The Cheapest Horsepower You Can Buy Today

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Everyone is talking about the Scion FR-S like it doesn't offer enough power for the money. Here are ten new cars that may make you rethink that judgement.

This is a list of cars that charge you the least for each horsepower they provide. You'll see these cars judged by US dollar/hp, and the lower the number, the better. For instance the Scion FR-S starts at $24,700 and offers 200 horsepower, so that makes it $123/hp.


This top ten isn't an absolutely comprehensive list, but it gives you a sense of the market.

What you do notice as you go through all the cars is that the cost of horsepower isn't really a good metric for measuring performance car bargains. Cars that you might think as offering a good amount of speed for their price don't even factor in this list.


So consider this as a bit of a thought experiment, and see if complaining about a lack of power for your money is really what you should be griping about.

10.) C7 Corvette


$/HP: 111

Cost: $51,000

Power: 460

Nothing else on the market offers as much power for the price as the 2014 Corvette, right? Well, you'll be surprised by the car that just barely beats in how much you pay per horsepower.


Suggested By: Neon - Smart Stig, Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove

9.) Nissan Versa


$/HP: 110

Cost: $11,990

Power: 109

Ye, the Corvette's horsepower is just a smidgen more expensive than the horsepower offered by the lowly Nissan Versa. Things will only get weirder from here on out.


Suggested By: DeeVeeOus, Photo Credit: Nissan

8.) Mazda Mazdaspeed3


$/HP: 92

Cost: $24,200

Power: 263

Of all the hot hatchbacks on sale today, you get the most power for your dollar out of the torque-steer-your-arms-off Mazda. A Fiesta ST is $109/HP and a Focus ST is $94/HP, if you're curious.


Suggested By: Nerd-Vol, Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove

7.) Shelby GT500


$/HP: 82

Cost: $54,200

Power: 662

I have driven the GT500, and I can tell you from experience it is the an irresponsible amount of power not only for its price, but for the street at any price. That doesn't mean it's the cheapest power per dollar of the Mustang family.


Suggested By: TheCrudMan, Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove

6.) Mustang V6


$/HP: 74

Cost: $22,510

Power: 305

That honor goes to the lowly V6 Mustang. If you're wondering, this is about $15 per horespower cheaper than the Nissan 370Z and almost exactly $10 per horsepower cheaper than the Hyundai Genesis V6 R-Spec. A Mustang GT? A mere 50 cents more per hp.


Suggested By: offroadkarter, Photo Credit: Ford

5.) V6 Camaro


$/HP: 73

Cost: $23,555

Power: 323

Everyone was sure that the V6 Mustang would win this game, but it's the V6 Camaro that offers an ever-so-slightly better horsepower deal. That's not to say it offers more performance, since both these cars are beaten by a Mopar...


Suggested By: vroompshhh, Photo Credit: Chevrolet

4.) Dodge Caravan V6 American Value Package


$/HP: 71

Cost: $19,995

Power: 283

...minivan. Yes, get a V6 Caravan at its cheapest (almost certainly not pictured above) and you're getting more horsepower per dollar than any new sports car, supercar, muscle car or pony car on the market today.


Suggested By: thisistheemailiuseforcommenting, Photo Credit: Dodge

3.) Dodge Avenger V6


$/HP: 67

Cost: $18,840

Power: 283

All hail the Pentastar. There's actually a lot of debate going on about how cheap the Avenger SE with the V6 and six-speed auto combo is. The MSRP is just over $20 grand, I priced the car out into the mid nineteen thousand range, but reader ColoradoFX4 got it down to just $18,840 on the Dodge website (proof is right here).


This is the last year of this turd being on the market, so there is absolutely no doubt in my mind you could get one of these things for even less. The question is would you want to?


Suggested By: ColoradoFX4, Photo Credit: Dodge

2.) Tata Nano


$/HP: 61

Cost: Rs. 141,200/$2,278USD

Power: 37.4

If you happen to order yourself the cheapest Nano on sale, you can get the price below 1.5 lakh, though most are going for 2.36 lakh these days. The Nano is indeed the king of the low power/low cost game. That being said, it's the Land of the Free that beats it with big power, low price.


Suggested By: willkinton247, Photo Credit: Debarshi Ray

1.) Ram 1500 Tradesman with the 5.7 V8


$/HP: 57

Cost: $22,440

Power: 395

The clear winner in the cheapest horsepower on the new car market is base pickup trucks, and the hemi Ram with a six-speed auto is the cheapest of them all. Next time your friends whine that the FR-S doesn't offer enough power for the price, tell them to get one of these if they're looking for a performance deal. That should piss 'em off.


Suggested By: OldMarriedDull and Prius_Repellent, Photo Credit: Dodge

All that being said, there is an effective way to measure the cost of performance, and that's when you factor weight into the equation. Check out this list of cars as measured by dollar-kips/horsepower and you might find your best way of looking at performance bargains on sale.


But dollar per horsepower sure ain't the way to do it. Feel free to post your favorite performance car with the worst dollar/hp ratio below, just to hammer the point home.


Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!

Top Photo Credit: Dodge