2018 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 the mid-cycle update of the Ford Mustang went on sale for the 2018 model year.     

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

2018  Chevrolet Camaro

 

NOT RATED

 

 

 

What's new
New for 2018 is a 1LE package on the 2SS which includes Brembo brakes, Magnetic Ride Control and head up display, and a Redline appearance package. 

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 horsepower, 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 guttural, 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
Massive model range despite the low-volume nature of the car. The 1LT model is essentially a 1LS with automatic transmission; at a price bump that is in excess of the cost of the transmission. The 2LT trim upgrade is good value and is equipped to suit the needs of most buyers. It costs $14,000 to move from the 2L turbo four in the 1LS to the V8 in the 1SS but about $2500 can be attributed to additional equipment. Migrating from the 2L 2LT to the V8 2SS commands a $12,000 supplement, with about $5000 devoted to extra features. The V6 engine is priced $1645 extra compared with the 2L on the 1LS, 1LT and 2LT trims. The convertible body style commands a $6455 supplement on all trim levels except for the 1LT, which is priced $7905 higher (1LS and 1LT).  


Reliability
Not rated, newish model and limited sales. 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)*, 3.6L-V6 (335 HP.), 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: 10.8L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.6L/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: 


2018 Dodge Challenger

 


What’s new
FCA's optional Uconnect4 is new as is Sirius XMGuardian and 4G WiFi. 
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
The all-wheel drive system, unique in the Sporty Car segment, is offered in a single GT trim level powered by a V6. The 29J package, xenon lights, heated steering wheel and blind spot monitors, is a bargain. The Technology package, with adaptable cruise control, forward collision avoidance, blind spot monitors and lane keep assist, is very good value. Migrating from a V6 powered SXT+ to a V8-powered R/T, costs $1800, but the blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, standard with the V6, are optional.  The R/T 392 upgrade is reasonably priced. The Hellcat supercar is very expensive but people don't care as the car is sold out. 

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:  12.8L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.7L/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: 


2018 Ford Mustang

 


What’s new
Mid-cycle remake includes a lower hoodline as well as new L.E.D. headlamps and restyled taillamps. Output of the 5L V8 grows to 460 horsepower the turbo four now cranks out 310 horsepower. The smooth, flexible V6 engine has been discontinued. A 10-speed automatic transmission is new for 2018 as is a revised clutch on manual transmission cars. The exhaust system has four sound profiles, including a "Good Neighbour" setting now. The Safe and Smart active safety suite is a new option this year. 

Comments
The Mustang's lower hoodline renders the car less chunky looking than last year. 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 a 310 horsepower 2.3L turbo four and a 460 horsepower 5L V8. Not offering a smaller engine with about 250 horsepower, is a lost opportunity. 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
The Premium package, offered with both engines, results is a very well-equipped car, but its price is roughly double the value of its additional content. The higher power of the V8 engine commands a premium of $10,000 more than the base 2.3 turbo. The convertible body style is priced $5450 more than a similarly equipped coupe. The Safe and Smart option package is good value. 


Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. All engines are unproven.

Specifications


Body Style:  2CP, 2CV
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
2.3L-4 T (310 HP)*, 5L-V8 (460 HP)

Transmissions: 6M, 10A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  11L/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: A

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2018 Mazda MX-5*, Fiat 124

 


 

What’s new
Mazda MX-5: numerous changes to enhance refinement for 2018. Revisions to steering and suspension to improve ride and handling precision. A special edition to commemorate Mazda's 50th anniversary in Canada, is available. Fiat 124 et MX-5: package and packaging changes,

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
MX-5: with air-conditioning, alloy wheels, Bluetooth, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, the base GX trim is very well equipped. While it includes heated seats and navigation, the GS trim is overpriced. The 50th Anniversary Edition is priced to reflect its value and the range-topping GT trim is worth having if you like its equipment. The RF (retractable targa roof), available in GS and GT trim, costs $3000 more than the soft-top MX-5. Overpriced Sport and Grand Sport packages on the GS and GT models. Good value GT Exclusive package. Fiat 124: The base Classica trim is priced $3000 more than the Mazda MX-5 but offers little of value to justify the price bump. The Abarth, which has some suspension tweaks and four extra horsepower, is a bit overpriced when compared with the Classica. The Lusso model is nicely equipped and attractively priced. 


Reliability
Above average reliability predicted.

Specifications


Body Style:  2CV

Occupants:  2

Engines:
1.4L-4 T (160-164 HP), 2L-4 (160 HP)* 

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

City Fuel Economy: 8.9L/100 km 
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.7L/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: 


2018 Nissan 370Z  


 

What’s new
An EXEDY high-performance clutch is new on the 370Z Nismo for 2018.

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

At just under $30,000, the base 370Z coupe represents spectacular performance for the money but without an automatic transmission option, its appeal is limited. Moving up from the base to the Sport trim is very expensive; with the range-topping Touring Sport model being simply ludicrous. Nissan charges $5,400 to migrate from the coupe to the convertible bodies on the Touring model, the sole trim shared in common.

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: 


2018 Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ  


What’s new
BRZ: packaging changes including a new tS limited edition. Toyota 86: the Special Edition has been replaced by the GT. 

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
Except for the Sport-Tech model, all BRZs feature manual transmission. The Sport-Tech model upgrade includes a number of comfort and convenience features in addition to the automatic transmission. The BRZ tS range topper is very expensive. Toyota 86: The Toyota 86 has more models offered with automatic transmission than Subaru does. The GT trim, with leather seating, dual zone air conditioning and Keyless Go, among other things, is good value. It is hard to compare the 86 with the BRZ as the two cars are marketed differently.  

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:  11.3L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.3L/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: