Friday, November 3, 2006

Seeking Something Sporty

Some of you know that I currently employ an SUV as my primary mode of transportation; a Honda Passport to be exact. It’s a pretty good rig, hauls all my crap and even pretty reasonable sized trailers. It’s great for trips and gear and stuff, and it’s pretty quiet and comfortable inside. It’s even got pretty good power.

But it’s failing in a major way to scratch my itch right now.

I’m absolutely craving something low, light and with a manual transmission. Before the Passport I had a 2000 Subaru 2.5RS (turbocharged for a while) that was each of those things and quite quick. I miss it dearly at times now. Although my current ride is much more useable and practical on a daily basis, it is very definitely not as much fun.

I’m entertaining a few different schemes to provide myself with a little more thrilling driving experience. I’ve had thoughts of buying a cheap, old pickup truck for work duties, and swapping my Passport in for something more fun but still capable of packing toys and gear. Tops on that list is a Subaru WRX wagon. Or, I could keep what I’ve got and pick up a really cheap play car. Entrants in that contest include but are not limited to a late 80’s Toyota MR2, an older Mazda Miata or possibly even a Honda CRX.

I like the MR2 because it’s a mid-engine, rear wheel drive, extremely small and light, cheap and I’ve driven one that was a blast. It would be very difficult to work on because of the mid-engine design, and I’m operating under the assumption that any of these cars, in the price range I’m looking in, is going to require a fair amount of my time spent dinking around in the engine bay.

Miatas are widely known to be a very fun car to drive, and there is wide availability of upgrade parts and information. Plus it’s a convertible and day dreaming about a summertime trip down the Pacific Crest Highway is almost irresistible. It’s also rear drive, but has a much more accessible drivetrain than the Toyota. However, I’ve not driven one, and I fear that I might not actually fit in it, or at least not comfortably.

The CRX is appealing because it’s actually quite practical. In addition to being super light and agile, it is the only one of the three that has a back seat, and that back seat even folds down to provide quite a bit of cargo area. Also, there is an absolute plethora of aftermarket parts. The negative is that it’s front wheel drive and it’s got a much dorkier image/rep in my opinion—not that that’s critically important, but I’d be lying if I said it isn’t a factor at all. I’m not terribly concerned about how cool other people think these cars are, but I would like to have one that I think is cool.

Right now, the combination of rear drive, easy access drivetrain and convertible top has me leaning toward the Miata. I really need to find one to drive so that I know if I fit; obviously, if I don’t, it’s no option at all.

What say you? Anybody spent time with one or moreof these cars? Leave me a comment and share your experience/opinion.

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