We know that more of these are good:
Miles you can drive
And less of these are better:
From those, we can make ratios that we commonly hear or deal with shopping for cars or talking about cars in the community:
We can just put a powerful and reliable engine in a really light frame, and you'll get a lot of miles on a tank of fuel, and a lot of fun when you floor it, but let's analyze brand new cars with this formula:
(HP/ton)/$ indicates how spry a car is per dollar you pay, it's a good start, but if you want to add more factors you are judging, then it's a bit trickier.
Let's put everything good on one side, and everything bad on the other (in a Good-on-top-Bad-on-bottom manner, so you get a number that reflects positive traits as "more"):
Let's add fuel economy statistics to that:
(hp*miles of range)/($*ton*cost to fill up tank). This formula indicates how fast a car can accelerate in respect to its purchase cost and how many miles you can drive per dollar.
Here's a rough introduction on analysis, I'm hoping this will improve how "Answers of the Days" are provided here on Jalopnik.
Footnote: You can substitute cost of electricity for petroleum if you are looking to buy an electric car.
The range should also be modified as a function of how many horsepower you are using, to give a more accurate representation of "more smiles per dollar". My interpretation of fun is however rooted in the fact that "acceleration (or Gs) = fun".
Braking and hard turns can substitute for horsepower, but those can be provided at a much cheaper price than acceleration with the powerplant of the vehicle. Especially after you've wrung it through the formula above (since it favors lighter cars).
Here's a Lancia Stratos wallpaper as a thank you for bearing with me and reading this till the end: