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  1. #1
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    The fun small cars thread

    We have a thread for trucks, for wagons, even for minivans, but how about fun small cars. I was just sitting in a Veloster N. I'm eagerly awaiting the new BRZ/86. Boxsters, Caymans, and the M2 on the higher end. There is the new Supra and Z4. Even the Civic Type R and Elantra N might be fun.

    Who has a small, fun car that they like?




    I currently drive an old BMW 318ti that I once bought as basically a long term rental when we needed an extra car for a few months. By the time we no longer needed it, my son and I both loved it, so it stuck around and we eventually sold a newer car to accommodate it. I just love having a little, light, manual transmission, direct handling car that you can rev in normal circumstances. I like that it's actually really slow but feels fast, as you feel like you get to really drive it without putting your license in danger. There aren't a lot of like for like replacement options though as it's a RWD, stick shift, hatchback, with small but useable backseats. I'm on a quest to find its replacement before it randomly catches fire someday. I'm most curious about the new 86 but I have to see if I could jam my child in the backseat.

  2. #2
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    I'll play.

    We had this as our beach car for many years, a 1994 Mazda Miata M edition in "Merlot" that my Dad bought for my mom one day as a surprise. 5 speed manual and a total hoot to drive. The BBS wheels were a grippy addition out of the factory.

    Sold it in 2007 when another car took its place to some guy out of Maine with only 10k miles on it who was apparently a bit of a collector of M-Miatas; he was ecstatic.

    I still call it The Jake.

  3. #3
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    I hte late 90's - I had a 1983 Subaru GL with 300K+ miles, multiple holes in the floor boards with day light coming through, and no third gear.......used to bomb that thing across the mass pike in blizzards....best car (any size) ever.

    I only owned it for ~6 months and sold (or traded?) it to a deadhead kid what asked me if it would make it to Santa Cruz....

  4. #4
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    Most recent was a BRZ, it was far more competent than some of the smaller fun cars I've had. Those started with my fist car, an 81 200SX, which was in most respects very similar with a 2 liter motor, manual, rwd, ~2700# and they were both a pain the ass to put skis in. I had a 79 Fiesta Sport 4spd that was a hoot, so was the 81 Civic 5spd but for fwd the CRX I had for a few months was the most fun and the C30 was the most competent.

  5. #5
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    I had a 94 Miata for awhile and they are a hell of a lot of fun. Not nearly fast enough to get you into trouble. But everything that the driver interfaces with is great and on a nice tight twisty road they are hella fun.

    I've driven an 86 and if I could justify the cost I'd buy one. Great car for all the same reasons that the Miata is great.

  6. #6
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    This was pretty fun to drive for the past 3 years. Recently sold it though.

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    "We don't beat the reaper by living longer, we beat the reaper by living well and living fully." - Randy Pausch

  7. #7
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    We have had plenty of fun small cars over the years, but whenever I think about it, it makes me sad I sold this one.
    Not my photo, but the same car and color. God that car was fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  8. #8
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    Clean Cayman, and RAD Clownshoe!
    I still call it The Jake.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toadman View Post
    This was pretty fun to drive for the past 3 years. Recently sold it though.

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    PLUS IT'S A FUCKING HOVERCAR

  10. #10
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    Ya, that side shot is a clown shoe (never heard that before). But from the rear was pure sex appeal. Same wheels I had.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmillsSkier View Post
    I'll play.

    We had this as our beach car for many years, a 1994 Mazda Miata M edition in "Merlot" that my Dad bought for my mom one day as a surprise. 5 speed manual and a total hoot to drive. The BBS wheels were a grippy addition out of the factory.

    Sold it in 2007 when another car took its place to some guy out of Maine with only 10k miles on it who was apparently a bit of a collector of M-Miatas; he was ecstatic.
    Oh man, how could I forget the Miata. It's the poster child of the category. It's not for me though as I need a backseat of some kind. Outside of my short commute, the main thing I use the car for is taking rambling, exploratory drives with my son which he loves and calls "race car adventures". Miatas (and Caymans which have always been my favorite Porsche) are out until he can ride in the front seat.

  12. #12
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    Dec 2012
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    Another vote for Miata. I had a blast in that car. The only other car which was as much fun at the time was the OG MR2. Looked ugly, but with mid engine configuration the handling was sublime. In a sea of front drive cars, these two stood out for me.
    "timberridge is terminally vapid" -- a fortune cookie in Yueyang

  13. #13
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    Anybody else remember the little Civic Del Sol? Really a super fun little car. Especially in Si flavor with VTEC, yo. Not fast by today's standards or anything, but a hoot to rev the crap out of, great shifter with teeny tiny throws, and was fun to toss the roof into the trunk with that special holder it had. I don't remember the handling being anything too special (twas no Miata), but it was still really fun to run around town in.

    However, my FAVORITE small cars I'd driven overall back in the 90s was a '93 RX-7 and '91 MR2 turbo. Loved the Supra and 300ZX too, but those were bigger, heavier cars, so not quite in the spirit of this thread.

    Maybe I'm a wierdo these days, but I still vastly prefer "small" cars over bigger ones. Wouldn't mind snagging a Volvo C30 for my next cheap Euro jalopy.

  14. #14
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    I'm pretty stoked on the upcoming Integra. I always wanted one as a teenager but could never pull it off.
    Live Free or Die

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MontuckyFried View Post

    Maybe I'm a wierdo these days, but I still vastly prefer "small" cars over bigger ones. Wouldn't mind snagging a Volvo C30 for my next cheap Euro jalopy.
    Me too. I think the only time I like big cars is on the open road otherwise small is the ticket. The only thing about the C30 is it has a thoroughly useless and not upgradable infotainment system. Half of them don't even have Bluetooth. They are amazingly pleasant and surprisingly quick for such a small car though.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    Me too. I think the only time I like big cars is on the open road otherwise small is the ticket. The only thing about the C30 is it has a thoroughly useless and not upgradable infotainment system. Half of them don't even have Bluetooth. They are amazingly pleasant and surprisingly quick for such a small car though.
    RE: Infotainment. I'm used to it with my equally useless and not upgradable and also completely dead infotainment system in my XC70. Is par for the course with them unfortunately, but I'm fully aware. Not cool, Volvo. Not cool. But I'll manage in exchange for a fun little hatch with 3 pedals.

    And yeah. I love me a land yacht for the open highway. Loved my DeVille and definitely wouldn't mind a Continental or something for a road trip.

  17. #17
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    I've been lusting after a Cayman for months, someday. It's not Miata small, but I love my GTI. Turn in is great and it's still utilitarian.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MontuckyFried View Post
    Anybody else remember the little Civic Del Sol? Really a super fun little car. Especially in Si flavor with VTEC, yo. Not fast by today's standards or anything, but a hoot to rev the crap out of, great shifter with teeny tiny throws, and was fun to toss the roof into the trunk with that special holder it had. I don't remember the handling being anything too special (twas no Miata), but it was still really fun to run around town in.

    However, my FAVORITE small cars I'd driven overall back in the 90s was a '93 RX-7 and '91 MR2 turbo. Loved the Supra and 300ZX too, but those were bigger, heavier cars, so not quite in the spirit of this thread.

    Maybe I'm a wierdo these days, but I still vastly prefer "small" cars over bigger ones. Wouldn't mind snagging a Volvo C30 for my next cheap Euro jalopy.
    I am totally with you (hence this thread). We have a van if we need to carry a whole lot of stuff or people, but if not, I'd rather a vehicle that feels like a go cart.

    My brother's high school gf had a Del Sol. I remember pulling it out of snowy ditch on our hill once. I do think that the revvy-ness of small cars is something that I like. It just makes driving subjectively more fun. It's why I don't want a car with too much power as I want to be able to run up the revs and shift a few times at reasonable speeds.

  19. #19
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    I dig a lot of the JDM sports cars from the 70's and on. Celica GT, RX-3, First gen RX7, Bluebird SSS, etc. They seem like they'd be a blast to drive.

    At my first job the bosses kid who was a bit older than me had a Celica Supra, 84 or 85? It was sitting next to a shed rotting away. He said he'd sell it to me for $400.00 haha. I didn't have the money or skills to fix it, and even if I did I'd probably would've killed myself driving it then. There was also a retired couple who worked w/ us part time. They had a clean BMW 2002 I remember.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timberridge View Post
    The only other car which was as much fun at the time was the OG MR2
    A good friend had one of those. What a great car. We also tried to hang the nickname 'Mr Two' on him, but it didn't stick after he sold it.

  21. #21
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    Mazda RX-3

    Datsun Bluebird SSS

    Toyota Celica GT
    Last edited by O.C.; 10-28-2021 at 04:49 PM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    Me too. I think the only time I like big cars is on the open road otherwise small is the ticket.
    Over the years I have gravitated to bigger is better. I have big dogs to transport and big cars are often more comfortable on a long drive. But ya, around town we use the wife's 4 series mostly, as it is the smallest car we have.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by grabtindy View Post
    I've been lusting after a Cayman for months, someday. It's not Miata small, but I love my GTI. Turn in is great and it's still utilitarian.
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    Once I had done the research on the Cayman, I was pretty much sold. Flat six sound is awesome. Base model was just fine for having fun and staying out of trouble. Before I sold it, I took it for a nice road trip in Central Oregon. Had it up to 141 MPH, and it felt like I was only doing 85MPH. The reliability was a huge factor in buying it. I just wasn't driving it enough to justify keeping it in the garage. Someday though, I will look to buy another one in the 2014-2016 model years. I wish I had taken the time to go to the local track and really get the full experience on how capable that car is in the corners.
    "We don't beat the reaper by living longer, we beat the reaper by living well and living fully." - Randy Pausch

  24. #24
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    This was my DD for awhile, 2001 9-3 w/ B205R HOT and 5MT. Dollars to fun ratio was ridiculous, so was the torque steer. I had to get rid of it before my son got his hands on it.

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by grabtindy View Post
    I've been lusting after a Cayman for months, someday. It's not Miata small, but I love my GTI. Turn in is great and it's still utilitarian.
    The GTI is another one I've thought about and would make a lot of sense. How do you feel the handling is with the FWD? I've had small hatchbacks before (a Honda Fit which did love), but they weren't performance oriented so I don't really have a sense of how FWD cars set up for performance handle.

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