This isn't Motor Trend, Car and Driver or Automobile Magazine....
Nobody is sending me the latest cars to thrash and hurl around the slalom course. The closest I can do is a rental and with limited exception you're not going to get to experience the best of the breed.
However, when it comes to pony cars I've got a good deal of experience. Which means, at least for the purposes of this blog, that I have some degree of authority about comparing them.
For the uninitiated, a pony car follows a basic formula. It's a 2 door coupe with sporty styling consisting of a long hood and a short deck (or trunk) and rear wheel drive. That's right, you'll never see a front wheel drive pony car. The only torque steer you'll experience is the rear of the car sliding sideways when you tromp on the go pedal.
While not as practical as your average minivan they aren't the gas slurping monsters they once were. Modern engine technology has actually allowed pony cars to be more fuel efficient than their more pedestrian competition with their V6 (and some cases V8) engine options. And yes, most of them can accommodate a child seat easily.
The term comes from the namesake of one of our competitors, the Ford Mustang. First available in 1964 the basic design set the ground rules for all that came after. The iconic silver Mustang emblem is where the "Pony" in Pony car comes from.
This comparison will have a few basic ground rules. Those being...
- They must follow the Pony Car formula
- They must have the same basic equipment (meaning no performance upgrades or extra options)
- They must have a V8 engine
- They must have a manual transmission.
- They have to be available at a dealer, no special orders
So this year's competitors come from Ford, Chevy and Dodge in the form of:
They all come in around the $32000 mark when equipped according to our rules. Comparisons are primarily based on purchase and not leasing although lease options are still available on one of our contenders. It's late in the model year so we're primarily looking at dealer inventories as automakers have moved on to their 2015 models.
This is a bang for the buck shootout meaning we'll look at what a base model pony car with a V8 gets you at similar equipment levels for the same money.
In other words, we're looking for more Go than Show for as little money as possible.
Even with a basic level of equipment it's important to note that all our competitors are still considered "premium" options for their respective manufacturers . Nobody would ever put a Camaro in the same class as an Aveo or a Focus as a contemporary of any Mustang. Features like power windows, locks, and other creature comforts are a given.
Upgrades above our base configuration usually consist of leather seating, performance upgrades, convenience electronic packages and special body kits and paint.
So sit back and enjoy the video below while I walk you through the magical land of new pony car performance on the cheap.