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

NEW

 

 

 
What’s new
New sixth-generation Camaro went on sale early in 2016.

Comments
ilt on the same chassis that underpins the Cadillac ATS, the new Camaro is smaller in all exterior dimensions and up to 90 kilograms lighter than its predecessor. Of the two returning engines, the 3.6L V6 gains 12 horsepower, for a total of 335, with the 6.2L V8 now rated at 455 horsepower, at least 49 horsepower greater than in 2015. New for 2016 is GM's ubiquitous 2L turbo four that cranks out 275 horsepower when found under the hood of the Camaro. The Camaro sends its power to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic, regardless of engine choice. Four drive modes, Snow/Ice, Tour, Sport and Track (SS only) can be chosen to suit road conditions and driving intent.
M tweaked the styling to fit the new chassis but there has been little substantive visual change from the themes displayed on the last car, which in turn stemmed from the 1969 Camaro
A quick glance at the new Camaro's interior leaves casual observers thinking little has changed. However, on closer inspection, the centre of the dashboard now houses a very large multi-use touch screen, the heater fan speed and temperature are controlled by big rings surrounding the middle dash vents, the parking brake is now actuated electrically and the cabin materials are now quite sumptuous. That said, cabin space remains tight.
The 3.6L V6 in the Camaro LT coupe driven briefly by the APA delivered fierce acceleration that was accompanied by a gutteral, yet pleasing rumble when accelerating hard. The Camaro s eight speed automatic ably funnels the power of the V6 to the rear wheels. Given the speed-gathering skills of the V6, upgrading to the V8 seems pointless. If it sounds nice, the available 2L turbo four may be the most best all-round engine for the new Camaro. Direct, nicely weighted steering and good braking ability and pedal feel. Limited outward visibility.

Pricing
the 2LT trim level is nicely equipped and will suit most buyers, the price gulf between it and the base 1LT is nearly twice what the value of its contents can justify. Moving up from the base 1SS V8 to the 2SS V8 balances price and content quite precisely. When additional content is included, the cost to move up from the 2L 2LT to the V8 2SS is about $9000 and to go from the 2L 1LT to the 1SS is roughly $13,000 if additional equipment standard on the 1SS is accounted for. Swapping the 2L turbo four for the 3,6L V6 in the 1LT and 2LT costs $1645. Leasing was not available as of late January 2016.

Reliability
Not rated,new model. 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. Free oil changes (up to four changes, based on oil life monitor in the car) for two years or 40,000 kilometers.  

Specifications


Body Style:  2CP, 2CV
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
2L-4 T (270 HP est.), 3.6L-V6 (330 HP est.)*, 6.2L-V6 (440 HP est.) 

Transmissions: 6M*, 8A 
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, rear cross traffic and lane departure warnings
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/160,000
Current Generation Debut:  2016
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


Dodge Challenger


What’s new
Blacktop Appearance package is now offered with the V6 engine.

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 includes a rearview camera as well as some other compelling features. The R/T package is good value as it contains a lot of equipment as well as the V8 engine. The R/T Shaker variant is very expensive for what you are getting with the package.  The high-performance Scat Pack model includes some additional equipment but is priced about $9000 higher than an R/T. The Hellcat model is a bit of a unicorn as it is generally completely sold out. Leasing became available during the 2016 model year.

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

Specifications


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: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


Ford Mustang

What’s new
No changes of note for 2016

Comments
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 additional standard equipment is accounted for, is costs roughly $2000 to move up from the smooth 3,7 L V6 to the strong, but gruff, 2,3L turbo four. That said, Ford has limited option choices on the V6 to force buyers who want a few luxuries into the turbo four. The Premium packages on the EcoBoost four and GT V8 deliver a very nicely equipped car but both packages are on the expensive side considering their content. Moving up from the EcoBoost to the GT costs about $9000. Available only in Premium trim, the convertible is priced $5550 higher than a fastback with the same engine.

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. Revised engines are unproven.

Specifications


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:  11.2L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings as well as adaptive cruise control
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: NR

Mod. Front: G

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2016 Hyundai Genesis Coupe


What’s new
Based on the previous-generation Genesis, 2016 will likely be the last year for this coupe.

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 offers a good price/content proposition. Excellent value Premium upgrade but the GT model is significantly overpriced. No leasing available early in 2016.

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

Specifications


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: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2016 Mazda MX-5

NEW

 

 

What’s new
All-new MX-5 goes on sale in the fall of 2015. A Mazda-built, Fiat-branded spin on this car, marketed as the Fiat 124 Spider, may go on sale by the fall of 2016. 

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, with no retractable hard top shown thus far. 
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 started in the fall of 2015.
Driven briefly by the APA, the MX-5 was a delight. Its 2L inline four enjoys being wrung out and makes a joyful noise when extended. Unlike super high-performance cars, the MX-5 can be driven very enthusiastically without exceeding normal speed limits and without anyone taking any notice of how much fun the driver is having. Crisp handling, sufficiently compliant ride, strong brakes with good pedal feel and a precise gearchange allied to a docile clutch, round out the dynamic prowess of the MX-5. MX-5 denizens are treated to comfortable seats and enough room for even larger people to be comfortable. Surprisingly deep trunk. The convertible top of the MX-5 is a marvel of simple operation, though it allows a lot of noise in when erected.

Pricing
The base GX model is very well equipped and will satisfy the desires of many buyers. The GS trim upgrade is reasonable value but there is little in the package that is necessary. With leather upholstery, an upgraded audio system in addition to other features, the GT is very good value. Very good value leasing. 

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted.

Specifications


Body Style:  2CV

Occupants:  2

Engines:
2L-4 (160 HP estimated) 

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

City Fuel Economy: 8.7L/100 km 
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.9L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available blind spot and lane departure warnings
Additonal airbags: None

Warranty: 3/Unlimited, 5/Unlimited
Current Generation Debut: 2016
Country of Origin: Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2016 Nissan 370Z


 

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.  

Specifications


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: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2016 Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ


What’s new
FR-S: 1.0 special edition limited to 75 units. BRZ: Aozora special edition. Toyota's shut-down of the Scion brand will result in the FR-S being renamed the Toyota 86 for the 2017 model year.  

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.

Specifications


Body Style:  2CP
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
2L-flat 4 (200 HP)

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

City Fuel Economy:  10.7L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.8L/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: