Can A Bad Handling Car Be A Good Driver's Car?

I love sports cars, but the car I most love driving is a complete shitbox.

I am, of course, speaking about my 1973 Baja Bug, a car that understeers harder than the most understeery Understeermobile ever produced by Understeer Motor Company, a division of Hiram T. Understeersworth Automobile Works, part owned by Heavy Understeer Industries. My Bug is a treat to drive both on dry roads (where you get to battle with push from the moment you enter a corner) to dirt roads (where you still battle understeer, only within inches of trees and rocks) to snow-covered parking lots (where you're never sure when crippling understeer is about to snap into spinning oversteer).

The fun part is that I can play with the car's limits at thirty miles an hour, which would be a reasonably safe speed if I weren't driving a car with a gas tank for a crumple zone.

In any case, there's some debate at the moment about whether or not a good handling car and a good driver's car are the same thing. Rather, the specific question is why a supposedly difficult car to drive might place below one that is easy to drive in a list of the best driver's car on the market today.

I recommend you read this article to get your head in the right place for the following question:

Can a bad handling car be a good driver's car?

Perhaps the problem is that the two terms are so vague, but it's an interesting question nonetheless and relevant for the business of reviewing cars. All of your stories of squealing tires in old Kias and falling asleep at the wheel of a Nissan Z-Car are very welcome.

Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove