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From Mazda 3 to Toyota HiLux: These five cars NEED performance versions | Opinion

Here are five cars that, while fine as they are, could benefit from a little 'more'.

Sports cars are becoming rarer in showrooms these days, but there are a few models which - we think - wouldn't be too hard to spice up.

In the same way the M3 made the regular 3 Series a legend, faster versions of these five cars might get people looking more lovingly at even the base models.

So, with some creative license and perhaps some rose-tinted glasses, here are a few cars I reckon could do with a bit more kick.

Nissan Juke

You may remember that the last Juke had a NISMO version, a divisive target of jokes from some, affection from others. But that was the old Juke.

Nissan's new-gen Juke is built on a new platform and not only does it feel better, it looks better (arguably) too.

The standard current version has a turbocharged 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine good for 84kW/180Nm, but a little more poke from that or a larger replacement engine could see the little SUV become quite a fun thing.


This one's frustrating, because it already exists - we just can't have it here in Australia.

In North America, a Mazda3 Turbo is available with a 2.5-litre turbo petrol four-cylinder engine that drives all four wheels with 186kW of power and 434Nm of torque.

Mazda Australia marketing boss Alastair Doak has previously told CarsGuide the brand wants to bring it here, but that was in July 2021.

“MPS isn’t going to come back any time soon… we’ve asked for (the Mazda3 Turbo), we would like it, we think it would be great for the range,” he said.

Toyota HiLux

It's already one of Australia's most popular cars, but it's Ford Ranger rival has a bit more edge thanks to the twin-turbo V6 Raptor.

Toyota's answer? None, but we have to wonder what Toyota could do if they set to designing an actual GR version of the HiLux and not a GR Sport.

Toyota has borrowed engines from other brands before… what would a BMW straight-six do for a ute like the HiLux? No, that's silly. Unless…?

Kia Stonic

After the Kia Cerato GT and models like the i20, i30, and Kona N from Hyundai, it's clear the South Korean collective of brands can put together something fun.

Neither of the brands’ smallest SUVs, Venue or Stonic, have fast versions, and we think it's Kia's turn to add another bit of ‘wow’ to the showroom to draw in enthusiasts.

Volvo XC60

Okay hear me out - remember the Polestar-tuned version of the Volvo S60? In its last iteration it had a turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine that made 270kW.

Sure, there was a six-pot version that was more powerful, but that wouldn't fly these days. Not for Volvo.

Slot that drivetrain into the CX60 and then we're cooking with gas. Or petrol, if you like. Yum?

Chris Thompson
Racing video games, car-spotting on road trips, and helping wash the family VL Calais Turbo as a kid were all early indicators that an interest in cars would stay present in...
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