Jalopnik March Madness Beat-Off: Round 1

Put down your lottery tickets, because it's time to vote for the best beater you can afford to crash into a tree and forget about!

Read the intro right here and vote below. You have a full day to vote, when we'll give you another 16 pairings to vote on.

We start off with perhaps the most unloved Z car of all versus Toyota's midengine marvel. On the one hand, you get a straight six and T-Tops, on the other you get one of the finest affordable sports cars of all time. I'm not sounding biased, am I?

Next up is the sporty two-door from Honda that wasn't an Acura Integra going up against the car that launched a thousand fake Lamborghinis. The real question, I suppose, is if you're confident enough to stand up to a million Fauxarri jokes or not.

Not to sound even more biased than before, but here you have the choice between a car you get to work on and a car you get to drive. Well, that's not quite true, because if you talk to any 240SX drift kid they'll tell you about all the things that break on their Nissan and if you talk to any Alfa owner they'll swear up and down their car is completely reliable.

Here we have one of the still greatest performance buys on the market versus a British sports car reviled in its day and for decades since. Vote for the TR7. You know you want to.

This time it's a perfect road trip, backpacking, adventure wagon up against one of the more bizarre and oddly captivating commuter cars of the past few decades. Do you like your engines flat, or absurdly small?

In one corner, there's the Jetta, the Universal First Car. It's good, but you don't mind wrecking it. In the other corner is the Plymouth Sundance. It has, as far as I can tell, zero redeeming qualities. But maybe that shittiness is what makes it perfect beater material.

It's hard to find two more forgettable '90s econoboxes than the Eagle Summit versus the Kia Pride, but here we are. Wait, I mean Mazda 121 versus the Plymouth Colt. Wait, I mean the Ford Festiva versus the Mitsubishi Mirage.

Did you know the Kia Sephia (that's pronounced se-PHIA) was based on the Mazda 323? That's interesting, right? Ok, with that out of the way, feel free to vote for the Plymouth/Chrysler/Dodge Neon that's probably winning some autocross event as I type this.

The Alfa Romeo Milano might look like it was styled by a drunk axe murderer, but you know what? I like that. And I like that it's basically a four-door GTV6, which is one of the sweetest sounding, sweetest handling cars on the road. Contrast that to the impeccably gorgeous Infiniti J30, another rear-drive wonder from Japan's glory years. Alright, so maybe it's a jellybean with some leather in it, but I like it.

Volvo fans, it is time to fight to the death. Whoever loses is gets a viking funeral.

The Acura Legend is one of those luxury cars that defines itself by its construction. These things are amazingly well-built, and will outlive us all when the great wind of the apocalypse blows us into space. The Buick Reatta is pretty much the polar opposite. It's not amazingly well-built vehicle, but it's packed with contemporary tech like a goddamn touch screen! You need one in your life.

Here's another luxury on the outside versus luxury on the inside battle. The Audi 5000 might be the sweet spot between the BMWs and Mercedes of its era, but the W123 is a cockroach. Those I5 diesels will never die.

An AWD Honda Civic vs. the ZJ Jeep Grand Cherokee. Both are tough and put power to all four wheels. My money's on the Jeep here though.

A pre-Tacoma 'Yota Pickup is exactly what you want out of a small truck — it's not what you'd call flashy, but it's somewhat economical, it's dead reliable, and you can lift it if you want. On the other hand, it's hard to argue with a pseudo-Suzuki convertible offroad toy. It's impossible to hate a Geo Tracker.

We got the four-door version of the Tracker as the Suzuki Sidekick, and these things can be absurdly capable offroad with the right modifications. Old Imprezas, though, are still desirable and still dirt cheap if you know where to look. A busted suspension grandma's car is your ticket to rallycross wins.

It's hard to say if the Ramcharger is in any way better than a Ranger. It's harder to find, it's harder to fuel, it's harder to justify. But there's something so right about jumping a Ramcharger into the air that a Ranger will never have. At least that's how I see it.