What makes a fun car? Is it its ability to make you smile, its nimble-footedness around mountain passes, or its next-level comfort features loved by everyone on board? I pick my five favourites, but be warned, they might not necessarily match your idea of cars that are fun!
As a twenty-year-old, it’s easy to pick a fun car. It should be fast, sleek, and expensive. But when you’re a parent, your priorities change and your idea of fun evolves – it’s no longer fun when your kids can’t join in – and there’s no space for kids in a small coupe. For this reason, I picked five fun cars I’ve driven recently, suitable for all types of fun-loving people and occasions, not just the young and unencumbered.
1. Audi TT RS
The TT RS Coupé is certainly not new, but as Audi’s internal combustion production is slowly but surely grinding to a halt, we recommend you grab one while you still can – it may very well be a future classic.
This little pocket-rocket with 294kW and 480Nm is special in a multitude of ways – it looks the business in its Mamba green paint job and red brake callipers, and it is ridiculously fast, while its cockpit will lure you in even if it’s just to listen to your favourite tunes over the Bang & Olufsen sound system. It’s nothing but unadulterated driving fun – especially if you switch off the electronic nannies and allow it to get tail-happy! Whoever said that money doesn’t buy happiness, hasn’t driven the TT RS. Those with kids should steer clear, however – the rear bench doesn’t really offer legroom, but there are ISOfix anchorage points for a baby/toddler seat!
Read our review here: Your Monday-to-Sunday Supercar
2. MINI Cooper SE Hatch, R723 000
Who said that fun cars had to be practical, right? The Mini Se gives you a triple whammy of fun – there’s that low centre of gravity for that quintessential MINI experience, that immediate surge of electric power when you plant your right foot, and its overall design and contemporary quirkiness. We’re not saying you can do crazy cross-country trips with it (hello, Range Anxiety) but if you’re in need of slick city wheels the Cooper Se is fun with a capital F.
Watch our video review of the MINI SE (2020) right here!
3. Peugeot 208 1.2T Allure, R371 900
Not everyone can afford premium brands with crazy performance figures, so if you want a car that offers driving enjoyment but is still practical enough for the 9 to 5-life, the Peugeot 208 is your lady.
You’ll love holding the tiny sport steering wheel and stirring the slick-shifting manual 6-speed transmission, as well as the zealous thrum of its 74kW (with 205 Nm) 3-cylinder turbo-petrol engine and the way it just grips despite its everyday-R16-wheels. You will also get a beautifully designed virtual cockpit and a highly pragmatic cabin plus a large enough boot for everyone’s holiday luggage. The 208 also wears the sash of 2022 Women’s World Car of the Year – and us womenfolk sure are a picky bunch. Read our review below:
Peugeot 208 1.2T Allure review: An underrated B-segment contender
Also consider: Suzuki Swift Sport
4. Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupé 4MATIC+, R1 685 153 (without options)
You had better have a petrol card on hand if you want to drive this beast every day – but we’re not picking cars here that are terribly sensible, now, are we?
The spacious E53 can be driven sedately and does a fine job as a long-distance cruiser (or bruiser), but if you need to get somewhere in a hurry, or you just need a kick in the lower backside to brighten up a dull day, the E53 will deliver in spades. Offering the driver 336 kW from a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine (plus 16kW from an electric motor) and 520Nm, along with a multitude of tech features, there’s almost too much fun to be had!
Search for used and new Mercedes-AMG E-Class models on AutoTrader, here.
5. Kia Carnival 2.2 CRDi SX Limited, R999 995
As my children are getting older too, they adore the van life more than anything else. There’s enough space in the Carnival for each child to have their own designated “living” area, USB ports galore, a massive boot (even with all seats in an upright position) and those independent captain seats that make you feel like you’re flying first class.
The Carnival may be a people mover, but it doesn’t feel like you’re driving a van at all, and it features all kinds of clever driving assistants and onboard luxury features. Kia has literally thought of everything (I’m surprised there’s no espresso maker) so if you want the ultimate fun family van, the Carnival scores top marks (the name Carnival says it all!) – plus, the diesel lasts forever.
Read our review here: Kia Carnival 2.2 CRDi SX Limited (2021): The luxury bus without any fuss
Also consider: The Kia Sorento (if you want to go off-road).