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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Top 10 Cars To Modify



It's understandable if you find yourself thinking of the 2013 Ford Focus ST as an exotic model imported from Europe.

The sleek lines of the bodywork surely suggest innovative European style. A 252-horsepower turbocharged engine with direct fuel injection surely suggests exotic European technology. A poised, comfortable ride combined with agile, fluent handling surely suggests European tuning. But as it turns out, the 2013 Ford Focus ST is built in Michigan, and it can be had at a discount price, just as you'd expect from anything made in America.

As small cars have lately taken a more premium aspect in appearance, so, too have these cars also morphed into the kind of high-performance packages that appeal to grown-ups as well as kids. The Honda Civic Si, Mazdaspeed 3, Mini Cooper S, Subaru WRX and Volkswagen GTI all have become respectable as well as fast, and the Ford Focus ST takes its place among them.

To be sure, the Focus ST makes its mark in this group with performance, thanks to its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, quick-shifting six-speed manual transmission and clever electronics that help make this powerful front-wheel-drive car tractable and easy to drive quickly. Yet more surprising is the availability of features and options that you would expect only from a car with a far grander price, notably the MyFord Touch and Sync electronics interface for the audio and navigation systems.

Just like the Ford Focus itself, the 2013 Ford Focus ST looks and feels as if it should be priced higher, which is just about the highest compliment that can be paid to any automobile. In a way, it offers the best of both worlds offered by the GTI and Mazdaspeed. For performance, it keeps up with the Mazda and outperforms the GTI. And for refinement, it matches the VW and bests the Mazda. It's also much more practical than a Cooper S.

The Focus ST does have a couple drawbacks -- namely the finicky-to-use MyFord Touch interface and the lack of an automated transmission -- but overall we think it's raised the bar for the hot-hatch class.


Now, Along with more efficient performance, the ’09 Cobalt offers customer focused enhancements that build on a package of choices, convenience and safety features that other competitors can’t match. And with an industry best five year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety “Best Pick” for safety and a lower MSRP than many popular competitors, it is no wonder the Cobalt is one of the most popular choices in the small car segment. It ranks third in new registrations in a field with 20 competitors.

“No matter how you compare it against the competition, it’s clear that Cobalt is a winner,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “Cobalt’s value is more than a competitive price and a long list of standard features. It’s in the performance, refinement and dependability of the car, as well as the wide range of model and option choices.”

If the Corvette caused jaws to drop, certainly the Cobalt SS heading the index will leave them on the floor. In this case, the Cobalt has found a particular sweet spot when it comes to balancing fuel economy with all-out performance. The turbocharged 2.0-liter Ecotec four, which has 260 bhp on tap, deserves the lion’s share of the credit with its EPA city rating of 22 mpg and its highway average of 30 mpg. Remember, this is the same engine that vaulted the Solstice GXP into the top 10 over its normally aspirated sibling. But also the work done by GM’s Performance Division on the car, including some heavy track time at the Nürburgring, pays huge dividends in the fun department. Not only is the car quick (0–60 in 5.5 sec.), it sticks as shown by its 0.92g on the skidpad and 72.4-mph slalom time. Throw in launch control, no-lift shifting and a range approaching 400 miles all for a sticker that’s under $25,000 and you have fast and frugal defined.


Though it’s more expensive than many competitors in the class, auto reviewers agree that the 2013 BMW 3-Series offers powerful, fuel-efficient engine choices, capable handling and a spacious back seat.

The 2013 BMW 328i sedan is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which most reviewers agree offers a winning combination of power and fuel economy. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while an eight-speed automatic is available as a no-cost option. Critics say that the automatic transmission shifts quickly and smoothly. 

The EPA reports that the 328i sedan gets 23/33 mpg city/highway with the automatic transmission, which is quite good for an upscale midsize car. If you want more power, 335i sedans come with a turbocharged six-cylinder engine that earns similar fuel economy. Coupe and convertible models, which are based on the previous generation, see slightly lower fuel economy estimates. Historically, the 3-Series has been regarded as one of the best-handling sedans in the class, and reviewers maintain that although the 3-Series grew larger with its 2012 redesign, it still offers thrilling handling and a composed ride.

High-quality materials impress reviewers who’ve test driven the 2013 3-Series. They say that the 3-Series cabin features logically placed controls and exceptional build quality, though a few auto writers say that BMW’s iDrive system could be easier to use. Some critics also note that leather seats ought to be standard at the 3-Series’ price point, but others point out positive attributes, such as the sedan’s spacious back seat. Standard features on the 328i sedan include rain-sensing windshield wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a USB port and iDrive, which features a 6.5-inch color display. Options and features available in packages include wood or aluminum trim, navigation, lane departure and forward collision warning systems, an upgraded Harman Kardon stereo, a moonroof, parking sensors and a backup camera.


The 2011 Ford Mustang looks virtually the same as last year’s model, but new engines and other improvements make it a better drive—and better equipped—in just about every way. With either the all-new 412-hp V-8 in the GT or the new 305-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 in the base models, it’s both faster and more fuel-efficient. Highway fuel economy rates as high as 31 mpg with the V-6, or 31 mpg for the GT.

V-8 pony-car aficionados will be thrilled to hear that the "5.0" is back. With lots of torque, good throttle response, and a rev-happy, rorty attitude, the new engine feels just right and enables the sort of performance that only exclusive tuner versions could provide a few years ago.

To match the new powertrains, the 2011 Mustang models get upgraded brakes, as well as body and suspension enhancements; they all get electric power steering. The Mustang received a complete refresh last year, for 2010, with reshaped sheetmetal on the outside, along with an updated center stack and audio controls; those changes carry through to 2011.

Just as before, the Mustang is available either as a Coupe or Convertible, both in GT or V-6 form, and the Convertible comes with a reasonably tight, well-designed soft top. Ford is finally catching on to both the Mustang’s personalization potential and its appeal with tuners; both models can be equipped with special paint schemes, hood scoops, and such, and new to the V-6 is a performance package—aimed at weekend racers—that adds most of the GT’s goodies for an affordable price.


The 2013 Scion xB ranks 19 out of 40 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Scion xB, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2013 Scion xB has a spacious cabin and a comfortable ride, but many rivals offer more modern transmission choices and earn better fuel economy estimates.

Critics say the 2013 Scion xB isn’t especially fun to drive, but they also note that its four-cylinder engine should provide adequate power for most drivers. On the downside, some reviewers say that both the manual and automatic transmission choices are a gear or two short of the transmissions found in many rivals, which some say hurts not only the xB’s performance, but its fuel economy. At 22/28 mpg city/highway, the xB’s fuel economy estimates are low for the class. Most critics say that the xB has a comfortable ride and strong brakes.

Test drivers say the xB’s interior offers great seating and cargo space. They report that the xB’s cabin materials are fairly hard to the touch, but don’t seem too displeased given the xB’s price point. The xB comes standard with a six-speaker Pioneer stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio and a USB port. A number of interior and exterior accessories are available through Scion’s dealer network, including a BeSpoke stereo upgrade that adds navigation and allows you to stream Internet radio through a smartphone.


In all honesty, we were hoping to be introducing an all-new 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX and WRX STI in this space. By all accounts, the new sport-tuned models would have been based on the redesigned Impreza that debuted last year. We were hoping that the improvements in fuel efficiency and interior quality would have carried over to the WRX, but alas, we must wait yet another year.

To the Subaru's credit, the WRX and STI still offer thrilling performance, even as they start their ride off into the sunset. The Impreza WRX generates 265 horsepower and features a well-tuned and balanced chassis that allows for hard cornering on a track or on winding canyon roads. Then there's the added benefit of all-wheel drive to help improve traction in inclement weather or while powering quickly out of tight corners. The WRX STI further enhances performance with a more powerful turbo that kicks output up to 305 hp, plus limited-slip differentials both front and rear to get that power to the pavement.

Outside of performance, however, the 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX and WRX STI come up short of the competition. A certain lack of refinement is most noticeable within the interior, where hard plastics abound and the fit and finish seems unimpressive. The navigation and audio systems are also a sore spot, as they suffer from indifferent performance and frustrating controls.

In dramatic contrast, the new 2013 Ford Focus ST provides a much nicer cabin with up-to-date electronics. The Focus ST doesn't out-perform the WRX in terms of performance numbers, but it's just as rewarding to drive at full throttle. The handsomely appointed 2013 Volkswagen GTI is also worth checking out, although it is even more outclassed by the WRX when it comes to performance. The even sharper WRX STI variant of this Subaru gets you into a different sporting class altogether, and at that level its archrival 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution comes into play.

With the likelihood of a much improved WRX and STI set to debut next year, we find it hard to recommend a 2013 model. At the very least, we'd wait to see what finally arrives. If time is of the essence, we'd steer shoppers toward the aforementioned alternatives.


As it turns out, rumors of the 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution's demise were greatly exaggerated.

The scuttlebutt last year was that the Evo was out of the game, with an eco-conscious, hybrid-powered replacement waiting in the wings. In fact, the tried-and-true Evo X is back in the saddle for 2013, guns blazing with that familiar mix of turbocharged acceleration and phenomenal all-wheel drive handling.

If you're worried that the Evo is a little long in the tooth now, don't be. Although the regular Lancer sedan feels a little outdated, the Lancer Evolution's unique turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 and twin-clutch automated manual transmission are still among the best in the business. As for the exclusive all-wheel drive system, it's an all-time great; it keeps the car on course with such precision that we can't imagine how it could be improved. And the Evo has more than enough technology to compete with its contemporary rivals.

The Lancer Evolution's weaknesses are well-known by now. It's stiff, it's noisy, it's cheap inside and the steering wheel doesn't telescope. If this sort of thing bothers you, go buy a BMW. Enthusiastic Evo drivers will relish leaving you in the dust on twisty two lanes.

Yep, it's the same old Evo for 2013 and that suits us just fine. With all the numb, gadget-packed transportation pods on dealer lots these days, it's refreshing that Mitsubishi stubbornly keeps building one of the most capable and engaging cars in the world.


Sports cars usually come attached to scary, unreachable price tags. The 2013 Nissan 370Z is an exception, however. It offers thrilling performance, precision handling and muscular styling without causing heart palpitations when you read the price sticker. This has been the Z-car philosophy for decades, and as the car's competitors have come and gone, the Z continues a fine tradition of providing driving fun at reasonable prices.

And fun it most definitely is. The Z's 332-horsepower V6 produces straight-line performance on par with V8-powered American muscle coupes like the Ford Mustang, while its smaller dimensions and superior handling help deliver an altogether more dynamic and involving driving experience. Stepping up to the Sport package not only brings along a limited-slip differential and upgraded brakes, but also the Z's real ace in the hole for the sports car game as well. This would be the SynchroRev Match feature for the six-speed manual transmission, which automatically blips the throttle when downshifting to perfectly match engine and wheel speed. It'll make you feel (and sound) like a professional race driver. (We wish more cars came with such a feature, including Zs without the Sport package.)

The 370Z is also notable for more than just its dynamic talents. Surprisingly, the interior is luxurious and the ride is comfortable, so long road trips are possible. The number of available features is also quite impressive, and there really isn't that much separating a loaded 370Z Touring from the mechanically similar 2013 Infiniti G coupe and convertible besides their extra seats and trunk space. Only an abundance of road noise and dearth of rear visibility take away from what is a pleasantly livable sports car.

We've touched on some of the 370Z's competitors, but none are truly the same in nature. The Z roadster lines up pretty well on paper with two-seat drop tops from Germany, but is much cheaper and sadly quite simply not as nice. The cars that perhaps come closest to the Z's value sport coupe recipe are the all-new 2013 Scion FR-S and 2013 Subaru BRZ twins. They don't offer anywhere near the same straight-line performance as the 370Z, but they are monumentally talented around corners. They also cost considerably less than the Z, while being more practical and capable of drawing just as much (if not more) attention than the 370Z.

Don't be surprised if future Z cars follow a similar, back-to-basics path as the "Toyabaru" twins, but that doesn't take away from the 2013 Nissan 370Z's range of performance talents or its surprisingly user-friendly nature.


Putting the 2013 Volkswagen GTI up on a spreadsheet against its competitors makes the venerable German hot hatch a tough sell. After all, it gets bested by its rivals in acceleration, braking and handling tests. Even its cargo volume is just midpack. All of which cause some hesitation when you consider that a well-loaded VW GTI crests the $30,000 mark.

But there's more to the GTI than numbers. Its compliant suspension soaks up bumpy city roads without sacrificing a tight, sporty character. The interior is uncommonly upscale with premium materials, classy and restrained design, supportive front seats, roomy rear quarters and a quiet, well-damped cabin with the ambience of an entry-level luxury car.

Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 200 horsepower. That's as much as 60 hp less than the hot-hatch competition. Yet the GTI's mill still makes for a spirited drive, delivering useful power down low for swift passing maneuvers and quick bursts of acceleration. It also sounds cool, with a pleasant exhaust rumble. The turbo inline-4 pairs with a six-speed manual transmission for purists or a dual-clutch automated manual transmission to ease the pain of congested commutes.

However, there are better choices if speed and handling are your main priorities. The Mazdaspeed 3 and Subaru WRX both outgun the GTI in a straight line, while the Mini Cooper S bends more nimbly around corners. We also highly suggest considering the new Ford Focus ST as it combines impressive power with GTI-levels of refinement. But overall, the 2013 VW GTI is still more than the sum of its numbers, as it can dutifully carry you through the work week, then put a grin on your face as you find the quicker, curvier roads out of town for the weekend.


The Honda Civic took a rare stumble in the 2012 model year. A redesign cheapened its interior, left it looking less cohesive than ever, and watered down the appeal of its typically perky powertrains and front-drive handling. At the same time, the competition grew more sophisticated and feature-rich. In one of the quickest turnarounds ever seen from Honda, Civic sedans were refreshed with new faces, new interior finishes, and retuned suspensions, all to shore up its reputation as one of the leaders of the compact-car class.

The 2013 Civic is substantially refreshed; the changes reset our take on the look and feel of the vehicle. New light gets shed on the Civic's Accord-influenced exterior: the front end clearly mimics the Accord’s face, from the new "open-mouth" lower bumper to the  black honeycomb mesh grille. The Civic also dons integrated fog lamps for the upper trims and new clear-lens cornering lamps (plus a chrome finishing bar in back and new Accord-like rear bumper design). In all, it looks more sophisticated from the outside. Inside, Honda hasn’t completely redesigned the funky contours of the instrument panel, but it’s redone pretty much all of the materials and surfaces, subbing in requisite soft-touch dash materials.
Performance is one area where the 2013 Civic is mostly unchanged--although some modest suspension changes (firmer springs, stiffer anti-roll bar, quieter bushings, and quicker steering ratio) go a long way toward making this staid compact sedan feel a little perkier again. Much of the lineup continues with the 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, paired with either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. Si models get a more muscly 201-hp, 2.4-liter four, and Civic Hybrid models will be back with their IMA mild-hybrid system that provides EPA ratings of 44 mpg, city and highway. Front brake rotors also get an upgrade in size, although we've noted that brake feel is a little mushy.

Honda has made major gains in refinement translate to a far more pleasant cabin experience. Its body has been stiffened with more high-strength steel, side pillars have been upgraded, and thicker windshield and front door glass have been applied—as well as more soundproofing for the dash, floor, doors, and rear tray. The difference is that you barely hear the engine when it's idling, road noise has been cut way down, and the softer dash materials make even the acoustics inside feel a bit softer. Interior appointments essentially carry over--with decent front seats but back-seat accommodations that could be better contoured. Ride quality isn't any worse than that of last year's model, and it actually feels a bit more settled.

The 2013 Civic has received some structural upgrades, and based on crash tests, its occupant protection is better than ever. It's achieved top 'good' ratings in the new small overlap frontal test, and it's now an IIHS Top 

By : Automotive News & Super Modified Sports Cars

Posted by : Shahen Tharammal


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