If you missed part one of the series, we’re discussing what vehicles will sit in the dream garage. I don’t mean the cars we can only dream about, but the ones we can actually obtain. We’ve narrowed our search parameters to six categories: a motorcycle, a daily driver, a fast toy, a tough toy, a family hauler, and a teenage kid’s car. Part one’s Honda CB200 [link] fit the motorcycle slot like a Remmington 870 fits in your grip.
But you can’t ride a motorcycle every day unless you live in the desert, and even then, frequent sand storms and Tuscan Raiders can be restrictive. So you need a daily driver, a car to take to work on the snowy, sleeting, rain-slick and nose hair freezing days you’d rather just stay home. No, just like you probably can’t have a McLaren MP4-12C, you probably can’t skip work whenever you want.
Here’s what I look for in a daily driver:
Reliable- Your daily driver will see more miles than any of the rest of your fleet. Week after cold, wet week, it will become well acquainted with salt and ice, so it needs modern rust protection; and spring potholes, so it needs a sturdy constitution and a sturdier suspension. And because it’s the car you’ll most closely associate with your less than perfect job, you won’t want to work on it very often.
Versatile- A dream daily driver should be able to handle reasonably well in any weather. Front-wheel-drive is recommended for the ice and snow, but all-wheel-drive is even better. And life is full of surprises. You may need to suddenly transport a whole Jr. High garage band as a favor for your boss. You may need to haul his daughter’s seven-tier wedding cake. You may have to sleep in it if you run out of Red Bull the night before the project is due. Since your daily driver is your most frequently used vehicle, it should also be the most versatile.
Efficient- Gas is approaching $4/gallon.
Cool- You don’t really need street cred. After all, who really cares what other people think? But getting a little street cred doesn’t hurt, especially if you’re picking up your kids from school and their friends are all gawking at your brightly painted race car. Grocery getter? Sure.
Fun- I have a creeping suspicion that most Americans hate their daily commute. And why wouldn’t we? In the morning it’s a dark, cold death march to jobs we don’t tend to like much (unless we’re automotive bloggers). And in the evening we’re so tired from staring at computer screens or doing enough physical labor to put us on par with Spartacus that all we care about is getting home. Worst of all, we usually end up averaging 30 mph down the constipated freeways when we should be doing at least twice that. To survive this ordeal with your humanity intact, you need your daily driver to be fun.
My Choice: 2002-3 Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon
Armed with Subaru’s bulletproof boxer four, the WRX has a proven reliability. Yes, it might be harder to work on as an unusual engine type, but if I keep the oil changed, I won’t have to worry about it. The 2 liter only gained three horsepower when Subaru upped it to 2.5, so the smaller, more efficient, 227 hp boxer works well.
It’s a mistake to assume invincibility in the snow when you’re driving a car with AWD, but having all four wheels spinning doesn’t hurt, which is why you see Subarus flooding the highways in places like Denver and Boise.
Is it cool? If you live outside of America or have ever seen a Youtube video of a WRC stage, you don’t wonder such things. For the rest of you, yes, it is cool. Because it’s a wagon. Also, because while the Impreza looks like another plain old rice burner, it has a storied race background, particularly in rally. The “WR” even stands for “World Rally” and Subaru added the “X” because the FIA wouldn’t let them call it the WRC it’s the most commonly used mathematical symbol for the Unknown.
And if anything can break up the monotony of a 12 mph, coagulating line of taillights snaking over the pre-dawn horizon, it’s the Unknown.
What’s your Attainable dream daily driver?
Next up, the Attainable Fast Toy.