Consumer Reports: Fun to Drive Cars We’re Thankful for This Year

Consumer Reports has some fun to drive cars that won’t make the daily commute a snooze. If you want to put a little pep in your step, check out some of these performance sedans and coupes that won’t break $100,000.

Consumer Reports thought the Honda Civic Hatchback was a fun to drive car

The Honda Civic Hatchback is one of Consumer Reports fun cars to drive
The Honda Civic Hatchback is one of Consumer Reports fun cars to drive | Honda

Consumer Reports says the Honda Civic Hatchback gets a redesign every four or five years like clockwork. With that said, buyers can expect all the newest tech with the redesign. It comes with a manual option, and the Civic Type R is a gearhead’s likely choice. But the experts at CR say the hatchback Civic with the manual transmission is the way to go.

More specifically, the hatchback with a 1.5L turbocharged engine and a six-speed manual transmission. The manual option only loses two miles per gallon compared to the CVT transmission. For that trade-off, it is a much more rewarding and fun drive.

Pricing: $24,100-$29,400

Options: 158-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine or 180-hp, 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine; 6-speed manual transmission

Consumer Reports says to pick your poison: the Subaru BRZ or the Toyota GR86

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The Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 are basically the same thing. Depending on your brand loyalty, feel free to pick your favorite. Consumer Reports says that the rear-wheel-drive coupe formula these cars are famous for is unchanged, and that’s a good thing. When the experts tested it, CR tested both the six-speed automatic and manual.

CR says the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 are nimble, sharp, and well-balanced. The automatic transmission offers paddle shifters that still provide a fun ride. The manual option still “adds that tactile engagement that ties the whole experience together.” No matter which one you choose, both are quite fun. Consumer Reports says the BRZ is a bit tamer for the everyday grocery-getter, while the GR86 is more suited for the hardcore driver.

Subaru BRZ pricing: $27,995-$32,265

Options: 228-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine; 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission

Toyota GR86 pricing: $27,700-$31,800

Options: 228-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine; 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission

When it comes to fun to drive cars, the Volkswagen Golf GTI nails it

The Volkswagen Golf GTI has been around the block a few times. Consumer Reports says that the Rabbit GTI basically created the hot-hatch revolution back in the day. It was fun to drive, and a practical alternative to everyone else’s everyday sport coupes. The turbo-four-cylinder of the 2022 GTI offers 241 hp. It also comes in a seven-speed automatic or a six-speed manual.

CR says the GTI lands somewhere between the Civic Hatchback and the BRZ/GR86 when it comes to comfort and sportiness. It offers a fun ride but a “relaxed driving experience.”

Pricing: $29,545-$37,995

Options: 241-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine; 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission

Say goodbye to the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing, but not without some fun first

It might not be one of the usual options on these lists, but the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing is worth taking a second look at. The CT4-V Blackwing is like the CT4 but with a ton of added power, suspension tuning, and upgraded tires. Since this and the CT5-V Blackwing are meant to be a send-off for Cadillac’s performance internal combustion engine car, no detail was spared.

Consumer Reports says it is “an engaging daily ride” that rewards drivers who might push it to the limit sometimes. The Blackwing offers responsive steering and dialed-in suspension. It comes with an automatic 10-speed transmission or a six-speed manual. The manual is a bit more fun, but only by an inch.

Pricing: $59,990-$63,165 

Options: 472-hp, 3.6-liter turbocharged V6 engine; 6-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission.

When it comes down to it, any drive can be fun with the right car. It doesn’t even have to be the right car all the time, but there are plenty of fun to drive cars on the market these days. Don’t overlook an old favorite like the Honda Civic just because it has been around for many years.

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