2023 CarBuzz Award Nominees: Fun & Affordable

Driving Pleasure: Accessible to All.

Enthusiasts are a scarce find in the auto realm, and many need to settle for what they purchase because of family or fiscal circumstances. The former have few alternative options beyond pricey sports sedans that can provide the thrills they seek. But people who confront monetary restrictions can discover some alternatives offering a cheap way to get their excitement.

This previous year saw a multitude of contenders in the Affordable Fun category for the CarBuzz Awards. After a rigorous selection process comprising six spectacular entries, three remarkable finalists were revealed, and one outstanding victor that still has us grinning from ear to ear – the Toyota GR Corolla.

So far, 2023 hasn’t been especially prosperous for budget-friendly enthusiast cars, however there have been some undeniable standouts. We thoroughly appreciated the up-to-date Acura Integra Type S, potentially even more than the Civic Type R – however its highly priced MSRP of $50,800 put it a bit out of the picture. Thankfully, among our three final contenders, there are numerous which are much more obtainable. In no specific arrangement, they are:

The Jetta GLI experienced an extensive transformation for the 2022 model year, however, our first drive arrived a tad too late to be considered for last year’s accolades. This time round though, it presents a striking argument for itself, especially with the introduction of a more economical 40th Anniversary Version for 2024 at an MSRP of a little over $28k.

Often referred to as the “GTI with a trunk,” this vehicle is outfitted with a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine which delivers 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It is available with either a manual 6-speed transmission, or a seven-speed dual-clutch so you can really get your groove on while tearing up a winding road. The GLI features a VAQ limited-slip differential as well as XDS diff lock for plasma-smooth handling, making it even better than ever before!

The latest MY22 revamp has included plenty of advances in technology such as MIB3 with a gigantic 8 inch touch display, as well as a gorgeous 10.25 inch Digital Cockpit. Thankfully, despite this high-tech upgrade, the Jetta GLI still offers physical volume knobs which make it much easier to use than the Golf, which unfortunately does not have this feature.

The Camaro shall shortly be gone, the destiny of the Dodge Challenger looming in obscurity, but Ford remains dedicated to their petrol-fueled performance car, introducing a whole new generation of Mustang.

The structure of the predecessor is largely unchanged; however, the fresh engines are producing a much stronger output compared to the previous models, especially seen with the 500hp Dark Horse package. Unfortunately, the cost of this specific model is likely to be beyond what is expected at this level; however, the more affordable EcoBoost and GT variants are still choices for buyers. Starting at $42,495, the V8 GT edition provides 486 hp and 418 lb-ft of torque to the back axle via an optional 6-speed manual transmission.

An extensively altered interior presents more digitization, featuring a 12.4-inch digitalized instrument panel, up to 13.2 inches of infotainment display space, plus peculiarities like an electronic drift brake and distant engine rev. At launches costs beginning at $30,920, the fresh Mustang maintains its status for affordable diversion.

At first, we were somewhat doubtful when Dodge resuscitated the Hornet label as a small family crossover. However, they have infused some fun into what would otherwise be a dull sector, with 268 hp for just $30,735. Other automakers are harnessing hybridization to advocatie eco-friendly practices, but Dodge has employed electric power for the R/T class for even more potency, to be exact 288 hp, plus a PowerShot push-to-pass function to provide an extra 30 hp whenever desired.

The advent of a Toyota RAV4 competitor that can hit 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds without any alterations took many by surprise. Its exhilarating handling features are likely attributable to its technically sibling, the Alfa Romeo label, an iconic Italian marque.

Dodge is boldly headed into a new era, and has made certain that even the most mundane of motorcars have enjoyable choices.

Which of these three might take the prize? We will discover who will be crowned by the end of the 2023 LA Auto Show (from 13th to 17th November), so stay on the lookout!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *