Just because you have kids and a dog and errands to run doesn’t mean you’ve lost that spark that drives you to want to blast away from a light turning green, hit max g-forces on your favourite onramps, and carve up a winding road when there’s no traffic to hold you back.
Well, we gathered this list from various price points, body styles, and sizes, but they all deliver satisfying speed and handling even when loaded up with the kiddos and rushing to make it to swimming lessons on time, or driving up to cottage country for the annual camping trip.
The Subaru WRX STI is one of the original sport compacts, and although you can no longer get it in hot hatch flavour, the sedan is still pretty practical and can serve a family of four nicely, with plenty of budget left over for track days on the weekend. If the manual-only 310 hp $40K STI is too much of anything, the milder WRX offers up 268 hp starting at $30K with an optional CVT (don’t roll your eyes about the CVT, it’s fast and good). Plus it still has that standard all-wheel drive to master Canadian winters.
It may look like it was designed by a teenager with a tuning budget, but the Honda Civic Type R is a driver’s car through and through. Like the STI, it is manual only and packs over 300 ponies, 306 to be exact, at a little over $40K. Although the Civic Type R is front-wheel drive, it handles spectacularly and manages its 295 lb-ft of torque without putting a wheel wrong.
Despite driving what many consider the wrong wheels, the Civic Type R is the best driver’s car on this list [arguably –Ed.], with a magical manual transmission and steering that speaks loud and clear for those that want to be engaged in the driving task and not just blasting away as fast as possible.
The Golf R isn’t the most aggressive hot hatch out there, with its subtle styling and refined, composed ride, but it’s still fast, with 292 hp from its 2.0L turbo powering all four wheels, taking it to 100 km/h in less than five seconds.
Aside from a classy interior at the same price point as the STI and Civic Type R, the Golf R can be had with a slick six-speed manual or an excellent seven-speed dual-clutch and it comes in about a million colours, so there’s something for everyone.
But unfortunately, you cannot get it with the GTI’s traditional plaid seats.
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The Stelvio Quadrifoglio makes this list not for its massive outright speed, but for nailing the driving “passion”. Like the Giulia it’s based on, the Stelvio QV has vivid steering and chassis feedback, and excellent balance to make the most of the 505 hp and 443 lb-ft going to all four wheels.
With fierce braking and a quick eight-speed automatic transmission, it’s no surprise that the Stelvio can set an incredible Nürburgring lap time of 7m51.7s, currently the fastest from a production SUV, and quicker than the pricier Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, though few have challenged the Green Hell in SUVs (hello, Lamborghini Urus).
Still, it’s a joy to drive, fast as hell, and plenty of room for the family to take for a Costco run.
Have a hankering for one of the Dodge Hellcat twins, but just can’t quite pull the trigger or get executive approval for a two-ton coupe or dowdy large sedan? You’re in luck, because Jeep raided the Dodge power pantry and stuffed the 707 hp Hellcat Hemi into their family-friendly Grand Cherokee.
With four-wheel drive and SUV practicality, it’s a year-round affair (don’t cheap out on winter tires, please), but out on a drag strip it can hit 100 km/h in under four seconds and run a quarter-mile in under 12.
If you’re thinking it’s a budget option compared to the Germans below, think again, as the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk starts at over $110,000. But there is also the more modest (hahahahaha) 475 hp SRT model, starting under $80K.
It’s time to take a look at some of the Teutonic Titans you knew would be on this list. From Bavaria, there are a variety of fast sedans that would no doubt serve families perfectly well, and although we are disappointed about the lack of an M3 Wagon, there is no denying the practicality of BMW’s large X5 crossover.
In X5M tune, its 4.4L twin-turbo V8 makes 567 hp and 553 lb-ft, hitting 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, and it handles like nobody’s business, thanks in no small part to 20-inch wheels, with the rears almost a whole foot wide with 325/35R20 rubber. It may be extravagantly pricey at $112,400 MSRP, but it’s stylish, fast, and practical.
To many casual observers, the Mercedes-AMG E63 Wagon will simply look like a frumpy, uncool station wagon with a big Mercedes badge, but car lovers everywhere will snap their necks for a second look at one of the last true fast wagons in North America. The Affalterbach hand-built 4.0L V8 is twin-turbocharged to 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque, good for hauling you, the family, and 640 L of groceries in the trunk from rest to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds. With handling that will smash all your eggs and crush the bread in the all-wheel-drive wagon’s “Drift” mode.
Okay, it’s time to blow our budgetary considerations right out of the water, because when Porsche builds a wagon (close enough) and slaps a Turbo badge on it, well, it’s time to throw out the rulebook. The Panamera Sport Turismo may not be lithe, light, and agile like a Cayman or a Boxster – or have a singular focus like the 911 GT3 – but it still has that scintillating Porsche balance and poise no matter how hard you drive it – and driving it hard is a thing of ease and beauty.
Oh, and the fact that the Panamera Sport Turismo Turbo S E-Hybrid has 680 hp, can rifle off 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds yet cruise on pure electric power for up to 50 km with 425 litres of cargo capacity is pretty spectacular no matter how you slice it.
Tesla Model X P100D
Does the Panamera Sport Turismo Turbo S E-Hybrid seem too expensive? Too slow? Too inefficient? Too old-fashioned? If you need the absolute latest cutting-edge powertrain technology and doors that open like some kind of supercar, the Tesla Model X might be more your flavour. The Tesla SUV can hit 100 km/h in about three seconds in the top $181,000 P100D with its Ludicrous mode, and can seat five, six, or seven passengers.
It runs on pure electricity with a range of up to 465 km on a full charge, and it has one of the most sophisticated autonomous driving systems on the market.
Come on, not everyone wants to limit their go-fast fun to paved roads, right? If you want to go tearing across off-road trails or jump some sand dunes like a desert racer, the Ford Raptor is the king of off-road speed. Besides a tricked out off-road suspension with badass Fox shocks, 35-inch all terrain tires, the Raptor is powered by Ford’s twin-turbo 3.6L V6 to the tune of 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque, and starts at roughly $70K.