Slow cars driven fast are always more fun than fast cars driven slow. Squealing tires, engines bouncing off limiters, dabs of oppo and elbows flying everywhere — it's better when the car's really working at it. Here are Jalopnik readers' ten best slow cars to drive fast.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our Jalopnik summer 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!
Photo Credit:Mike Tseng, flickr
10.) Volkswagen Rabbit
Suggested By: The big cone
Why It's Fun: In 1974, Volkswagen introduced America to the Rabbit. At the very beginning, it was the definition of a slow car: the base engine was a 70 horsepower, 1.5-liter mill. It would take a couple of years for the GTi to arrive, but when it did, it changed the way we think about hatchbacks. Today, the Volkswagen (by this point) Golf GTi is a slow car, but still a lot of fun to drive fast.
Photo credit: prorallypix, flickr
9.) BMW 2002
Suggested By: ClayW
Why It's Fun: Before the 3-Series, there was the 2002. It came with a two-liter inline four and turned out 108 horsepower in mid-level 2002ti trim. It came in a number of other configurations; the 2002tii and turbo models each produced much more power, but if you're looking for a slow car to drive quickly that you can actually afford, the 2002ti is the way to go.
Photo credit: owash, flickr
8.) Honda CR-X Si
Suggested By: teampenske3
Why It's Fun: The CR-X Si also makes just 108 horsepower, but like the previous BMW, it is a light car. That's the key to today's list. These cars may have tiny little engines, making tiny little amounts of power, but because of their size, they're so much fun to drive. The CR-X made 108 horsepower off the lot (who knows how many of those ponies have escaped since then), and in stock form. Now, who knows. Many of them fell victim to tuners, and many of the otherwise clean survivors have succumbed to the rust monster.
Photo credit: dickson@flickr, flickr
7.) Toyota MR2
Suggested By: Kiwi_Commander
Why It's Fun: The first MR2's lines look like an origami cheese grater, and its small engine turned out 112 horsepower in 1984, when the car was introduced. That didn't matter though, because in a car that weighed only 2,350 pounds, those 112 horses did a heck of a job making it feel like a much faster car than it actually was. The reputation it built would make Toyota bring two more generations of MR2 to our shores, before pulling the plug in 2005.
Photo credit: kenjonbro
6.) Mercury Grand Marquis
Suggested By: alan505
Why It's Fun: Departing briefly from our "small car, smaller engine" theme, I'd like to present the Mercury Grand Marquis. The fun part about driving the normally lumbering Marquis fast is that it is wholly unsuited to it. The steering is, especially on the older ones, non-communicative at best. Commenter alan505 describes a dead zone between nine and three o'clock when trying to turn. That makes things exciting. If you want a slow car that's a handful at speed, the Marquis is your best bet.
Photo credit: The Falafel, flickr
5.) Volvo 240 Wagon
Suggested By: Desu-San-Desu
Why It's Fun: The 240 wagon was another car never intended to move rapidly. Sure, folks have done all sorts of things under the hood and around the wheels to make their bricks faster, but in the spirit of slow cars fast, here's Desu-San-Desu's own description of 240 shenanigans: "You haven't lived until you've gotten one of these sideways, steering by looking out the side windows as you listen to the rev limiter have an epileptic seizure and the only thing you can smell is tire smoke as your mind reels at the insanity of it all... At 14mph."
Photo credit: jcarwil, flickr
4.) MG MGB
Suggested By: Crossdrilled
Why It's Fun: The whole legend of the MGB is built on going faster than you probably should in a rickety British sports car. Before the smog regulations took effect and strangled the US-spec engines, they put out (on a good day) 95 horsepower. That never really mattered though- the point of the MGB is to have a good time while driving. And then, to have a good time while repairing the car on the side of the road.
Photo credit: W Hannabuss, flickr
3.) Dodge Neon
Suggested By: snapoversteer
Why It's Fun: The Neon is only derided by those who don't know. A first-generation Neon with the ACR package was a highly capable SCCA Autocross or road racing (or rally) competitor. And on the road, its more pedestrian versions weren't bad either, with 132 or 150 horsepower engines available. It may have looked overly cute and giddy from the front, but it was a focused competitor on the track.
Photo credit: poqua, flickr
Suggested By: Gamecat235
Why It's Fun: Whether it's an S or a regular one, the original Mini isn't particularly quick (by today's standards) but is definitely a hoot to drive. For a car that weighs at most 1,512 pounds, the weight-to-fun ration is off the charts. Of course, the engines are small, but so is the car. Momentum is your friend in the Mini, and if you can get a rear wheel off the ground in the corners, you're doing something right.
Photo credit: Shaun Tarlton, flickr
1.) Mazda Miata
Suggested By: snapoversteer
Why It's Fun: Even when it's not on the list, the Miata is always an acceptable answer. None more so than today though. The Miata is the poster child for hustling slow cars quickly around their faster opponents, or for having more fun than you really should behind the wheel of something with only 115 horsepower. The original Miata weighs just 2,100 pounds — you and a few friends could probably pick it up and move it by hand, but that light weight makes it that much better. There's a reason we all love it: it really is that good.
Photo credit: kenjonbro, flickr