2017 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.

There are no all-new cars in this segment but minor updates include a retractable targa roof version of the MX-5, a Fiat-branded version of the MX-5 and morphing of the Scion FRS into the Toyota 86.   

A note about mileage: The APA is now using fuel economy figures from the Canada EnerGuide as the figures were available at the beginning of the 2017 model year. 

Chevrolet Camaro  Fiat 124  Mazda MX-5  Toyota 86  
Dodge Challenger  Ford Mustang  Nissan 370Z  Subaru BRZ 

2017  Chevrolet Camaro

 

NOT RATED

 

 

 

What’s new
Fiftieth Anniversary Special Edition is, except for the ZL1 niche model powered by a 640 horsepower supercharged 6.2L V8 mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, about all that is new for 2017.
Comments
The Camaro is built on the same premium architecture that underpins the Cadillac ATS. Two traditional engines include the 3.6L V6, with 335 horsepwer, and a 455 horsepower 6.2L V8. New last year was GM's ubiquitous 2L turbo four that produces 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. The super-niche high-performance supercharged ZL1 was introduced in early 2017.
GM 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 equipped to suit the needs of most buyers, but it is very expensive when you compare its price to that of the 1LT.  When extra equipment included on the 2SS is accounted for, moving up from the turbo 2L to the V8 SS costs roughly $9000. Opting for the 3.6L V6 in place of the 2L turbo will set you back $1645 on 1LT and 2LT trim levels. The high-powered ZL1 is priced more than $20,000 higher than the 2SS. The convertible body style commands a $6455 supplement on all trim levels except for the 1LT, which is priced $7905 higher. Good lease value for 2017. 

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. 

Specifications


Body Style:  2CP, 2CV
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
2L-4 T (275 HP est.), 3.6L-V6 (335 HP est.)*, 6.2L-V6 (455 HP), 6.2L-V8 S (640 HP) 

Transmissions: 6M, 8A*, 10A (V8 S) 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 12.3L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.6L/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: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: A

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Dodge Challenger

 


What’s new
The Challenger GT, a V6-powered AWD Pony Car, which gives FCA a unique marketing position in this market segment, is the big news for 2017.

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 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 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. Challenger sales were about 10 percent higher than the Chevrolet Camaro, but both cars were outsold by the Mustang more than two-to-one. 

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 wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, or, on V8 models, a six-speed manual. The new GT trim teams the V6 with all-wheel drive, a first for this segment. 
Pricing
Very nicely equipped SXT base model. The SXT Plus, which includes a rearview camera, is good value given its content for the money. At $38,545, the GT has much the same equipment at the SXT Plus and all-wheel drive, which looks like it is worth about $2200. When additional equipment is accounted for, the V8 that powers the R/T is essentially free. Both the R/T Shaker and the Scat Pack are overpriced. No leasing is available in 2017.

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: 375 HP), 6.4L-V8 (485 HP), 6.4L-V8 S (707 HP) 

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

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: A

Rear: A

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Ford Mustang

 


What’s new
Xenon headlights are standard for 2017. Ford has shown a facelifted 2018 Mustang but it will not go on sale until late 2017. 
Comments
Mustang 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 unimpressive and disappointing at this price point. Ford's European designed vehicles (Fiesta, Focus and Escape) all have elegant, carefully finished cabins, but its U.S. designed vehicles like the F-150 and Mustang, are distinctly underwhelming in terms of design and materials.  
Engine choices include 3.7L V6 with 300 horsepower, a 435 horsepower V8 and a 2.3L turbo four that produces about 305 horsepower, roughly the same as the V6.
The Mustang is equipped with an independent rear suspension, which does enhance performance and ride but does little for packaging, as the rear seat is very tight for such a large car as is rear headroom.  

Pricing
When compared with the V6 base model, the 2.3L turbo four upgrade engine is worth $1200 if additional equipment, standard on the turbo, is accounted for. If you want the smooth V6, buy a 2017 as it is the last year for the engine. The Premium packages offered with the turbo four and V8 Mustangs are rich in content but are very expensive for the equipment they offer. Upgrading from the turbo four to the V8 costs roughly $9000. Open air fans will need to stump up an extra $5550 over the price of a similarly equipped coupe. Good value leasing. 

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. All 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 (435 HP)

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

City Fuel Economy:  11L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.9L/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: A

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Mazda MX-5*, Fiat 124

 


 

What’s new
Mazda: targa roofed model, referred to as the RF (retractable fastback), is new for 2017. Fiat: A Mazda-built, Fiat-branded spin on this car, marketed as the Fiat 124 Spider, went on sale in the fall of 2016. 

Comments
With chunkier looks than its predecessors, the fourth-generation MX-5 (originally marketed as the Miata in North America) signalled 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 convertible debuted first, but was joined by a retractable targa roof for 2017.  
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. 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.

Fiat 124: Fiat’s 1.4L turbo four needs to be revved to generate meaningful speed, but sounds great. Just like the MX-5, the steering is perfectly weighted, quick and faithfully telegraphs road surfaces back to the driver. Handling is impressive and the ride is firm but not punishing. Driven with the top down on a cold autumn day, the powerful heater and toasty seat heaters kept the driver warm.

Pricing
Mazda MX-5: 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. 

Fiat 124 Spider: The well-equipped base 124 Spider is priced $1600 less than the least expensive Mazda MX-5. Upgrading from the base model to the Abarth trim costs roughly the same as the value of the additional content. The MX-5 GT is priced higher than the base 124 Abarth but includes a lot of equipment that is optional on the Fiat. Leasing is not worth considering. 

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted.

Specifications


Body Style:  2CV

Occupants:  2

Engines:
1.4L-4 T (160 HP), 2L-4 (160 HP estimated)* 

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

City Fuel Economy: 9L/100 km 
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.7L/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: 


2017 Nissan 370Z  


 

What’s new
No changes of note for the 370Z in its ninth year on the market in its current form. 

Comments
The 370Z is spun off the previous 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 (350 horsepower on the Nismo). Power reaches the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic transmission. The manual transmission has a feature that blips the throttle on downshifts to better match engine and transmission speeds. With 932 units sold last year, 370Z sales were more than double what they were in 2015.   

Pricing
The convertible is priced $9400 to $9500 more than the equivalent coupe version of the Z. Overpriced Touring Sport package on the convertible and overly expensive Touring. 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:  12.6L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9.3L/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: 


2017 Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ  


What’s new
BRZ: Exterior updates include a revised front fascia, L.E.D. headlamps and a standard rearview camera. New audio controls for 2017. Manual transmission BRZs gain five horsepower and a hill holder. Subaru notes that revised springs, dampers and stabilizer bars enhance handling response. 86: The FR-S has been renamed the 86 to reflect its morphing from a Scion to a Toyota. Exterior design updates include new bumpers, front and rear, new L.E.D. headlights, restyled taillights and a new grille. New fabrics, restyled door trims and a redesigned instrument panel update the 86 for 2017. Mechanical enhancements include a horsepower increase for 200 to 205 and a hill holder on 86s equipped with manual transmission.  

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 Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ are powered by a normally-aspirated 2L boxer four producing 205 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 Challenger, Mustang and Camaro, theses coupes are truly compact. Styling is hardly arresting, but the cars look taut and sporty on the street. The central core of the cars are shared, with each having unique front fascias and bespoke rear lights.  

Pricing
The two model ranges don't really line up as both cars have been equipped differently. The 86 is marketed in a single trim level while the BRZ has navigation, a feature not offered on the 86, as standard, as well as a range topper equipped with heated leather seats, also not offered on the Toyota. The SportTech version of the BRZ includes heated leather seats and Keyless Go for a price far less than the value of the option package. Very good value leasing. 

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 (205 HP)

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

City Fuel Economy:  9.7L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.2L/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: