Work isn’t always a joy, but that doesn’t mean your commute has to suffer as well. Actually, that means you should be trying to make your daily commute more fun. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a fun vehicle in nearly every class. Our six featured vehicles below have you covered, and are sure to put a smile on your face after the hardest Monday.
A Lamborghini Aventador looks like fun, but fun doesn’t have to mean extravagant or impractical. The Ford Fiesta proves it, with an award-winning driving experience in an affordable and practical package. The 1.6L four-cylinder engine is approved by your mom, but with a curb weight of just 2,300 lbs. (a thousand pounds lighter than a Corvette!), the Fiesta drives like a much more powerful car. Acceleration is enough to be fun, and the handling is best in class. The sporty ST trim level debuted in 2014 and won 22 awards that year, including Top Gear‘s coveted Car of the Year. All that, plus four seats, cheap insurance, and up to 37 MPG highway. Read the reviews, this small car is big fun.
The sporty WRX is built from the more humble Impreza, but with the volume turned way up. The recipe is all-wheel drive, a turbo, and three of your pals going down dirt roads or doing donuts in a snowy parking lot. The direct injected 2.0L flat four-cylinder is good for 268 horsepower, driving all four wheels for traction in wet, icy, or muddy conditions. Need more power? Look to the fire breathing STI model, with higher boost pressure and a larger 2.5L flat four, it generates an impressive 320 horsepower. Car & Driver beat down the competition in the STI, outperforming pretty much everything below $30,000. It’s not all engine though, as the STI gets chassis and suspension upgrades, plus those fender flares look awesome too. Just remember to swap out the all-season tires for winter driving, and you’ll be able to go anywhere, very quickly.
The Miata has been the most affordable way to get yourself into a convertible roadster for nearly 30 years. An enthusiast favorite, the little roadster is also claimed to be the “most raced car in the world” by Mazda. The best deals are found in the third generation NC chassis, where the 2.0L inline four-cylinder generates 170 horsepower. The 2016+ ND chassis is also a solid car, but the newer car loses some ponies in the name of efficiency. The looks changed too, but either one comes with a choice of transmissions that MotorTrend called “perfect,” and incredible steering feel. Plus, put the top down on nice days and enjoy a driving experience like few others. It will turn a bad day into a great moment, if only for as long as you drive. For open-air driving, the answer is always Miata.
The Juke looks like it was designed by an eight-year old on a sugar high, but it’s not just skin deep. The massive wheel arches, coupe styling, and bug-eye headlights highlight a fun and thoughtful design that translates to the driver. The 1.6L four-cylinder makes 188 horsepower when matched with a CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission), which is decent for the tiny compact SUV class. There’s a NISMO trim available, adding 10 horsepower and a slick six-speed manual. The RS bumps it again, to 215 horsepower. While the driving experience is pretty fun, part of the value comes through the multiple options Nissan offers to make this SUV your own, with interior and exterior styling packages galore. It’s also a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS. Alright, that last one doesn’t make it fun, but if you need an affordable SUV for young people hauling, it’s good to know you can still have a good time behind the wheel too.
This Toyota/Subaru co-developed coupe is jokingly called Toyobaru, and like the name, the car is a fun mesh of two larger entities. Toyota developed the lightweight rear wheel drive chassis, and Subaru built the 2.0L flat four-cylinder engine, and combined it creates a flyweight sports car with an incredibly low center of gravity. Throw a Lexus transmission in the mix, and you have a high quality, reliable, and precise car for tearing up twisty back roads. The electric steering is an engineering feat, as it provides feedback and heft reminiscent of a Porsche 911 GT3. That’s quite a compliment when this very affordable car is compared to a $130,000 super car. Keep your foot out of it and you’ll be rewarded with a real world 34 MPG. That’s the great thing about a moderate class sports car; it brings the fun back to everyday driving.
Remember being five years old? Playing outside in the dirt and mud with mini construction equipment and trucks. The Jeep Wrangler is just like that, minus the fake engine noises you used to make. The 3.6L Pentastar V6 has won numerous awards, as it powers everything from the Chrysler 300 to minivans. Here, it makes an impressive 285 horsepower, giving the Wrangler serious grunt to get through mud and over rocky terrain. There’s a little over eight inches of ground clearance, and a full 10 inches if you spring for the Rubicon trim. There’s a skidplate to protect the engine, because the designers knew you were going to try and go over that fallen tree. If you need some practicality with your fun, look into the Unlimited model with two additional doors. Now it’s as practical as a Camry, right? Plus there’s the argument that the Wrangler just doesn’t depreciate, so you won’t lose much selling it years from now.
Forget the V6 muscle cars. You want big, loud, and dumb, and we don’t mean that negatively here. The original muscle cars used carburetors as complex as a turkey baster, and had suspensions borrowed from John Deere. The Dodge Challenger is not a lesson on finesse; it’s a classic American muscle car built in modern times that somehow escaped notice of the EPA. With a car this big, you’ll want at least the R/T trim and it’s cool-factor 5.7L Hemi V8. With an ability to churn out 375 horsepower, the Challenger will get you moving in a hurry, and the gas mileage…let’s just say it’ll put a smile on your face at the next gas station. The Challenger is probably one of the best road trip cars for sale anywhere, with acres of interior room for front seat passengers, a forgiving highway ride that soaks up crumbling infrastructure, and Dodge’s solid uConnect infotainment system. And there’s no denying the sheer presence of this retro-looking cruiser. It’s got swagger. Driving a Challenger will let you know what it feels like to be The Rock.