One Thing To Rule Them All: Are These The 7 Most Single-Minded Vehicles On Sale?
Unless you’re a multi millionaire with a 15-car garage allowing you to have a different ride for every occasion, I’m betting you need your car to do more than one thing well.
A 2022 Golf GTI handles pretty well, but it would handle even better if VW didn’t insist on making it quiet and comfortable on the freeway. And a Lamborghini Urus would be a much more convincing off-roader if it wasn’t equipped with 23-inch wheels coated in just the merest smear of rubber.
But some vehicles really do zero in one discipline and absolutely nail it. We think these are the eight most single-minded production vehicles on sale today.
Superpower: Handling and feedback
There are plenty of times when a Caterham is an absolutely awful place to be. Like on the four-hour freeway journey that’s taking you to some good roads, or when it’s raining and you’ve had to slide yourself between the sill and the crappy roof like some Caribbean limbo act. But you’ll forgive it all on a twisty section of pavement for the kind of connection to the road that makes your average supercar feel about as sharp as a kids’ butter knife.
Jeep Wrangler Xtreme Recon
If we were writing this five years ago, Land Rover’s original Defender definitely would have nabbed this spot. Cramped, slow, and crude, it was shockingly deficient in so many areas, but show it some muck and it showed you exactly why it was still so loved. The latest Defender is also hugely capable off road, but these days it’s equally concerned with urban posing, meaning we’ll give this one to the older Jeep Wrangler.
With the Xtreme Recon package the Wrangler is about as tough as 4x4s get, featuring 35-inch tires (beadlocks are optional), unique shocks, generous breakover, approach and departure angles, plus a 100:1 crawl ratio if you mate it with the six-speed manual transmission. If you get stuck in one of these, it’s not going to be the Jeep’s fault.
Superpower: No-frills value
In case you hadn’t noticed, small cars no longer come with small prices. Even an entry-level Ford Fiesta with three doors, a miserable 74 hp naturally aspirated 1.1-liter triple, and simple hubcaps costs $17,000 in the UK. That’s over $23k at current exchange rates.
Enter Renault’s budget brand Dacia, which has gained a strong following in Europe by cutting out most of the fancy stuff fitted to most new cars, including performance (the base car gets to 62 mph in 16.7 seconds) and, Euro NCAP says, safety kit. It awarded the Sandero Stepway just two stars. But there are plenty of people out there who love the idea of a brand new small car that costs around 65 per cent of the price of a five-door Fiesta.
Rolls Royce Phantom
Audi, BMW, Bentley and Mercedes will all happily part you from your money in exchange for luxury sedans, but there’s still nothing to touch a Rolls Phantom when it comes to being pampered, and being seen to being pampered (which for some buyers is every bit as important).
The Cullinan might be the fashionable choice, but its SUV credentials sully its purity. A Phantom, on the other hand, particularly a long-wheelbase Phantom, a car you buy when you’ve got no intention of going near the front seat, knows exactly why it exists.
Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock
Superpower: Drag racing
Is the 807 hp (818 PS) Hellcat-powered Super Stock Challenger the fastest factory-built car down a strip? Nope. It’ll run the quarter in around 10.5 seconds, whereas a Rimac Nevera, Tesla Model S Plaid and Bugatti Chiron all dip into single figures.
But no other road car on sale has been designed with such a focus on quarter-mile performance. Unlike the even more strip-focused limited edition 2018 Challenger Demon, the Super Stock is a regular production car, yet it comes fitted with Nitto drag radial tires and a line lock for heating up that rear axle rubber, a short axle ratio, and launch-optimized damper tuning.
Superpower: Passenger capacity
If you want to haul so many people that not even Chevy’s 10-seat Suburban option makes the grade, you need a GMC Savana. Serving up the kind of interior ambience that would make a North Korean defector feel at home, and so lacking in gadgetry it makes even the Dacia look like a CES “cars of 2040” exhibit, the Savana doesn’t even offer a rear door on the driver’s side.
But on the other side of that plain stamped panel where the door should be, it’s absolutely cavernous. There’s seating for 12 in standard form, but up to 15 if you select the extended wheelbase option.
Bugatti Super Sport 300+
Superpower: Topping 300 mph
The regular 1479 hp quad-turbo W16 Chiron is designed to be absurdly fast, but it also has to tip a hat to luxury and day-to-day usability. Those things weren’t quite so high on the priority list for Bugatti’s engineers when it came to designing the Super Sport 300+.
The team added 100 hp to the 8.0-liter motor’s total and completely redesigned the rear bodywork, extending the tail by 9.8 inches (250 mm), reducing the aerodynamic stall by more than 40 percent and enabling the modified Chiron to hit an incredible 304.8 mph (490.5 km/h). Since no Super Sport 300+ owner will ever likely do the same, you might say it was a completely pointless project. But you have to admire the single-minded focus that went into achieving just one crazy goal.