The time has come for your faithful Touge California rallymaster to get a new set of wheels. A shift in family priorities means that my trusty 2003 Honda Odyssey will be returning to kid-hauling duty with the missus, so I’m looking for a daily driver to handle my LA commuting needs. Of course, as a contributor to JNC, owner of a diecast model business, and announcer at JCCS, not just any vehicle will do. Since the JNC community was so helpful in steering Mrs Hsu toward the perfect car for her new life in LA, I’m hoping that your collective wisdom will once again generate a list of suitable candidates. Here are my requirements:
- It must have a back seat that can accommodate two young kids, one of whom still requires a full-sized child safety seat. No flexibility on this point.
- It must be at least somewhat modern, with reasonable level of crashworthiness in a freeway environment loaded with inattentively driven crossovers.
- It must pass California registration and smog tests with zero hassle. That pretty much means only fuel injected cars will be considered, and it definitely means that privately imported JDM vehicles are out.
- If a car was offered for sale in the US with a manual transmission, then ONLY manual versions of that car will be considered.
- It must be stock. Stock means stock. If you suggest a car with “easily reversible mods,” you need to be prepared to come to my home and easily reverse them yourself. For free.
- It must have some sort of performance potential. That can mean high-speed touring on the interstate, or it can mean cone-killing prowess at an autocross. Whatever, it just needs to be fun to drive.
- It must be $5,000 or less.
- Obviously, it has to be Japanese. I’ve made a couple of ill-advised BMW purchases, and I’m pretty sure that if I do that again my wife will leave me. And if she doesn’t, then Ben Hsu definitely will.
What car should our Touge California Rallymaster get?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What JNC needs to be Kylo Ren’s ride in the next Star Wars?”
This week’s winner was Jeremy A, who went with the following rationale. If you saw the movie, it would make sense: