- Bill Antonitis
We love sports cars. But not all of us want to own multiple vehicles or give up the utility of a truck. Manufacturers realize this, so 4x4s are increasingly being designed as daily drivers and are even competing with luxury car brands.
None of this is news, of course. But with more and more auto reviewers, many avowed, life-long “car guys” gushing about trucks like the Raptor and TRX, what might be said about the current performance vehicle landscape? Lumbering beasts no longer, trucks continue to catch up and even pass some cars in terms of the driving experience. In coming years, as trucks continue to command more market share—and higher price tags—what will happen to sports cars?
None of us really have an answer for that. But, if current trends persist, one can infer that more auto enthusiasts will chose sporty trucks over sporty cars. What if the latter disappear? Image that for a moment. What would you choose to drive?
Take a second to catch your breath if you need to! This is just meant to be a fun exercise to compare our favorite cars with the new crop of trucks meant to deliver equivalent of excitement. If you appreciate driving and are open to think about how trucks stack up to your favorite cars, read on.
Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ = Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
I've discussed this on my YouTube channel a few times, but the closest corollary to the 86/BRZ in the truck world is the Colorado ZR2. They are both underpowered and share lackluster interiors. They are both exceptionally good at handling. I've driven both vehicles on my local twisties and was surprised that I could attack the road nearly identically. Like the small two-plus-two, the midsize truck stays flat and grips well, allowing you to rotate better than you'd think. Like the car, you can easily get the ZR2 sideways if you add mud, which is easy to do if you dial in the "double secret" off-road mode. The exterior styling of each ride is more striking than other segment offerings as well.
VW Golf / Audi A3 = Chevy Silverado Trail Boss / RAM Rebel
The Volkswagen Golf is a go-to for enthusiasts for a reason: after years of evolution, we have come to expect solid front-wheel drive dynamics, capable of commuting and spirited driving, wrapped in a comfortable, practical package. The same can be said for the Trail Boss. Much like its little brother Colorado, the Silverado is well suited to cruising on roads and trails; like the VW, it does it without much fanfare. Lacking the true locking differential and the Multimatic suspension of the ZR2, the Trail Boss is relegated to mere off-road competence rather than excellence—just as other hatches surpass the Golf. Still, the Silverado, and the Golf for that matter, are generally comfortable and fun to drive with tempered expectations. A lower price tag than their rivals helps their popularity as well.
Stepping up to an Audi A3 doesn’t bring drastically better performance than a Golf, but it does add all-wheel drive and some better amenities. The same can be said for the RAM Rebel. Option it with air suspension, a 12-inch infotainment system, full leather, and RAM boxes, and you are promoted from Trail Boss to Trail Executive. Overall, the RAM rides a little nicer than the Chevy, but it doesn’t drive on or off pavement much better. It is, however, a much nicer place to be—re the A3.
Base Porsche 911 = Ford Raptor
Ok. This comparison may encroach on controversy…but hear me out. After all, I first heard Mark from SavageGeese mention it in a review, calling the Raptor the Porsche of trucks. (He also compared it to a WRX, but whatever.) Yes, the Raptor is a big truck and most definitely not a sports car. But, until it was recently stomped by the T-Rex, it was the apex predator of the truck world. It is still an aspirational vehicle like the 911, and it is unique and purpose built.
A similar demographic seeks out these trucks, keeping their value high based on performance and prestige. The best equivalent is with the base 911 because, unlike the Porsche, the Raptor does not get faster or more nimble with higher trim levels; it only gets better comfort and tech. You know what you will get with both vehicles, and it is always good to hop behind the wheel—both are consistent and just feel right once you start driving.
Anything Hellcat = RAM TRX
Honda Pilot = Honda Ridgeline
"Because You Watched __________"
It can be said that the best vehicle is the one that best fits your current circumstances. As enthusiasts, we want to have fun no matter what we drive—whether sports cars or performance trucks. Drawing these parallels may seem a little abstract, but it’s fun to think about—especially if you are thinking of replacing your favorite car and don’t want to sacrifice its most favorable characteristics. Did we miss any interesting comparisons? Would you slot in some different vehicles? Let us know what you think.
Bill hosts a blog and YouTube channel that lead him to think more deeply about what it means to drive. The views and opinions expressed here are his own and may not align with the founders of Everyday Driver.