What’s The Least Powerful Car You’ve Ever Owned?

Illustration for article titled What’s The Least Powerful Car You’ve Ever Owned?
Photo: Volkswagen

At one point or another in our motoring lives, most of us have heard of how wonderful it is to drive a slow car fast. Of how much fun it is go WOT in some infamously slow car. The reason that idea refuses to die is quite simply that it’s true. It is fun to drive a slow car fast.

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So today I want to ask: What is the least powerful car that you have ever had the pleasure of owning?

You may be surprised to know that in my case, it’s not actually my current 318ti owning that distinction. No, that honor goes to another German compact — a sedan, in this case — which I became smitten with years ago: my ’04 VW Jetta TDI. It was a very basic VW with boring wheels, but it was a stick shift!

That diesel Jetta made all of 100 horsepower, and it was probably my best friend in college. It never once complained. It never once broke down. Never left me stranded. And it was definitely never in a hurry to get anywhere. I know because I would wring the hell out of its 1.9-liter turbocharged I-4 quite often.

(Yes, in the case of the Jetta TDI, I am the previous owner the forums warned you about.)

And I’m a little hesitant to call it underpowered outright, because I’m not really convinced that it was underpowered at all. It wasn’t a fast car, not by any stretch of the imagination. I’m sure any minivan around back then could’ve handily won any traffic light drag race I’d have been foolish enough to start, but I think if anything, that just means we’ve had sleeper minivans for longer than we admit.

Of course, numbers don’t lie and I agree that 100 HP is not very much. Still, the little diesel Jetta had a good amount of torque (177 lb-ft of it) and was just a blast to rev! It was just as fun to idle, too, because I loved listening to its little mill purr. I would slow to a stop at red lights alongside 18-wheelers, smile and say, “Twinsies!

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Yeah. It’s safe to say I loved owning that Jetta, even if it was my least powerful car. But how about you? What’s the least powerful car you’ve ever owned?

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. Periodista automotriz, Naturally Aspirated Stan.

DISCUSSION

miss-tina
tina belcher, burner id lost to history

1983 Escort, 88 hp. Fortunately it was a manual so you could keep it in second for something resembling acceleration, but it was definitely a journey getting to highway speed.