2019 Volkswagen GTI – $30,595
Trading speed for practicality doesn’t necessarily mean letting go of your lust for driving dynamics and a grin-inducing experience from behind the wheel. It’s had many a competitor from other hot hatches over the years, but the VolkswagenGTI remains at the top of its game when it comes to its status as a front-wheel-drive, grocery-getting pocket rocket with five seats. Its turbocharged four-banger is only good for 220 horsepower, but power is delivered low in the rev range and VW’s XDS active front differential works hard to ensure that the correct front wheel is putting down power as needed. Sure, you could blow the bank on the faster, all-wheel drive Golf R for an additional $12,000, but having piloted the two on numerous occasions I’ve always come away with the impression of the GTI being the more enjoyable daily-driver, whereas the R is fast but a bit too clinical and predictable.