Best Buy Awards Sports Performance Car 2015
Our Performance/Sports Car Best Buy of 2015 demonstrates the genre's biggest bang for the buck, as informed by yearlong vehicle testing, back-to-back comparisons and our industry-leading pricing and resale value insight. Everything about the Chevy Corvette makes pure sense in a modern sports car. It is as joyous and painless to crackle off dazzling lap times in the Vette as it is to drive it to work. And with exterior presence that's as hook-filled as an electric guitar solo, and a clean, modern driver's interior that indulges you and your passenger with high-quality materials and a whip-smart design layout, everything about the 2015 Corvette is an improvement on our memories of it.
Chevy's exotic, the 2015 Corvette Stingray, goes up against the best of the best of the beasts and triumphs as the best way to spend your adrenaline and your money.
It's one thing when a car is as good as you remember it being, but it's another world when that car is even better than your memories. That's the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.
Everything about the Chevy Corvette makes pure sense in a modern sports car. It is as joyous and painless to crackle off dazzling lap times in the Vette as it is to drive it to work. And with exterior presence that's as hook-filled as an electric guitar solo, and a clean, modern driver's interior that indulges you and your passenger with high-quality materials and a whip-smart design layout, everything about the 2015 Corvette is an improvement on our memories of it.
Fire in the Whole
The Corvette makes no compromises while at the same time offering a seemingly contradictory combination of attributes. It is just as easy to be wicked quick in the car as it is to be wicked comfortable, and the rolling thunder of the Corvette's 455-horsepower V8 engine is a cinch to tame during idle searches for an open space in a parking lot. The 7-speed manual transmission is a treat for nostalgic shift-it-yourselfers, but we wholeheartedly endorse this year's new 8-speed automatic with a Drive Mode Selector that lets the driver vary the intensity of the Corvette's handling, steering and throttle response from merely precise and comfortable to track-practiced and racecar sharp.
All This and Fuel Economy Too?
The new Corvette offers plenty of surprises, but what if one of the most interesting is how good its V8 engine is at not wasting gasoline while you're cruising on the highway? Surprise! With a smart, seamless cylinder-shut-off program working for it, the Corvette boasts 29 miles per gallon on the highway, and it was not uncommon for us to get 30 mpg or better during testing. That's better highway fuel economy -- significantly better -- than any other V8 available in any of our Best Buy Award winners, regardless of category.
Case Closed: Superb Resale Value
When the all-new Corvette was introduced last year, we started our full review of the car thus: "Almost as if no sports cars ever came before it, the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is untouchable." That praise works just as well for the Corvette's superb residual (resale) value as it does for the sports car's superior performance and livability.
Last year, we named the new the Corvette as the Best Resale Value Award winner in High Performance Cars, as well as one of the top five Best Resale Value Award winners among every vehicle sold in the United States. No other vehicle in this year's competition can make that claim.
More 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
If you still have any doubts about whether the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray might be the smartest buy in its category, then it's time to move on -- we can only offer you our sympathy. If, however, you'd like to explore a little further, read our full review of the 2015 Corvette, or even build and price your own Corvette and see if your dreams and your reality can't find a sports car to agree on.
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Photo Gallery
Giving out awards to new cars based on value gets extra interesting when you add an exotic spice like performance into the soup. The general -- and always reliable -- dictum that "the cheapest car is not the best value" rings truest when it is applied to sports cars. Yet each of our best sports cars for 2015 captures value in its own way. Frankly, the Chevy Corvette had to really shine to stay ahead of such luminaries as the Porsche Cayman and new Ford Mustang. Here, in alphabetical order, are the four fellow Best Buy finalists that the Vette had to rise above.
2015 Chevrolet Camaro
A Classic Take on Value
If value for you means getting high horsepower at a low price, the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro should be one of the first cars that appear when you close your eyes. Available in coupe and convertible forms, the rear-wheel-drive Camaro leads its charge with a $24,550 V6 model that pushes out 323 horsepower and can reel in 30 miles per gallon. From there, the Chevy ponycar's variations reach ever higher into performance-car territory, stopping dramatically at the track-ready $75,000 V8-powered Camaro Z/28.
Driving the 2015 Camaro requires your full-time attention, but it pays off in throttle response and corner-carving despite carrying a lot of weight and producing a commensurate amount of noise. Fairly minimalist on the inside, the Chevy Camaro's exterior puts on a pretty good show at every level of the price ladder.
For the full story, read our full review of the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro. There, you'll find a sports car worth owning, and a ponycar that is "predicted to retain the highest (resale) values in the segment."
2015 Dodge Challenger
Practical. Impractical. And a legitimate hoot to drive.
If horsepower-per-dollar were the sole value criterion, the 2015 Dodge Challenger coupe would waltz away with this competition, thanks to the 707-horsepower Challenger Hellcat, which rings the cash register at about $60,000. The $40,000 485-horsepower Scat Pack Challenger we tested loved to light up its tires, but wasn't all in when it came to slipping through the 2-lane twisties. For a smart boy-racer who wants to be noticed and who appreciates a stylish interior with decent rear-seat room, the Challenger is a performance machine worth pursuing. (And you might not be able to catch it.)
In our 2015 Dodge Challenger review, we found plenty to praise, including the Challenger's newly revised, retro-inspired exterior and revitalized interior, plus the coupe's excellent 8-speed automatic transmission -- don't fear the automatic transmission, friends. If you want more, try the four available engines, including three Hemi V8s.
The 2015 Challenger's good looks make a lot of big performance promises, and the car fulfills every one of them.
2015 Ford Mustang
Welcome to Ponycar Heaven
The 2015 Ford Mustang is all-new this year. And it feels as all-new and progressed from the model it replaces as the Chevrolet Corvette did last year. This new Mustang is a podium lock for every rear-wheel-drive ponycar comparison test: The 4-seat car is Clooney-handsome and drives brilliantly, easing lightly through corners with heretofore unseen finesse due in part to its new independent rear suspension setup. An A+ grade also goes to the comfort of Mustang's ride.
For 2015, the new Mustang's engines range from a good 300-horsepower V6 in the base model ($24,500) all the way up to a knockout 5.0-liter GT V8 with 435 understressed horsepower -- which heralds lots more power on its way in years to come. While that Mustang GT can reach as high as $50,000 on the price ladder, the Mustang sports-car value statement for 2015 is made by the $26,000 midrange EcoBoost model. Packing an eye-opening turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the Mustang EcoBoost simultaneously delivers strong acceleration and better fuel economy than any other variant among the five players in this category.
Have a look at our full review of the 2015 Ford Mustang for a deeper dive into the all-new Mustang -- you'll be glad you did.
All About What Porsche Does Best
The European sports-car enthusiast's mind is more symphony orchestra than rock and roll. The 2015 Porsche Cayman embodies those sensibilities. Neither inexpensive nor inexpensive to maintain, Porsche's entry-level luxury coupe is, nevertheless, a sports-car bargain. The magic of driving a Cayman is composed from the relentless percussion and power of a flat-6 engine rolling out 275 horsepower (2.7-liter) or 325 horsepower (3.4-liter), the operatic brass of a suspension, steering and braking setup offering a nearly flawless connection to the road, and an exquisite string section of a lyrical, purposeful interior and an unforgettable exterior shape.
Sitting in the first chair behind the steering wheel, you feel absolutely synched to the road, a sixth sense shared only by the Corvette in our best sports cars awards shootout. That, for some, defines value. And when (and if) it ever comes time to sell your Cayman, rest assured that it will retain strong resale value throughout its life.
If you need to know more, shop more or see more pictures of the 2015 Porsche Cayman, dig in to our full review of the 2015 Porsche Cayman GTS, the latest and greatest of the Cayman line.