Best pound-for-pound cars of 2013

We set out to find the Sugar Ray Robinson of cars--the best in Canada, pound for pound. We're ready to crown a champion.

"Pound for pound" is a term boxing enthusiasts use to compare the merit of fighters who, because they belong to different weight classes, would never square off in the ring. It's a mental trick well suited to the judging the relative merits of automobiles.

Sugar Ray Robinson (right), whose fighting trim was less than 150 lbs (think of him as you would this car), could never have defeated the heavyweights of his era or ours, but many regard him as history's greatest fighter, pound for pound. Greater than Mike Tyson (230 lbs). Greater than Lennox Lewis (251 lbs). Greater even than the great Muhammad Ali (210 lbs).

We set out to find the best car in Canada, pound for pound. We prorated Consumer Reports rating against cost for Canada's most popular cars, assigning each a score between 0 and 5.

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra GLS, for example, received above-average scores for quality and safety (80/100), and comes with a sticker price of $21,149. That adds up to a good score--each $1000 you spend on an Elantra GLS buys you 3.78 overall rating points (PfP 3.78). That's considerably better than Hyundai's Tucson GLS, which wins 10 fewer points (70) for $5700 more (PfP 2.60)--but not nearly as good as one of our higher-testing models, Mazda's Mazda3 Sport GX, which 'buys' 77 rating points for only $18,195 (PfP 4.23).



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