If you’re after a car that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face, we’ve got 10 great suggestions
You often hear motoring journalists talk about driver’s cars, but what exactly does that mean? While there are plenty of views regarding this, in essence this term refers to a car that is fun to drive.
Think of something that will put a smile on your face because of the way it drives down a challenging stretch of road. That’s a driver’s car. It doesn’t have to be crazy fast, or be able to take corners at silly speeds, but it does need to be entertaining.
If you want that smile but aren’t sure of which car will do it for you, then take a look at our pick of the best driver’s cars for 2023 below.
Here’s our pick of the 10 best driver’s cars:
- Alfa Romeo Giulia
- Alpine A110
- BMW M3
- Ford Fiesta ST
- Jaguar F-Type
- Hyundai i30 N
- Mazda MX-5
- MINI Cooper
- Kia EV6
- Toyota Supra
1. Alfa Romeo Giulia
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four
0-60mph: 5.7 – 6.6 seconds
There are plenty of sporty saloons out there, but the Alfa Romeo Giulia remains one of the best if you enjoy blasting out the cobwebs between meetings. It doesn’t have the best interior tech or smoothest ride around town, but when the mood takes you even the base 200bhp Giulia is a hoot to drive quickly. It’s still a great family-friendly daily driver too, and those looks make most alternatives look rather mundane. For those after even more performance, the 510hp Giulia Quadrifoglio is really rather special.
2. Alpine A110
Engine: 1.8-litre turbocharged inline-four
0-60mph: 4.2 – 4.5 seconds
If you’re serious about your driving, then the Alpine A110 should definitely be on your shortlist. It looks sensational and feels smooth and composed both in town and when you are trying to qualify for pole position on the way to the shops. (Something we don’t recommend by the way). You’ll need to limit your shopping to the bare minimum as the boot is tiny, and the poor visibility may hamper your parking manoeuvres.
3. BMW M3
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline-six
0-60mph: 3.5 – 3.9 seconds
The latest BMW M3 is one of the most accomplished sports saloons ever. It is supercar quick yet offers all the refinements of a regular 3 Series. With optional (and switchable) all-wheel-drive and the ability to settle into a comfortable cruise at the press of a button, the M3 is a superb all-rounder. Just wait until the estate version arrives.
4. Ford Fiesta ST
Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged inline-four
0-60mph: 6.5 seconds
Whether you are looking at a family hatchback or an SUV, Fords tend to offer a sportier drive than most. This is especially true of the spunky little Ford Fiesta. If your budget is tight, the little Fiesta ST is great fun to drive while keeping running costs reasonable. Equipment levels are generous, too, although you pay for all that dynamic ability with a slightly hard ride over bumps.
5. Jaguar F-Type
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four/5.0-litre supercharged V8
Power: 300bhp -575bhp
0-60mph: 3.7 – 5.7 seconds
The Jaguar F-Type may not be the last word in dynamic ability, but it’s still great to drive, and its looks and sound (especially the V8s) will have you going for drives just for the hell of it. We’d pick the mid-range 450bhp V8, it’s more than rapid enough and feels glued to the road if you opt for four-wheel-drive. It’s also quite happy to cruise along at more sedate speeds, with a ride that is softer than most.
6. Hyundai i30 N
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four
0-60mph: 5.4 – 5.9 seconds
The battle for hot hatch supremacy has been raging for decades, and while the Hyundai i30 N may not be the last word in refinement, it sure makes up for it with superb driving experience. It’s not only one of the quickest in its class, but it also handles superbly in the corners. The fact that you can also have it with a manual transmission is just icing on the cake.
7. Mazda MX-5
Engine: 1.5-litre inline-four/2.0-litre inline-four
Power: 132 – 184bhp
0-60mph: 6.5 – 8.3 seconds
Yes, here it is, the evergreen driver’s car that makes every list. The Mazda MX-5 is always a firm favourite thanks to its perfect recipe of rear-wheel-drive, manual gearbox, revvy naturally aspirated engine and light weight body. It’s not the fastest, or even all that luxurious, but few cars – at any price- can give you this much driving satisfaction regardless of whether you are popping to the shops or racing down a mountain pass.
8. Mini Hatch
Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged inline-three/2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four
Power: 136bhp – 231bhp
0-60mph: 6.1 – 8.1 seconds
The compact Mini Hatch is a great choice if you spend most of your time in the city but still want to have some fun behind the wheel when you hit the open road. It darts around traffic with ease, and the sportiest John Cooper Works models is very rapid, too. There are more spacious alternatives out there, but few are this much fun to drive, and none offer as much personalisation as the Mini does.
9. Kia EV6
Battery/motor: 77.4kWh battery and single or twin electric motors: 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat-six
Power: 229 – 585 bhp
0-62mph: 7.3 –3.5 seconds
The Kia EV6 is one of the best-driving electric cars this side of a Porsche Taycan. The standard model is rear-wheel drive and has 229hp, but you can upgrade to the 325-hp all-wheel-drive dual motor version, or wait a little while and get the 585hp GT model, which offers supercar levels of performance.
10. Toyota Supra
Engine: 2.0-litre inline-four/3.0-litre in-line six
0-60mph: 5.2 – 4.3 seconds
A stunning looking sports car in the traditional grand tourer mode, the Toyota Supra can be had with a 2.0-litre or 3.0-litre engine, while there’s also the option of a manual or automatic gearbox. We’d recommend the larger engine and an automatic gearbox to make the most of the Supra’s nature, but whichever model you choose you’ll be getting one of the most striking cars on sale today, while we like how it drives so much we named it our Driver’s Car of the year in our 2019 awards.
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