Buy/Drive/Burn: 2019 American Sports Cars, Ace of Base Edition

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
buy drive burn 2019 american sports cars ace of base edition

Buy/Drive/Burn returns this week with three American sports cars in their most basic, purest form. The Big Three are represented here, and they don’t get any cheaper than this. No options or fripperies are allowed, and one must receive the Buy.

Start your (small) engines — it’s sports car time.

Ford Mustang

Ford’s perennially present Mustang entered its sixth generation for the 2015 model year. It’s assembled at the Flat Rock plant, which is in Michigan, and south of Detroit. Engines are of four or eight cylinders in The Current Year, as the Cyclone V6 bowed out in 2017. Our basic money means we select the cheaper fastback body style, with an EcoBoost-y 2.3-liter inline-four. Power resides at 310 horses and 350 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed manual sends power to the rear wheels. A good selection of no-charge colors are available at the base price of $26,490.

Dodge Challenger

Though Challenger’s lineage started in 1970, in 2019 it’s still in its third generation. The new Challenger is the same car underneath as the one offered in 2008, though FCA has made thoughtful and extensive updates in the years since. Assembled in Brampton, which is east of Downtown Canada, it’s built alongside the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. Even the most basic Challenger SXT comes with the nice 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, where 305 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque travel to the rear via the eight-speed automatic. FCA gives you some fun colors for free in the $27,340 base price.

Chevrolet Camaro

Though it took a break after 2002, the Camaro returned as a new model in 2010 and entered its sixth generation in 2016. The Camaro is assembled in Lansing, a suburb of Flint. It shares a factory with luxurious rear-drive Cadillac products, and is the only Chevrolet built there. Spending the fewest dollars as possible on Camaro nets a 1LS trim Coupe. Under hood is a 2.0-liter inline-four that’s turbocharged to 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. A manual transmission resides under the driver’s right hand, shifting through six speeds. Eight colors are available for the base $25,495 asking price, but only the red one avoids looking boring.

Three American sports cars on a budget; which receives a Buy?

[Images: Ford, GM, FCA]

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  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on May 23, 2019

    Buy the Challenger because it's the only one I feel I could live with on a daily basis. There's plenty of room for the detritus of life. Also, I find that I tend to prefer boulevard bruisers. The 3.6 is dreamy and the ZF is nice, having been behind both of those items in a current gen 300. Drive...the Camaro. I haven't had experience with one of these other than in a showroom and an auto show, so I'd be morbidly curious. I guess burn the Mustang, though it pains me because I've always liked the looks. I've test driven the 2.3 and I've driven my friend's 2017 GT. My curiosity has been sated. About 12 years ago when I was learning to drive a manual I drove my other friend's 98 Mustang GT. That was a hoot.

  • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Jun 02, 2019

    Burn the Camaro- I've never cared for any Camaro/Firebird. Yes, I know they are/were performance bargains. But the whole car felt like a bargain too. Today's rolling bunker style, even with the refreshed looks, does nothing for me. Drive the Challenger. If something were to happen to my VW tomorrow and I couldn't find an Alfa Guilia I wanted, I'd probably shop the Charger/300. I've always found them to be decent cars to drive, if just a tad too big. I'm not really a Challenger fan, but in the context of B/D/B here, the big Chrysler would be a drive. It's outward visibility isn't much better than the Camaro, but the whole package is a bit better. Buy the Mustang- To compliment the 89 GT Convertible in my garage. I've always felt the Mustang was the best all around "sporty coupe" throughout the years and the current car is no exception. The only thing that would keep a Mustang out of my driveway is the two-door aspect, I just would rather have a four door car, especially with two growing sons. But out of the 3 here, the Mustang speaks to me the most, in any guise.

  • Laszlo I own a 1969 falcon futura 4 door hardtop, original inline 6 and c4 transmission and it still runs to this day.
  • BklynPete So let's get this straight: Ford hyped up the Bronco for 3 years, yet couldn't launch it to match the crazy initial demand. They released it with numerous QC issues, made hay for its greedy dealers, and burned customers in the process. After all that, they lose money on warranties. The vehicles turn out to be a worse ownership experience than the Jeep Wrangler, which hasn't been a paragon of reliability for 50 years. The same was true of the Aviator, Explorer, several F-150 variants, and other recent product launches. The Maverick is the only thing they got right. Yet this company that's been at it for 120 years. Just Brilliant. Jim Farley's non-PR speak: "You don't get to call me an idiot. I get to call myself an idiot first."Farley truly seems hapless, like the characters his late cousin played. Bill Ford is a nice guy but more than a bit slow on the uptake too. They have not had anything resembling a quality CEO since Alan Mulally turned the keys over to Mark Fields - the mulleted glamor boy who got canned after 3 years when the PowerShi(f)t transaxles exploded. He more recently helped run Hertz into the ground with bad QC and a faulty database that had them arresting customers. Ford is starting to resemble Chrysler in the mid-Seventies Sales Bank era. Well, at least VW has cash and envies Ford's distribution reach and potential profitability.
  • Mike Beranek This guy called and wants his business model back.
  • SCE to AUX The solid state battery is vaporware.As for software-limited pack capacity: Batteries are obviously the most expensive component of an EV, so on the rare occasion that pack capacity is dramatically limited (as in your 6-year-old example), it's because economies of scale briefly made sense at the time.Mfrs are not in the habit of overbuilding pack capacity just for fun, and then charging the customer less.Since then, pack capacities have been slightly increased via software because the mfr decides they can sacrifice a little bit of the normal safety/wear margin in the interest of range. We're talking single-digit percentages, not the 60/75 kWh jump in your example.Every pack has maybe 10% margin built into it, so eating into that today (via range increases) means it's not available to make up for battery degradation tomorrow. My 4-year-old EV still has its original range(s) and 100% SOH, but that's surely because it is slowly consuming the margin built into the pack.@Matt Posky: Not everything is a conspiracy to get your credit card account, and the lengthy editorial about this has nothing to do with solid state batteries.
  • JLGOLDEN In order for this total newcomer to grab and hold attention in the US market, the products MUST be an exceptional value. Not many people will pay name-brand money for the pretty mystery. I can appreciate the ambition of selling $50K+ crossovers, but I think they will go farther with their $30K-$40K offerings.
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