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2012 Compact performance car road comparison test

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Don't miss our track test portion of Comparo 2.0

Track testing is a rare treat. It is only ever really relevant when the cars being evaluated were destined for some form of performance driving. With this lot, we got to do just that. We took all the members of this contingent and wrung them out at l'Autodrôme St-Eustache (ASE).

2012 Compact performance car road comparison test

Although we'd all have liked to spend the entire week wreaking havoc on the cars' brakes, tires and other mechanicals, we had to hit the road at some point. The tiniest spark went off in my mind (it happens) and it dawned on me: We must do two tests with these cars.

As the title states, even if many of these cars were bred for the track at the hands of typical owners they will still spend the vast majority of their useful life on the highways and byways, and bottlenecked and congested roads of our cities.

We therefore did the extra work -- yes, this is work -- and spent a day crisscrossing city streets, country roads and local freeways. This day told a story to which we had already more or less guessed the outcome; those that excelled on the track would suffer most on uneven, poorly maintained roads.

The classic compromise has always been between track and road use. A good track car will forgo creature comforts in exchange for handling and other forms of raw performance. The majority of us testers have actually meddled in modifying our personal cars (some of us still do) and so have followed the evolution of tuning and track-ready sporty cars with much interest.

This crop of cars represents the finest of the $30k track-ready production cars currently available, and we could not have been more pleased by how they performed at ASE.

 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec2012 Mazda MX-5 SV
2013 Scion FR-S
2013 Subaru BRZ Sport-Tech
2012 VW Golf GTI 5-door
Base Price*$28,799$33,995$25,990$29,295$30,375
Price as tested*$28,799$33,995$26,505$29,295$37,585
*prices exclude sales taxes, A/C tax as well as freight and delivery charges.

This time around, picking out favorites from the road test was actually quite easy. Not one of the positions were debated nor was there any questioning the reasons as to why each car landed where they did.

This is what the road told us: