By on September 10, 2019

Pity the low-end driving enthusiast. Once upon a time, this crop of new car buyers could slip behind the wheel of a muscled-up compact like the Dodge Dart Swinger 340 or GTS and brag that Mannix drove the same car. While the Malaise Era put an end to sportier small car variants with legitimate performance cred, by the late ’80s and early ’90s the party was back on. Cash-poor buyers could peruse a V6 Plymouth Duster or turbocharged Dodge Shadow ES/Sundance RS, though those same turbo fours also found a home in the cheaper Dodge Omni.

How ’bout a Pontiac Sunbird GT… or a less status-worthy Ford Escort GT?

Japan got in on the game with a myriad of compact and subcompact sport offerings, from the Honda CRX Si to the Mazda 323 GTX and a myriad of models in between. While there’s still options out there for enthusiasts on a budget (RIP, Ford Fiesta ST), the pickings have become far slimmer. Is there an entry-level vehicle worthy of a performance makeover? (Read More…)

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