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Note: This article came from the March/April 1990 edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine. This is a copyrighted article which can not be duplicated without permission. It is posted here by permission of Grassroots Magazine. Grassroots Logo

1990 Editor's Choice Awards

Sponsored by BFGoodrich
Story by Marjorie Suddard

The 1990 Editor's Choice testing session marked the third time our key editors had gathered at our Central Florida test site in an attempt to find the hottest new contender for grass-roots motorsports competition.

This year, the selection of cars awaiting them was more impressive than ever. Besides the Miata and the Talon, the editors would also drive the Toyota Celica GT-S, the Nissan 300ZX, the Suzuki Swift GT, the Acura Integra GS, the Volkswagen Corrado, and the Ford Thunderbird SC, or Super Coupe (a.k.a. "Super Bird"). All of the cars were 1990 models, culled from press fleets around the country and brought to the remote track.

All cars tested were "bone" stock, except for their tires: We had replaced each car's O.E.M. rubber with BFGoodrich Comp T/A tires in an effort to factor out the effect of tire performance on the cars' abilities. We wanted to be able to evaluate the cars as objectively as possible, and felt that removing the most significant variable-- tire performance--would help make our task easier.

Track Times:

After a couple of familiarization runs, each editor took four timed runs of the course in each car. We then tabulated the results, adding a two-second penalty for each downed pylon. We threw out each driver's best and worst runs, then averaged the remaining runs. Finally, the averaged times were indexed using the CMC PAX index, so that we could directly compare the times of cards from different classes.

Once the times had been tallied, the Corrado emerged on top, with the best indexed average. The editors praised the Corrado's handling, calling it "very sure, easy and communicative" and predicting that "this car will grow on its owners." The Integra was a surprise second in both raw and indexed times, thanks to its predictable handling. The 300ZX took third in the raw times, but indexing dropped this B Stock car to sixth in the track times.

Timed Runs:

Raw Ave
Indexed Time
VW Corrado 63.066 51.777 First
Acura Integra GS 63.649 52.065 Second
Toyota Celeca GT-S 64.001 52.353 Third
Suzuki Swift 64.423 52.698 Fourth
Mazda Miata 63.902 53.486 Fifth
Nissan 300ZX 63.814 53.540 Sixth
Eagle Talon TSi AWD 63.983 53.682 Seventh
Ford Thunderbird SC 65.161 54.931 Eighth

Suzuki Swift GT:

The $9,399 Suzuki Swift GT had a hard time competing against the group of world-class cars we had nominated as our Editor's Choice contestants, but it did a pretty good job--phenomenal considering it costs less than half the price of many cars on this year's list.

The Swift GT was characterized as a "fun car" with "a lot of bang for the buck." John Pentelei-Molnar recommended it as "the perfect car for Novice autocrossers."

The Suzuki was at its best on the autocross course. It was light, quick, and in the words of one editor, "an absolute ball to drive." Its only weaknesses were lack of ability to put power down, a poor second gear ratio and a cheap-looking interior (obviously necessitated by its rock-bottom price)

If your on a budget, you can't go wrong with the Suzuki Swift GT, described by one of our editors as "the Mini Cooper of the '90s."