James May, our favorite Captain of the Slow, once said it’s fun to drive fast in a slow car. That it came from him seemed normal because it referred to driving ‘slow’ cars fast and not just any car. Driving a fast car, slow would definitely be his style. But if you think about it, he actually makes a lot of sense, as usual.
The thrill of running an engine at its maximum speed in city limits can only be achieved when it is slow and underpowered. But when you do, you get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Dig a little deeper into this riddle and you realize that not only is it fun, but it’s also the cheapest way to go crazy in a car without breaking the bank for it. Put it in fifth gear (or sixth gear if he has one) and watch it do 90mph all day at max rpm and yet it will start in one go the next morning.
It rarely goes wrong with low compression engines in slow cars. They don’t get too hot, they have fewer sensors and electricity, so they probably last longer than the owner himself.
However, those challenges are more pronounced in fast cars because they have hot, high-revving engines, lots of sensors, more electronics and gadgets that make them function in a complicated way.
So you are always afraid when you set foot on the ground. Shall I burn the clutch sooner? Do the pistons bake if I keep driving hard? Those are the kinds of thoughts one usually encounters. As a result, one achieves peace and happiness when they drive a fast car, slowly.
Here are some popular slow cars that will get your heart racing:
- VW Cabriolet 1986: 98 hp coupled to a 5-speed gearbox can put you at full speed without getting a ticket!
- 2011 Honda Fit/Honda Jazz: They came with a 1.2L engine that produced about 90 horsepower. A lightweight body allowed you to throw them at full throttle on a roundabout without crashing.
- 2005 Ford Focus: Although it had a larger engine and about 130 horses, it behaved like a go-cart for its size and weight.
- Maxda MX-5 / Miata: A compact rear-wheel drive convertible with a 1.8L engine that produced a generous 140 horsepower that would most likely never see a flatbed. What more can you ask for?
- 2001 Toyota MR2: Speaking of the Miata, we were also reminded of this reliable roadster with similar specs. You could also take the roof off!
Which slow car do you desire?