2014 Toyota Prius VEnlarge Photo
We know what you love. You love to see guys warp by in Aventadors and Corvette Stingrays and SRT Vipers because...Aventador, Stingray, Viper. It can make your day to know someone's ripping off a redline run, even if it isn't you.
The opposite of that place is your dark space--where you'll find the cars and drivers guaranteed to piss you off. They fire up instant rage, and it's not your fault. It's theirs--partly the car itself, but mostly because of the drivers that flock to it and use it as an instrument of driving cruelty. Ever been waterboarded by a minivan doing 66 mph in the left lane, Captain Clueless at the wheel? We feel your pain.Idiot drivers with contemptible cars can ruin a perfectly good strafing run down a clean stretch of road. The first trick is knowing when to spot them a mile ahead. That gives you plenty of time to steer clear, blow by, and mellow out once you're back up to cruising speed, safe in the knowledge you'll never pick one of these for your own personal whip:
What the SUV was to the 1990s, the Prius is to our postmodem era. The Prius isn't just a car, it's an almost mythic collision of potent cultural totems--kinda like Miley Cyrus going Mach 2-inappropriate with a huge styrofoam hand. (Go Packers!) Like you, we hate the Prius because it pushes the act of driving off the marquee, down there with the other former Disney child stars, while it preaches at the rest of us. Smug greens, families with a conscience, HOV-lane opportunists--they're all so busy trying to save the planet, they're too distracted to pick a lane, any lane, other than the middle one.
2001 Mercury Sable GSEnlarge Photo
Gramma, no! The Sable was the Grand Marquis for retirees too fiscally conservative to buy a real Grand Marquis, which makes this one a frequent flyer in the far, far, far right lane. You'll never be able to exit again, ever. On a personal note, the Sable was badge engineering at its least engineer-y, and that made us cynical about all that was latter-day Mercury. Pro tip: all the cool elderly people who can barely pass the vision test are driving Scions, anyway.
1976 Pontiac Firebird Trans AmEnlarge Photo
Like Burt Reynolds, the Pontiac Firebird will not go quietly into the night. Or the day. Or even the next intersection. It's a car that can't do anything at a normal sound level, once its Canadian-coiffed pilot grabs a gear. For God's sake, man, an engineer worked overtime to design that exhaust system and muffler. Use it. We need some sleep.
2000 Ford Econoline Cargo VanEnlarge Photo
The classic white windowless van
Nothing says legit--or eclipses your entire view of the road ahead--like a white van with no small-business magnetic decals, no side glass, and no FM radio. Either way, nature says "approach with caution!" Pass it the same way, since you'll never be able to see around this rolling Amber Alert without a Ouija board and a sophisticated network of camera drones.
2001 Honda InsightEnlarge Photo
We give props to the first real hybrid, but these anti-speed Skinner experiments are a supermagnet for hypermilers driving dangerously. They ignore all traffic laws in the quest for another tenth of a gallon to chump their buds on Fuelly, ignoring the multi-car fireball they just triggered across the downtown connector at rush hour. The worst part? It's considered politically incorrect to snicker at their fender skirts.
acura nsx 1989 2005 013Enlarge Photo
This car is awesome and so is its driver--no, really, just ask him. His car ego is sated by the NSX's unspoiled aluminum beauty, while his paranoid wallet scrapes by on legendary Acura reliability. Hey, we respect the VTEC. However, every single classic NSX we see on the road is being nursed along on a budget, rolling slow to avoid chewing up $1000 tires every 3000 miles, coming to complete stops every 800 feet to avoid scraping that snowplow of a chin spoiler. The most practical supercar ever still is pretty impractical, and that pisses us all off like you don't know what.