Can You Have Fun at Under 200 Horsepower?
For a vast majority of us, we will never drive a car that is our own that has over 200 horsepower. There are a few reasons we are going to be left out of the high-powered class of vehicles. First of all, most of us will certainly scoff at the idea of spending the money on a car that offers a high horsepower number because the shear price tag turns us away. Second is the lack of need, what will this additional horsepower be for and where can we drive it, so with practicality in mind it just doesn’t make sense. Third is fuel mileage. Less power typically equates to better fuel mileage, making it an easy choice between the two as we don’t want to be pumping gas 3-4 times a week for our power hungry V8 beast.
Because of all these reasons doesn’t it make sense to have something fun to drive that falls in our range of driving? Certainly many car manufacturers feel that way and offer several models that are both fun to drive and fall in the under 200 horsepower club to give us the fuel mileage (at least most of them) that we desire.
As the base model for this Audi, the A3 with the 1.8-liter turbocharged engine offers 170 horsepower of fun. This model reaches sixty mph in 6.8 seconds which is not sluggish by any means. The gearing is short and swift, making it easy to enjoy the ride and as an Audi, the driving experience offered from the steering ,braking and suspension. The A3 is a lot of fun to drive and as an affordable luxury car makes a great choice for anyone looking for a great daily driver that isn’t the same old boring sedan they are used to.
The BMW 320i is another base model that many forget about but shows up with a 180 horsepower 200 lb.-ft. of torque engine that offers a great drive. With a 6.7 second time reaching sixty mph it’s not slow at all and offers one of the best driving experiences on the market. The 3-Series has always been looked at as one of the best driving luxury models and has been the standard for sport sedans for a long time. The 320i continues this legacy offering the suspension and driving dynamics we all enjoy from this awesome automaker.
Built as a line of small hatchback cars that transition to a unique looking sedan, the top level of the Sonic shows up with a 1.4-liter inline four cylinder engine and 138-horseopwer. Of course this little engine is turbocharged and the car offers a fun drive on any road with a quick acceleration and a full array of motorcycle inspired gauges. With the small size it’s easy to have fun driving the Sonic in and out of traffic, leaving many others behind that cannot fit in the same spaces the Sonic lives in.
What is one of the greatest advantages to an EV vehicle? Instant torque. Off the line the Spark can quickly take the lead on any car that is not powered by an EV battery pack. The Spark is small and fun looking from the outside and just as much from the inside. The 140 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque make the spark one of the best choices in this class for fun and continuous energy. The EV range is 82 miles which makes it a car that you don’t have to charge until you get home at night.
With 160 horsepower and a full 170 lb.-ft. of torque, the Abarth sounds awesome and is the sporty version of the Fiat 500. This car sounds like fun on the road as it has an exhaust that would fit right in on a much more powerful vehicle but somehow finds its way on the Abarth. As a great looking small car that has a name that signifies some form of exclusivity, the Abarth is a car that you can enjoy driving every day and feel proud of the enjoyable fuel mileage and the power that is offered.
Getting very close to the 200 horsepower mark, the Fiesta ST shows up with a 197 horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine that brings 202 lb.-ft. of torque. The Fiesta can reach sixty mph in 6.7 seconds and is one of the most affordable cars on this list, making it a bargain with some great power for you to fully enjoy. With an amazing amount of grip, the Fiesta ST can be pushed to the limits and back while staying fully in control and giving you a great ride on any road.
The Fit is one of the least powerful cars on this list but still makes a fun choice to drive. The Fit offers 130 horsepower and a CVT. The Fit has a Sport mode to make it quicker and it certainly is that compared to the previous models. As a small car, the Fit is one of the most popular and fun to drive in its class. The handling is what makes this car a lot of fun as it is easy to maneuver in and out of traffic at good speeds, making it a quick, light and enjoyable drive.
Who would have thought Jeep would be on this list at all, but the small Jeep has a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine to make it a qualifier. The cool part about this vehicle making the list is the build of it make it a true off road vehicle and what isn’t fun about being about being able to handle trails and rough terrain in order to see some of the greatest sights available in this great country of ours. The Trailhawk easily makes this list and may be the best possible vehicle offered for fun on and off the road.
As a small version of the Optima with similar styling, the Forte EX 2.0 shows up with a 173 horsepower 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that gives it plenty of push. the Forte offers great handling and a nice menu of features from Kia which is also a lower priced maker of cars allowing the Forte to be perfect if you are on a tight car budget. The EX 2.0 gives you the driving fun you need at a price you can afford in a car that will be great on the gas mileage as well.
As far as the cars are concerned this might not be a fair fight when you put the Mazda 3 in the list. With a 155 horsepower engine and a six-speed automatic transmission, the Mazda 3 gains great performance from the dynamic driving that is found in many Mazda vehicles. With a tagline of “zoom zoom” how can you go wrong with a car that finds a way to get every bit of fun and excitement out of the performance parts of this great car. The Mazda 3 is truly a great car with a solid reputation for being an engaged driving experience.
As the larger model of the two Mazda offerings the 184 horsepower 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine allows the Mazda 6 to show up on this list as well. After a redesign the Mazda 6 now shows off a menacing appearance from the front and gives you a great performance from all the working parts along with a great menu of features and equipment to enjoy. The Mazda 6 is the choice to make for the larger of the two Mazda offerings and gives more room for a growing family than the smaller Mazda 3.
Is there any way to not love the Miata? The only drawback to this car is the lack of additional seating, but for a roadster the Miata is the best in an affordable price range. The Miata shows up with a 158 to 167 horsepower engine that is mated to a car that has world class handling for anyone to easily take on any road and enjoy the driving excitement offered. Under the word fun, a picture of the Miata should be included in any form. As the poster child for “zoom zoom” the Miata is a car that everyone can enjoy.
If you don’t think the Juke is a fun car just take a look. The Juke looks a lot like a cartoon on wheels and that playful look of this very small compact crossover SUV shows up with a 188 horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine that is mated to a CVT or a six-speed manual for a great driving experience. The Juke offers driving mode selector to adjust throttle and steering and makes a great driving vehicle to have a lot of fun in at a size that is easy to love
Just barley fitting into this list the 200 horsepower FR-S shows up with sporty style and tooling that makes it similar to the Subaru BRZ. The engaged driving experience and great looks make the car one of the most fun to drive on the road and offers an easy ride along any curvy and windy roads for a great canyon run in the country. The FR-S is one of the top level Scion offerings that make it one of the best cars from this maker and a fun and enjoyable drive.
If you have never darted in and out of traffic in a small car, let me suggest you test drive the Smart Fortwo and have fun doing just that. At less than 100 horsepower and being toted around by a three-cylinder engine the 2,100 pound Fortwo makes it easy to take on city traffic and come out the winner in the experience. The Fortwo also offers may great features inside the small car which will certainly give you the fuel mileage you desire and for city driving is an absolute joy around town to get you where you are going and allow you to park wherever you want.
The BRZ is a 200 horsepower car that is extremely similar to the Scion FR-S. This car is full of great sporty features that make it the top line of Subaru for performance giving an extremely enjoyable and engaging driving experience. Take on all the control features that are needed for a car like this you can be sure you will have a drive that makes the most fun and balanced ride in a car that is built to be a sports car on a budget for you to enjoy.
The TSI model of the Golf shows up with 170 horsepower and a 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine. The Golf actually has a second version that fits this list as well with the TDI offering a 150 horsepower turbodiesel 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that offers 236 lb.-ft. of torque. This car is one of the best driving vehicles on the road today and a favorite for piling a bunch of friends in for a drive to the beach or just cruising around. In either case, the Golf makes a great choice for a fun car that will give you as much as you need.
No doubt there should be at least one or more of these cars that is able to give you smile and make it easy for you to have a lot of fun driving even when you have to do so on a budget. This list is full of great cars that offer an engaging driving experience in each one that has plenty of control, stability and performance to make them great choices for anyone who wants a great drive. By taking a look through this list, you can find a great car to make your next favorite and fun ride.