Sports cars are fun to look at and to drive around town, but the real fun comes when you take them to the canyons. The undulating curves and fast straights can put any sports car to the test, and there’s plenty of fun to be had behind the wheel as you drive through a canyon. If you are looking for a good canyoning car, which one would you choose? Here are a few good examples.
2009 BMW 135i
If you were to ask Matt Farah from… The smoking band, he would probably picture a 2009 BMW 135i as a good canyon daily driver. In a recent video, Farah put a 90,000-mile 135i to the test on a canyon road to demonstrate his capabilities. And while we can’t get the feel of driving by watching a video, we have to agree that it would be a good platform to start with.
In stock form, the BMW 135i could reach 100 km/h from a standstill in 5.6 seconds and the quarter mile in 13.6 seconds. That’s damn fast. But it’s not too surprising given that it has 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque from the straight-six turbocharged engine under the hood. Add its 3,400-pound curb weight to the equation, and it’s no wonder this little BMW is good at cornering.
Porsche 986 Boxster S
It’s hard to argue with a mid-engine and rear-wheel-drive Porsche. Sure, the 986 Boxster S looks weird compared to the newer models, but it’s still very agile and fast on its own. The Boxster S has over 200 horsepower and has a near-perfect weight balance, allowing it to hit the corners quickly and carry the speed through them effectively. The best part is that you don’t even have to spend $30,000 on a well-used one these days. Many of them sell in the $20,000 range.
No, we are not biased. Okay, maybe a little. Either way, the Honda S2000 feels right at home in the canyons with its double wishbone front and rear suspension, high-revving VTEC engine and 50:50 weight distribution. The S2000 is undoubtedly one of the best cars you can swing through a series of turns. But you have to be careful because easily upset can bite you if you are not careful.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
A list of worthy canyon carvers cannot be complete without the Mazda MX-5 Miata. After all, there’s a reason it’s been around for over 30 years. It may not have a lot of horsepower, but the Miata’s unparalleled agility and small size make it one of the best cars for attacking the back roads. Best of all, while the suspension is tight enough for hairpin bends, it’s still comfortable enough for the everyday ride.
Whether you’re buying a used Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ or going for a new Toyota GR86, you’ll be thankful you did. Each iteration of this car features a balanced rear-wheel drive platform and a snappy naturally aspirated engine. What makes it even better is that it’s comfortable and practical enough to ride every day. We highly recommend it.
Best canyon carvers for $30,000
While there are many good running cars in the new and used car market, here are our top five. It’s hard to deny that almost any car with a rear-wheel drive configuration and a decent amount of power can put a smile on someone’s face when tearing down a canyon road. If you’re in the market and not sure which car to pick, you can’t go wrong with any of these five.
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