MOST FUN COUPE
A great way to evaluate new cars and SUVs is to drive them back-to-back on fun roads. Most consumers don’t have that luxury, but members of the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) get that
experience on their annual Run to the Sun (RTTS) event.
This year journalists spent three days driving two-dozen highly varied cars and SUVs (as tested prices ranged from $28,985 to $427,875) hundreds of miles over stunningly scenic roads across Washington and Oregon. The routes covered twisty mountain passes, the windy Columbia River Gorge, and the wide open Central Oregon high country. Venues varied from busy cities to desolate ghost towns.
Besides the mandate to have fun driving, the group was tasked with picking winners in four categories plus an overall Northwest Most Fun to Drive Vehicle. The categories were convertibles, coupes, sedans, and SUVs. This post covers the Coupe class.
There was agreement among all drivers that coincidentally matched this author’s picks for overall category winners. I’ve gone further and listed my second and third choices. The remaining vehicles are listed alphabetically. There weren’t any bad choices—all seven of these coupes
were fun for different reasons.
This was the most difficult category to judge, because all of the entrants were exciting, exhilarating, and highly enjoyable. There wasn’t a coupe in this group that I wouldn’t gladly park in my driveway and be thrilled to own every day, Prices ranged from the $29,920 Hyundai Veloster N to the $427,875 Rolls Royce Wraith Black Badge. Horsepower ranged from 275 to 755. Fun was omnipresent.
WINNER: NORTHWEST MOST FUN COUPE: 2020 TOYOTA GR SUPRA
MY FIRST CHOICE: 2020 TOYOTA GR SUPRA
PRICE AS TESTED: $57,375
The all-new Toyota GR Supra is a rocket. It just flat goes and you dearly want to go fast in it. It’s a little tight getting in, but once ensconced you feel like you and the car are one. The twin-turbo inline 6-cylinder engine is a torque monster (365 lbs-ft from 335 hp) in a lightweight, agile car. It just pulls and pulls as you click through the gears with the paddle shifter equipped 8-speed automatic transmission. The 2020 Toyota GR Supra is the very definition of a sports car.
MY SECOND CHOICE: 2019 DODGE CHALLENGER R/T SCAT PACK WIDEBODY
PRICE AS TESTED: $56,600
The Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody is the sensible iteration of all the wild Challengers. It’s
modest 485 hp (compared to 717-797 hp in other Challengers) and 475 lb-ft of torque is still crazy fast, loud, and fun. And, it’s priced tens of thousands less than the top Challengers. The Widebody looks like a racecar and accommodates the 20×11-inch wheels. The Challenger R/T is easily the most fun, best-balanced, most comfortable Challenger ever.
MY THIRD CHOICE: 2020 LEXUS RCF TRACK EDITION RWD
PRICE AS TESTED: $105,160
The slick Lexus RCF Track Edition is a stealthy high performance car with its swoopy styling, carbon fiber parts and Matte Nebula Gray finish. The Lexus
RCF is like a luxury version of a street legal racecar. The symphonic 5.0-liter V8 produces 472 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. You’ll want the windows down to better hear the engine as you snap off gear changes with the Sport Direct Shift 8-speed automatic transmission.
THE OTHER CONTENDERS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
2019 CHEVROLET CORVETTE ZR1
PRICE AS TESTED: $142,075
For sheer unadulterated, tire shredding horsepower (755 hp 715 lb-ft torque) and racecar like handling the awesome Corvette ZR1 is hard to beat. It’s such an
American superstar supercar that it intimidated me. It was more car than I am driver, even though it’s surprisingly docile in traffic. Pushed even moderately hard it’s frighteningly fast. I was also greatly disappointed that we didn’t get to drive the radical new 2020 mid-engined Corvette.
2019 HYUNDAI VELOSTER N
PRICE AS TESTED: $29,920
The Hyundai Veloster N was the value deal of the group, but its affordable price didn’t lessen its fun factor. Its 275
hp 260 lb-ft torque turbocharged engine was enhanced by an excellent 6-speed manual transmission. The combo in the agile, lightweight coupe made for ample driving fun. The unique third door makes it more versatile than its compact profile might suggest. The Veloster has a strong bang for the buck factor, which amplifies the fun for cost conscious consumers.
2020 NISSAN 370Z SPORT 50THANNIVERSARY EDITION
PRICE AS TESTED: $38,855
The 2020 Nissan 370Z Anniversary Edition is retro done right. It was a truly fun car to drive and it will make buyers remember what was so remarkable about the original 1970 240Z (if they had a chance to experience one). The
370Z captures the classic sports car essence and ads modern refinement, safety, and comfort. The Anniversary option is bold, but it works well and could easily ad to future collectability. 332 hp and 270 lb-ft torque made the 370Z responsive and agile.
2019 ROLLS ROYCE WRAITH BLACK BADGE
PRICE AS TESTED: $427,825
The most impressive thing about the Rolls Royce Wraith was the staggering
price. It equaled the total of the other six coupes and two of them were over 100K each. Options were $100,000 on the handsome Rolls. Interior fit, finish, features, and comfort were amazing. Mechanically it was precision on wheels. The Rolls Royce insolates you from the cold world outside as it easily makes miles and miles of highway disappear. It was fun to briefly inhabit this expensive universe.