2002 Toyota Celica GT-S 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6M)
This car offers a good deal of performance, style, fuel economy, and reliability on a budget. The engine, although peaky, offers a lot of performance for a 1.8 naturally aspirated engine. It is fun to keep the revs up and drive hard once you learn how this car NEEDS to be driven. Calm, relaxed, cell-phone yakking, adreniline deprived people need not apply! This car causes you to remember how much fun it can be to really drive!
The engine is only the half of it though. The steering is tight and very responsive, and the suspension does a fantastic job on soaking up the harshness of the road, yet allows for impressive handling. Also, the brakes are amoung the best....ANYWHERE
The rush of power above 6000 RPM is adreniline boosting. Steering and braking are extremely responsive. Hatchback design is good for decent cargo room. Fuel mileage with hard driving still averages just below 30 MPG.
If the engine was a 2.0 liter with the same technology, and yielded around 200 HP, it would be even better.