Base Price: $26,605/$35,105
Output: 265 hp, 244 lb-ft/305 hp, 290 lb-ft
Why It Made the List: Raucous, rally-bred fun; all-weather capability; and room for the whole brood.
When you think of frugal, all-weather fun, you think of the Subaru WRX. You should also think of another F: family. The compact sedan has tidy dimensions, but it’s comfortable enough for two parents plus children and is available as a hatchback for those who want even more utility. The WRX starts at a relatively thrifty $26,605, so picking one up won’t break the bank. The price includes a raucous 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer four mated to a five-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive.
For even more fun without having to make any familial sacrifices, buyers can step up to the WRX STI. Essentially a watered-down version of the same car Subaru used to run in World Rally Competition races, the STI takes the WRX to the next level: 40 more horsepower, an extra cog in the transmission, and a trick all-wheel drive system that allows for driver-selectable torque distribution between the front and rear axles.