Most Low-Budget New Thrill of the Year|
2005 Modern Racer Car Crazy Awards
Not all of us have the money to buy, rent or even oggle at that Ferrari 360 Modena, or even a BMW or Corvette. So the more ordinary among us will have to make-do with what we can afford. Fortunately, car manufacturers have listened to the cries of the less fortunate, and have released droves of new models in the past few years for the car enthusiast on a tight budget. And these are the cars that inspired Modern Racer in the first place. All the good stuff came out last year, such as the Dodge SRT-4 and the Mazda 3. Here's a look at this year's newest crop.
2nd Runner-Up :
Volkswagen Jetta GLI 1.8T
Controversy over its Mexican "heritage" and reliability issues notwithstanding, the latest version of the outgoing VW Jetta is also the best-looking. With a subtle factory kit, huge rims, performance tires and Recaro seats, this VeeDub is quite interesting. It still uses the same 180 hp turbo powerplant as the standard 1.8T, but now takes advantage of a six-speed manual. We believe most VW groupies will prefer this body style over the newer 2006 one as well. This one would be a good buy were it not for the steep pricing, even for a low-budget thrill. Hope the car holds up too.
1st Runner-Up :
Toyota Corolla XRS
The first performance Corolla since the demise of the now-much-sought-after 1980s AE86 GTS, it packs almost as much punch as its Celica engine donor, in a more conservative and practical shell. This ugly-tall FWD is actually a decent handler, though it is still no match for the likes of the annoyingly rough Dodge SRT-4 or even the plastic Saturn Ion Red Line. Both of those competitors cannot match Toyota's legendary reliability and build quality by a mile. It even outpowers its Scion tC cousin, which would have had a place in this category if it came with more performance before the expensive TRD mods.
This one is a keeper. The Cobalt is better than the Cavalier Z24 by a long shot, plus the supercharger, larger rims and lower suspension make all the boo-boos of the basic Cobalt SS go away. Packing the same 4-banger motor and platform as its Saturn Ion Red Line cousin, it is also underrated at 205 hp and features a strong Euro chassis. However, this one is made completely of metal and slightly more refined than the plastic Ion. General Motors have had more time to iron out the tiny imperfections out of its original offering, and this is the result. It even plays alongside a C6 Corvette in TV commercials.
Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged
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