>> Monday, March 16, 2009
Some Subies, a couple of Mitsubishis, and the Mustang GT are among those that make the grade.
When we last presented an installment of the quickest cars from $25,000 to $30,000, the group admittedly had a tighter range of 0-to-60-mph times. They were also bunched closer to the $30K mark. Most of those cars have received price bumps in the intervening time, however, that remove them from the running. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Pontiac Solstice GXP/Saturn Sky Redline, and Chevrolet Impala SS, among others, have climbed above the $30K mark and are ineligible for this year’s list. Keep in mind, too, that a car’s base price always includes the unavoidable destination fee, so brand-new models like the Nissan 370Z aren’t included because they actually cost more than the advertised base price.
But losing all those cheap-speed superstars from the list doesn’t mean this group is any slower; in fact, the quickest time for 2009 blows the doors off the reigning champ by a whopping 0.4 second. We were skeptical that the new titleholder, the 4.7-second 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX, was a ringer, but that time was verified after testing another example.
The rules are the same as before: quickest to 60 mph wins, eligible vehicles must boast a base price (including destination charges) between $25,001 and $30,000, and must be available in showrooms throughout the bulk of calendar-year 2009. Only production cars allowed—no aftermarket tuners or parts, although that remains an option for owners should they crave even more power or speed. If two cars post identical 0-to-60 dashes, the car with the quicker quarter-mile sprint gets the nod. If they're still tied, then the winner is the car that first reaches 100 mph, then 110 mph, and so forth.
10. Hyundai Azera
Base Price: $29,645
Highs: Eager engine, excellent 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Base Price: $28,144
Lows: Touches of cheapness abound, no folding rear seat, needs to lose a few pounds.
Base Price: $29,630
Highs: A fine engine, smooth-shifting automatic transmission.
Keep Reading: The Quickest Cars of 2009: $25,000 to $30,000 - Feature