Your first year of driving is always a whirlwind. Suddenly, you have all the freedom in the world. You can do what you like, go where you want, and generally enjoy yourself to your heart’s content.
But after a while, it all becomes so normal. Instead of sitting in the driver’s seat ready for adventure, you’re double-checking you’ve bought your reusable shopping bags with you. Not exactly fun.
Fortunately, there are a bunch of cars out there (some affordable, some not) that can make you fall in love with driving all over again. Let’s take a look at them now.
If you’re a car fanatic, driving a Porsche 911 is something that you absolutely must do before you kick the can. This iconic German sports car is undimmed by the passage of time, sporting similar looks today as it did in the 1980s.
Older models are more basic, compact, and less powerful. Newer versions have improved transmission and better braking. But the pedigree of the vehicle is without comparison.
Anyone who has driven a Honda will immediately recognize the unique design elements. It was explained to me once that the reason for this is that while virtually ever manufacturer develops their vehicles around large fleet sales and rental car contracts. Honda doesn't do that and so you'll notice that they do things that are simply better (or at least the engineers think so). We've included the Honda CR-V on this list even though it isn’t so much a driver’s car, but because it has some pretty unique features for its class. For instance, it was one of the first mass consumer vehicles to offer a blind spot camera. Beyond that, while there's no avoiding it being a mid-sized SUV designed for utility rather than thrill, it is still rather fun to drive even if it's just between school and Home Depot.
The Mazda RX-7 never made a big impression in the West. However, for a while, it was the Japanese carmaker’s most powerful vehicle. During its heyday - the 1990s - the vehicle was one of the only cars in the world to feature a rotary engine. This feature changed the performance and handling of the car substantially, lowering the weight and making the design more compact.
The depreciation on the vehicle is practically non-existent too. In fact, this model appears to gain value faster than owners spend money on running it. So owning one of these appears to pay for itself.
Toyota Land Cruiser
The Toyota Land Cruiser is one of the most unexpected vehicles to ever come out of the Japanese automaker. The car looks a bit like a Jeep, with its boxy shape and long rear trunk section. But it also acts the part as well. Toyota equipped the vehicle with extra-durable axels and high wheel arches, allowing them to elongate the suspension for the most demanding off-road terrain. Models from the 1990s come with a large 4.5-liter engine and plenty of torque.
BMW M Roadster
When the BMW M Roadster hit the market in 2002, nobody had seen anything like it before. The car oozed style and offered massive performance to match. Interestingly, though, it didn’t look like it should be able to go so far, given its gentle features.
The car offered an 8,000 RPM redline, which was a nice touch from BMW, and it came with a straight six, instead of the usual four-cylinder engines you typically see on vehicles of this size.