QOTD: What Price Performance?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

qotd what price performance

I concluded my 2024 Ford Mustang GT review by pointing out that if you order a fully-loaded GT it will cost you around $60K, and that strikes me as expensive -- especially for a model that once offered V8 power for a relatively low price.

Some of you in the comments -- yes, we do read them -- agreed with me, while others thought that $60K for a GT was actually still a bargain. Others pointed out that if one was judicious with options, you could get a GT decently equipped for under $50,000. Do you really need the Performance Pack or magnetic ride (which requires you to buy the Performance Pack)?

Some of you would no doubt point out that the EcoBoost has become the "cheap speed" version of the Mustang -- the four-cylinder offers plenty of power and the car is fun enough that maybe you don't need the V8's muscle and sound. I certainly used that narrative in my EcoBoost review.

I bring this up because I think the definition of "cheap" has changed when it comes to performance. According to Cox Automotive, the average transaction price for vehicles is now over $48,000, as of May. So relative to the ATP, a judiciously equipped Mustang GT is "affordable performance."

On the other hand, many of us aren't in a financial situation where we can afford a vehicle that costs over $40K. Salaries and wages haven't necessarily kept up with the cost of cars, for a variety of factors I don't have time to get into here.

So, I ask of you, B and B -- what is now the right dollar amount for "affordable" performance? I certainly think Honda's Civic Si, which starts at under $30K, fits. There's also a slew of sporty cars in the $30,000 to $40,000 range that are attainable for a lot of folks. Cars like the Volkswagen Jetta GLI, Subaru WRX, and so on.

The Mustang, of course, is not the only performance car in that $40K-$60K range. It's not the only car that would start a debate over whether it is affordable or not -- Nissan's Z, Toyota's Supra, and others like the Honda Civic Type R are in a similar boat.

So, what say you? At what price does a performance car stop being affordable? Or is it all relative, depending not just on market forces but also on the size of your bank account?

Sound off below.

[Image: Ford]

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2 of 55 comments
  • FormerFF FormerFF on Jul 31, 2023

    I recently picked up a 2017 GTI for use as a daily driver and track rat. On the street, I can't use all the performance that it has, and on the track it keeps up with traffic, although I do have to give point bys to well driven V8 powered cars. Cars like the GTI, Civic SI, Toyobaru twins, MX-5s, and GR Corollas are plenty for all but the most dedicated drivers.

  • Joe65688619 Joe65688619 on Aug 18, 2023

    The automakers' margin in in the options for a give platform - you're seeing, by volume, fewer base models being made, and higher premiums for premium models. Fleets are are still sucking up the inventory priced at the bottom of the market, so yeah, to get into a "performance" car, you're having to spend some $$$. As long as the demand is there this will continue.

  • Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )
  • Thehyundaigarage Yes, Canadian market vehicles have had immobilizers mandated by transport Canada since around 2001.In the US market, some key start Toyotas and Nissans still don’t have immobilizers. The US doesn’t mandate immobilizers or daytime running lights, but they mandate TPMS, yet canada mandates both, but couldn’t care less about TPMS. You’d think we’d have universal standards in North America.
  • Alan I think this vehicle is aimed more at the dedicated offroad traveller. It costs around the same a 300 Series, so its quite an investment. It would be a waste to own as a daily driver, unless you want to be seen in a 'wank' vehicle like many Wrangler and Can Hardly Davidson types.The diesel would be the choice for off roading as its quite torquey down low and would return far superior mileage than a petrol vehicle.I would think this is more reliable than the Land Rovers, BMW make good engines. https://www.drive.com.au/reviews/2023-ineos-grenadier-review/