Base models are usually a stripped-down version of what most people actually want in a vehicle. The consumer has to then add the options that suits both their needs and budget. Options like upgraded trim, larger engines and better technology are often available; which of course will come at an additional cost. A standard feature is something that comes with the vehicle at no added price. Some vehicle manufacturers these days still don’t offer power windows and locks as a standard option to help cut down on base model prices, while other manufacturers use offering better standard options as a selling tactic.
Base models are often slow, and lack most of the options that most people look for. Most vehicles come standard with the smallest engine that is offered, in a lot of cases these means a small 4-cylinder. A few of them even come with a 3-cylinder! Luckily most vehicle manufacturers are offering a performance edition to keep all the consumers happy.
Here are 10 super slow based models with 4-cylinders that could barely beat a moped and their much faster performance editions that could beat some super cars. Let's see who had the biggest improvement amongst the group.
20 Can't Beat A Moped: Dodge Caliber
The Dodge Caliber was designed to replace the popular Neon, but its reputation didn’t pan out that well by comparison.
The Caliber was at least a bit more powerful than the Neon, also gaining an extra door as it was a 5-door hatchback.
According to Car and Driver, the Caliber came standard with a 2.0-liter that was good for 158 hp and 141 lb/ft of torque, which was just a tad better than the base model Neon. The Caliber didn’t last nearly as long the Neon, and was discontinued after just 5 years.
19 Could Beat A Super Car: Dodge SRT-4 Caliber
Since the Caliber was the Neon’s replacement it only made sense that the SRT team could see what they could do with the Caliber. The Caliber came stocked with a turbocharged inline 4-cylinder that was capable of making 285 hp at 5700 rpm and 265 lb/ft of torque at just 2000 rpm. According to Car and Driver the Caliber could do 0-60 in just under six seconds, needing 14.4 to get a quarter mile done. The Caliber wasn’t nearly as popular as the SRT4 Neon and was also discontinued after just a few years of production.
18 Can't Beat A Moped: Camaro Iron Duke
This isn’t the base model of the Camaro, it was just the slowest one Chevy ever produced. With a name like “Iron Duke” you would think there was something special about the 1982 Chevy Camaro.
The fact of the matter was there was nothing great about it, and it may even be the worst Camaro of all time.
According to Motor Trend, 4-cylinder didn’t even make 100 hp, the 2.5-liter was only good for 90 hp and 132 lb/ft of torque. While there was a 5.0-liter V8 option, it wasn’t that impressive either, making only 165 hp and 240 lb/ft of torque. The 80s, oh what a time to be alive!
17 Could Beat A Super Car: Camaro 2.0T
The Camaro 2.0T is considered the base model for the Camaro, but it is far superior than the dreaded Iron Duke. The Camaro comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is good for 275 hp and 295 lb/ft of torque, which means that the boosted little 2.0-liter was significantly faster than the 5.0-liter that was available in the 80s. Another advantage the little engine has is the fact that it gets over 30 mpg on the highway. Who would ever think a sports car could be fuel efficient?
16 Can't Beat A Moped: Honda Civic
Honda has been making its Civics since the early 70s and it’s no mystery why they have last as long as they have.
Hondas are known for being able to rack hundreds of thousands of miles on their vehicles without much maintenance, but this won't set any speed records.
According to Car and Driver, the Civic comes standard with a 2.0-liter that makes 158 hp and 138 lb/ft of torque. One of the great things about the Civic is the fact that it gets an incredible 40 mpg on the highway! Considering it has been made for over four decades, Honda seems to have it all figured out.
15 Could Beat A Super Car: Honda Civic Type R
Being practical is great and all, but the Type R offers something for drivers that want to remain practical while keeping the little kid inside of them alive. The Type-R comes stocked with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that can crank out 306 hp at 6500 rpm and 295 lb/ft of torque at 2500 rpm.
According to Car and Driver, the Type-R needed less than 5 seconds to do 0-60 and can get a ¼ mile done in just 13.5 seconds.
The Type-R almost doubled its base model’s horsepower and torque numbers and still manages to get a respectable 29 mpg on the highway.
14 Can't Beat A Moped: Dodge Neon
Once upon a time Dodge made a car called the Dodge Neon. The Neon quickly got a bit of a bad reputation as they were cheaply made, and it often showed. The Neon came standard with a 2.0-liter that only made a measly 132 hp and 132 lb/ft of torque. With such low power numbers you would think it would get better gas mileage than 32 mpg. The best thing about the Neon was simply how affordable it was. The Neon has recently started being produced again, but it isn’t currently being sold in the states.
13 Could Beat A Supercar: Dodge SRT-4 Neon
While the base model Neon may have been no fun whatsoever to drive, the SRT4 is a completely different story. The Folks at Street Racing Technology decided to see what would happen when you supercharged a Neon: it resulted in the first member of the SRT family bearing its name, the SRT4 Neon.
Unfortunately, it was only made for a few short years in the early 2000’s, even if it was crowned by Car and Driver as “king of econo-speedsters".
The SRT4 was good for 230 hp and 250 lb/ft of torque. It needed less than 14 seconds to run a quarter mile and could get to sixty in 5.3 seconds.
12 Can't Beat A Moped: Nissan Sentra
The Sentra was made with the intentions to be affordable and reliable, and Nissan nailed it. The Sentra comes standard with a 1.8-liter that’s pretty unexciting. According to Car and Driver, the 4-cylinder is only good for a 130 hp. The Sentra needs almost 9 seconds just to get up to 60, and needed almost 17 to finish the quarter mile. You would think it being this slow must mean its super fuel efficient, but that’s actually not the case when it comes to the Sentra as its only rated to get 35 mpg, which is 5 miles less a gallon than the Honda Civic which also has a bigger engine.
11 Could Beat A Supercar: Nissan Sentra SR Turbo
As we just covered there wasn’t a whole lot of excitement when it came to the base model Sentra. The Nissan Sentra SR Turbo on the other hand is a completely different story. The SR comes stocked with a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that is good for 188 hp at 5600 and 177 lb/ft of torque at just 1600 rpm. According to Car and Driver, the SR Turbo can get a quarter mile in 15.4, getting to sixty in seven seconds flat. All the added power only brought the mpg down to 32, and we can bet that this version is a whole lot more fun to drive!
10 Can't Beat A Moped: Mini Cooper
Up next on the list is the Mini Cooper. According to Top Speed, the Mini was made in response to the fuel shortages in the UK back in the 50’s. In 2000 BMW bought and officially took over the Mini company, renaming it MINI. The Mini has a turbocharged 1.5-liter 3-cylinder that was good for 134 hp at 4500 rpm and 162 lb/ft of torque at just 1250 rpm. It's not a 4 cylinder, but it acts like one.
The MINI Cooper might come boosted, but that doesn’t mean it’s fast.
According to Mini, needed at least 7.3 seconds just to get up to sixty.
9 Could Beat A Supercar: Mini John Cooper Works
Luckily there is a much more impressive version of the MINI Cooper; the John Cooper Works (JCW). John Cooper Works is the company that was responsible for making performance parts for the original Mini, so it only made sense for them to do a performance collaboration with MINI. The JCW comes stocked with a turbocharged 2.0-liter and a lot of other go fast JCW parts to help churn out 228 hp at 6000 rpm and 236 lb/ft of torque at 1250 rpm. The JCW can get a quarter mile done in 14.3 seconds, getting to sixty in six seconds flat.
8 Can't Beat A Moped: VW Golf
The Volkswagen Golf is the ultimate practical vehicle. Its 5-doors make it easy to transport both people and goods, while remaining small and compact. According to Car and Driver, the Golf comes standard with a turbocharged 1.8-liter engine that is good for 170 hp and 184 lb/ft of torque, which is plenty of power for the little hatchback. It is also one of the faster base models to make this list. Volkswagen is known for their fuel efficiency, and the Golf doesn’t disappoint as it gets 34 MPG on the highway.
7 Could Beat A Supercar: VW Golf Type R
While the Golf maybe a practical choice, the Type R version is meant more for a car enthusiast.
The Type R still bears a 4-cylinder, but instead gets an upgraded turbocharged 2.0-liter which is good for 292 hp and 280 lb/ft of torque at just 1800 rpm.
According to the folks at Car and Driver, the snotty little Golf can do 0-60 in just 4.8 seconds, getting a quarter mile done in 13.4. The Golf still stays true to its fuel efficiency bragging rights, obviously not doing as well as its base model but still getting a respectable 29 mpg on the highway.
6 Can't Beat A Moped: Subaru Impreza
Subaru is known for making long lasting, reliable vehicles. They love to brag about the fact that they still have 97% of their vehicles sold in the last decade still on the road, and rightfully so! The Impreza comes standard with its famous all-wheel drive suspension and a 2.0-liter that can make a not so impressive 152 hp. The Impreza needs 8.4 seconds to get to sixty, almost 17 for a quarter mile. According to Car and Drive, the Impreza has a top speed of 120 mph but who even knows how long it will take you to get there, but at least the Impreza does get 38 mpg on the highway.
5 Could Beat A Supercar: Subaru WRX STI
The WRX STI is the performance edition of the Impreza. The STI gets a bit more under the hood than its little sister, getting stocked with a turbo charged 2.5-liter. The STI may be an improvement to its base model but it finished last in all acceleration categories to the VW Type R, Civic Type R and the Focus RS; which are all make this list. According to Car and Driver, the STI needs 13.8 seconds to complete a quarter mile, getting to sixty in 5.3.
4 Can't Beat A Moped: Mitsubishi Lancer
The Lancer wasn’t introduced to the states officially until 1985, but according to Motor Trend it had been there for years, just disguised as a rebadged Dodge Colt.
Whether it was a Mitsubishi or a Dodge there was one thing we couldn't argue; it was slow.
The Lancer came standard with a 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder that was good for 169 hp at 6000 rpm and 167 lb/ft of torque at 4100 rpm. The Lancer needed a whole 8 seconds to get to sixty, and needed over 16 seconds to run a quarter mile.
3 Could Beat A Supercar: Mitsubishi Evo X
The Evo wanted to go out with a bang, and in its last year of production released a “Final Edition”. The turbocharged 2.0-liter is good for 303 hp at 6500 rpm and 306 lb/ft of torque at 4000 rpm. The Evo X can put down a ¼ mile in 13.3 seconds, getting to sixty in 4.4. According to Car and Driver, the first Evo was born all the way back in 1992 in Japan when Mitsubishi stuffed their VR-4 into a Lancer, and called it the Evolution I which made a still impressive 247 hp!
2 Can't Beat A Moped: Ford Focus
The Focus has a very unique EcoBoost engine option, a turbocharged 1.0-liter inline3-cylinder that could put out 123 hp at 6350 rpm and 148 lb/ft of torque at 5000 rpm. The EcoBoost option is only available on the SE Sedan version, and according to Car and Driver is “the slowest car in its class.” The little 1.0-liter needed over 10 seconds to chug to sixty, and needed 17.6 for a quarter mile. Which means, this is hands down the slowest car on the list. Not a title to be proud of.
1 Could Beat A Supercar: Ford Focus RS
Anything would have been an improvement to the base model Focus, but Ford really outdid themselves when they designed the RS. The RS comes with a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline 4-cylinder that’s good for both 350 in the horsepower and torque department. According to Car and Driver, the RS did better than all the cars in its class in every acceleration category. The RS needed 13.4 seconds to run a quarter mile, needing just 4.6 to get to sixty. It's safe to say that Ford has the biggest improvement from their base to performance model, literally doubling both its horsepower and torque numbers with room to spare.
Sources: MotorTrend.com, CarAndDriver.com, MiniUSA.com, Subaru.com