AutoGuide Under $30,000 Performance Car Shootout – Part Two: Track Test Elimination Round

Yesterday we took eight fun-to-drive performance vehicles under $30,000 and put them through their paces on the street.

After much deliberation, we chose the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST as the king of the street. Despite a somewhat harsh ride, nothing else matches the raw, hilariously fun driving experience behind the wheel.

But now it’s time to get serious. We have come to the test track to complete the second half of our under $30,000 shootout. Every car will be taken around the track and scored on two criteria only; how fast it completes a lap and how fun it is when driven at the limit. That score, combined with yesterday’s street score is used to determine the final finishing order.

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To keep things interesting, this is an elimination round, as we compile the data the track and the street to determine which cars are headed home, and which will move on to the top three.

Tomorrow we’ll unveil the overall winner of the Under $30,000 Performance Car Shootout.

Eighth Place – 2014 Honda Civic Si Coupe


Having track tested a different 2014 Civic Si Coupe just a few weeks prior, I knew within half a lap that something wasn’t right with this car. It just wasn’t accelerating with the same urgency once revs climbed past 5,000 RPM, and that’s normally the sweet spot in the powerband for these 2.4L iVTEC engines.

I was told this car had been used a few days prior at a Honda event where IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe, and some other folks, were thrashing about in it. Did Hinchcliffe damage our car?

It’s hard to say for sure, but whatever the reason, this Civic Si was almost 3-seconds off my best lap time in the healthy one I had a few weeks earlier. 2014-Honda-Civic-Si-Coupe-interior.jpgTo be fair, all the cars were 1 to 2 seconds slower than previous test results thanks to an unusually greasy track surface (someone oiled it down with a blown engine prior to our arrival). But with the lowest top speed of any car in this competition, clearly something wasn’t right.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Honda Civic Si Coupe Review

Still, it wasn’t just the immediate issues holding back the Civic Si compared to the other seven cars in this shootout. Despite the changes Honda has made to it for 2014, it still has more body roll and more understeer than the other cars here, and ultimately that is reflected in in the fact that it had the second lowest cornering g-forces and lowest ‘fun to drive on the track’ score in the group.

Fast Facts

Lap time: 1:31.232 (8th) Top Speed: 93.3 MPH (8th) Max Cornering G-Force: 1.05 (7th) Max Braking G-Force: 0.69 (8th) Fun To Drive On The Track (out of 25): 16 (8th) Engine: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 205 HP, 174 lb-ft Transmission: Six-speed manual Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive, Helical LSD Fuel Economy Ratings: 22 MPG City, 31 MPG Highway Fuel Economy Observed: 26.4 MPG Price: $23,580 after destination charges

GALLERY: 2014 Honda Civic Si Coupe