-S is a bit cheaper than the BRZ. BRZ: overpriced Aozora edition. Good value leasing for both cars. 

Reliability
Not rated due to small sales volume. . Most Subarus and Scions have been reliable.


Body Style:  2CP
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
2L-flat 4 (200 HP)

Transmissions: 6M, 6A *
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  9.4L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.9L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Standard
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2013

Country of Origin:  Japan

 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: A

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 



Volkswagen Eos

Specifications


What’s new
The Eos is sold in a single Wolfsburg model in 2015, its last year on the market.

Performance
The quick, smooth, economical 2L turbo four is well-matched to the slick-shifting DSG automated manual transmission. Excellent ride-handling compromise for a car that is "sporty", but not a sports car. The structure appears stout, but the roof creaks a bit with the top up.

Comments
The Eos, VW’s entry into the retractable hard top cabrio market, is based on the previous-generation Golf platform. The two-piece retractable hard top has a large opening sunroof, a unique feature in this segment. The interior, which features mostly previous-generation Jetta-based components, is attractive and solidly constructed. VW rates the Eos as a four-seater, and while the rear seat legroom is tight. With the roof down, trunk space is limited to a smallish storage box. There is no sensor in the trunk to stop the top from retracting if something is in its path. Rear parking sensors that prevent the top from being retracted unless there is enough space for the rear deck tonneau to lift up, are standard. The sole engine choice in Canada is VW’s familiar 2L turbo four. Power reaches the front wheels via VW’s Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) with six gears. Standard equipment includes a vehicle stability system with roll-over sensors that trigger roll-over hoops in the rear headrests to deploy if the car tips. The 2L turbo is strong, smooth and flexible and the DSG is a delight to use. The Eos is like a new age Karmann-Ghia, a civilized touring car at a reasonable price.

Pricing
Expensive Technology package. The Eos costs roughly the same as a Mustang convertible powered by a 2.3L turbo four.

Reliability
Average reliability like in other VWs that share the same mechanical elements. Electrical problems are possible as the car ages. Expensive servicing costs expected.


Body Style:  2CV
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
2L-4 T (200 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  10.7L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.8L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additonal airbags: Driver's side knee airbag

Warranty: 4/80,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2007

Country of Origin:  Germany

 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: N/R

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: N/R

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: