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.
Photo Credit: Ford
1) 2017 Ford Mustang GT
The 2017 Ford Mustang GT offers all the nostalgia value of its predecessors along with a bunch of modern features, and the upscale GT trim boasts a 435-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine that can be paired to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Plenty of power is on tap with the V8, and you can even order it up as a convertible for an extra element of excitement. The recently redesigned interior, featuring high quality upholstery and materials, is another reason to consider this muscle car.
Photo Credit: Mazda USA
2) 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata
The fully redesigned 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata doesn't overwhelm with its horsepower — 155 ponies from a 2.0-liter 4-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. Look for next year’s new addition to the lineup, the 2017 MX-5 Miata Retractable Fastback, available soon.
3) 2016 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 2016 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. Lucky buyers of this limited edition model get a 345-horsepower, 3.0-liter turbo inline-6 that also puts 369 lb-ft of torque to all four corners. Fast shifts are provided by a 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. Time to strap the kids in the back and give them some thrills.
Photo Credit: Dan Gray
4) 2016 Jeep Wrangler
The 2016 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 4-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 2-door or 4-door version.
Photo Credit: FCA Media
5) 2016 Dodge Charger
The 2016 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 V8, which pushes out 370 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque, giving you plenty of get-up-and-go to move the hefty fullsize 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?
Photo Credit: Toyota
6) 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road
The TRD Off-Road version of the redesigned 2016 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, and the Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control features greatly enhance the truck’s capabilities. The Tacoma's 3.5-liter V6 engine, combined with the TRD Off-Road upgrades, offers up plenty of off-road challenges, should you care to accept.
Photo Credit: Subaru
7) 2016 Subaru BRZ
The 2016 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 4-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.
8) 2016 Porsche Cayman S
For anyone who's outgrown what the BRZ has to offer, don't worry — the 2016 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 6-cylinder engine (also a boxer design) can't upset it while maneuvering at high speeds. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard with the Cayman S, but a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission is also on hand to provide incredibly quick gear changes.
9) 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged
The 2016 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 4-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 V8 Land Rover has you covered.
Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
10) 2016 Dodge Viper
The 2016 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 V10. Absolute mastery of the car's 6-speed manual transmission and exceptional skill are required to squeeze every drop of fun out of this potent snake.