It's hard not to feel a thrill when you see a wide-open highway stretching out in front of you, and that feeling is even better when you have a great car. While personal preferences vary, some makes and models tend to frequently pop up on surveys of the most fun cars to drive. Here's a look at some common favorites, as well as a few that may surprise you. These can be a great choice for your next car--or just a fun rental for a road trip.
What's the classic choice?
By far, one of the most popular cars of all time is the Ford Mustang. This sports car manages to combine accessibility and easy handling with all the power of a classic sports car. The 5.0-liter V8 engine roars to life with a satisfying sound and delivers 435 horsepower for quick acceleration. The Mustang comes in both automatic and manual transmissions, although true car lovers will tell you that the manual transmission is the way to go.
What's the most fun car for the daily commute?
This honor should probably go to any of the Mini Cooper models available. These sporty little cars combine classic European design with excellent handling and a surprising amount of horsepower. The best part for daily driving is their compact size, which allows you to quickly change lanes in busy traffic and squeeze into the tiniest parking spots.
What's the most fun car for off-road adventures?
If you enjoy exploring the wilderness and need a vehicle that can go through or over just about anything, it's hard to beat the Jeep Wrangler. The blocky body and classic design looks cool enough that you'll feel tougher just by driving it, and the high ground clearance and superb four-wheel-drive systems can tackle all kinds of terrain. Wranglers also are easy to customize with after-market kits so you can create a vehicle that reflects your personality.
What's the most fun car that can carry a big family?
Just because your family is growing in size doesn't mean you're doomed to a boring old mini-van. The Land Rover Sport is a full-sized SUV with up to seven seats for all the kids, but it still comes with an excellent 500-horsepower V8 engine that gives you the punch and excitement you're looking for.
What's the most fun car to drive on a budget?
If you want all the power of a true sports car but don't want a massive car payment, it's hard to beat the Mazda Miata. This car stands out due to its combination of a front engine and rear wheel drive, which gives you plenty of torque. Engine specs vary depending on the year and trim, but even the basic models have plenty of horsepower and can be easily enhanced with after-market additions for added excitement.
What's the most fun pickup truck?
Sometimes you need a truck with an open bed, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. The Toyota Tacoma ranks high on the list. It combines Toyota's signature reliability and smooth handling with excellent hauling and off-road capabilities. The TRD Off-Road version is even sportier, with a modified suspension and custom 4WD options perfect for the dedicated off-roader.
What car makes it feel like you're driving a racecar?
For supercharged performance and delicate handling, consider the Dodge Viper. The six-speed manual transmission and super-sensitive controls respond to even the most minute changes, which allows experienced drivers to get the most out of every moment on the road. The 8.4-liter V10 engine backs that up with plenty of power and speed.
What's the most fun eco-friendly car to drive?
The downside of most fun cars is that they burn a lot of gas, which isn't great for environmentally conscious drivers. Enter the Tesla Model S to solve this problem. This electric car is a bit pricey, but it delivers superior performance and is one of the fastest sedans on the market. If you need more space, optional third-row seating and hatchback versions are available.