Not all cars have to be practical. In fact, a lot of the time the most fun cars to drive are anything but. Of course, “fun” is a relative term, and it means different things to different people. Some enjoy a casual cruise in the country, while others crave the adrenaline surge that comes from attacking a mountain road - and then there are those who are most happy when there are no roads at all. We've put together a short list of 10 of the most fun cars to drive, trying to be as inclusive as possible. Not all of these vehicles will be everyone's cup of tea, but there's sure to be at least one or two here that will pique your interest - and get your heart racing.
1) 2015 Volvo V60 Polestar
There's something subversive about making the 0-60 mph sprint in just 4.7 seconds... in a station wagon... thanks to its launch control feature. The 2015 Volvo V60 Polestar can't really be considered a sleeper, mostly because the exclusive Rebel Blue finish is something of a giveaway. However, this wagon is also available in black, which might be a better option for an under-the-radar daily driver. By now, chances are that North America's entire allotment of Polestars - just 120 examples, split over the S60 sedan and V60 wagon - are long gone. But the lucky buyers got a 345-horsepower, 3.0-liter turbo inline-six that also puts 369 lb-ft of torque to all four corners. Fast shifts are provided by a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. Time to strap the kids in the back and give them some thrills.
2) 2015 Jeep Wrangler
The 2015 Jeep Wrangler certainly isn't nearly as quick as some other options on this list, but we know which one we'd rather be piloting once the roads disappeared and we were left to find out own way through the wilderness. The Jeep Wrangler is simply unstoppable when it comes to crawling over rocks, fording door-deep streams, or slip-sliding across a muddy landscape. With multiple four-wheel drive systems to choose from, excellent ground clearance, a rugged suspension, and convertible top, the Wrangler is a blast - regardless of whether you choose the two-door or four-door version.
Photo Credit: Mazda USA
3) 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata
The 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata doesn't overwhelm with its horsepower - 167 ponies from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder mill - but it's one of the most elegant dance partners a driver will ever encounter. The Mazda MX-5 Miata's secret is its lightweight chassis that telegraphs every nuance of the road straight through the wheel (and the seat) making it a cinch for even novices to look like heroes through the corners. It's been said that it's more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow, and the Miata roadster is a vehicle where you can bury the throttle and still stay under the radar, both literally and figuratively, while enjoying yourself immensely.
4) 2015 Dodge Charger
The 2015 Dodge Charger might not seem like that much fun compared to some of the other cars on this list, but here's how to change that. At ordering time, make sure you select either all-black or all-white paint, combined with steel wheels with no covers. Then, tick off the box for the Dodge Charger's 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, which pushes out 370 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque, giving you plenty of get-up-and-go to move the hefty full-size sedan off of the line. Finally, open up the J.C. Whitney catalog and order yourself a push bar for the front end of the Charger and a couple of whip antennas for the trunk, and voila: you've got a police-spec cruiser that will ensure a clear left lane for you on every highway. And what's more fun than that?
5) 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
The TRD Pro version of the 2015 Toyota Tacoma is a pickup truck just like all the other Tacomas out there, and that means you can drive it to work, store tools in the bed, and spend your weekends helping your friends move. But the name might clue you in that there's also something different about this Tacoma: it's been designed specifically for maximum off-road fun. TRD is Toyota's in-house tuning division, and they've added tons of toys to this compact truck. The suspension has been heavily modified for better control and more ground clearance, the wheels have been swapped out for a sturdier set that comes with beefy all-terrain rubber, and an upgraded exhaust system adds a bit more horsepower and much better listening pleasure. The Tacoma's 4.0-liter V-6 engine, combined with the TRD Pro upgrades, offers up plenty of off-road challenges, should you care to accept.
6) 2015 Ford Mustang GT
The 2015 Ford Mustang GT is all new for the 2015 model year. The latest Ford pony car offers all the nostalgia value of its predecessors along with a bunch of new features, and the upscale GT trim boasts a 5.0-liter V-8 engine that can be paired to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Plenty of power is on tap with the V-8, and you can even order up a 2015 Mustang as a convertible for an extra element of excitement. The redesigned interior, featuring high quality upholstery and materials, is another reason to consider this muscle car.
Photo Credit: Subaru Media
7) 2015 Subaru BRZ
The 2015 Subaru BRZ was designed from the start to provide the kind of balanced handling that is all too rare in the affordable sports car segment. The rear-wheel drive Subaru BRZ leverages its 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter horizontally-opposed boxer four-cylinder engine, and a low-mass, low-center-of-gravity design, to create a thrill machine that won't break the bank. Of course, having stock tires lifted from the Toyota Prius - with low-rolling resistance that make it easy to break the car sideways through the corners - certainly adds drama to the BRZ's repertoire, and smiles on the faces of those driving it at 9/10ths.
Photo Credit: Megan Green
8) 2015 Porsche Cayman S
For anyone who's outgrown what the BRZ has to offer, don't worry - the 2015 Porsche Cayman S is waiting in the wings to satisfy your craving for a pure performance machine. The Porsche Cayman S' mid-engine layout ensures that the car doesn't so much as turn into a corner but rather pivots precisely toward its apex. Regardless of throttle application, the Porsche is so stable that even the application of 325 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque from its 3.4-liter six-cylinder engine (also a boxer design) can't upset it while maneuvering at high speeds. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the Cayman S, but a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission is also on hand to provide incredibly quick gear changes.
9) 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged
The 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged does what very few $100,000+ vehicles can do: drive anywhere it wants while coddling you in the lap of luxury. The Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged's top-shelf four-wheel drive system offers a number of driver-configurable modes that take into account the terrain you are traveling over, and it also features a height-adjustable air suspension system that provides ground clearance when you need it most. Ever felt like dashing through four feet of snow without spilling your tea, or hitting 60 mph in under five seconds in one of the most enormous vehicles on the market? The 510-horsepower, supercharged V-8 Land Rover has you covered.
10) 2015 Dodge Viper
The 2015 Dodge Viper is fun, taken to a different level. Not necessarily a higher level, although one could argue that its on-track performance places it on a pedestal compared to other sports cars. What we are referring to specifically is the very direct nature of the beast. The Viper will obey each and every one of your commands without a second thought, which leads to a margin of error that is very, very thin when attempting to corral 645 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque from an 8.4-liter V-10. Absolute mastery of the car's six-speed manual transmission and exceptional skill are required to squeeze every drop of fun out of this potent snake.