Take a gander at a car configurator on any manufacturer’s website, and even before you even see the options list it becomes apparent that most cars are laden with creature comforts and standard technology. In fact, studies have shown that a significant portion of drivers don’t use luxury add-ons like automatic parking systems and built-in apps. So what good are extras if they just to add to your daily information overload and stress?
The remedy: buy a simple car. Simple cars are few and far between in today’s market, but they’re out there — most, unsurprisingly, even have cult followings. In a world where we’re constantly bombarded from every angle with status updates, hashtags, apps and news feeds, the silence of a bare-essentials, pared-down car is a welcoming sanctuary.
2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport
At almost thirty years-old, the Miata hasn’t changed much since first winning minimalist hearts back in 1989. It’s all the better for it, too. Perfectly balanced, lightweight, manual, rear-wheel-drive. You can’t ask for much more in a sports car, and the Mazda doesn’t give you much more. That’s what makes it such a fan favorite — nothing dilutes, filters or distracts you from the experience.
2017 Jeep Wrangler Sport
The Jeep Wrangler is another car that’s been around for decades but remains true to its back-to-basics approach. Yes, you can get a Wrangler that’s fully loaded with all the latest tech and everything you’d need to winch yourself free from the Grand Canyon, but the base-level Wrangler Sport, with its spartan interior and boxy design, is as low maintainence as you get.
2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Worker Cargo Van
A Mercedes-Benz popping up on a list of simple, baren cars is a surprise to some, but have you looked inside a Sprinter? The Worker Cargo Van is all business. Though the cockpit is comfy and an incredibly nice place to be (it is a Mercedes, after all), for the most part it’s a shell of a van. If all you’re doing is hauling tools and 2x4s around, you don’t want a third row of seats or any expensive, fragile material lining the bed.
2017 Caterham Seven 270
If the Miata is the ideal sports car for the everyman, the Caterham Seven 270 is the everyman’s supercar cut down to fighting weight. Tipping the scales at just 1,212 lbs, the Caterham doesn’t offer much aside from an unadultered drivign experience. You don’t even get a roof but it is nice of Caterham to list a carpeted interior as “standard.”
2016 Lotus Elise Sport
Lotus was founded by a guy whose mantra was “simplify, then add lightness,” so it should be no surprise to find it on this list. If you’re looking for anything more than plastic, carbon fiber and suede, the Elise Sport will have you wanting. But if you’re in the market for a car that corners like a supercar and gives you a direct connection to the road in the most analog experience possible, well, that’s why Colin Chapman founded the company.