Normally the sport compact cars people think of are the GTI, WRX, SE-R and Civic SI. However, I decided to do things a little differently. Welcome to my Off-beat Sport Compact Three-Way Beat-Off (sorry, I had to). Where three quirky pocket rockets battle it out for top spot. Let's introduce the contenders.
Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart
Our first challenger is the baby Evo, the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart. The earlier Ralliarts were mediocre impersonations of a B15 SE-R. They were decently punchy, but didn't give you James May's Patented Fizzing Sensation. However, in 2009, Mitsubishi unleashed a proper sport compact. They gave the Evo a smaller single-scroll turbo and a couple of other bits and called it a day. The result was amazing. Car and Driver clicked off a 5.4 second 0-60 run and a 14.1 second quarter-mile in their long-term tester after 40,000 miles.
Inside, you got a proper fat steering wheel and hip-hugging Recaro seats. You could even get it with a 710 watt Rockford Fosgate Stereo.
And it sounds pretty good with a Borla exhaust. In fact, there were only two problems with the car. It debuted at the beginning of the recession at a price north of 30K, enough to ward off people who cross-shopped it with a WRX. Secondly, instead of fitting a proper manual in the car, Mitsubishi gave it a twin-clutch. The TC-SST transmission wasn't that bad, but it didn't connect you to the car like a manual.
Volvo C30 T5
In 2007, Volvo dropped a bombshell on the automotive community by creating it's first ever hot hatch. And from a first glance, they got it right. A 227-horse turbocharged 5-cylinder engine mated to a slick manual gearbox was the start of it. Volvo then wrapped it in a body that makes more expensive cars jealous. It may not be the showiest face in the world, but one you went around the back
Damn, if this little swede wasn't sexy. On the inside, Volvo's trademark flying remote center console was present, as were comfy and supportive seats.
And once you uncorked that T5, it sang!
Acura CSX Type-S
One upon a time, a group of Honda employees got completely wasted off of blow and decided that it could make even more money off of the Civic. This terrible-sounding idea came up with a brilliant little car - a loaded Si four-door with a little class. It got a helical diff, the high-strung 2 liter four and a close-ratio manual. It had identical suspension tuning to the Si, which means that it went down the road nicely.
It had everything on the inside and it was well-trimmed too. Just don't un-cork the exhaust or you'll sound like a ricer. This car shares one of it's two problems with the Ralliart. It was $33,400 when new. Let that sink in for a bit: 34 grand for a fancy Civic Si. Also, it was a Canada-only model so it is a unicorn in the U.S.
So, Opponauts. Which one of these would you buy?
Which of these would you buy?
Volvo C30 T5
Acura CSX Type-S