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John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/27/21 2:16 p.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

Guilty as charged on the 128i recommendation. It does not perfectly fit the target of slow/fast, but...

I went looking for fun manual trans cars in Indianapolis. I found a couple that hit the target and others that only came near the target. I then found the 128i. Yes, it does not fit the target and it's an automatic but I still recommended it because it is probably a fun commuter (and they have caught my attention lately.) 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
5/27/21 3:20 p.m.

Another vote for the Mazda2. I loved the one I drove. And they do feel slow. Protege5 and Zx-2 also are loads of fun. The Protege5 makes a better daily. I had no idea what the Zx2 was and was blown away by the chassis.

I will add that my Festiva nails this criteria to a T. Slow, so fun, and a good daily because it knocks down 40+ MPGs. Tough to find and old these days, but it’s basically the old version of a 2.

 

Aaron_King
Aaron_King PowerDork
5/27/21 3:45 p.m.

Got to sit in one of these a week ago, I really want one now.

 

02Pilot
02Pilot UltraDork
5/27/21 4:08 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

As a commuter or general daily driver, they're great. Not a fan of the automatic, but that's no surprise, and if you can live with it you dramatically widen your potential options. With the stock non-sport suspension and all-seasons, it's probably more fun more often than mine with a lowered 1M/Koni/Eibach suspension and stickier tires.

dxman92
dxman92 Dork
5/27/21 6:23 p.m.

Honda Fit gets my vote. I'm on my second right now. Good gearbox, decent room and handling and 35-40 mpg. I use mine like a pickup truck also.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
5/28/21 8:15 a.m.
stan said:

Interesting. I do like driving my Ranger though, so maybe a (slightly) dropped 5-speed mini-truck would do. (The Ranger is 4X4).

I had a 2.3 / 5 speed Ranger that handled like a pig, but it was surprisingly somewhat amusing to drive. You had to hold your foot to the floor and often shift it up or down to keep up with highway traffic, and could feel like you were being a complete maniac without speeding.

The old Ninja 250 is a great example of this attitude applied to sport bikes. With a 14,000 RPM redline and about as much power as a decent riding lawnmower, you could feel like Valentino Rossi just going about a commute.

cfvwtuner
cfvwtuner New Reader
5/28/21 11:03 a.m.

I loved our old 2000's Focus. We had 4 of them. In new England, too rusty now.

My wife has a 2016 Focus SE Sport.  Great car. Quick enough, always mid 30's for mileage, handles quite well

I had a 2012 Fiesta Hatch, absolutely hated it till the day it got hit and totaled. Slow, doesnt handle well (and the Ford Motorsport handling pack made it harsh, bumpy and still not handle it well), Small, I couldnt really fit between the steering weel and door opening getting in the damn thing.

 

grpb
grpb Reader
5/28/21 12:00 p.m.
MadScientistMatt said:
stan said:

Interesting. I do like driving my Ranger though, so maybe a (slightly) dropped 5-speed mini-truck would do. (The Ranger is 4X4).

I had a 2.3 / 5 speed Ranger that handled like a pig, but it was surprisingly somewhat amusing to drive. You had to hold your foot to the floor and often shift it up or down to keep up with highway traffic, and could feel like you were being a complete maniac without speeding.

The old Ninja 250 is a great example of this attitude applied to sport bikes. With a 14,000 RPM redline and about as much power as a decent riding lawnmower, you could feel like Valentino Rossi just going about a commute.

My 2.3/5 speed regular cab ranger is super fun and as practical as any 'beater' truck, I think the handling is great except for the very low steering ratio which is on the to-do list.  Lowering springs in the front with hobby stock Mustang II PRO shocks, 8.8 explorer underslung rear with 7/5 PRO sportsman shocks, mounted outboard of the frame rails.  I will probably do 3/5 rear shocks when these wear/rust out, the 7/5 was the only valving available at the time and I needed it to be on the road. Other than the overdamped compression in the rear it's great.  It rotates nicely with trail braking, understeers slightly otherwise and very predictable.  Super fun in the rain and snow.  And it's used as a 'real' pickup at least once a week.  It's rusty and the bed is all scratched up, but those things don't detract from either the fun or usefulness factors.

fusion66
fusion66 Reader
5/28/21 12:10 p.m.

Base 2011+ Fiesta or Mazda 2. They are not fast, but they can handle well with a good compromise (street/autox/track)  Bilstien B14 kit from Rock Auto for about $700.  Is it as fun as my NC Miata...nope, but it is also half the cost and it is a more pleasant daily driver. It has 3 hours of track time on it and it doesn't seem to even notice when you are wringing it out for all it is worth. A little under 2 minute laps at Gingerman Raceway isn't going to win any races but its fast enough to equal lots of fun. Biggest complaint would be the driver seat comfort. 

 

rustybugkiller
rustybugkiller Dork
5/28/21 12:30 p.m.

So, would this year Rio fall under fun and reliable?

 

stan
stan GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/28/21 1:14 p.m.

The Rio affection surprises me. They look ok and seem to have a good rep too, but they sure look utilitarian... 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
5/28/21 3:14 p.m.

I had a Rio as a rental two years ago. Maybe 2018 model. It was meh. I mean, it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t fun. 

I agree with the Focus. Really liked the last gen I drove. Titanium with the nice 5 spike wheels. Handles well. Good shifter, fast steering, good utility, and I like the way they look.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/28/21 4:29 p.m.
stan said:

The Rio affection surprises me. They look ok and seem to have a good rep too, but they sure look utilitarian... 

Bob's Rio5 SX

sergio
sergio HalfDork
5/29/21 1:53 a.m.

84-85 RX7 GSL-SE get one with around 100k that's only had a couple owners. The 13b goes to 200k if cared for. BAT has them every once in a while, but most are garage queens with low miles and fetch stupid money. 135hp moves a 2500lb car pretty well. On the highway you will be going faster than you think because the rotary is so smooth.  

ojannen
ojannen Reader
5/29/21 8:14 a.m.

Why isn't the answer NC Miata with the folding hard top and the closer ratio 6 speed?  I guess if the 128i has too much power, then the NC has too much power when you consider power/weight.

I have a 96 318ti with a lightweight flywheel that could fit the bill.  The rear suspension is compromised enough that you have to be careful lifting in a turn and adding power in a turn.  It is the only car I have ever spun on a road, in the dry, under 35 mph.  With roughly the same 0-60 time as the Mazda 2s and base Fiestas, it qualifies as slow.  Maintaining engine revs over 4,000 and playing the "keep it on cam" game is fun until traffic gets heavy.

If I could do everything again, I would pick up a Suzuki Alto Works too.

stan
stan GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/29/21 10:14 a.m.

Suzuki Alto Works sure look funky. Are they even available here?

 

...and no one has suggested Minis? I thought they might have a bit of a following here...

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/29/21 12:05 p.m.

In reply to stan :

English ones are expensive to buy and German ones are expensive to own.

 

I was a fan of ZX2s when they were new, it's hard to think of them as slow.  They were comparable to a Sentra SE-R.

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