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SEADave
SEADave Dork
12/28/22 4:15 p.m.

Just wanted some thoughts on what, as far as I can tell, are the only remaining options for manual transmission RWD coupes that can be had for $30k or less as we head into 2023.   As far as I know, the only options are the Chevy Camaro with the 2.0t, the Ecoboost Mustang and the Toyota/Subaru twins.   

Chevy Camaro 2.0t

First thing to get out of the way is that there is no more 1LE package for any Camaro without a V8.    So with that being said, the Camaro you can get for under $30k is going to be a basic 2.0 Ecotec (LTG) with 275hp and 295 ft/lp of torque.  They come standard with a 6 speed manual with 3.27 gears and limited slip.   Chevy says that the manual 2.0t weighs 3350lbs and goes 0-60 in 5.4 seconds.  

Mustang Ecoboost

 Your basic sub $30 new Mustang is going to be a plain Ecoboost model with a 2.3 turbo putting out 310hp and 350ft/lbs of torque.  There is a "2.3 High-performance package" that ups this to 330hp, but that package costs an additional $6150 and puts you well over $30k.   Worse yet, if you want the "Ecoboost Handling Package" it will cost you $2k, plus the $6k package mentioned before and a $2600 "equipment group" resulting in a $40k Ecoboost Mustang.  Keep in mind the 450hp GT starts at $39,400.   Anyhow, the base car at $29,500 is well equipped, and like the Camaro comes with a 6-speed and limited slip with 3.31 gears.   According to Ford the 2.3 manual weighs just under 3500lbs and goes 0-60 in 5.1 seconds, although it is hard to tell if that is from the basic 310hp model or the upgraded 330hp version (which get 3.55 gears).   So your mileage (and 0-60 times) may vary.   

Toyota GR86/Subaru BRZ

These are basically the same car, which was redesigned for 2022.  It has a 2.4 liter normally aspirated 4 cylinder making 228hp and 184 ft/lbs of torque.   The basic Toyota version starts at just under $29k and the Subaru at $29,600.  Confusingly, the base model Subaru is called the "Premium" which is what Toyota calls their next model up (over $30k).   In any case they have slightly different front facias but otherwise are pretty much the same.   These are smaller cars than the pony cars mentioned above, and reportedly weigh just over 2800lbs with the manual.  One reputable magazine says they go 0-60 in 6.1 seconds.   

 

Anyhow, thoughts on these contenders?   I know some folks can't get over the idea of a Camaro or Mustang without a V-8, and honestly if you have the cash that's probably the way to go, but you are looking at close to or over $40k at that point.   From what I can tell reading various individual model and comparison tests is that the GR82/BRZ twins are the sportiest, kind of like a fixed roof Miata.   Then the Camaro is next with more size and power but still sharp handling.  The Ecoboost Mustang appears to be the big comfy GT of the group, but with the most power on tap.   Honestly we are lucky there are even three (four?) fun RWD cars with manual transmissions still on the market.  Who knows if there will be any left in 5 years.  So which direction would you go?   

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/28/22 4:27 p.m.

I considered some of these as well before settling on the (older, 2.0L) 86, the major factor for me was running costs, the Camaro or Mustang are going to be thirstier for gas and tires and brakes being heavier and more powerful cars. I thought insurance might be worse too, but it turns out that the Toyobaru is in a different league for insurance costs, in a bad way.

I also like smaller, lighter & nimbler cars so the American options were probably at a disadvantage with me from the start.

hunter47
hunter47 Reader
12/28/22 5:46 p.m.

Is the Miata not being sold into 2023? 

I'd go with the toyobaru twins. There's plenty of aftermarket for them, and running costs as mentioned will be a great deal lower than the Camaro or Mustang. 

SEADave
SEADave Dork
12/28/22 5:49 p.m.
hunter47 said:

Is the Miata not being sold into 2023? 

I'd go with the toyobaru twins. There's plenty of aftermarket for them, and running costs as mentioned will be a great deal lower than the Camaro or Mustang. 

Miata is not a coupe, and even if you consider the RF model one it is well above $30k.   

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/28/22 5:52 p.m.

I'm genuinely curious about the difference in running costs between a Camaro and 86 on the track.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke UltraDork
12/28/22 6:05 p.m.

I'm biased towards naturally aspirated 4 cylinder lightweight cars. DD is a 2007 Civic Si.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
12/28/22 6:12 p.m.

My instinct is lighter=better but I have no objective experience with any of these three.

 

Consumables is an interesting concern.  Yes lighter should mean easier on tires and brakes, but Japanese makes tend to underbrake and undertire their cars, so the pony cars may actually win out here.  Either way, if the Camaro or Mustang have brake issues, a brake upgrade is a phone call away from any number of companies that part out the higher trim cars, and you can definitely fit more tire under there too.  Not sure what the upgrade path is for the Frisbees. I assume they are still 5x100.  Would '04 STI brakes bolt up?

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/28/22 6:34 p.m.

There are plenty of brake kit options for the 86.

maybe when I am at my computer I will check, but I don't think the tire cost or brake cost is a gigantic difference between the cars.  It actually wouldn't surprise me if Camaro pads are cheaper.

That only gives part of the picture of course... how long do these items last on track.  I have no doubt an 86 is pretty easy on tires once dialed in, but how bad is a Camaro? 

Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/28/22 6:52 p.m.

I've been shopping for GR 86 within 500 miles of me.  I could not find any 2022 or 2023 models under $30K.  New or used.  I'm seeing closer to $40K when you add in tax, tag, dealer destination, etc.

Dream on.

dannyp84
dannyp84 Reader
12/28/22 7:26 p.m.

Lately I've been wishing that there was an option under this criteria that was a coupe more in the sense of being a two door version of a sedan rather than being really rakish in profile. Something like a modern KE70 Corolla or like the 2 door E30. To my knowledge there's nothing like that anywhere near $30k, but it's what I'd love as a daily. I think the closest thing we had in recent years was the 1 series. I just want a 2022 version of the Datsun 510.

As for the cars in question, I've driven a couple of BRZs and an eco boost Mustang. The Ford's power was really impressive, though it feels nearly twice the size of the BRZ. If I had a long highway commute or lived somewhere with a lot of fast sweepers, I'd probably choose the Mustang. On a more technical road, the BRZ/86 would likely be more fun.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/28/22 7:33 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

Not sure what the upgrade path is for the Frisbees. I assume they are still 5x100.  Would '04 STI brakes bolt up?

For junkyard options you can mix & match parts from a few WRX/Legacy models or a 300ZX (not rotors, but calipers), and then there are all the big-money BBK options you could ever want.

Factory calipers and factory-size rotors aren't bad though and there's probably no reason to upgrade anything beyond pads, fluid & ventilation on anything close to stock power or tires.

Edit: In terms of tire wear, more than a full season of autocrossing + some street driving + driving from Ontario to Florida, doing the Challenge and a track day, + driving back took about 3mm tread depth out of a set of 245-wide PS4Ses.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau UberDork
12/29/22 9:27 a.m.

Those are all great options for sporty performance coupes, and I agree they are the last of their kind before inevitable electrification or extinction. Mazda has already confirmed the next gen Miata will be a hybrid of some kind. Smoke em if you got em. 

I answered this question for myself last year with a Miata RF. You are right, they are over $30k these days, with the '22 RF GT MSRP now up to $35k. I got my '21 for $35k out the door, thanks to the Mazda S-plan discount through SCCA. You can still buy the soft top for around $30k though.

iansane
iansane Dork
12/29/22 10:02 a.m.
dannyp84 said:

Lately I've been wishing that there was an option under this criteria that was a coupe more in the sense of being a two door version of a sedan rather than being really rakish in profile. Something like a modern KE70 Corolla or like the 2 door E30. To my knowledge there's nothing like that anywhere near $30k, but it's what I'd love as a daily. I think the closest thing we had in recent years was the 1 series. I just want a 2022 version of the Datsun 510.

I wonder why that is. Sales or aero? I've always enjoyed that style of 2dr car. There are quite a few 4dr cars out there I'd love to see turned into 2dr.

racerfink
racerfink UberDork
12/29/22 10:12 a.m.
GameboyRMH said:

I considered some of these as well before settling on the (older, 2.0L) 86, the major factor for me was running costs, the Camaro or Mustang are going to be thirstier for gas and tires and brakes being heavier and more powerful cars. I thought insurance might be worse too, but it turns out that the Toyobaru is in a different league for insurance costs, in a bad way.

I also like smaller, lighter & nimbler cars so the American options were probably at a disadvantage with me from the start.

You greatly over-estimate those costs for the Camaro.  I'm approaching 80k in my 2016 V6 Camaro, and I'm still on the original brake pads.  I've done three track days at Sebring.  Granted, I was an instructor, so I limited my time on track to make sure my students didn't have to wait on me to go on track.  My car also has a 50 mile best average of 36.4mpg on the highway.  When my dad had his 2018 2.0t Camaro, I managed to get 46mpg on a trip with it.

As for tires, living in the Florida sun tends to kill tires faster than wear does.  I've replaced my tires every three years so far, and there was decent tread left, but new tires were a big improvement over the dried out ones.

dps214
dps214 Dork
12/29/22 10:26 a.m.
GameboyRMH said:

I considered some of these as well before settling on the (older, 2.0L) 86, the major factor for me was running costs, the Camaro or Mustang are going to be thirstier for gas and tires and brakes being heavier and more powerful cars. I thought insurance might be worse too, but it turns out that the Toyobaru is in a different league for insurance costs, in a bad way.

I also like smaller, lighter & nimbler cars so the American options were probably at a disadvantage with me from the start.

All three are have basically identical fuel economy ratings, the gr86 is wildly inefficient. Actually the gr86 is rated the lowest, the mustang is the highest and the only one listed with 87 octane. I don't know anything about the mustang or Camaro so it's hard to really compare, but...gr86 tires are a bit cheaper but you need camber bolts/plates and at least one sway bar to keep from blasting the outer edges off of the tires immediately. The brakes are barely up to the task of autocross and mildly aggressive street driving, they'll need to be upgraded pretty quickly if doing anything more serious. (Like I said I know nothing about the other two so they could be in the same boat). I suppose you could go order a brz for just under $30k, but it's super hard to find a gr86 for that price. There's no custom ordering Toyotas, Toyota just builds whatever cars they see fit and sends them to dealers. So most all cars have at least a couple minor add on options that push the price up. Back when we were shopping and the inventory tracker was still working, maybe 5% at most of the total allotments had prices that started with a 2.

 

All that said, of the group I'd still take the gr86. The Camaro is...the Camaro, and the mustang is a big boat of a GT car (which definitely has its place, but isn't what we're looking for here).

hunter47
hunter47 Reader
12/29/22 10:46 a.m.
SEADave said:
hunter47 said:

Is the Miata not being sold into 2023? 

I'd go with the toyobaru twins. There's plenty of aftermarket for them, and running costs as mentioned will be a great deal lower than the Camaro or Mustang. 

Miata is not a coupe, and even if you consider the RF model one it is well above $30k.   

Woops, missed the coupe requirement. 

Point still stands though, Toyobaru wins out for me due to aftermarket alone. Need power? Superchargers available. Want better handling? Solid and hollow sway bars of varying thicknesses are available from any vendor, coilovers exist from any vendor, Toyobaru wheel fitment comes in a variety of flavors. Need bigger brakes? Anything that can bolt on to the WRX of the same generation will bolt on to the Toyobaru, just get dual drilled rotors (5x114.3 vs 5x100). 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
12/29/22 11:30 a.m.

In reply to SEADave :

Well, that's a great question.   Some of that depends.  
 To those who suggest  hop up options. The trouble with those is cash up front.  And install.   It's like you're getting around the budget limit.   
      Those who choose imports because of supposed better quality,  I understand the reason for those beliefs. At one time domestic products were bad.  But competition forced major improvements in that regard. 
   Today you are just as likely to get a lemon from Toyota as Ford.  Owning both a Honda and a Ford  I believe the Ford is ever so slightly less expensive to own.  
      Finally like others I want to cheat my way to something better  assuming I'm making payments?  Is $100 more per month to get what I really want out of line?    
      But playing fair, I'd select the Camaro   ride and sensual feeling is why. 
     
  

SEADave
SEADave Dork
12/29/22 12:03 p.m.
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) said:

I've been shopping for GR 86 within 500 miles of me.  I could not find any 2022 or 2023 models under $30K.  New or used.  I'm seeing closer to $40K when you add in tax, tag, dealer destination, etc.

Dream on.

Not sure if you are referring to add'l dealer markup, but one of the supposed advantages of the GR86/BRZ twins is that they come in different trim levels but don't have much in the way of options or packages.   In theory, you either get a base or a premium and that's that.   If dealers are adding huge markups over MSRP, that is an issue worthy of its own thread, and there are a bunch of threads on it at the GR86 forum.   

My take - don't pay any big markup.  Sure it is a new high-demand model, but paying $5k or more over MSRP is ridiculous.  Nice as they are, the twins are pretty basic little cars built to a price.  Once you are talking $40k there are a lot of other cars, new and lightly used, that appeal more.   Is there some way around this?   I think you can get Subaru VIP pricing if you join the ASPCA.  I would rather give my money to them than to some sleazy dealer.   

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/29/22 12:27 p.m.
dps214 said:

The brakes are barely up to the task of autocross and mildly aggressive street driving, they'll need to be upgraded pretty quickly if doing anything more serious. (Like I said I know nothing about the other two so they could be in the same boat).

I wouldn't say that's true, on my car with about 10% more power than stock and wider stickier tires, the brakes feel like plenty enough for anything you would need on an autocross course or the street, and I never had any issue reaching ABS activation at the FIRM but I could feel that I had to use a lot of pressure to do it - mind you, that's also when I found out the hard way that my pad selection & brake ventilation wasn't quite up to the task...but I never lacked for stopping power even as the rear pads disappeared and torched the discs.

In regard to the cars having similar street MPG, keep in mind that track MPG was also a factor since I knew the car would be doing a large fraction of its running hours and a majority of its fuel burning on track.

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
12/29/22 2:32 p.m.

A zero option V6 manual Camaro is $29,850 on the Chevrolet site.

I'd trust that waaaay more than any turbo 4.

hunter47
hunter47 Reader
12/29/22 2:58 p.m.
SEADave said:
   Is there some way around this?   I think you can get Subaru VIP pricing if you join the ASPCA.  I would rather give my money to them than to some sleazy dealer.   

Costco auto program will get you on invoice pricing.

dps214
dps214 Dork
12/29/22 3:20 p.m.
SEADave said:
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) said:

I've been shopping for GR 86 within 500 miles of me.  I could not find any 2022 or 2023 models under $30K.  New or used.  I'm seeing closer to $40K when you add in tax, tag, dealer destination, etc.

Dream on.

Not sure if you are referring to add'l dealer markup, but one of the supposed advantages of the GR86/BRZ twins is that they come in different trim levels but don't have much in the way of options or packages.   In theory, you either get a base or a premium and that's that.   If dealers are adding huge markups over MSRP, that is an issue worthy of its own thread, and there are a bunch of threads on it at the GR86 forum.   

My take - don't pay any big markup.  Sure it is a new high-demand model, but paying $5k or more over MSRP is ridiculous.  Nice as they are, the twins are pretty basic little cars built to a price.  Once you are talking $40k there are a lot of other cars, new and lightly used, that appeal more.   Is there some way around this?   I think you can get Subaru VIP pricing if you join the ASPCA.  I would rather give my money to them than to some sleazy dealer.   

The GR86 has quite a few factory options, which toyota applies basically randomly to the cars they build. It's not unusual to see ~1-2k of factory add-ons. Even if you can find one at msrp with zero additional dealer markup, it's pretty unlikely the price before taxes and normal fees will start with a 2. Things like wheel locks, the GR shift knob (this is something you actually want), rubber floor mats, etc. And then there's the $1800 factory upgrade exhaust.

I assume you can custom order a BRZ, but then you get to wait until whenever orders are open again to place the order, and then another six months for it to show up.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
12/29/22 3:31 p.m.
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) said:

A zero option V6 manual Camaro is $29,850 on the Chevrolet site.

I'd trust that waaaay more than any turbo 4.

100% of the blown High Features I have seen were in Camaros, and I see very few V6 Camaros.  Blown as in self-generated access holes to the crankcase.  One had 31k miles, and it was #2 that week.

Small sample size, but also not good odds.

dannyp84
dannyp84 Reader
12/29/22 6:56 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) said:

A zero option V6 manual Camaro is $29,850 on the Chevrolet site.

I'd trust that waaaay more than any turbo 4.

100% of the blown High Features I have seen were in Camaros, and I see very few V6 Camaros.  Blown as in self-generated access holes to the crankcase.  One had 31k miles, and it was #2 that week.

Small sample size, but also not good odds.

Wonder what's going on there? Do they have oiling issues ?

SEADave
SEADave Dork
12/30/22 12:52 p.m.
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) said:

A zero option V6 manual Camaro is $29,850 on the Chevrolet site.

I'd trust that waaaay more than any turbo 4.

Good call. I hadn't noticed that you could option up a 1LT Camaro with the V6 and stay under $30k.  Interesting option for sure even if the reliability of the 3.6 is up for debate.  Looking at dyno runs on both engines it looks like the 3.6 keeps making power past 6500rpm whereas the turbo falls on is face over 5500. 
 

On a related note am I the only one who thinks the current Camaro taillights look like a Vega?

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