revenge of the nerd

Revenge of the Nerds, At Least Someone’s Listening!
By Mike Kojima 
I just realized that it’s been over a year since I last wrote what is supposed to be a monthly column. Sorry about that but I have been pretty busy. In the past year we have grown MotoIQ tremendously, thanks to all of you for helping us grow more than 100% in the last 12 months. We have more than doubled our rate of publishing to keep you fed with content and we have increased the range of stuff we cover from our beginnings of just mostly tech to a wide gamut of subjects over a wide range of media. We have introduced our pod casts and videos from the GT Channel. We have also launched our own race series.
dai yoshihara
Helping Dai Yoshihara and Team Falken win the Formula D Championship was one of the highlights of my career.
In the coming year we will continue to bring you more. We will have more event coverage, from Formula D, Rally Cross, Time Attack, Road Racing from ALMS to Grand Am and of course our own MPTCC. As always our coverage will be beyond a blog or a feed and offer real journalism. We will also feature more on track evaluation of things and a wider variety of product tests with our MotoIQ Certified Legit program. We will do our best to be the best site on the web for the true performance enthusiast.
We won’t be covering much from the car show scene or bringing you the latest in ratted out fitment cars nor will we have much in the way of models. The girls you will be seeing in MotoIQ are real enthusiasts just like you.
dai yoshihara
Helping Dai Yoshihara win the inaugural MPTCC championship was a lot of hard work as well.
Personally it has been a busy year for me. Not only have I been hard at work here but I have also been helping Dai Yoshihara and Team Falken win the 2011 Formula D championship, a job that has taken me all over the country and even the world over the past 12 months. I was also busy helping Dai win the inaugural MPTCC championship. An effort that was a lot more work than you would think, taking 3 different cars and involving bringing one race car out of mothballs and retrofitting it to update it enough to be competitive. My own effort for the MPTCC crown got put aside because I simply did not have enough time to do it all and I was getting worn out.
mike kojima
My busy schedule kept me from doing much driving and other fun things but I did get to race one and did pretty good, a second place at Cal Speedway.
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Monday, December 26, 2011 10:09 PM
I agree with you about Honda, they have really lost their way. Not so sure about Nissan, they got the price of the 350Z down to much more affordable levels than its predecessors, "added lightness" with the 370Z, and finally brought the GTR to the US.

And I don't think Mazda ever lost the recipe. The Miata has been an affordable, lightweight sports car since its introduction, and the Mazda3 in both normal and Mazdaspeed versions is one of the best handling FWD cars around. Also, we have new performance options from Mini and Fiat that didn't exist years ago.

Maybe you're just looking in the wrong places for your sport compact fun?
Monday, December 26, 2011 10:57 PM
Funny that what you are saying about Honda the car manufacturer is echoed in it's motorbike division:


Tuesday, December 27, 2011 12:00 AM
This is very true. The newer sport compact cars are pretty bloated in terms of size and weight.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 12:15 AM
I drive an under-power EG6 and love it !!! (Soon a built-GSR tranny, and an LS block with a B20 head with be swapped in, and the shitty D15 toss in the bin).
Anyway, I always like the Toyota MR-S, and I don't understand why it never caught up to the tuning scene (with a 2ZZ swap, or K20a) and a small turbo it can be a fun car.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 12:55 AM
Just out of curiosity, is there a particular reason for using a B20 head?
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 4:46 AM
The pricing of these new vehicles is what it is. the gov't is requiring lots of R&D on these cars for emission purposes that simply did not have to be in the cost previously.

plus, just about all of the raw materials for the automotive industry have been going up significantly faster than inflation rates.

but that said, the cheapening of the suspensions and lack of focus on keeping small cars lightweight to get decent fuel economy is aggravating.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 6:01 AM
My first car was a 1986 Integra. No VTEC, no double wishbones, but it has been may favorite car to own and drive. It had just enough power to be fun, handled perfectly for its size, and was useful for hauling people or stuff with its big hatchback and four doors. That car is so great that you never see them for sale...people keep them until they rust into nothing!

I 100% agree with everything Mike said, except one thing. The OEMs are making the cars they make because they sell. Between he minivan and SUV fads, people are used to tall roofed, big cars. That's why the goofy super minis are appealing: inside they feel like big SUVs. People have forgotten, or don't realize, how practical a coupe can be (I've moved to college in my S13, even with a rollbar in the back). I also don't think most people understand that a car can be fun to drive, even if it's not a Ferrari. I was talking to a friend about her RAV-4 and she didn't get that even a regular car can be fun and more than just a commuting machine. Since most people don't care, the OEMs don't bother. It's a real shame because the cars of 20 years ago were just right. Mazda still seems to make fun cars, but only a few real good cars ready for the aftermarket (though I think their styling has gotten pretty weird).

The good news is, people in my college class all grew up and drove some of those early 90s cars and in a few years we will be the ones designing the latest compact cars. And with the new FR-S, maybe we will see a resurgence in fun coupes. After all, the muscle car scene was totally dead, then a retro Mustang came and that scene got a shot of life. Maybe the FR-S can do the same.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 6:13 AM
Mike, I think I read this somewhere before :)No worries, the point is still valid.

Hopefully the FR-S will be such a big hit that the other manufacturers will follow suit. I don't think it is a problem that there is no turbo. The aftermarket will take care of that in no time ( a TRD supercharger kit is probably ready already). I only wish the engine itself was more exciting.

We still need a more practical car as a blank canvas, a modern day EG.

Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 7:23 AM
Odie, this is about compact cars, not cars like the Z or the GTR.Marc, emissions and safety laws are unavoidable, but look at the new B segment cars, they are about the size of the compact cars we miss but the styling is all weird, they look stubby and mis-proportioned. Our EJ Civic looks good and has a surprising about of room, even in the back seat. I don't think our market wants a car that looks like a chibi style cartoon. The Japanese, Honda and Nissan particularly need to look backwards to see what they used to do and make small cars like that. Toyota did.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 7:33 AM
1000% ack

but it´s not only toyota/honda/mitsu... nearly all new cars are heavy and look all the same..
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 7:56 AM
I think people forgot how handy a hatchback is. We could fit 3 mountain bikes and all of our gear with three people in my buddies Integra back in the day. It looked good too!
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 8:08 AM
The Miata, Mini, and Fiat 500 are not compact? What if I told you in 1996 that BMW would offer a good-looking compact FWD car with a turbo option? You probably wouldn't believe me.

I'm just saying there are good things happening out there, even if its easy to go "bah humbug" about the products that Nissan and Honda are making in the compact space.

You know what I never see at the track? FWD Hondas of any vintage. But I see a ton of Minis and Miatas. Some of the Honda-buying poseurs have moved over to the "fitment" scene, but I say good riddance.
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 8:39 AM
Honda and Toyota have definitely lost there way.

Hell, I'd rather drive my beater '93 Corolla wagon than the '11 Corolla I had as a rental car last business trip I was on.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 8:50 AM
I consider the Mini and Fiat examples of current ugly compact cars. The Miata looks fine, it's just not my type of car nor a lot of other guys. The Mini is true to its DNA but I didn't like the original either.

There are a lot of Hondas at track days around here and Honda Challenge is NASA's most popular racing class.
A guy from the NW
A guy from the NWlink
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 9:40 AM
Great article Mike. i agree with you on all fronts. I have owned several of the following: Datsun 510, B13 SE-R, S14, AE86 and your article touched on all of them. We have similar taste!
However, I have found the "lost spirit" of the compacts of yesteryear may still be lurking in some semi-current vehicles. I am thinking... Subaru! Turbocharged AWD, easy to mod, cheap.
I now drive a 2002 WRX daily driver and love it. A few mods and it is a blast to drive. Not a superlightweight, but a reasonable priced and fun car.
However for my project car, I have opted for the ultimate in lightweight, 4-cylinder vehicle....Lotus!
The FRS/BRZ is definitely a step in the right direction and I think it is going to be huge success. Cant want to see one in the flesh.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 10:48 AM
Sales numbers need to be able to back up all the enthusiast cars. If they don't sell, the bean counters don't want them. I think the 240SX actually sold pretty well, even with the old KA truck motor in them. They may not be an SR, but they aren't as bad as some people make them out to be.

The 350Z got smaller, lighter,more powerful, and better looking in the 370Z, however the sales numbers are dismal. Nissan sold about twice as many LEAF's as 370Z's last month. The LEAF may be new and shiny, but the Z doesn't have a 100 mile range.

I seriously blame the consumer for the lack of cool cars. Lets see if the FRS and BRZ can revitalize the market. Actually, lets hope they do, otherwise its an all electric and hybrid future for us.
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 11:56 AM
The 370Z is way, WAY too expensive for what you get. Not to mention they cost an arm and a leg to insure...
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 12:29 PM
not only that, but the 350 and 370 are 2 seaters. 2 door/4 seat coupes or hatchbacks are practical and fun, but i look at the 350 and 370 and they are only a 2nd car for most people. if i want a 2 seater, it should be much lighter than what nissan is offering. i actually think the g35/37 coupe are better cars for most people since they offer backseats.

i think tastes changed over time as well. in the 90's, you wouldn't want to be seen in your father's luxury car because it was so much cooler to build a little hatchback into a giant killer. now i think people are more about refinement and luxury. electronic driver aids and higher weight separate people from the feel of the car, but if there's power, good looks, and leather i think that's what most people go for
Dan Barnes
Dan Barneslink
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 1:41 PM
In the past year, I've gotten pretty far into motorcycles. They are lighter, cheaper and faster than cars, and easy to tune. Cosmetics are easy - all-new body panels cost $250 if you go lavish with the graphics, half that if you go cheap and simple. They are _all_ about function - you can't afford to have anything on a dirt bike that isn't there to either make it go fast or perform some function. And the throttle response of a 250 two-stroke MX bike is as much of a challenge to learn as any car I can remember driving. My motivation to finish the turbo Miata project is much less than my motivation to take on another motorcycle project.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 2:40 PM
I don't think young people want big heavy luxury cars. If they had money they might want an M5 or something but they can't come close to affording one. It would not be cool to makes a fake cheap M5 either so a lot of them are making fitment VIP cars out of old LS and GS400's and stuff like that.

I think if younger people were to buy new it would be something like a FR-S. Most of the people I see in late model B Segment cars are middle aged, probably because the styling appeals to older people more.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 3:38 PM
Well said Mike, I feel like I am trapped in a void, I don't want to re-live my past and build up another mid nineties Honda, and I also am not at a point in my life where I can step up into the 40k+ arena. I am left with a pretty sparse list of options, all of which have too many compromises to stand out among the rest. Hopefully for us the FR-S backs up all the hype and changes the market.

History does repeat itself, hopefully now that we have had the resurgence of Muscle cars it will be our turn next for the Sport Compact Renaissance!
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 3:43 PM
I bought my 07 SI because I needed to haul around 2 kids and the groceries. Kids car seats these days are huge the Mazdaspeed 3 and Acura TSX didn't come close to fitting kid seats and the stroller. As much as weight is the enemy of the enthusiast, for my family's sake I'm glad cars are at least safer now.

I read all the time about folks bragging how a V6 camery can smoke a budget enthusiast car like my SI. Get that camery into two corners and bua bye camery, done over see you later no thanks.

I really hope the FR-S is that shot in the arm you’re talking about Mike. The turbo awd cars are about as economical as an SUV so I think the FR-S makes sense for a lot of reasons.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 5:20 PM
Mr. Kojima is so on-point with this article. He hit every nail right on the head.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 6:06 PM
I agree with everything you said, but I'd like to add one more thing in there to blame...

It seems like the poor economy is creating a sort of "jealous denial" in a large number of people. Since they can't afford to buy a car and go "all out" to one-up their friends anymore, they make themselves feel better by driving something boring under the guise of "saving the environment", "saving money on gas", "reducing dependence on foreign oil", or (my favorite) "growing up".
Mach V Dan
Mach V Danlink
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 6:26 PM
Mike, I think there are a couple of factors stacking against fun small/light cars. There's increasing demand for technology; safety regulations; and cheap gas.

The demand for tech comes both in the form of standard electric stuff that used to be optional, if available at all, and audio/video/nav/satellite A/V hardware. Just about every car has power windows and door locks now. Many have power seats, too. Now even my Subaru has a power trunk release! Why??? Navi is also standard on more and more cars. All these add weight.

Safety regulations mean cars have stiffer and stronger shells, tougher more crush-proof greenhouses, and taller belt-lines. (Thanks, Euro pedestrian crash laws.) And of course there's airbags. And mandated TPMS. Not that these things are bad, but they add weight.

(Side note: I drove a Datsun 510 the other day. The view out was AMAZING! The greenhouse pillars are so thin it's like they're not there. Of course, if the car ever rolled over...I think they'd fold like a cheap suit.)

Our gas has been very cheap. This got consumers into the habit of buying gigantic, heavy vehicles. Even at $3.50 a gallon, it's going to be a while before that trend reverses itself.

I am sure a lot of the industry is watching the BRZ/FR-S carefully. If it sells well, more cars like it will follow. If it doesn't sell...more Camrys and Versas for you!
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 7:46 PM
Unfortunately, I think the FR-S will fall flat on its face after the first hot month of sales to enthusiasts. It just isn't very marketable to people who don't understand how fun a light car with a medium amount of power can be. I bet both the TC and Hyundai Genesis Coupe outsell it in the long run.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 8:00 PM
I think destrux makes a very good point. A lot of people buy cars that make them look cool. A few years ago, big SUVs were trendy. Today it's eco cars. The Scion brand is proof positive of that attitude. All of the cars they have sold thus far have been scene cars that look sporty and fast, but in reality aren't all that great. There is more style than substance and most of the people that buy those cars don't care. That said, I am trying to get my dad to look at a new tC. It's very roomy, but small, and has a lot of great features. Hopefully it drives well.

The FR-S is either going to be a big hit or a big flop. Either people will love it and it will do what the last generation Mustang did for the muscle car community, or people will ignore it and it will be like the new Z. As long as it has value for the dollar and plenty of aftermarket potential, it should be a hit and maybe bring back some more fun, small cars. As a Scion, it should be pretty cheap, and Scion's leasing program makes their cars more accessible to kids. So, Toyota should have the price issue handled pretty well. The big question will be how it drives. If the FR-S is a fun drivers car, it should be great. Oh and hopefully it will be reliable. Some Toyotas don't age as well as others...
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 11:15 PM
I'm sorry, you lost me on the AE86 being a good looking car :)
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 7:54 AM
"Might as well be named the Rectum" - One of THE funniest if not THE funniest thing I've seen you write, haha! Great stuff Mike, brilliant (what am I, English?)!

I'm a sucker for a hot hatch, but alas lightweight, affordable AWDs were apparently never destined for these shores. I'm VERY excited for the FR-S/BRZ and have to give credit to Toyota for selling through Scion but I do worry how that price point will affect current Scion owners considering going to THE most expensive car on the Scion lot?
OMG Its Weasel
OMG Its Weasellink
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 8:18 AM
econobox: The B20 head is the only one that comes OEM with an 84mm bore and 31mm valves. I'm assuming JDMized is building a low-budget NA non-vtec motor (maybe for boost?). I had a similar setup in my gutted 2nd generation Integra and kept up with stock interior GSRs until I turbocharged it. 330whp was never cheaper than with that motor combo.

on-topic: We, automotive enthusiasts, make up a small segment of buyers in the USA. We may be the most vocal about our desires, but until we actually start buying new cars, we'll continue to see Versas and Fits for a few reasons. Mommy and daddy are buying these cars for Sally-sue to get around in college. These cars are what the current trend of automotive buying is telling typical consumers what they want. It's the US EPA/DOT molding the basis for what a car should be designed around from day of conception. It's the ever increasing risk of monetary displacement for going 1mph over the speed limit and crooked cops lying to get a convistion. The world we live in does not want our small segment of buyers to be happy. Remember, according the the rest of society, we are the fast and the furious street racers, no matter how much we try to separate ourselves from it. Give "street racers" what they want and there will be even more stupid kids running their cars into vans full of children. Which brings me to my last point; car enthusiasts of today are not what they were and that's because of another whole gang of reasons.
The only people who truly want fun small cars are younger people and by the time they get out of college to afford one, they are 30-100k in student loan debt. The majority of older folks of this generation who do have money are stuck on the whole cold war/pack money away/fear for your life ending any minute now mindset where frivolous things that young people want like fun cars are totally pointless to "the big picture". When the typical 40+ year old baby-boomers stop voicing their war-propaganda veiled ideals so loudly, maybe then our smaller collective voices can be heard over their useless rabble.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 8:37 AM
That's a good point Weasel.

Not to mention insurance rates being dramatically high for "performance related" cars.

Paying 2 grand a year on my 97 Integra GSR for insurance is not my idea of fun. (3,000 dollar car, too).

But I tell you what, every day I get in that car and drive, it makes up for the fact that I could be soulless, sitting in a toyota corolla while my automatic transmission drones away and my facebook integrated steering wheel gives me updates on what some chick I never met is eating for breakfast.

Please for the love of god make this scion fr-s affordable for the average 20-30 year old or you will never see sales past the first year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 8:46 AM
Also, I'm not sure if I understand you, where you mention -

"We may be the most vocal about our desires, but until we actually start buying new cars, we'll continue to see Versas and Fits for a few reasons."

I mean, yes - there is definitely a decline in sales in the so called "performance" category, but I don't think that's the consumer's fault at all. I think car makers need to start making "performance" cars again. Lancer GTS's that make 170hp on 3000lbs don't count. Scion tC's that make 180hp on 3100lbs don't count. And so on.

People aren't buying these because they are garbage.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 9:21 AM
Hey, don't feed into OMG. He made some REALLY good points right up until he starts his very off-topic last paragraph which gets so far out there that by the time I finished the last sentence, I wonder how much validity I should've given his previous points. For example, in the Northwest, parents are not buying their kids a Fit, they're buying it for themselves! In fact, it seems like most people I see drivng Fits tend to look 50, 60 or older. Wierd!
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 1:23 PM
I hate most of the new cars on the market. The ones I do like are overpriced. Anyone remember when a DSM cost $15k new? I understand inflation, but you would think that the better you get at something, the cheaper you can make it.
I think a great new car could be an Inifiniti G25. Think small G35 coupe. Or maybe just put a bigger engine in some of these small hatchbacks. Why can't you put a K20 into a Fit? One way 90's era cars were great on performance and price was parts sharing. How many cars can you swap Nissan parts on? DSMs have lots of Mitsu parts swapping as well. And of course you can get a B20 into a Civic without much headache.
This is what made cars popular. Performance, price, styling. Now it's Styling, high prices and little performance. Where did it all go wrong?
Dan Barnes
Dan Barneslink
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 1:31 PM
There's a whole additional factor that hasn't really been mentioned. Today's high school and college students, and probably even graduates, aren't looking for cars as an avenue to a social life. They don't need to get out of the house and away from their parents to go hang out, they just do most of it with their smart phone. A car isn't the necessary ticket to a complete social life the way it was 15-20 years ago, so there's less motivation for younger people to get their license and have a car, and the car doesn't represent them when they show up. Dave C. tells me that's been happening in Japan for quite awhile, and it's happening here now, too.
OMG Its Weasel
OMG Its Weasellink
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 3:40 PM
I didn't mean to offend you, or anyone for that matter, if I did Bruce. My apologies. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and the largest voting population right now is the 40-60 year old group. True car enthusiasts are rare these days especially those that are 40+. Add that to what Dan mentioned above about young car buyers and you have absolutely ZERO incentive on the manufacturers behalf to produce relatively cheap performance cars.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 8:43 PM
OMG - Not offended, just felt you were floating away from something as solid as this last post of yours. Your points here are excellent and well grounded, although the voting population doesn't have as much to do with it as their purchasing power. That same group helped the retro muscle movement, which is why I worry about the FR-S/BRZ because people are going to have to look real hard at buying a new 86 for about the same price as a 300hp Camaro or Mustang. There's a whole lot to that comparison but it is a valid one.

Come on Scion, are you listening, just price the FR-S at $19-20k, a LOT more people will buy it, which will lend itself to them thinking about grabbing an xB when they have a family and so on and so forth!!!
Thursday, December 29, 2011 12:32 AM
In Australia they are now preventing new drivers from modified cars and V8 /turbo / supercharged vehicles. They can however get one after they have been driving for 4 years. This has damaged the scene over here a little, but as you say it is sad to see that there is no real performer around anymore in terms of a small fast car that's affordable. The 4ag-Ze the 3tg turbo.. SR, B16.. all great engines that were in decent styled cars and affordable.. but now dwindle in the past..
Sunday, January 01, 2012 10:24 AM
At last an article i was waiting for! Since toyota has done it, nissan will follow.. SILVIA S16 FTW!!! if it is electric i'm getting an S15! Though i already own a 180SX!:D I'm hoping for direct injection and turbo goodness:)
Monday, January 02, 2012 11:06 AM
What about this new prototype Juke-R ?? OMG(osh), I think I would actually buy my first New car ever if this thing hit US soil. Instead of always owning and driving mid 90's nissans. This would be the most bada$$ off the showroom floor compact yet....
Bob Holmes
Bob Holmeslink
Monday, January 02, 2012 9:21 PM
I would suggest that there are far more car enthusiasts who are 40 to 60 then there are between 20 to 40. I'm 51, and a vast majority of my friends are car guys. We grew up wanting that car, and getting a license the minute we were of age. My boys, who are in their twenties, are not car guys. In fact my youngest one didn't get his license until we got tired of driving him around, and he had a number of friends that did the same.

As to the new Toyota/Subaru, we discussed this car on a more domestic oriented website months ago. You'd be surprised how many of the domestically oriented enthusiasts are just as interested in a rwd, lightweight, affordable priced car, of any manufacturer. The only thing that comes close, at the moment, is a V6 Mustang. And its far too heavy and handicapped by a strut front and live axle rear suspension. The Toyo/Sube is a better alternative.

I was stuffing a Prelude engine in a '74 Civic back in '86. Its not a generational issue, its a general population that views cars with the same interest as they show at buying a clothes washer. That's why we have boring, non-descript, appliances snapped up by Bob and Suzy Subdivision, instead of adrenaline machines for enthusiasts. The enthusiast part of the buying public is shrinking, replaced by morons that think they are saving the world by buying hybrid or battery powered vehicles and conveniently ignoring the toxic trail it took to build the vehicle, that electricity has to be produced somewhere, and that those batteries have to be disposed of when the car craps out.

We are the wolves, they are the sheep. Look at history, the sheep won.
Tuesday, January 03, 2012 7:28 AM
@Horsewidower - Your comment is the most intelligent I've seen in a long time +1. No matter what powers the vehicles of our future I hope there's at least a couple washing machines that are fun to drive.
Friday, January 06, 2012 8:53 AM
@ Aaron: Yep, you are right about family cars and car seats. Most of the "import" crowd like you and I have families right now, or will soon.

I will jump for joy next month when my daughter turns 1, as that means I can flip that damned seat around and finally have some space in the vehicle. Those seats are amazingly large, and if you've got 2 or more kids, nothing small will really work.

@ Horsewidower: Spot on. No one cares about fun to drive anymore as much as they care about making a statement and just getting to work, and the next generation isn't going to change that. If they want to race, they'll load up Forza, if they want to hang out with their friends, they'll face-time or post something stupid on Facebook. If they want to make a statement, they'll slouch everywhere and wear skinny jeans. Oh well.

Hell, look around on your drive home. See any modified cars of any type? I don't anymore.

Mike: I had the displeasure of driving a Toyota Yaris on my last business trip. Horrible car. The engine didn't rev, made no power, and sounded like shit. The car handled like everything in the suspension was made of rubber bands. It really didn't get that great of fuel mileage. It was ugly. It was, by far, the loudest vehicle from a road noise standpoint I've ever driven, including racecars. It was achingly slow. The dash layout was asinine (fuel gauge, and speedo, nothing else), and was just an wholly uninspiring vehicle.

Also, imagine if Nissan had put the SR20DET into the P10 with the RS5F50 trans: lightweight, bulletproof transmission, turbo power, multi-link suspension and decent looks. More so with the P11, but paid a little more attention to weight.
Sunday, January 08, 2012 8:03 AM
Wow Mike you really hit the nail on the head and this is something I've been seeing since I owned my first Honda Civic of 1983.
Good to see others that have the same attitude toward lightweight nimble cars and how manufacturers have gone to the dark side of building what government minds want us to have. More safety, more efficiency, and better gas mileage with electric nonsensical cars coming into the mainstream. Funny that my 1993 Toyota Paseo gets consistent 38 to 40 mpg and I drive that little car hard because of it's nimble size, decent handling, and 2000 lb weigh in.
FR-S/ 86 is a glimpse of the future and with the newest Genesis on the horizon it is looking to take all the hype away from the Toyota/ Subaru venture. It's going to be a breath of fresh air for the future if things keep on this trend.
Let's hope so and thanks for this article. I don't feel so alone anymore.
Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:48 PM
I agree with some of you that this car will either ignite the fires for more compact, lightweight, affordable sports coupes or fall flat on its face; It really remains to be seen. It's developed tons of hype amongst all my car enthusiast friends, none of which could or would buy one, though. They'd all be just as happy sticking to their sub-$5,000, aging compacts.

I've worked for a year for a Toyota dealer and recently moved to Audi, and after driving quiet, comfortable, powerful new cars which I don't have to make excuses for or constantly tinker with, I'm at the point where I think I may have to buy something new. I think the FR-S/BRZ may just be the car that can replace my MK1 Toyota MR2. After putting nearly $20,000 into the foolish thing and still not being happy with its overall driveability (even though it's damn quick!), I might as well get something new that has a higher baseline for performance and that isn't embarrassing to take a girl out to dinner with.

Right now the only thing holding me back is the fact that I just got in a 2012 Audi S4 under company lease and it will literally cost less per month than the FRS, even though the car stickers for twice as much. I can't wait to drive one and make a decision from there. As phenomenal as the S4 is, it's a pig at over 3800lbs!

In any case, this is the car that I've been waiting for! I just hope the gearbox and diff can handle some nice forced-induction power, unlike my MR2 and 240Z which need big upgrades to avoid blowing things up. And I hope Nissan and other manufacturers will follow suit in bringing back fun, low cost sports cars!
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