2014 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 big news for 2013 is the debut of the Scion FR-S and Suburu BRZ, which, except for minor trim difference, are essentially the same car. This new design is the first quasi-affordable, lightweight, compact rear-wheel drive sports coupe to be offered in recent memory. Other changes in this segment include a lightly modified Mazda MX-5 and Nissan 370Z. The 2013 Ford Mustang and Hyundai Genesis coupe are unchanged since their debuts early in 2012. 

A note about mileage: The APA's posted fuel economy figures for 2013 differ from those published by the Canada EnerGuide. Staritng in 2012, the APA has been using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), numbers for fuel economy, as they better reflect real-world fuel economy. For more information, read APA President George Iny's article regarding the inadequacies of the Canada EnerGuide test cycle

BMW Z4  Ford Mustang  Nissan 370Z  Subaru BRZ  
Chevrolet Camaro  Hyundai Genesis  Scion FR-S  Volkswagen Eos 
Dodge Challenger  Mazda MX-5     

BMW Z4

Specifications

NOT RATED

 

 

What’s new
No changes since the 2014 Z4 went on sale in mid-2013.   

Comments
BMW's Z4 hard top convertible exhibits a slight visual link with BMW's super chic 507 two-seater from the fifties. The interior features clear instrumentation, beautiful shapes and high quality materials. The dashboard controls are less muddled than they are on other BMWs. The seats are comfortable, and the car is quite roomy for a sports car. The trunk is small, with a lot of space eaten up by the top when it is folded. Engine choices include a 241 horsepower turbocharged 2L marketed as an sDrive28i as well as 300 (35i) and 335 (35is) horsepower versions of its 3L turborcharged inline six. The ungainly sDrive moniker is new-age BMW speak for rear-wheel drive. Transmission choices for the 28i includes a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. The six-speed manual is standard on the 35i, with the option of a seven-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission, which is the sole transmission offered on the 35is. With about 350 delivered, Z4 sales held steady in 2012.

Pricing
Option packages and metallic paint are very expensive. Massive price jumps for more power.

Reliability
Insufficient data, N/R. Average reliability expected in the first three to four years. Unproven 2L turbo four and folding hard top. Electrical problems expected as the car ages. Some complaints have been received regarding premature failure of the dual clutch automated manual transmission. Free scheduled maintenance for the first four years or 80,000 km. Short powertrain warranty. BMW is not a signatory to the CAMVAP protocol in the event a car develops a problems which cannot be resolved by the BMW dealer network. 


Body Style:  2CV
Occupants:  2

Engines:
2L-4 T (28i: 241 HP)*, 3L-6 T (300 HP, 335 HP: IS) 

Transmissions: 6M, 7A (dual clutch), 8A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  9.8L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Additional airbags: Info not available

Warranty: 4/80,000

Country of Origin:  Germany

 

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

Sml. Front: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Chevrolet Camaro

Specifications


 

 

 

What’s new
Mid-cycle freshening including a new front fascia, headlights and grille in front, revised rear lights and minor cabin trim changes. High-performance track-oriented Z28 model introduced.

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 perfomance enhancements including Brembo carbon ceramic brakes.

Pricing
The 1LT and 2SS packages lack content for the money. The 2LT group is reasonable value for the money asked. The V8 engine costs from $8240 to $8850 more than a comparably-equipped V6 Camaro. The convertible body style commands a $5740 to $6510 premium over its coupe equivalent. Poor value leasing. 

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. Most newly-released GM cars exhibit a few problems in the year after they are launched. Numerous complaints regarding defective timing chains on the 3.6L V6. 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 (500 HP/Z28) 

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

City Fuel Economy:  13.8L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/160,000

Country of Origin:  Canada

 

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

Sml. Front: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Dodge Challenger

Specifications


What’s new
New option packages.

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 SRT8. The manual transmission has a smooth, docile clutch and a precise gearchange. The 3.6L “Pentastar” V6 provides lively performance. 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 cabin design is essentially modern design with just a hint of historicism for nostalgia fans. Very comfortable front seats and adequate rear seat space for a car of this type. Except for the radio touch screen, controls are straightforward. Excellent sound systems. 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 a lot bigger than the Mustang and Camaro in key dimensions. Power units include a 3.6L V6, and two V8s, a 5.7L and 6.4L. Power reaches the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission, or, on V8 models, a six-speed manual. The manual transmission features a hill-holder that prevents the car from rolling back when it is on inclines. Challenger sales fell about 20 percent in 2012.
Pricing
The SXT plus option package is very good value. Overpriced Rallye Redline, R/T and R/T Classic upgrades. The 5.7L V8 is priced roughly $3500 more than a V6-engined Challenger Rallye Redline. No leasing is available.

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. Unproven V6 engine. The powertrain warranty on the SRT8 model in only three years/60,000 km. 


Body Style:  2CP
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
3.6L-V6 (305 HP)*, 5.7L-V8 (6M: 372 HP, 5A: 372 HP), 6.4L-V8 (470 HP) 

Transmissions: 6M, 5A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  13.1L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000 (3/60,000 only on SRT8)

Country of Origin:  Canada

 

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

Sml. Front: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Ford Mustang

Specifications


What’s new
Last year for thed current Mustang. Next-generation Mustang should go on sale in the fall of 2014.

Performance
The new 3.7L V6 is quick, but a bit gutless at low revs and sounds gruff at the top end. Fast, smooth 5L V8. Precise, short-throw manual gearchange. Progressive clutch with a nicely weighted pedal. Good roadholding despite the lack of an independent rear suspension system. The Mustang’s ride is firm but more stable than that of the Chevrolet Camaro. The electric power steering is precise, nicely weighted and features good feedback from the road. Strong, progressive brakes. The convertible top itself is well-insulated against wind noise but the lack of a steel roof compromises structural rigidity. The high-performance Shelby GT 500 variant is a noisy, brutal thrill ride. The Mustang has the most elegant cabin and the best fit and finish among the domestic cars in this category. Comfortable seats and plenty of space for front seat occupants. Reasonable rear seat space for this type of car. The Mustang is better suited to day-to-day driving than either the Camaro or the Challenger.
Comments
In a move that will confuse future car collectors, Ford has revised the Mustang once again. The Mustang body was reskinned in 2010, received new engines in 2011 and exterior styling tweaks and revised cabin bits for 2012. The 3.7L-V6 and 5L-V8 return for 2013, supplemented by the supercharged 5.8L V8 in the GT500. The Boss 302 and GT500 variants are only available with manual transmission. Coupe and convertible body styles are available.

Pricing
The supplement for the V8-engined powered GT puts it into a different segment than the V6 Mustang. Massive price jump for the 24 additional horsepower and performance bits that are part of the Boss 302 package. Reasonable supplement for the convertible body style. Poor lease value.

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. Revised engines are unproven.  


Body Style:  2CP, 2CV
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
3.7L-V6 (305 HP)*, 5L-V8 (GT: 420 HP, Boss 302: 444 HP), 5.8L-V8 (662 HP)

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

City Fuel Economy:  12.4L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Additional airbags: None

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

Country of Origin: United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: G

Side: A

Roof: N/R

Rear: G

Sml. Front: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Specifications


What’s new
Hill-holder feature and improved synchronizer rings on manual transmission cars. Rev-matching downshifts on cars equipped with automatic transmission. Sports seats on the 2.0T R-Spec model now have more prominent side bolsters. bucket seats

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 premium Genesis sedan but doesn’t share its upmarket cabin fittings or impressive refinement. The base coupe is sold at a much lower price point than the base sedan, and its cabin components reflect its much cheaper price. The oddly placed window switches are hard to find when you want them yet easy to trigger when you don’t. Excellent audio systems. Shallow trunk.

Comments
Two engines, a turbo four and a normally-aspirated V6 return for 2013 but with more power than before. Power reaches the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic regardless of engine choice. Styling updates for 2013 graft Hyundai's new frontal styling iconography onto the Genesis coupe.

Pricing

The Premium package is priced to reflect its additional content. Overpriced R-Spec package. When additional equipment is accounted for, Hyundai charges about $300o on the GT model to move from the four to the V6. Poor value leasing.

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


Body Style:  2CP
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
2L-4 T (274 HP)*, 3.8L-V6 (348 HP) 

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

City Fuel Economy:  11.2L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Additonal airbags: None

Warranty: 5/100,000

Country of Origin:  South Korea

 

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

Sml. Front: G

NHTSA Rating: 



Mazda MX-5

Specifications


 

What’s new
Vinyl soft top on the GX trim level replaced with cloth.

Performance
The 2L four derived from the Mazda 3 is smooth, flexible and willing, but some drivers find its exhaust note tiring. A light, progressive clutch is allied to a precise, short-throw gearchange. The ride is remarkably absorbent considering the big wheels and low-profile tires worn by the GT model tested. Terrific balance and agility. Strong brakes. The cabin borders on the luxurious, with careful assembly of attractive components. Big, clear instrumentation and simple, logical controls. The trunk is bigger than expected. The convertible top folds in a way that turns it into its own neatly-finished tonneau cover. Wind noise is well-controlled with the top up, and top-down wind buffeting is minimal with the windows up.

Comments
The Power Retractable Hardtop (PRHT) consists of two metal roof sections, a separate glass rear window and a rear-hinged tonneau cover that moves upward to allow the roof to be retracted, then repositions itself. The rear fenders, trunk lid and tonneau are unique to the PRHT model. The hardtop folds so compactly it does not impinge on trunk space. The PRHT option adds only 36 kg (79 lbs.) to the MX-5’s weight. Power flows to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual on the GX, or a six-speed manual on the GS and GT and trim levels. A six-speed automatic is optional on all trim levels, with shift paddles added on the GT model. MX-5 sales increased about 30 percent last year. 

Pricing
The MX-5 GX represents very good value for the money as does the GT upgrade. The solid folding roof is worth about $4000 when the additional features of the GS package are accounted for. Poor value leasing. A fully-equipped MX‑5 GT is priced roughly $4300 less than a similarly-equipped (but two-plus-two) Volkswagen Eos. Leasing not available.

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. 


Body Style:  2CV, 2CP

Occupants:  2

Engines:
2L-4 (5M, 6M: 167 HP*, 6A: 158 HP) 

Transmissions: 5M, 6M*, 6A 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  11.2L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Additonal airbags: None

Warranty: 3/80,000, 5/100,000

Country of Origin:  Japan

 

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

Sml. Front: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Nissan 370Z

Specifications


 

What’s new
Only one Touring model remains for 2014.

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, the 370Z, from the currently popular "Brutalist" school of design, lacks the sleek beauty of its predecessor. 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. Z sales increased roughly 30 percent last year.

Pricing
The convertible is priced $9000 more than the hatchback version of the Z. Overpriced Sport/Navigation package. The 370Z coupe is priced about $8400 less than the base model Infiniti Q60 which is more elegant, luxurious, quieter, has a back seat and an all-wheel drive option. 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) 

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

City Fuel Economy:  13.1L/100 km


ESC: Standard

Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/80,000, 5/100,000


Country of Origin:  Japan

 

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

Sml. Front: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ

Specifications


What’s new
Scion: New touch-screen audio units. Padding on the central console and doors enhances comfort for the driver's knees during spirited cornering. Subaru: revised navigation system.
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. This platform has been well-received and initial sales have been brisk.

Pricing
Pricing of these two different nameplates are very close and brand loyalty or dealer location will likely be the chief reason to pick one over the other.

Reliability
New car, Not rated. 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
ESC: Standard
Additional airbags: None

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

Country of Origin:  Japan

 

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

Sml. Front: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Volkswagen Eos

Specifications


What’s new
The Eos is in its eighth year on the market in its current form.

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 is tight, space is similar to that offered in the Chrysler 200 convertible and Volvo’s C70. 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
The Comfortline Sport package and Highline Technology group are overpriced. Good value leasing. The Eos is more expensive than a Mazda MX-5 but is more powerful and offers seating (not necessarily comfortable seating) for 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
ESC: Standard
Additonal airbags: Driver's side knee airbag

Warranty: 4/80,000, 5/100,000

Country of Origin:  Germany

 

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: N/R

Rear: G

Sml. Front: N/R

NHTSA Rating: