Car Lists

Fantasy Performance: 10 Mainstream Cars We Want With More Powerful Engines

Colorado SS, Mirage Evo, Ram 1500 Hellcat, and More

Colorado SS, Mirage Evo, Ram 1500 Hellcat, and More

Few things are cooler than when an automaker upgrades a small car with a surprisingly powerful performance-oriented engine. Think BMW M2, Volkswagen Golf R, and countless aftermarket cars. More engine and more power seldom disappoints us. So suspend your disbelief and enjoy these 10 vehicles that could use a bigger engine and more power than the automaker originally intended.

Dodge Dart R/T

Imagine a higher-performance Dart with the Charger’s 292-300-hp 3.6-liter V-6 that puts out 260-264 lb-ft of torque. We’d bring back the Dart R/T name for the compact, which would be a handful with more than 100 extra hp. Even so, the model could serve as a fun send-off for the Dart, and a great way to get the attention of compact buyers everywhere.

Mitsubishi Mirage Evolution

The cheap Mitsubishi Mirage is very light and well-suited to an urban environment. Just like the Renault 5 of the 1980s. If Mitsubishi followed the same formula Renault did when creating the Renault 5 Turbo, we’d have a great deal of fun on our hands. Replace the front-engine, front-drive layout for rear-wheel drive and a rear-mid-mounted engine, turbocharge, and add massive box flares.

Chevrolet Colorado SS

Remember the GMC Syclone? It was an early 1990s GMC Sonoma pickup with a turbocharged V-6 engine. We think the twin-turbo V-6 from Cadillac ATS-V or CTS-Vsport stuffed in the engine bay of a Colorado would make a great starting place for a new breed of midsize muscle trucks.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Turbo (from the CX-9)

The meanest and most powerful Mazdas to ever roll out of the factory wore the Mazdaspeed badge, and a higher-performance Miata could be just the car to add interest after the new Miata and Miata RF have been around for a few years. Using the 2016 CX-9’s turbocharged 2.5-liter I-4, if Mazda could find a way to maintain traction in a little roadster now making 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, the car would become a formidable challenger on a road course or drag strip.

Lexus CT F

We like the Lexus CT 200h‘s styling, but would prefer a hybrid system that has less in common with a Toyota Prius. Take the hybrid V-6 system from the RX 450h with a combined 308 hp, and instead of a demure and classy hybrid, the Lexus CT F would join a tiny segment of hot hatches and wagons. We need more performance hybrids (sorry, Porsche 918 Spyder and company, you’re too exclusive), and the CT could lead the way with more than double the horsepower of the standard car.

Ford Fiesta RS

When Ford announced the Focus RS, with 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on one. Then we got to thinking, “What about the Fiesta ST? Imagine a Fiesta RS, with the same qualities that make the Focus RS great, but in a smaller package and with less weight.

Kia Sorento

If the Kia Sorento‘s top engine option, a 290-hp V-6, isn’t powerful enough, look no further than the K900 luxury sedan’s 420-hp V-8. The rear-drive architecture would have to be retooled to fit under the Sorento, but in the end Kia would be rewarded with a quicker crossover to challenge popular near-luxury crossovers. Dodge Durango R/T competitor? Certainly. Budget BMW X5? Only if you don’t worry about badges.

Cadillac ATS-Vmax

In a three-way comparison, we said the ATS-V’s powertrain wasn’t “as finely honed as the German competitors.” Cadillac could make some minor tweaks to fix that, or add the same supercharged V-8 in the CTS-V for extra bragging rights in a model positioned above the normal ATS-V. The ATS-V’s chassis is spectacular and the styling is great, but the car needs more growl, more power.

Read our story on why Cadillac needs Vmax models RIGHT HERE.

Ram 1500 Hellcat

A Ram 1500 Hellcat would make an excellent addition to the Ram portfolio. Don’t worry about all the bros flocking to Ford for the pre-runner, Ram should also pursue the sport truck crowd. A Ram 1500 Hellcat would probably be a lot like the Ram SRT10 (pictured) that sported a Viper engine, but is that a bad thing?

Hyundai Genesis Coupe (with a V-8)

The Hyundai Genesis Coupe is good, to be sure, but consider what it would be like with the 420-hp 5.0-liter V-8 from the large Genesis Sedan. Instead of fighting for sales with the sport compact crowd, why not wade in and duke it out with the Mustang GT, Camaro SS, and Challenger R/T? A generous helping of tire-melting power sounds like a great way to say goodbye to the Genesis Coupe, before the car potentially morphs into a more premium, Genesis-branded offering.