Can You ID These Great Cars for Autocrossing?

AUTO

By: Nikki Weed

7 Min Quiz

Image: Up-Free / Pixabay

About This Quiz

Automotive enthusiasts take many different directions when it comes to demonstrating their passion for petrol. Some enjoy spending hours on end detailing their cars for Concours style shows. Others slap on a set of slicks and trailer their cars to the nearest track. Of all of the activities any car nut can engage in, auto crossing may very well be the purest form of automotive enjoyment out there. Picture this, your car as street legal as you deem fit, screeching through a seemingly endless maze of cones pointed in one direction or another to indicate where the track leads. There's no track map, there's no navigator, and your car certainly isn't going to be judged on looks. Autocrossing gives the driver the ability to pretend to be Steve McQueen while in the safety of the semi-regulated track. 

For those that aren't familiar with autocross, it's simple. A course, typically including slaloms, straight stretches and dissolving radius curves, is mapped out in usually an abandoned parking lot. The track itself is always in flux and outlined by nothing but innocent looking traffic cones. The traffic cones are indicative of the lay of the track. A cone tipped to the left or right indicates the direction of the track. Autocrossing allows you to get your ya-ya's out without running the risk of hitting a wall, ending up over a mountain cliff, or into another car. 

Some cars are absolute masters of the autocross circuit, with the right driver, of course. Can you identify some of these incredibly nimble cars that become Parking Lot Pros during autocross? Be warned! You might be shopping for one after you receive your quiz results!

You'll be sure to master the complexities of autocross in this miniature cone slayer. What is it called?

The Mini, as of late, has taken to filling any shoes and shook the stereotype of being a tiny, impractical car. Models like the Countryman and Clubman appealed to niche markets and helped Mini grow as a worthy rival to many of the compact JDMs on the market. When John Cooper Mini Works (JCW) modifies a Mini, it turns from a comfortable and well-built car to all of the above plus a race car heart.

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The Chevy Camaro is a perfect introduction to autocross at a very modest price. What generation is this one in particular?

The fifth-generation Camaro, which brought the Camaro back from hibernation, is really one of the greats. With engine options ranging from the 3.6-liter V6 to the almost double-sized 7-liter V8, this iteration of Camaro was dialed in for success. Balance, poise and power make the fifth-generation a winner-winner-chicken-dinner around the cones.

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This BMW is an absolute master at the art of hitting the apex while navigating through a maze of cones in a parking lot, which one is it?

Although all of the answers are decent at road racing in general, the E36 M3 stands out as the absolute best on overall performance at an autocross. The car is set up to hug corners but be able to pull itself out of them as soon you clear the apex. There is much debate over which is better, the E30 or the E36. In autocross terms, the advanced technology makes the E36 slightly better in the performance department, but nothing can beat the classic styling of the E30.

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Can you name this Honda that is an absolutely hoon-worthy during hot laps?

When you want a gaping hole in the roof, but still want to be able to conquer the corners, the S2000 is for you. It might look slight in size, but don't be disillusioned, it's a mighty little car! Honda made the S2000 a full 10 years between 1999 and 2009, and the car remained a sports car at heart.

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This rotary engine-equipped car has been slaying runs around autocross circuits and road courses since 1978, what is it?

The Wankel Rotary engine used in the RX-7 is a complete driving experience compared to a car powered with a typical piston setup. This unique experience allowed the RX-7 to find its way into the hearts of many automotive journalists. It genuinely possessed the athleticism they desired from a two-seater sports car without the European sports car price.

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If you want a sleeper import that will absolutely dominate the autocross course, yet be able to carry your family of four to a local hockey game, what car would you be choosing?

The Lancer EVO was a brilliant blend of conservative sedan and sports-oriented street rocket. Sadly, this niche market was saturated and the Lancer EVO was discontinued in 2015.

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When equipped with a set of slotted Konis, this sleeper of a car will give even the over-priced foreign cars a run for its money. What name did the Chrysler Corporation bestow upon it?

Can you think back and remember the adorable commercials when the Neon was first introduced? That innocent "well-equipped" car became even more appealing to the automotive enthusiast market when given the SRT4 package.

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This little red car can impress even the most sophisticated of palate on or off the autocross course. What generation is it?

It's almost impossible to pin down the perfect Corvette for autocross, mostly because they all have alluring attributes. The C5, however, has one of the best stock setups to go straight to autocross mode without copious amounts of modification.

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This car can just as easily master a cone course as it does a mountain road. What name does it go by?

These cars all share the same general styling, and their guts are precisely the same. Still, with a little badge engineering, they appeal to different people. Each badge marketed the same car, with slightly different goodies, in a different way.

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You can easily party around the autocross track in this unassuming Ford. What is it?

The 2017 Fiesta ST had aggressive styling and even more dynamic handling. The four-cylinder turbo provides enough power to propel itself around corners and pull itself down a straightaway with ease.

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This tight-turning Acura is a sleeper at stoplights and autocross alike. Unfortunately, it was discontinued in 2001. What was it called?

Purists might complain that this is nothing but an upscale Civic, but the Integra really had a heart all of its own. When modded with a large rear wing and a carbon fiber hood, the Integra offered a vibe straight out of "Fast and the Furious."

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If you're a big spender who has the desire to get some of the fastest times around the autocross course, but without regard to how many cones you kill, you'll be a perfect fit for this Audi. What is it?

Looks can undoubtedly be deceiving with the Audi R8. The massive engine provides ample power to get through an autocross circuit, but also the agility of a much smaller car. With the use of Quattro technology, the V10 engine places the power to all four wheels, which assists the sleek coupe around corners.

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What's the name of this thrifty Nissan that will provide you ample fun in the sun while dodging cones?

The Nissan 240SX sadly didn't receive as many accolades as some of the other Nissans produced, like the Maxima, and only had a production span of 10 years. Aside from being great around the cones, the easily modifiable chassis makes it an excellent choice for those looking to get into drifting.

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If a pirate was to chose a car to go autocrossing in, what would it be?

If you were to take the 240SX from the last question and make it do weight training for 10 years, you'd end up with something strikingly similar to the Nissan GT-R. The first year GT-R was so great, in fact, "Top Gear" awarded it their prestigious title of the sports car of the year.

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If you want to keep up appearances and look like you're running the course in the lap of German luxury, what Porsche are you most likely cruising in?

Taking the almost unbeatable handling of the 944 and plopping a heavy small block in the engine bay creates a stylish monster that is practically unbeatable on tight courses. It's not as rare as you might think, with many YouTube videos available should you want to give it a try yourself!

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If you're looking for the maximum amount of horsepower with one of the lowest price tags, what '80s model are you shopping for to autocross in?

With slight modifications to the suspension, the Fox-body can be transformed into a very well-coordinated autocross car. Be warned, without finesse, you'll be crushing more cones than you will be passing, as the Fox-body is notorious for getting loose around corners.

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Two-seaters are absolute bosses at autocross! Which extremely affordable car has been a staple for frugal yet fun-loving automotive enthusiasts since 1990?

Some people joke in autocross circuits, professing that "Miata stands for M.iata I.s A.lways T.he A.nswer." For autocross, it really isn't that far from the truth. With a go-kart-like suspension that offers the ability to turn on a dime, the tiny two-seater is exceptionally accurate at hitting apexes on the tightest or widest of curves.

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While you're bobbing and weaving around the precisely placed cones, you'll actually be dreaming of weaving through traffic on the Autobahn while driving this BMW. What is it?

. When the 318ti was introduced to the American market, the original plan was to lure in younger and perhaps less affluent buyers with a sporty hatch at a low price. Promoted as a compact 3-series, it got passed over by most of the BMW crowd as a sort of a cheap knock-off of their beloved 3-series.

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If you want to go full-retro with your autocross car, look no further than what easily modifiable Honda from the '80s?

In 1985, when Honda decided to offer up a Civic that was a little bit different from the pack in, the CRX was born. The car was designed to be a tiny car with a small engine and minuscule weight. Combining all of these little bits together created the closest thing to a street-legal go-kart as you could possibly get.

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After you take this car out on the autocross course, you'll most likely get applause and acclaim because you've preserved one of the great classics Honda produced. What powerful plastic car are you driving?

The last year of the Honda Prelude was undoubtedly the best year for the Prelude in general. After just over 20 years of production, perfection was dialed in, and the Prelude offered everything you could possibly want in a sporty coupe.

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After you stop at the mall for a quick shopping spree and get your hair done, you'll be ready to hit the autocross circuit in this multi-purpose Nissan. Do you know its name?

This rear-wheel-drive car handled flawlessly around corners but had a propensity to become squirrelly under conditions of too much steering input. For a very reasonable price, one could find a used 350Z that does 0-60 in around 5.4 seconds. Even though the 350Z weighs more than a Corvette, it handles and feels more like a Miata.

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If you're looking for some front-wheel-drive fun for under $5,000, you should resign your search and settle for what Chevy?

When Chevy introduced the Cobalt SS, fans of the Cavalier Z24 of days past rejoiced. The Cobalt SS was equipped with a 2.0-liter supercharged inline four-cylinder. The engine, along with other tuner upgrades allowed the otherwise tepid Cobalt to be bestowed the title of SS (Super Sport).

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If you were to find yourself at an autocross in a Mustang that isn't a Fox-body, this might be the second-best option. What is it?

Not many people can buy a brand-new car for strictly autocross purposes. That's why the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is one of the best new cars out there.

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This car, known as a Holden Commodore in Australia, will hold onto every corner the autocross course has to offer. What is it called in the United States?

The Pontiac G8 is really a depressing car if you read into it enough, and was one of the very last-ditch efforts made to pull Pontiac out of bankruptcy. This sports sedan could effortlessly provide the driver with 256 horsepower, all while being a practical everyday car. On an autocross circuit, it handles like a sports car, but with the space and functionality of a full-sized sedan.

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When you need all four of your tires to tug you through turns, you should toy with the idea of this over three-decade-old German car. What is it?

Rally racing has never been the same since the Audi Quattro took it by storm in the early '80s. The inspiration for the Quattro and the revolutionary all-wheel-drive technology came from a noted Audi engineer observing military vehicles performing in snowy conditions.

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As long as we're talking about retro cars that are still very venerable competitors on the autocross circuit, we can't forget the inclusion of this jumpy little Volkswagen. What animal is it named after?

What is now known as the Volkswagen Golf is a brilliant execution of automotive engineering and evolution from a manufacturer. The first Rabbit was a supremely compact car that was purposely designed to replace the popular Beetle in Volkswagen's lineup. Autocross aficionados applaud the early Rabbits, especially when they're treated with a turbo-diesel swap.

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Hyundai has recently transformed itself from a cheap, throwaway sort of car manufacture to a competitor to some of the luxury automotive companies. What recent offering is easy on the eyes but can also handle as well as cars twice as expensive?

If you were to ask people of 1998 what they thought of Hyundai, you'd probably get a shrug. If you were to tell them that Hyundai will eventually make a 350 horsepower sports car, they probably would have laughed at you. As a matter of fact, when Hyundai introduced its high-powered sports coupe, people weren't sure how to receive it, but autocross fans know a winner when they drive one!

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Which hot hatch offered by Volkswagen is a popular choice for automotive enthusiasts who want to be able to drive the same car to work and the track?

From its heritage starting off as a Rabbit, the GTI Golf of today offers a practical and fuel-efficient car that absolutely runs any autocross course. The short wheelbase gives the illusion of a cramped cabin, but once you're behind the wheel, all you can think about is the fun you're having.

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Some love the styling of this car, some think it looks like clown shoe. Whether you love it or hate it, it will more than likely beat you on an autocross track. What is it?

BMW has a reputation of taking its engineering very seriously and has developed some excellent examples of style and function over the decades. When it wanted a solid coupe unlike anything else in its lineup, engineers cut, copied and pasted together the Z3 M Coupe.

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Designed entirely by Mercedes, including input from famed Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, what model is it?

This Mercedes is a natural on any race track, autocross circuit or fast lane. Much like the M Coupe, the AMG GT was designed for function and form, but with a little more attention to styling. This sleek coupe was introduced in 2015, at a time when sporty coupes were a dime a dozen.

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This mid-engine corner-hugging convertible was a favorite for those who relied on Toyota reliability but also wanted to be able to navigate tight turns without breaking a sweat. What was it called?

Toyota hasn't always been all about hybrid technology and dependable SUVs! This time, Toyota dished up a rather exciting plate with the introduction of the MR2 Spyder. The Spyder had a rather lengthy run, considering it was an extremely niche market car.

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Are you worried about being able to maintain a decent car insurance rate but still thrash cones on the weekends? Look no further than this variant of the beloved Civic. What "type" is it?

Honda broke out of the boring box when it redesigned and introduced the tenth generation Type-R. In comparison to similar cars in the same market, the Type-R blows most of them out of the water in many performance areas for almost the same price.

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What is the name of this friendly-faced car that turns out to be quite ferocious around the cones?

With all the controversy around the BMW/Toyota mash-up with the Supra, one thing is for sure: the Supra is a spectacular car. The car itself is fundamentally the same as the new Z4, but with stylistic differences to make it more appealing to those who don't want to be seen around town sporting a Roundel on the hood.

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This Kia is a total cone killer! What painful name appears on its nameplate?

Much like Hyundai shook its shackles of forget-ability with the Genesis, Kia went a step further with the Stinger. With some significant help from a new hire, Albert Biermann, a previous vice president of engineering at BMW, it sculpted the Stinger. The Stinger wasn't just road-tested a couple of times and called good, it was thrashed around the Nürburgring for 480 laps before being given the thumbs up.

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If you want to splurge on styling but still get a pint-sized powerhouse, this British coupe might be just the thing for you! If you were shopping for it on AutoTrader, what would you type in?

If you were to cross the styling of the Toyota MR-2 Spyder and the performance of the Supra, you'd end up with something very similar to the Lotus Elise. Small details and weight savings made the Elise handle like a leaf in the wind, floating around corners. These quirky cars make excellent autocross-specific cars, not daily drivers.

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This baby BMW handles like it was created for an autocross. What "series" is it?

When you want the comfort of a BMW, but don't want the size or stature of a full-sized sedan, look no further than the One-Series. These compact, corner-hugging cars had power, style and function without the big car price. The 1M, in particular, was a track favorite, with many race teams selecting them as their designated car.

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If as soon as you leave the track you want to go back to satiate your desire for squealing tires and hitting apexes, this Porsche is for you. What is it?

What does $99,800 get you at the Porsche dealership? How do 414 horsepower and a top speed of 188 miles per hour sound? If you can get past the expensive price tag and complexities of the technology packages, you'll be the fastest car on almost any track.

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This Porsche will break your bank and crush cones at the same time. What is it?

Not many people are willing to drop over a million dollars on a used Porsche. Still, the ones who do will probably not take their car for an escapade around an autocross circuit. The 918 Spyder is an excellent example of a brilliant car that will sadly be left for show-and-tell as opposed to acing slalom courses like it was designed to do.

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If your goal is to drive to the office, then to a parking lot for an autocross, then go do some off-road rally racing all in the same car, this is the perfect fit. What is it?

With an attitude of the Audi Quattro of the early '80s, the WRX has created its own off-road mold. Don't mistake this car for being a strictly mud-loving maverick of a vehicle. The Impreza is the car of choice for the world-renown Dirtfish Rally School in Washington state.

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Logically speaking, the smaller the car, the tighter the turns, right? It doesn't get much smaller than this agile little car. Do you know what it is?

Although Fiat's description of the exterior of the Abarth as being sinister is a bit drastic, the guts of the car are actually quite sinister. The sub-compact speck of a car cradles 160 horsepower under the minuscule hood and can smoke tires effortlessly.

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