2021 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.

2021 sees the departure of the Fiat 124 spinoff of the Mazda MX-5 and a second-generation Subaru BRZ (a renewed Toyota 86 is expected), marketed as a 2022, which should arrive by the summer of 2021. The 2020 Nissan 370Z continues, pending the announcement of a new-generation sportscar to be sold as the 400Z. 

   

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

2021  Chevrolet Camaro

 


 

 

 

What's new
A wireless version of the iOS-Android cellphone interface and wireless cellphone charging are new for 2021.

Comments
The Camaro is built on the same premium architecture that underpinned the now defunct Cadillac ATS. Three main engines, a 2L turbo four, a 3.6L V6 and a 6.2L V8 are offered. In addition, a superharged 6.2L V8 with an astounding 640 horsepower, is a custom order possibility.
The Camaro sends its power to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission or automatics with eight (2L), or ten speeds (V6 and V8). Exterior styling is very similar to the previous-generation car and explores themes seen first on the 1969 Camaro.
The Camaro's interior can't be mistaken for any other car. The centre of the dashboard 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 actuated electrically. Cabin materials are modestly attractive. What the Camaro's cabin lacks however, is space, which is tight in the front and even more so in the back. 
The 3.6L V6 in the Camaro LT coupe driven by the APA delivered fierce acceleration that was accompanied by a guttural, yet pleasing rumble when accelerating hard. The Camaro's automatic transmission 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. The 2L turbo four is quick but overall a disappointment in this car as it sounds gruff and is reluctant to rev. The six-speed manual transmission hooked up to the 2L has a docile clutch but the gearchange was clunky. Direct, nicely weighted steering and good braking ability and pedal feel. Limited outward visibility.

Pricing
Vast model range considering the limited sales profile of the Camaro. The sole difference between the 1LS and 1LT is a power driver's seat, which seems like a pointless exercise. The 2LT includes leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats and a dual-zone climate system, but is a bit overpriced. The 3LT adds alloy cabin trim, wireless cellphone charging, heated steering wheel, a Bose-branded audio system, a memory system, a head up display function as well as blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure monitors, but is overpriced. The 1LE Performance 1LE package on the 1LT, 2LT amd 3LT is priced at $5195 and costs $8495 on the ISS, 2SS and ZL1 V8 models. The 3.6L-V6 costs $1945 on the 1LT, 2LT and  3LT. Moving from the 1SS to the 2SS is reasonably priced. The 6.2L-V8 costs from $15,085 (1LT and 1SS) to $17,585 (2LT and 2SS) more than a similarly equipped model powered by a 2L turbo. The supercharged ZL1 is priced a massive $21,800 more than a 2SS, placing it in a different market segment than the other Camaros. Opting for the convertible version of the Camaro will cost you an extra $7000 than a similarly-equipped coupe. The Camaro is a very good lease value for 2021.  

Reliability
Not rated as too few have been sold to establish reliability. 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 (2L-4T), 10A (V6, V8, V8 S) *
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 12.8L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.1L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Optional forward collision, lane departure, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2016
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: A

Sm. Front Pass.: n/r

Head/Seat: G

 

Headlight: n/r

NHTSA Rating:


2021 Dodge Challenger

 


What’s new
For its 13th year in its current form, Dodge has issued a Super Stock model powered by an 807 horsepower, supercharged, 6,2 L-V8 and wide-body versions of the R/T Scat Pack Shaker and T/A 392.

Performance
On the road, the Challenger is a re-interpretation of Muscle Cars of the past. Vivid acceleration with the 5.7L V8, incredible thrust from the 6.4L V8 on the Scat Pack version and mind-bending verve with the Hellcat models. 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. 

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 6.2L (Hellcat). Power reaches the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, or, on V8 models, a six-speed manual. The SXT and GT trims are offered with all-wheel drive.

Pricing
Vast range for a niche vehicle with a plethora of variants at the top-end of the model range.
The base SXT trim is very well equipped and the comprehensively equipped SXT Plus is a bargain upgrade. The GT trim is reasonable value if you like the equipment. All-wheel drive is priced $3200 on the GT and $3400 on the SXT. The price bump for the V8-powered R/T is good value if you want the engine. The 6.4L Scat Pack, with 110 more horsepower than the similarly-equipped R/T, is priced $12,305 higher. Pricing for the higher-power versions of this car are eye-watering but buyers don't care. The Wide-Body option, adding fender extensions permitting even wider wheels, is an $8000 option on hte Scat Pack, SRT and Hellcat models. The Driver Confidence package on the SXT primarily adds blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors but also xenon headlamps and remote start for $1495. The Driver Convenience package with blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors costs $1495 on the SXT,  $995 on the GT, $1395 on the R/T, and $1095 on the Scat Pack and Hellcat. The Techology package on the GT adds forward collision warning and active cruise control, for $895. Leasing was not available on the Challenger in February 2021. 

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. 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), 6.2L-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: Optional forward collision warning, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors and adaptive cruise control

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:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: A

Sm. Front Pass: n/r

Head/Seat: G

Headlight: n/r

 

NHTSA Rating:


2021 Ford Mustang

 


What’s new
The Tremec six-speed manual transmission now features rev-matching. Ford Co-Pilot 360, with forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure and blind spot warnings and a lane keep assist system, is standard on all trims for 2021. Rain sense wipers are included on all Mustangs for 2021 and the Bullitt model has been discontinued but a new Mach 1 version of the GT is available.

Comments
The cabin 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. Interior materials are unimpressive and disappointing at this price point. Ford's European designed vehicles 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 2.3L turbo four with either 310 or 330 horsepower, a 460 horsepower 5L V8 and a 760 horsepower supercharged 5.2L V8 that powers the GT500. 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 rear seat leg and head room are very tight for what is a large car.  

Pricing
No pricing details were available for the 2021 Mustang as of February 2021.  

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. All engines are unproven.

Specifications


Body Style:  2CP, 2CV
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
2.3L-4 T (310 HP, 330 HP)*, 5L-V8 (460 HP)*, 5.2L-V8 S (760 HP)

Transmissions: 6M, 7 dual clutch, 10A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  11L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.5L/100 km

Active Safety Features: Standard forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot and lane departure warnings and a lane keep assist system


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


Current Generation Debut:  2015
Country of Origin: United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: A

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: n/r

Head/Seat: G

Headlight: n/r

 

NHTSA Rating:


2021 Mazda MX-5

 


 

What’s new
The iOS-Android cellphone interface is standard for 2021. A 100th Anniversary Edition, in snow white pearl paint with garnet red leather, celebrates the 1920 founding of Mazda. The Fiat 124 version of this platform is no longer sold in North America. The Fiat 124 version of the MX-5 was discontinued. 
Comments
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. The MX-5 is a delight to drive. 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 operation of the electrically-driven targa top on the RF model is a wonder to behold. 

Pricing
An unbelievable number of MX-5 variants are available for 2021. Buyers have the no-cost option of automatic or manual transmission. With air-conditioning, alloy wheels, keyless go, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, the iOS-Android cellphone interface, the soft top GS trim is very well equipped. The manual-transmission GS-P adds heated seats, Bilstein shocks, an accoustic windshield and a Bose-branded audio system, is expensive for what you get. The GSP-Sport includes super-powerful Brembo brakes, is no bargain. The range-topping GT trim adds leather seating, a lined convertible top, navigation, active headlights and a number of minor comfort and convenience features, at a price that reflects the value of the additional content. The retractable hard top variant of the MX-5, sold as the RF, is a $3000 option on the GS-P and GT trims. The 100th Anniversary model, which bears Snow Flake white pearl paint and a garnet red leather interior, is priced only $500 higher than the GT trim it is based on. The MX-5 is a spectacular lease value for 2021.

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted for the Mazda.

Specifications


Body Style:  2CV, 2TG

Occupants:  2

Engines:
2L-4 (181 HP Mazda)* 

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

City Fuel Economy: 9.0L/100 km 
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.6L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Mazda: Standard forward collision warning, low-speed autonomous emergency braking, blind spot and rear cross traffic warning. Fiat: Optional blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings
Warranty: 3/Unlimited, 5/Unlimited (Mazda), 
Current Generation Debut: 2016
Country of Origin: Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: n/r

Mod. Front: n/r

Side: n/r

Roof: n/r

Sm. Front Pass.: n/r

Head/Seat:  n/r

Headlight: n/r

 

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Nissan 370Z  


 

What’s new
A 50th anniversary edition of the coupe, commenmorating the release of the Datsun 240Z, is new for 2020. Nissan is readying a next-generation 400Z but it is still under wraps.   

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, the 370Z does look a bit brutal. The cabin, with smooth flowing shapes and attractive materials, succeeds where the exterior disappoints. 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. The total lack of any kind of active safety equipment is a reflection on the extreme age of the 370Z.

Pricing
At just over $30,000, the base 370Z coupe represents spectacular performance for the money but without an automatic transmission option, its appeal is limited. The Sport trim with manual transmission is slightly too expensive for what it offers. At $2700, the 50th Anniversary edition of the coupe lacks value for the money asked but those keen on marking the anniversary will be happy to pay it. The Nismo is a higher performance, very sporty package that is priced to reflect the value of the Go-Faster equipment. The Sport Touring trim is good value. There is no overlap between the coupe and convertible models but the top convertible is priced at just over $56,000. The 370Z was a reasonable lease value for 2020.  

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
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2009
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: n/r

Mod. Front: n/r

Side: n/r

Roof: n/r

Sm. Front Pass.: n/r

Head/Seat: n/r

Headlight: n/r

 

NHTSA Rating:


2022 Subaru BRZ (Toyota 86?)  

NEW

What’s new
Subaru BRZ: . Subaru has announced a second-generation BRZ that should go on sale by the summer of 2022 on an adapted version of the Subaru Global Platform, the new BRZ has a marginally longer wheelbase, is slightly longer than before and a substantial 60 mm lower. The flat-four engine grows from 2L to 2.4L and from 205 to 228 horsepower. Subaru's Eyesight active safety system is newly available on the BRZ. Toyota 86: a new version of the 86 is expected but Toyota had no details by February 2021.   
Performance
The previous BRZ, compact and relatively light, was a delight to drive and the second-generation car should continue that tradition. 

Comments
The BRZ is powered by a normally-aspirated, port and direct-injected version of the 2.4L flat-floor engine block that is the basis of turbo engine that is standard on the Ascent. The engine produces 228 horsepower, 23 more than the 2L flat-four it replaces. Poswer reaches the rear wheels via either a conventional six-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. The new 2.4L nestles in an adapted version of the Subaru Global Platform with rear-wheel drive. MacPherson struts and a multi-link rear suspension return for 2022. Power assist for the steering is now provided electrically. 
Styling is a busier, fussier spin off the design of the first-generation BRZ. It is immediately identifiable as a BRZ, but not really attractive or compelling in any way. The new design incorporates modern styling cliches like the jagged piercing in the front fascia under the headlamps as well as the de rigeur gills in the front fenders. People will not buy the BRZ for its looks but for the way it drives.  
The cabin is all-new, but, like other Subarus, a very conservative design. The twin-cockpit look of its predecessor is replaced but a very horizontally-oriented dashboard which incorporates an average-sized infotatainment screen into the top portion of the dash centre stack. Climate controls use a straightforward three-dial system that are back-lit to show temperature and other functions. A row of piano keys under the main HVAC dials control minor functions such as rear defrost. Subaru maintain a vestigial rear seat on the BRZ redesign though it would be difficult to imagine anyone even getting into the rear seat, let alone being comfortable there. 
Subaru's Eyesight active safety system, incorporating forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and a lane keep assist system, will be offered. Generally the Eyesight system is only offered with automatic transmission. Subaru Canada were unable to confirm that this will be the case with the new BRZ. 

Pricing
No pricing details are available. 

Reliability
New car, not rated. New engine is unproven.

Specifications


Body Style:  2CP
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
2L-flat 4 (205 HP, 200 HP with automatic)

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

City Fuel Economy:  n.a
Highway Fuel Economy:  n.a
Active Safety Features: Available forward collsion warning, autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, lane departure warning and a lane keep assist system. 
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2022
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: n/r

Mod. Front: n/r

Side: n/r

Roof: n/r

Sm. Front Pass.: n/r

Head/Seat: n/r

Headlight: n/r

 

NHTSA Rating: