So theres always a good variety of cars out there and recently we're actually seeing a slue of great ones. Even the presumed boring brands are coming out with cars that are actually fun and exciting. The car market has always been a hard line to walk. Do you want to make a car thats really cool and fun and risk it failing because it didn't sell enough, looking at you Ford, or do you want to make something kind of ok and fun but overall a low risk considering your demographic. Low risk was the theme in the middle 2000s with reliability and fuel economy being the main focus but now towards the end of the 2010s we're seeing high risk high reward manufacturing. Petroleum is now reasonably priced, manufacturers are cutting fewer corners and overall we now have room to explore. We saw a similar surge in the early 90s from Japan when they discovered 2 turbochargers were better than one and all the Far East competed ruthlessly for the top spot, nearly every manufacturer had a twin turbo car. That competition breed innovation but after that initial boom competition dwindled and only a few brands maintained their sportsmanship. For years there were very few cool cars that were even remotely reliable and only a small handful maintained their relevance through the years. Now more than ever that is changing.
Honda, the most boring car in the world, is releasing the highly anticipated Type R Civic, a 300 horsepower monster of a little car, and, most notably, brought back one of the most iconic super cars of all time, the NSX! Honda is remarkably maintaining an opinion of itself that is no longer laughable among the car communities. The Type R itself is no small gamble, they’re rivals, Subaru and Volkswagen, have been making similar cars, for much longer and more consistently. So bravo Honda for stepping into the arena, but it will be interesting to see how they compete. Honda was has always been a peek innovator but struggled to take those innovations into a dicier territory, always playing it safe. The NSX however, is changing all of this. The twin turbo V6 mid mounted engine is married to 3 electric motors, 1 for each front wheel and 1 to help the V6 achieve more power and efficiency. Now if this doesn't sound groundbreaking it's because it isn't. Hybrid supercar technology has been around for several years now coming from the likes of the legends Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche, but here's the difference: those cars are magnificent but are magnificently priced, all close to or more than $1 million. The NSX costs a small fortune as well but is only a quarter of the aforementioned. Thats a big deal. This NSX is maintaining the goal of the original from the 90s. It's not competing with Japan, its competing with Europe.
That is not to say the rest of Japan isn't also competing with other continents. Toyota/Lexus has released a variety of vehicles aimed for various competitive circles and only plans to expand upon that. By now we've all seen the Lexus LC and we'll gloss over that quickly as I'm probably too opinionated on it. Its a great car but doesn't really compete with anything and not in a good way. It's somewhere in the middle in regards to super luxury car and super performance car. Within its price range there are several faster or more luxurious cars to choose from so why choose something that has parts of both and struggles to find its true identity. It’s great they’re trying but we’re all more exited for something else coming down the pipeline. Toyota has been teasing us for years with talks of another Supra (another 90s icon). All we have to go on is some concept photos and rumors that they are working with BMW in regards to the motor. I'm not fond of the images released thus far because it looks a little, well, kind of like genitalia and I'll leave it at that. We still aren’t sure what to expect power wise but I would predict it would be on par with the NSX and have the main goal of soaking underwear of both men and women alike. Toyota has also rumored mentions of middle and entry level sports cars. Unfortunately thats all we have to go on. We would love to see another MR2, the little coupe with a mid mounted motor from 15 years ago, the poor mans Lambo; but its all speculation. Toyota has always been reliable but now it’s time for passion and I have a feeling we’re about to get it.
Moving forward, surprisingly one of the best car companies of taking full advantage of this little boom is Kia. Kia made a name by being the official sponsor of the NBA and seemingly overnight became a reliable desirable brand of car. More tantalizing is the fact that Kia has used that as a platform to venture into sports cars. You read correctly, Kia sports car. Read it until it makes sense, take as much time as you need. Kia recently released something called the Stinger. (oooh) At first I was skeptical but I remembered that their catalog has offered several turbocharged undercover sports cars before, kind of like sedans that wanted a little more go but never really earned respect from the car guys at large, so it was only appropriate for them to come out with a flagship enthusiastic vehicle that really intrigued us. This thing is rear wheel drive (plus), was produced by the former head of BMW M performance (plus), and has a V6 with not one but TWO turbochargers (plus, plus). This thing is insane and starts at $33k. Now you probably expect this thing to look like a strange and hideous Corvette rip off but no. Its a four door sedan with some tasteful vents on the hood and a few other accents around the body. It has a large trunk and overall a good interior. Amazing! Kia, as far as I'm concerned, when it comes to affordable good fun cars you're the one to beat and I don't care what anyone says. A fast cool Kia, say it until it makes sense.
That's a big act to follow, now how does America hold up? Ford... Ford was doing so well, the Ford Focus RS was amazing. Wait was? Yes was, but we'll get into that in a minute. This thing was incredible, through a variety of witchcraft and hopes and dreams it made 350 horsepower out of a 2.3 inline 4 cylinder turbo. It had all wheel drive and could even move more power to the rear wheels if drifting was your fancy. This thing slaughtered any and all of its counterparts. So what happened? This was highly anticipated by everyone that loved cars, even if you hated Ford (ahem), there was no disputing its greatness. Well thats just it. It was so good and so sought after that American capitalism got in the way. Ford dealers marked this car 10 grand over msrp and no one wanted to pay that much. There were more options at that price and they tried to sell it to a tax bracket that it was not aimed at by the manufacturer. This wasn't a cheap car to make nor was it exceptionally expensive but when the sales were very limited at best ford was forced to shut it down after only a year of production. This will most likely go down as one of the beat cars of all time and the fact it was only made for a year only adds to its mysticism like musical legends dying far too soon. Its sad it really is. Great job ford bad job America.
For the sake of my sanity that will be the only American car I will cover. If there is one you are willing to sacrifice your reputation on please let me know and ill look into it.
There could not be a better time to be alive if you enjoy automobiles. These are just a few of the most notable mentions that are available today. This could be the last hurray now as electric and hydrogen cars slowly take over out motorways and manufacturers are giving us quite a show. There are only better things to come you have no excuse to not drive a great car nowadays. Reliability is at an all time high and quality vehicles are more accessible than ever. Go out and drive, build that connection with you and your vehicle that we all do just now do it with a better car.