Alliteration aside, we are strong believers in fun cars for all. Normally, we applaud accessible sporty versions of everyday cars, or pushing the limits of an already fast car. Sometimes, though, these “performance” packages serve no real purpose.
-2007 Honda Fit Sport
The Fit is a perfectly respectable car, but since its arrival meant the end of the Civic Si hatch in North America, calling the top trim “sport” without any meaningful improvements was just cruel. Honda wouldn’t sell a real hot hatch in the U.S. for another 10 years.
-2012 Toyota Camry SE Sport Limited Edition
The infamous “grounded to the ground” edition Camry didn’t even make use of the optional V6 and was essentially a way to get the V6 trim’s accessories without bothering with the engine upgrade. It epitomized an epidemic of economy cars being given bigger wheels and slightly less floaty suspension and being advertised as sporty.
-2015 Scion FR-S Release Series 1.0
The Release Series 1.0 saw Scion finally letting Toyota’s in-house performance brand, TRD, have a go at improving the FR-S. The result was a body kit, a louder exhaust, a lower suspension and a unique yellow paint job. What TRD didn’t do was increase engine output or upgrade the tires. The improvements were fine, but the cheap tires and relatively low power were the only complaints FR-S owners had to begin with.
-2017 Ford Focus ST
The Focus ST is, by all accounts, a very good car. We actually have no issue with the car itself. The real problem is the in-house competition. With the release of the Focus RS with more power and AWD, Ford rendered the ST obsolete. With a price difference of over 10 grand the RS would still be left as an entry into Ford’s hot hatch lineup. That is, if it weren’t for the Fiesta ST. The FiST can do almost everything the Focus ST can for a few thousand less, and if being down on power vs the FoST bothers any potential customers, they likely won’t be happy about the 100hp they give up by passing on the RS.
-2015 Nissan GT-R Track Edition
How can a special edition that beat the already blindingly fast GT-R around the Nürburgring be considered pointless? Let Jeremy Clarkson, in Britain’s Driving.co.uk explain:
“…The car is completely undriveable on the road.” “There is no give. At all. Drive over a manhole cover and you get some idea of what it might be like to be involved in a plane crash.”
Although it is not surprising that a car called the “Track Edition” is more at home on a circuit than around town, Clarkson knows that the charm of the original GT-R was that it was great at everything. Great on a drag strip, great on a circuit, great coming home with a trunk full of groceries. Even though it is quicker around a track in Germany, it misses the point of the original and because of that, is worse.