Ever been with a friend who’s not a car guy, and a seemingly sweet ride cruises past? Your friend points at the car, thinking you will acknowledge it, not realising that they are mistaken as to what it is exactly. Here are 5 cars non-car guys think are fast.
Mitsubishi Lancer GT
There can’t be many cars around at the moment that look quite as menacing as a Mitsubishi Evo in your rear-view mirror. Its permanently angry expression screams “get out the way” on the freeway, and with a blistering 0 – 60 time of 4.4 seconds, you would be mad not to respect it. For your average non-car guy, however, this performance prowess seems to stretch across to Mitsubishi’s base model Lancer.
Embarrassingly, the lancer fools a lot of people despite having a hilariously boring 0 – 60 time of 11.4 seconds for the base model. Its 1.5-litre gasoline engine produces just 109 horsepower, little more than a lot of super-minis. Some models offer a larger 2.4-litre four-cylinder with 168 horsepower, but a lot of these vehicles came fitted with a CVT gearbox. Hardly a recipe for speed! With the CVT, the bigger engined Lancer GT still takes more than 8 seconds to reach 60 mph and nearly 16.5 seconds to get to the end of the quarter mile. Whilst the manual transmission will add some fun to the driving experience, I can’t help but think the aggressive looks don’t match the mediocre performance.
You might think that being the in seventh generation, the Toyota Celica would have become a rapid sports coupe. Its sporty looks and aggressive styling often fool the non car guy into thinking it’s a car not to be messed with. Not exactly the case. The 1.8-litre engine is available in two forms, one with 189 horsepower, which is admittedly brisk and less so, the 140 horsepower version. The base model gets the car from 0 – 60 in a leisurely 8.7 seconds, rather a lot slower than many economy diesel hatchbacks. It’s still a fun and reliable vehicle, but I wouldn’t describe it as fast, even in 1999.
Audi A3 1.6
A common trait of non-car guys is that they assign a certain brand with the idea of performance. For example, they might say that Hondas are slow, or Mercedes are fast. This couldn’t be more untrue, especially proven with the Audi A3. It’s certainly got aggressive looks and a premium badge, which seems to be enough to fool non-car people into thinking it’s fast, however, the spec sheet proves otherwise. Popular in European markets, the Audi A3 base model comes with a 1.6-litre engine, not too bad, yet when you look closer, it’s naturally aspirated, offering just 102 horsepower! This poverty spec example of the “premium” A3 will be fine for daily driving sure, but it’s by no means fast and with the automatic model, 0 – 60 takes a whopping 12.7 seconds! That’s considerably slower than some REALLY cheap cars. Not exactly premium! Worst still, some non-car guys buy this car thinking they are the baddest dude on the road, yet they could get shown up by a Honda Fit in a drag race!
The mk2 Toyota MR2 is certainly a cool and fun car, but if you want a cringe free ownership experience, don’t get one in red. Often mistaken for a Ferrari by clueless non-car guys, the Toyota MR2 Turbo was a quick car when it was first produced and still remains a fast car, managing 0 to 60 in 6.1 seconds. Unfortunately, the turbo models made up only a small minority of sales, with naturally aspirated cars outselling them completely. The N/A model is fairly brisk, getting to 60 in 8.4 seconds, but it hardly matches the sporting exterior. Even more clued-up non-car fans who can read a badge will likely presume that this is some rapid sports car yet with just 135 horsepower, it really isn’t.
If you’ve ever thought about buying a DeLorean DMC-12, you better make sure you like the Back to the Future movies. Despite its outlandish looks, the DeLorean DMC-12 only produces 130 horsepower from its 2.8-litre V6 engine. Possibly the slowest ever car with gullwing doors, this futuristic vehicle remains more focused on form rather than function. There are potential 3rd party plans in the works to boost power to 350 horsepower with an engine swap, although putting that power in a shed built car from the 1980s may or may not be a good idea!
When the Honda CR-Z was first announced, Honda fans were excited that there would be, at last, a successor to the brilliant CR-X. Unfortunately, the CR-Z turned out to be a mild hybrid and disappointingly, it didn’t do such a great job at that either. With a highway fuel economy of 39 mpg, it’s not exactly worth it. Its sporty, aggressive design is often enough to fool non-car guys into thinking it’s fast and with the CR-Z badge, it trades off of a car’s name that it can’t match. With just 130 horsepower and 140 foot-pounds of torque, its hybrid credentials don’t really have anything to show, and its lack of efficiency and sales is probably why it has been discontinued from the automaker’s line-up. The CRZ isn’t a bad car, but for Honda, we expect better!
This video wouldn’t be complete without the Subaru BRZ otherwise known as the Scion FRS, otherwise known as the Toyota GT86. When it comes to modern sports cars, there are very few that look as fast as this. A lot of people are disappointed in its straight-line performance, however, from a non-car guys perspective, this thing is the hottest car on the block. With a 2.0-litre Boxer engine under the hood, it produces 200 horsepower and 151-foot pounds of torque, respectable numbers no doubt, especially as the idea of this car is that it’s fun, not fast, but no one’s gotta know that right? Get one in a bright colour and wait for the “sweet ride” comments to roll in.