QotW: If you could only drive cars from one marque, what would it be?

If car companies had their way, every buyer would be a return customer. Start your automotive life with a Tercel, move up to a nicer Corolla at your first job, get a Camry when your family expands, and arrive in a Cressida when you’ve really made it. Thankfully, we have choices in life, but what if you were forced to stick with one brand for your whole existence?

For the purposes of this exercise this means you’ll have to use cars from the same marque for all your motoring needs, but you won’t be limited to a certain year or continent. You could commute with a Minica, have a weekend FTO fun car, and haul your lumber with a Mighty Max if you so desire.

If you could only drive cars from one marque, what would it be?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Daily, Garage, Sell — Mazda Miata, Toyota MR2 Spyder, and Honda S2000.

We can’t go into everyone’s answers this week as it would be too confusing, but we encourage you read the responses. For the daily, many chose the Miata due to its reliability, compliance, and general fun-to-drive personality. A few chose the MR2 given its Toyota durability and uniqueness. Unfortunately, it’s mid-engined layout wasn’t enough to garner a lot of love. Thanks to polarizing styling and lack of luggage space, it was by far the most popular car to sell out of our roadster trio. That makes the S2000 the most garaged car, a status attributed to its rising value and a high-revving engine that is glorious to behold on a winding road but harder to live with on a commute.

It was a really tough selection this week, but the winner is Taylor C., who writes from experience.

I have had the fortune to drive all three cars, some more extensively than others. Each of the cars offer their own unique driving experience. I will make the following selections: NA Miata, 2000-2004 MR-S, and AP2 S2000.

Miata – Daily Driver: I have owned my 1997 NA for over 17 years, and it’s been the most reliable vehicle in the stable. Its running costs are very low, it’s easy to drive (both in high speed as well as bumper-to-bumper), uses 87 octane, and maintenance / replacement parts are plentiful. You don’t have to wring out the engine, but you are definitely more than welcome to, and the car returns 27-29MPG no matter what. The trunk is surprisingly useful, and if you need more space, there’s some more room on the bulkhead behind my rollbar.

Since I live in New England, I would have to apply anti-corrosion protectant underneath if I’m driving it during the winter (cringe). My car is lowered, but snow days are usually WFH days, so I’m not too worried about plowing the car into snow drifts. But definitely a set of 14″ snow tires will help lots. Throw the hardtop during the colder / wetter months, and I’m set. I’ve done long distances on the car, and although it’s no land yacht, it’s still easy on the body. There’s a certain sweet spot feeling when enjoying a car without much effort needed.

MR-S – Sell: The shifting is super short, the engine growls behind you, and the car handles like it’s on rails. However, it’s extremely small inside, and I remember the interior not having much storage space, if any. I don’t remember much luggage space either. I still haven’t warmed up to the styling; the headlight styling doesn’t appeal to me. Power is 138hp, just a bit more than my NA, therefore that rawness is not going to be present on this car. Unfortunately slightly underrated, but there’s a reason for that.

S2000 – Weekender: The S2000 would not work that well as a daily putt-putt; hit VTEC and already at another traffic light. It’s definitely made for enjoying when closer to the limits. I can just imagine ripping through the mountainous roads with the top down. The 8000rpm would echo through the forests, and this cycle would repeat as I snick through the gears. Mine would be a 2005 Grand Prix White with the tan / black interior, and I’d get the 20th Anniversary front bumper to go with it. Let’s go.

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18 Responses to QotW: If you could only drive cars from one marque, what would it be?

  1. HE HE says:


    Pre-First Job

    I could start it out with a silver 2016 Lancer with the 2.4 L 4-cylinder. They aren’t Evos, but they get the job done, at least for a young person. Maybe an aftermarket exhaust from GReddy, and I’d want a K&N Intake system. It would sound really tough, which is cool, and that’s the point.

    First Job

    I’d get a Red or Silver Colt Ralliart as daily. I could have this as AWD and take it to the dirt, gravel, or loose surface to have a lot of fun. I’d get those mud flaps like on rally cars, some foglights to look cool and use when it’s dawn or dusk.

    I’d also get a grey Starion as a weekender and possibly a show car. No paint modifications, but I’d polish it a ton to make it look special. Maybe I should place the headlights between the hood and fenders, like classic JNCs like the 240Z. And I would simplify the car in the interior or exterior, to give it the JNC look.

    Post-First Job / Later in life

    I’d get a grey 07 Gallant Ralliart as my daily, I’d make it a little more powerful and faster than the 258 hp it comes stock with. An aftermarket radiator that’s not crazy, just in the middle. Maybe another K&N intake system to add a little more power and to make it more efficient. And I’d want to make it luxurious inside, just not too luxurious. Mainly the seats, dash, and door panels to make it feel cozy. A Bose audio system would be nice so I can listen to music or podcasts. (Donut Podcast has a podcast about the Midnight Club so check it out) And also I want it to be lower to the ground and possibly some nice wheels. Now that’s a baller car.

    I plan to go offroading, but I can’t afford a Pajero Evo, so a dark green+grey Pajero Mini with the bullbars is perfect. Purchase a tent, pack up, and head to the trails and have some fun in the Outback. A winch, foglights, and a roof rack also help. Put some thick offroad tires, some nice suspension and it could compete in the Dakar Rally and can have people sleep in it comfortably. A Ford Bronco competitor, but better. The Mini is also compact, so it’s light and kind of nimble. And if I want to tow a boat, I can install a trailer hitch no problem.

    Now, my dream car is the Evo X, but I’m certain that I can’t afford one, so an early 1st or 2nd gen Evo will do it because those aren’t as expensive as the the X. A grey or white one is the one I’ll take because it gives me the Jackie Chan vibe, but that’s most likely because he drove a lot of Evos in movies. And it reminds me of Ralliart, which I wish they could make a new Mirage Ralliart! Just like Kyochi Sudo’s Evo in Initial D, I want to put an anti lag system to make it sound absolutely bonkers. Mud flaps give it the rally look, which I love. It’s perhaps a weekender or one I want to keep real nice because of all cars, I’ll take the Evo every day of my life.

  2. kyushanerd. says:

    Definetley Honda. Because:
    They are reliable
    They are fun to drive
    They are cool AF
    Soichiro San told me to.

  3. Taylor C. says:

    This QotW is definitely going to return biased responses, but oh well, let’s give it a whirl. Hopefully it doesn’t end up in the phish folder.

    Nissan it is, but I will have to select wisely, as the marque has been going through a lot of transitions, some for the worse.

    starter car: I guess I’ll have to go with a little Sentra, specifically the B13s with the four-wheel independent suspension. I’ll pretend my parents were fortunate enough to get this putt-putt for me, and in manual transmission spec too. I’m sure it wouldn’t be the SE-R, with insurance and added costs; an four-door XE it is. Definitely not as responsive to ricer mods, but I guess a fuba, an exhaust tip, some fog lights, and maybe some SE-R wheels to dress it up. Very high school feel to it.

    Post college: Sentra got me through college, and now I’m making some money. I sure wouldn’t mind a 180SX, or a 1994 Maxima SE. Two very different paths, but I like my coupes as well as “4-door sports cars.” August 1992 Car and Driver pitted the Maxima SE with the Camry SE and Taurus SHO, and I was enamored by this whole “sports sedan” concept. Having a sleeper with a nice V6 and manual transmission, AND four doors so that all your friends can enjoy, that’s sharing the love right there. My mom had a 1991 SE, and although it was automatic, it was wonderful. The 180SX seems to be allocating to another category….

    Family car: 2007 Nissan Fuga, or Infiniti M45 with the sport package. Nissan resale is terrible, so this luxury car can easily be attainable. If I really wanted to go nostalgic, a sexy G50 Nissan President or 1994 Infiniti Q45 would be nice, but those cars were very much succeeded by the Fuga / M45, with more power, more rear seat room, technological updates. A big sedan with a V8 just commands presence.

    Bigger Family Car: Nissan Elgrand. I am torn between the E51 or E52. Both look great, but the E51 is RWD, which doesn’t mean much in the minivan realm, but still, some bragging rights. I would get the white Highway Star model.

    Sports Car: A Z32 300ZX, something we just stared at hypnotically when the magazine’s two-page side profile spread came up back then. I am fortunate to have one tucked away in the garage, and I purposely bought the N/A because the purchase wasn’t meant for speed, but just to satiate the hungry eyes. The car is an excellent long-distance piece of machine, and if you keep it all highway, it’ll return 25MPG too. Mine is a 1995, last of the OBD1s FWIW, but I’ve added the kouki front bumper, the updated clear tail lights, the Recaro SR3 confettis, and have lowered the car slightly. Just keep staring……..

    That 180SX unfortunately wasn’t hypnotizing me enough….

    All-Out Sports Car: With money oozing out of my pockets, I guess I’d like a 2002 Skyline GT-R V-Spec II Nur, just tack on all the suffixes to that model. Some “wikipedia engineering” checked off all the yumminess: improved engine and turbos, carbon fiber hood, bigger brakes, clear corners to carry on the high school tradition, nice white color. One might ask, “why not the GT-R Z-tune?” Sure, it’s the ultimate, but those leather seats and the red contrasting interior unfortunately didn’t do it for me. I’ll be honest, I’d be scared to try and take this onto the race track. It’ll be fun, but I’m sure it’ll be a LOT of everything to handle.

    One can definitely dream….

  4. Trey Spicola says:

    Honda¡! thanx folks

  5. Sedanlover says:

    Well, I’ve been trying to live this exact question for most of my adult life!
    Hands down, TOYOTA.
    I have worked for the Toyota dealer network in varying capacities and I’m a mega fan of the brand, also having owned a few models along the way.
    I often find myself searching http://www.wheelsage.org/toyota to see what models I could add to my dream garage. I love seeing the pictures of now classic models when they were brand spanking!
    As a global brand, they have many models I’ve never seen (the Australian market gets a fraction of what’s available), but here’s what I’d love to have in and around a 4000m2 shed (not sure that’ll be big enough actually):

    Hilux – all three of these please

    Cresta Super Lucent – I want to be the guy that has a fleet of GX51’s in the shed, all shiney and low. I’m partial to the subtle curves of the GX81 too…

    Corolla wagon 1990 – I just need to grab something quickly at the shop, I’ll take the Corolla wagon (we never got these in Aus. Look how sweet it looks in the two-tone with the red pinstripe – I’d throw a set of roof racks on for versatility)

    Hiace Super Custom Limited – I’ve always wanted one of these!

    Toyota Crown wagon S130 – I have one of these right now as my special car (on limited reg) and it’s a cool car. Love me a crown wagon, but I’d love to have a few variants kicking around the shed. One I could paint all black and have a 3UZ-FE with manual trans… mmm and then a mint ’95 white over grey two-tone, like this one:

    [promise I’ll wrap this up soon]

    Century – the king of all Toyota’s. Gotta have a VG40 in silver and a GZG50 in black, both with the wool interior

    2000GT – in yellow
    Rocky Auto 3000GT – in black?

    Okay okay I’ve gone on for too long… but it’s a big shed and I’m sure I could squeeze in a few more, plus there’s room round the side.
    Gotta have a few Hilux Surf, Carina GT, A60 Celica with the flip-up headlights, KP61 Startlets, MZ21 & JZZ30 Soarer, AE86 in all forms, Townace, MegaCruiser, 70th Anniversary VDJ76 Landcruiser wagon with the optional grille, AW11 MR2, Estima V6, Alphard, Vellfire, Mark X GRMN, GR Yaris in all colours, new GR Corolla too and more Crown’s please from all the years…
    The list goes on.

    But for me, it’s not just about the cars (I mean it is, but hear me out), it’s about the culture and tuning history of each model. I’d want to have a huge collection of period-correct wheels, interior accessories, seats, body kits, lights, merch & apparel, steering wheels, flags, magazines, toys, etc. I guess I could build a mezzanine floor for this stuff.

    Can I have a few Lexus IS-F too? Lexus wouldn’t exist without Toyota.
    If yes, I’d daily a new Lexus IS350.
    Okay, thanks bye.

  6. Jim Daniels says:

    Without a doubt Toyota! I would up date to a 2021 Tundra TRD supercharged as my daily. A 2022 GR Supra for fun and road trips with my wife as my wife will not ride in my 240Z. A Sienna AWD Limiter/Platinum for family events and the rare trips to the cities. A 2021 Land Cruiser for my wife’s daily. And an FJ40 for time off road fishing, hunting and exploring.

  7. Brett says:

    Hard question; bonds with particular marques can be formed at time when its cars had certain qualities, which over time have changed and might be ultimately lost, and the things that people like and value in a car can also change over time. I have strong history with both BMW and Mercedes Benz, but both brands have significantly changed since I first owned them and both make cars today that probably wouldn’t measure up to their previous standards, even though they are technologically superior. I suppose you could answer on an emotion level, recalling times in a car that are significant milestones in your life, but with the rose -coloured glasses removed it was the experience that was great, the car probably not so much; but the blinkers can be hard to shed and tying to balance all of those elements and distill down to one brand is a near impossible task. The simple truth is that at different times I in my life I would give a different answer. So here goes: In my Youth; Ford, and I discovered the essence of life in one, after a few false starts. As a 20’s something adult; BMW, after I discovered the true joy of driving, and BMW still made cars that strived to give just that. When I started a family; Mercedes Benz, who made cars that protected all of things that I love the most. And somewhat overlapping; Subaru, who made the fun cars I drove while my family rode in the protection of a Mercedes Benz. As I have grown older; in their own way, all of them for different reasons. But there is only one answer, and if chose I must, then it is Mercedes Benz.

  8. j_c says:

    Toyota. Other brands have made cars that excel at one purpose or another but not the sheer variety that Toyota has done.

    You want a boring car?
    Sporty car?
    Dependable truck or SUV?
    Luxury GT? (sure, we’ll count Lexus)
    A mid-engine car?
    An efficient hybrid?

    Toyota has done that.

  9. Eric says:

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Toyota. There current lineup has a little bit of everything and I weirdly like most of it. Plus old RWD Toyotas for my classic car itch. What a time to be alive.

  10. Patrick says:

    I think it would have to be Toyota. I can enjoy my classics with a Celica, go off roading in a built 3rd gen 4runner, tow and drive the family and dogs in a Sequoia or Sienna, hard to beat a taco or Tacoma for truck stuff… All I am missing is a big clunky 50s wagon for cruising.

  11. エーイダン says:

    Whatever marque I drive first will likely be my last. Either by way of a crash or road rage going horribly awry. In any case, it’d be Nissan.

  12. RotorNutcase says:

    They say: Put your money where your mouth is.
    So I guess I did (this was NOT by plan, but it just turned out this way)

    1st new car: ’83 626LX coupe
    2nd new car: ’87 RX-7 Sport Package
    new spouse car: ’90 929S
    “race” car: ’83 FB RX-7
    “Commuter car”: ’85 RX-7 GSL-SE
    1st “family” car: ’03 MPV LX
    2nd “family” car: ’04 RX-8 Sport Pkg (hey, it has room for baby car seat!!!)
    Replacement “family” car: ’16 CX-5 Touring
    1st car for kid to drive: ’14 Mazda 3
    Retirement “play car”: Rotary Pick Up

    [ok I have to confess, bought an E350 to tow the race FB years ago]

    And that’s all folks… 😉

    • bv911 says:

      lolz, you’re my hero…

      Mazda for me too.

      I’ve done this also, although only three cars, and no RX-7’s, though I was lucky enough to drive two (an FB and an FC convertible).

      Have had a ‘95 Protégé, an ‘04 6 Wagon, and currently drive a ‘13 Speed3.

      Would want a Cosmo, of course, an RX-2, a GSL-SE, the hatchback version of my Protege that we didn’t get in the States, and an FD. And your REPU and race car too!

  13. dankan says:

    This is fun to read the answers to as everyone comes up with a car-buying life that has some real under-the-radar great car for different stages of ones life. But while figuring out a one-make dream garage of motoring life experiences is really fun, I started thinking about what would happen if I had to think about this in future. What would I do in 2022 if someone told me I had to commit to one brand for the rest of my life. That’s a tricky question as it’s not just about the brands, it’s about what my future will be like and what the car industry will do. I know that EVs are going to be mandatory in future, and that chances of having a classic to drive will be more limited. So, what company seems like it will offer an enthusiast friendly future for a normal, not rich guy?

    I think that if I was having to commit, I might abandon my Toyota for a future with Nissan. I’ve had lousy experiences with them in the past, but the company seems like it is starting to recover its mojo, and is frankly a lot more forward looking than Akio has been lately, and seems to be a little braver than the Honda boys and girls. I could happily have a daily driver Ariya, and then, once my daughter has grown up, moved out, and got a life of her own, downsize for an electric Silvia for some carbon-zero fun pretending to be Sascha Fenestraz. And in the back of the garage, using whatever “classic” status is available to get my hands on a limited supply of dino-juice, I can have an S13 or S14 to remember what fun used to really be like, or maybe be an old man with an old man’s car driving an F31 Leopard or Infiniti M45.

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