If you read TTAC (and chances are if you’re a fan of this site, you do), you’re probably aware that Jack Baruth and his merry band of tag-alongs recently published a multi-part track comparison pitting the Scion FR-S against a Mazda X-5 PRHT and a Genesis 2.0T. You can read the crucial details here if you like (if you don’t, be warned that I’m going to spoil the results after the jump), but what you should really take away from this isn’t their analysis, but the absolutely ridiculous reaction from the online community.
Now that we’re safely in spoiler-friendly territory, let’s break down the results. The Miata won, the Genesis came in second, and the FR-S brought up the rear. Does this surprise you? More importantly, should it?
I propose that it should not, and here’s why: Jack et al didn’t say that the Miata is the best track car for the money, and they didn’t say that the Genesis Coupe 2.0T was the fastest. What they said was that, of the three cars they drove, the Genesis was the fastest and the Miata was the most fun, while the FR-S was neither of those things. Simply put, Jack and company are being eviscerated for saying exactly what any reasonable reader should expect them to say.
Agree with their conclusions or don’t, that’s entirely up to you. But there’s no reason whatsoever to be surprised. How long has Mazda been building the Miata? Is anybody really shocked that they’re the best out there when it comes to building a cheap, lightweight, dynamically gifted sports car? Of course it isn’t. The exaggerated outrage over this is foolish, at best. As for Hyundai, the Genesis Coupe turbo is no ’96 Tiburon. If you haven’t been taking them seriously because they’re not German or Japanese, then you need to wake up and take a look around the automotive landscape. Things have changed since the days before the interior peeled off your ’99 Jetta.
Remember this: losing a comparison doesn’t make a car bad. It just makes it the least desirable of a small group of cars as determined by a small group of people within the context of a single test. Flip that around for the victor, too. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on repeating it until I’m no longer in a position to do so: context, context, context.