What Cars Provide the Best Driving Experience for the Price?

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Tune in as I discuss which cars provide the very best driving experience for their price. Which cars do you believe provide the very best driving experience for their expense? Share in the remarks below!

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DOUGSCORE CHART:

CHAPTERS:
00:00 CARS & BIDS!!!
00:16 THIS …
00:58 A Cutesy Sports Automobile
02:24 Questionable Rotary Reliability
03:48 Affordable, Enjoyable, Mid-Engine Porsche!
05:19 Questionable Roadster
07:46 7 Liter V8!!
09:45 An American Classic
11:16 Better Than My Carrera GT!
14:04 Other Worldy Cars And Truck for $35K.
16:41 Outro.

#dougdemuro #cars.

What Cars Provide the Best Driving Experience for the Price?

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About the Author: RareCars

70 Comments

    1. @RD Enduro and he is using that fact to manipulate it for his financial gain. Solution: for now on don’t watch his channel or his cronies.

  1. It depends a lot on the country, an s2000 is like 40 grand in Belgium, when you can get v12 mercs for a tenth of that. Mr2’s and NB mx5 are quite affordable tho

    1. True! i can´t really connect with the 500 Abarth because for me its a bit too shaky and too nimble and “tossable” and its give you a headache after some time. Its not smooth enough if thsi makes sense at least for me.

    2. @tolga1coolno they haven’t. They were historically a 30-35k used car and now it’s a 40-45k used car. You buy for 40k, drive for a few years and sell it again for 40k.

  2. I had an AP2 S2000 (’08) then a Gen2 viper (’02), but now own a Mazdaspeed Miata (’04) and it’s the best driving experience of the three. The others might be better on a track, but the Miata is better on public roads. It’s certainly not cool, but It is just so much fun to rip around in, and it only cost me $10k.

    I enjoy it so much that I’ll take it out in the winter with the top down (too tall to fit in it with top up), something I never would’ve bothered to do with the S2000 or the Viper.

    1. @Felix S Trouble with the S2000 is you basically have to keep it above 60000RPM to make any real power. And just driving around residential neighbourhoods at 6500RPM all the time can be considered a bit obnoxious. lol I figure the Mazdaspeed’s turbo means you don’t need to constantly be bouncing off red-line to get any decent performance ;).

    2. @Felix S Yeah, I was surprised too. I haven’t driven a regular NB so I’m not sure how it compares, but the Mazdaspeed is just great. The hydraulic steering gives way better feel than the awful 1st-gen electric PS on the S2000. The S2K’s shifter feel is only slightly better than the Mazda’s. The F22C1 sounds kind of bad at high RPM, like it’s going to fall apart, but the BP-4W is more neutral and the turbo whistle sounds good. The Mazdaspeed is only like 300 pounds lighter but it feels SO much lighter. The way the suspension rolls a little then plants going into a turn feels great. S2000 clutch is OK but the Miata’s is like butter. And the Mazaspeed just does a better job of feeling fast when you’re going slow, which is what you want on the street where you’re not racing anyone and have speed limits to worry about.

      I can sort of support my opinion with those of YouTube journalists: Mark from SavageGeese says the ND Miata is better than the S2000 on the street, and Jakub from TheStraightPIpes says the Mazdaspeed is more fun than the ND, so combining those two together, the Mazdaspeed is more fun than the S2000 lol

    3. ​@Stan Leemu friend had a mazdaspeed miata..
      And i agree…its a ton of fun. However, to keep it fun…you definitely had to keep the revs up to keep the increased power up. And that is similar to keeping the revs up in the s2k. I took a s2k for a test drive…and in that length of time, i decided it was better than the mazdaspeed miata.

  3. I liked the entire list. For me driving experience has mostly to do with handling and was surprised honestly to not see any Lotus mentioned. While I would not put my 03 Esprit on the list, any of the other Lotus models are a lot of car for the money, have Toyota reliability, (unlike my Esprit) and handle like a dream.

    1. They went up like crazy in the LHD market and after saving enough to buy one they were selling for 60+ (Elise and Exige) so I think they are gone for me lol. 😅

    2. Doug isn’t really the type of guy who enjoys the whole Lotus thing. He more appreciates power and acceleration, tech, etc., basically everything that was removed to make Lotus cars so good :/

    3. Doug drove an Elise across the USA on the freeway, the worst possible drive in one, which ruined Lotus for him forever.

  4. i’ve put 60,000 miles on my Abarth in the last 3 years, now at 113,000 miles. still running great with regular maintenance

    1. That’s dope to hear! I’ve always heard such mixed things about those car, so I went with a Fiesta ST. Glad to say the both of us have reliable hot hatches.

    2. I bought an Abarth new in 2013 and thought it offered the best smile-per-dollar ratio even at $22k. It’s impossible not to smile when you are driving one. Nice ones seem hard to find but I keep looking.

      I bought a Porsche 986 Boxster about a year ago. I am an avowed bottom feeder in the collector car market and think these are a rare value in this inflated market. I have owned three early Miatas and love them, but when a Boxster is less money, that just spells bargain. Mine is an early 2.5L, so not particularly fast but it is tight, balanced, smooth, and fun at a level or two above the Miata. Good ones with great maintenance history and low miles are still sub-$15k.

  5. Imo the best experience is a lotus Elise/exige. Other than maybe an Ariel atom it would be hard to find a car more raw. The elise/exige has SO much feedback, it’s so raw, so sharp, so communicative, so beautifully balanced, cool looking, high revving, tons of grip, plenty fast (especially the SC models). These cars on good tires… you can’t find a better driving experience.

    1. @Nikku In UK viper is an expensive car especially compared to an elise, i guess this list is going to be different for each country.

    2. Totally agree (see profile pic for mine). I can’t think of a car I’d enjoy driving more at any price. Easy to work on too. Reliable, super low running costs, cheap insurance, responsive to mods, fairly comfortable, basically the perfect car minus some annoying issues that come from being a low-production car on a tight budget made by a tiny team

    3. @Mr. Bubs Elise is a great car, but after daily driving one for 5 years i wouldnt want to do it again. The evora is a better all round car imo although i do sometimes find myself looking at exiges. At moment im lusting after an ultima.

    4. @sam newman I would not recommend daily driving an Elise 🙂
      As a purely fun car though, very hard to beat for certain kinds of drivers. I’m sure you remember!

  6. Also I’m so glad you mentioned the rx8. I drove a 2011RX8 R3 model 5 years ago and that car left such an impression on me. They drive SO WELL and people don’t realize it.

    1. ​@Jordan Plays – Transit and Games
      Lol. Not really. The car is fun to drive, part in due to its low power. You can max it out and not be going speeds that will kill you in an instant.

      Definitely biased, though. But at least don’t put a generic no name brand engine into a car like the rx8 lol. A 1JZ? Go for it lol

    2. Agreed. Also, I’d get an RX-7 before I can get an RX-8. In other words, now that Ford changed the key chime on the ’24 Mustang, I will definitely buy one.

  7. Something to note on videos, which demonstrate Doug’s excellent time management, is since the background really isn’t changing, a lot of these videos are done at once. 4 to 6 in a single long session. Then all the editing gets done, and the videos are just scheduled. This is the sign of someone who’s been doing this for a long time, and values their time.

    1. Before someone says it, yes, he changes his shirt. Only because that’s the thing you wouldn’t notice the most if it were the same in all videos in a shoot.

  8. Early Vipers cannot be topped for pure driving experience. One must spend time learning the idiosyncrasies of the car and that process is what its all about for me. Unlike almost every other car Ive owned the early Vipers never seem to get boring. Also when setup right and driven properly these can hang with the best of the best newer Supercars on a twisty road.

    1. It’s like an abusive relationship! If you take the time to learn all the little ways you have to behave so that they don’t FUCKING KILL YOU you’ll have a WONDERFUL time!

    2. The issue is even the worst ratty ones have doubled in value since 2021. You can get a lot more car for $60,000 than a first gen Viper these days. Not something as cool, mind you. Doug says you can find them in the mid 30s. I cannot find any in the mid 30s here that are in any sort of decent shape or haven’t been rebuilt.

  9. I never really thought about this subject given my lack of experience in any real or even pretend sports cars, but I think you made some good points and the Viper is one of my dream cars. Thanks for the info on the others as well! I might need to try to pick one up. 🤙

  10. He’s not wrong about the Fiat 500 Abarth. Recently bought one on Cars and bids. First Fiat I’ve ever driven and the Abarth is the only version of the 500 I would have considered. But the car is just a lil hooligan machine. It’s fun to just let it wind up in each gear and hear the lil 1.4 liter scream. As for price I did spend a lil more than I expected. And following Abarths on the website have been selling for higher prices too.

  11. For the budget section, under $20,000AUD at least, too many people overlook the Picanto GT. More reliable than a Abarth, a really good sound, ultra efficient, very light, paired with good looks imo. Bought one last year and put 43,000kms on it and it’s never missed a beat, and that torque-y turbo I3 with its 5 speed manual never ceases to make me smile. It’s a modern classic hot hatch in all the best ways 😁

  12. A really fun car I enjoyed driving was the MG F. Great little mid engined roadster. Weighed next to nothing, had an awesome, torque-y little motor, nice manual transmission, handled really well – you sat so low to the ground it felt quick even when going slow. They cost absolutely bugger all too.

  13. Nissan 350z. So much fun to drive. Bought my 2006 m/t coupe with low miles and clean title for $8k a few years ago and I swear nothing in this price range beats how fun it is to drive. Absolutely love the car. Even the ones Doug mentioned on this list, in this price point, are nowhere near as reliable as a well-taken care of Z.

    1. @BlackonBlackE46 Absolutely true. The takeover crowd VQs are an embarrassment to car enthusiasts. And most Z33s for sale are shitboxes. I looked on marketplace recently and it was even more trash to sift through than when I bought mine in 2019.

  14. what a great video. this is the perspective most enthusiasts views cars, and ownership. this is the type of list only Doug Demuro can make, and I really like the very direct way it is explained, and the reality it represents. thank you Doug!

  15. Fiesta ST is an honorable mention! Rented one on Turo during vacation and now have one in the garage next to our S2000. The torque, short wheelbase and lift off oversteer make it one of the most fun cars for the money!

    Hope to add an rx8 r3 to the garage at some point. Test drove one several years back and still think about it.

    1. I have a Focus ST, which definitely should have made this list. And, yes, get an RX-8. Still miss mine. Incredible car.

    2. THIS… I own a mk8 ST and I’ve test driven an abarth. It completely blows it out the water in terms of drive. Not available in the US though which is why it won’t have made this list. Only the Mk7 was if I recall correctly.

    3. I’ll take it a step further and say ANY Mk7/Mk8 Fiesta. The ST is, of course, the best version, but even a SE base model is a joy to toss around. Ford absolutely nailed it with the Fiesta chassis.

    4. @The Mr ChickenI have a MK7 st in the US. I also drove the Abarth to compare when I was shopping. The ST is way better driving experience. The Abarth is only better in terms of noise from the factory.

  16. I’m very glad Doug mentioned the RX8! I have a 2004 and I’m pushing 326hp out of my engine modified but still naturally aspirated! I daily it and have put 20k km on it without any major issue, I just keep up with maintenance and drive her hard and she makes my daily commute absolutely wonderful 🙂

    1. whp? Would be very interested into what you’ve done to make that. Where can I find out more if you wouldn’t mind sharing?

    2. @Dow it’s a very custom setup but I’ll give a summary here if you’d like.
      Full solid dowel, 4 port irons (I’ll explain why later), full race port, full bridge port, peripheral port, cut Inlet runners, GSLSE rotor housings, slotted rx8 rotors, race clearanced rotors, lightened rotors, and full assembly with clutch included balanced. I use the 4 port irons with the peripheral port to retain the stock shutter valve setup while gaining higher power. Custom intake manifold and exhaust Headers, Racing beat revi intake, and racing beat midpipe and catback. I run 94 octane fuel (94 octane canadian). Ignition is all black halo racing. My redline for that figure was 11k rpm but i only run to 10k normally for safety. All the work otherwise including engine build was done myself! I think that covers the basics?

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