As you might know, while this blog keeps me busy, it doesn’t pay the bills. As you also might know, I’ve been unemployed for a while now. Thus, I’ve been looking for ways to either make money or add to my credentials.
A few days before NYFW SS12, an opportunity came up where I could do the latter with an internship at one of my favourite blogs, Jalopnik. All I had to do was compile a Top 10 list from the Question of the Day feature for the following day’s Answers of the Day. Location-location-location trumped all and another was chosen.
However, the new intern never did post his winning list regarding the best compact sedan ever made. Just moved on to the next QOTD. No matter; I will post my entry instead. Make the jump to see what I chose from suggestions made by the commentariat at the time I sent off my application, and why they are the best compact sedans ever…
10.) Peugeot 405 T16
Suggested By: Vavon = part of 3% club!
Why it’s the best compact sedan ever: It’s French, so it’ll be as comfortable as its big sister the 505. It’s styled by Pininfarina, so it has zazz. And like its little sister–the 205 T16–it had all-wheel drive and produced 200 roaring lions out of its turbocharged four-banger. Having a hydropneumatic rear axle just makes it more French, so long as you have spare fluid on hand.
9.) Datsun 510 (First generation)
Suggested By: End User
Why it’s the best compact sedan ever: It looks like an E30, but isn’t as expensive to maintain as one. And as End User put it, “it was like Lego,” in that parts were interchangeable for easy upkeep or modification. Do it up in BRE livery, and you’ll be the coolest person at the autocross event that weekend.
8.) Chevrolet Cobalt SS Sedan
Suggested By: Pilotman. + agent roadkill
Why it’s the best compact sedan ever: Yes, it’s one of the reasons GM ended up begging for money from the government, but the Cobalt in SS form, especially as a sedan, was not a bad bit of kit to have in your garage. 260 horses (40 more with a reflash of a chip) and Brembos through a 5-speed manual for $24k? If it’s good enough for Jalopnik (who reviewed the car in 2008), it’s good enough for your family.
7.) Chevrolet Corvair
Suggested By: rawtoast, crazycarlarry + Jared Glentz
Why it’s the best compact sedan ever: Take a boxer engine, stuff it in the back, add four doors and some classic styling, and you’ve got a car that’ll make Ralph Nader swing away from you out of fear and, perhaps, out of petty jealousy. Should the Corvair succumb to the tin worm, the engine can be used on your new kit plane or that VW Type 1 you’ve been working on, as well.
6.) SAAB 99 Turbo
Suggested By: ∞Gîmmî∞Sagaŋ∞ðm∞Drakeŋ∞Anything worth anything came from a shed ∞
Why it’s the best compact sedan ever: Poor SAAB. Before you were diluted by the same GM that gave us the Cobalt SS Sedan, then bought by Stryker only to falter hard, you gave us wonderfully Swedish hoonmobiles like the 99 Turbo (I know the 99 above isn’t a Turbo; just pretend it is). Heck, even the wheels had turbo-styled zazz! Adding four doors was just practical hoonage, whether it was a trip to IKEA for a table or to the ski lodge for a family skiing/hunting trip!
5.) Honda Accord (Fourth generation)
Suggested By: bassumarus
Why it’s the best compact sedan ever: It looks grown-up, can take routine maintenance (read: every now and again), will last long enough to teach your children how to drive, remain stylish for ages to come, and, like the Prelude next door, can take on all sorts of go-fast-go-furious goodies while looking like neither… unless you add scissor doors, of course.
4.) Ford Focus (First generation)
Suggested By: Sam I – Texalopnik Ambassador
Why it’s the best compact sedan ever: It replaced the rather sedate Escort in 1994, and whatever parts went into its rallying hatchback sister can give your Focus some added zest. Plus, it has an engine whose name sounds like an anti-allergy medication, which is probably cool, right? Oh, and if you really wanted to, you could stuff a 302 under the hood for ultimate sleeper freakiness.
3.) Plymouth Reliant
Suggested By: witless_protection + Dr_Watson
Why it’s the best compact sedan ever: This car saved Chrysler’s butt from bankruptcy the first time: Plus. Looks like a salesman’s car: Plus. Can be modified to an inch of its life: Big doubleplus good. Can blow the doors off a Toyota Supra in the quarter-mile and sound awesome doing it: You just broke the internet.
2.) Volkswagen Jetta (Second generation)
Suggested By: ckron247
Why it’s the best compact sedan ever: Just ask the Chinese; they continue to build one to this day, so that has to mean something, right? It also has a rally-car look with the round lenses (especially when it had driving lights in the grill) from before its first facelift. Finally, with a trunk in the back, the Jetta’s styling was more balanced than its Golf sibling, which was little more than a Jetta with the trunk removed.
1.) Subaru Impreza
Suggested By: Slowlane, StreetsideStig + RedMonkey999
Why it’s the best compact sedan ever: Having a long rallying history goes a long way. Permanent all-wheel drive makes the Impreza perfect for those arduous trips through the ice and snow of Vermont to school, work and the grocery store. And of course, with certain modifications, you can even outrun a falling tree!