Photo: Jametiks via flickr
For a long time, we have believed that there is a large discrepancy between what dad wants to drive and what dad actually does drive.The real proof came in TrueCar’s list of the top cars preferred by Dads. It was littered with Hondas and Toyotas, but nothing that can really get that adrenaline going.
There were even a bunch of minivans on the list. Minivans!
Well, we aren’t going to take it anymore. While we understand that there is a need for a practical car, there is no need to trade in performance and fun as well.
Thankfully, the automakers have a number of cars out right now that can satiate the enthusiast inside all of the dads out there without giving up on practicality.
Starting Price: $13,200
Why: The Fiesta is Ford's most economical car. But it is also one of the most fun to drive.
The compliant chassis and low power makes this a fun car to run around in. You can drive it like you stole it all day long and won't break any laws.
Driving a low powered car at the limit provides way more of a thrill than driving a fast car slowly.
Starting Price: $22,405
Why: The Civic Si, which we recently reviewed, has been an icon for ages.
We had our qualms with this car. The interior, for example, is a bit low rent for the amount you are paying.
However, it's fun to drive, VTEC is addictive, it's very safe, and the interior is actually the least toxic of any new car on the market.
That has to count for something.
Starting Price: $23,995 (GTI), $36,090 (R)
Why: Unlike the Civic Si, the Volkswagen Golf has been lauded for the high quality of the interior.
And with the GTI and R, there is performance to match the high quality. The 200 horsepower, front wheel drive, GTI is one of the most emulated cars of the last 50 years. And to this day, nobody has been able to match the magic recipe.
The 256 horsepower, all wheel drive, R is the top of the line Golf offered. Compared to a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution or Subaru WRX STI, the R is the sedate choice for the driver that wants to fly under the radar.
Both are supremely safe and they have the added benefit of hatchback utility. That's always a plus when lugging a stroller around.
Starting Price: $24,000
Why: The Mazdaspeed3 may be the wild-child of our list.
Front wheel drive cars tend to become nearly uncontrollable during acceleration if they have more than 200 horsepower. With that in mind, Mazda gave this model 263 horsepower.
And amazingly, it handles that power with aplomb.
Plus, the big grin on the front end is sure to make any child smile, even if it makes some adults cringe.
Starting Price: $25,595 (WRX), $34,095 (WRX STI)
Why: We'll say it now: The WRX is not an attractive car.
But looks don't matter so much when there is 265 horsepower on tap. And the STI ups the ante with 300 horsepower available.
These cars are nearly bulletproof in terms of reliability, can be made even faster fairly quickly and cheaply, and have an excellent all wheel drive system for safety and stability in all weather conditions.
Take the kids to a rally and then let them watch you compete.
Starting Price: $35,290
Why: Like the Subaru WRX, the Lancer Evolution is a rally legend. All wheel drive and 291 horsepower combine to make a road rocket that is hard to get off the straight and narrow.
Unlike the WRX, we love the styling of the Evo. It almost looks like an angry robot.
The car is also loaded with tech to change performance parameters depending on weather conditions.
And with a high safety rating, you can be comfortable having a kid in the back.
Starting Price: $42,400
Why: The all new 335i has divisive looks, but like any BMW is built for enthusiasts.
And since there is no current M3, the turbocharged 335i is the top performance 3-Series. An inexpensive upgrade to the ECU can net gains of around 100 horsepower, bringing the total very close to 400.
That makes the 335i an M3 killer for way less money. And with room for five and an impeccable safety record, it's a great car for a family too.
Starting Price: $42,950
Why: The word Volvo is actually a synonym for 'safety.'
But the unique Swedish brand also has its own take on performance. In the 90s and early 2000s, Volvo made boxy wagons with big power.
Now the designs have gotten sleeker, but the power has gone up too. With 325 horsepower and all wheel drive, the S60 may be one of the safest speed demons on the road.
Starting Price: $58,930
Why: The C63 is a tire smoking, uncouth, wild car.
With just under 500 horsepower in a car the size of a BMW 3-Series, it can be a little rough around the edges. But boy does it look like a lot of fun.
This just may be the perfect car for an impromptu drifting session...after you drop the kids off at school.
Starting Price: $64,515
Why: 556 horsepower in a station wagon. That's why.
The CTS-V Wagon is actually a made to order car; you will not find these sitting on dealer lots.
Put the kids in the back seat and then throw some tools and sticky tires in the trunk. This is a family hauler and a race car in one convenient package.
In fact, the V Wagon may be the perfect car.
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