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2012 Annual Auto Issue: The most fun to drive cars for 2012

Consumer Reports News: February 24, 2012 12:08 PM

We all want a car to be safe, reliable, and perform well, but since we all spend too much time behind the wheel (and making payments!), it might as well be fun to drive, too. Our automotive engineers have combined their test data and notes to come up with the cars they have found to be the most fun to drive.

Of course, “fun to drive” is a somewhat subjective measure—an elusive quality that can mean different things to different people. From our experience, a car can have a very powerful engine and accelerate quickly, but without handling agility, it's not much fun.

For us, fun is a combination of factors—such as handling response, sound, and the nature of the power delivery—that lead to grin-inducing satisfaction. To come up with our list of the most fun cars to drive, we first took a slice according to our scores for handling, steering feel, and body control. Then we looked at acceleration, but found most cars today have plenty of power. Of course, a weak link in the fun chain, such as a poor shifter, would be counted against a candidate. Finally, we took a secret ballot to give our testers a chance to capture those elusive subjective qualities, including sounds and overall engagement.

Below is the list of cars we consider the most fun to drive across seven categories.

Category Most fun
Sports cars Porsche Boxster, BMW 135i, Chevrolet
Corvette Z06
, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Nissan 370Z
Sporty cars Mini Cooper/Cooper S, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo,
Volkswagen GTI, Ford Mustang GT
Convertibles BMW 328i, Ford Mustang GT, Jaguar XK,
Volkswagen Eos, Audi A5
Luxury sedans Infiniti M37, Jaguar XJ, Audi A6, Cadillac CTS,
Audi A8
Upscale sedans Infiniti G37, Audi A4, Volkswagen CC,
Buick Regal CXL (turbo), Volvo S60 T5
Small cars Mazda3s/3i Touring, Volkswagen Golf,
Ford Focus, Subaru Impreza
SUVs Mini Cooper Countryman, Porsche Cayenne,
BMW X3, Infiniti EX, Nissan Juke

Look for the 2012 Annual Auto Issue of Consumer Reports to be posted online midday Tuesday, February 28th.

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