Those magazines said the merkur was a great car too.. also earned coty from either motor trend or car and driver.. cant remember.
I owned/built and tracked one for 7 years... it was not what they cracked it up to be, in any aspect. It was what they said it was after I dumped $15K into it.. but that's a story for another day.
Bottom line, magazine articles aren't worth the paper they're printed on.
I've driven numerous z24 package cavaliers. I know exactly how they handle (all were different shades of terrible) and I'd not give one to my worst enemy. To each their own, but you CANNOT compare that car to the car of topic here. Not in the way you're attempting to anyway.
Now remember I used to be hard core euro ford guy... the sierra mk1/merkur platform started out as the "probe" concept. So naturally I was curious about the car they released as the "probe" and I've driven one of each generation.. again there's no comparison to a true f/r platform sports car. Apples and oranges.
The only cars you can compare this to would be the miata, S2k, genesis or possibly the 350z. That's it. With exception to the z they're light, rwd and front engined with mild hp numbers and all roughly within the same price range.
Until you can make a direct comparison to a car in the same class you need to just stop posting in this thread. You've made your opinion known and you've given us nothing constructive so go away so the rest of us can talk about the car without your blabber.
Not only that but the damned thing hasn't even been released yet. We cant start slamming a car that hasn't gotten a chance to put tire to pavement in a post production environment.