We all spend hours dissecting the great sports cars, sport sedans, supercars and hypercars that are out there hooning about and causing trouble.
While we do also give plenty of attention to the unique, interesting and historic cars that weren't explicitly built to kick ass, I think it's safe to say that ass kicking is definitely our preference.
But let's face it: Not all of us have the means to buy a performance car, or circumstances in our lives demand that we own something a bit more practical. Luckily, there are tons of cars out there that are great, even if they weren't designed for the track.
Which brings me to my question this weekend: What's your favorite non-performance car?
If I had to pick a personal favorite, I'd say the old Mercedes-Benz diesel sedans and wagons from the 1970s and 1980s. They're not very fast, but the way they can last forever always astounds me. I just ran into a colleague at my old job who has one with something like 240,000 miles on it, and it's still going strong. In a world where cars are treated like disposable appliances by most people, that kind of longevity is amazing.
Another example: I can't call it my favorite because it's too boring, but I really do like the Mazda5 mini-minivan. My then-girlfriend, now-fiancee got into a wreck a couple summers ago and that was the rental she ended up with while her car was being fixed. I laughed at the prospect of driving a minivan at first, but I came to really enjoy the Mazda5.
It handled well enough, had a decent engine, and even had one of the better automatic transmissions I've sampled in a while. (A manual version is also available, because Mazda.) We used it on our trip to the Texas Gulf Coast that summer, packing it full of friends and food and booze with room to spare. I couldn't have asked for a better beach trip car. Except maybe a rear-wheel-drive Mazda5 with the engine from the Mazdaspeed3. That would have been better.