JDM - General

These Are The Best JDM Daily Driver Cars!

There are many great JDM cars fit for the race track, but not all of them are suitable daily drivers. We’ve conducted a list of JDM cars that combines performance with comfort.

In today’s day and age with interest rates and inflation skyrocketing it may be hard to justify having several cars just for the sake of enjoyment. In the past, it’s not uncommon to have had two cars, one commuter/daily driver and one ‘weekend’ car that’s less comfortable and more spirited. But those days are over.

But for the enthusiasts that still dwell on some everyday excitement they might not be comfortable giving up their weekend car. Not everyone can afford to have two cars, but most can afford one – and so why not combine your daily driver and sports car into one?

Performance family cars are becoming more and more common, and it just happens to be that there are quite a few JDM sports cars very fitting for this specific task.

Here is our list of Japanese performance cars that can double down as a daily driver!

Nissan Stagea

If you like wagons and Skylines, you’ll love the Nissan Stagea!

As this is a wagon, you’ll find that the Stagea is the perfect daily driver.

But wait a minute, I thought you said this list would be about cars suitable for daily driving while combining performance? It is. Under the hood, the Stagea is powered by the largely appreciated RB engine series.

The Stagea was available with a large variety of non-turbo RB engines such as the RB20 and RB25, but was also available with a turbo such as the RB25DET.

You could choose between a RWD version and an all-wheel-drive variant equipped with the AWD system from an R33 GT-R!

Most noteworthy is the special edition model, 260RS Autech Version which got fitted with the twin-turbocharged GT-R engine (RB26DETT) making it not only one of the fastest but also the most badass wagons to have come out of Japan.

Subaru WRX STi

This is a discussion up for debate, but the Impreza WRX STi is arguably one of the first performance cars that were actually suited for daily driving.

The WRX STi came originally as a 4-door sedan with an advanced AWD-system along with the latest safety technology. And thanks to its powerful 2.5L turbocharged boxer-4 the WRX STi can easily deal with snow, and wet surfaces without any issue – ideal for a daily driver.

Your wife or husband might look at the WRX STi and just see a sports car, but let them know that the powerful engine and AWD-system are actually just ‘safety features’ to get out of nasty situations.

Now, reliability might not be excellent. Especially not if you’re considering daily driving it. However, if you treat it with respect and keep it maintained you could still get away for relatively cheap.

Honestly, an excellent choice since this car could be driven all year round without no issues at all.

Lexus IS F

This one is for all the V8 lovers out there.

The Lexus IS F has dropped in price quite significantly in the past decade. The early model has been seen listed for as low as $20,000 which really is a bargain when you think about it, considering the base price was around $56,000 at release.

The Lexus IS F is powered by a 5.0L V8 (2UR-GSE) producing 416 hp, power is sent to the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission.

This is a Lexus, so quality and reliability are as good as they can get, and for being a 15-year-old car the IS F certainly still looks the part.

If you can deal with having to fill up with gas very often, then the IS-F probably checks most boxes of being a great daily driver with comfort features while still having a lot of performance ready at any point.

Toyota GR Yaris/Corolla

The Toyota GR Yaris and Corolla are both meant to be rally-bred performance hatchbacks. And while they certainly are that, thanks to technology and advanced computers these cars can also by the press of a button transform into comfortable daily drivers.

Thanks to their small and efficient turbocharged 3-cylinder engine the GR Yaris and Corolla can actually get quite good miles per gallon.

And as much as these are perfect daily drivers, they are also fantastic weekend cars. These cars handle fantastically on any surface, snow, rain, tarmac – it doesn’t matter. It’s quite mind-boggling how much performance is put into these cars since they are quite affordable.

If you want a reliable car, and trunk space isn’t an issue, then the GR Yaris and GR Corolla could be the perfect Japanese daily driver.

Mitsubishi Evolution Lancer

Similar story to the Impreza WRX STi, the Mitsubishi Evolution Lancer features a formidable AWD-system that can get you out of most problems. It is also powered by the wildly popular 2.0L turbocharged I4 (4G63) engine that produces just shy of 300 hp.

But the Evolution Lancer has something the Impreza WRX STi don’t. It came available as a wagon.

For the untrained eye, the Evolution Wagon might have just looked like a regular Lancer Sportback, but that was far from the truth. The Wagon shared all the mechanical components, drivetrain, and engine with the regular Mitsubishi Evolution Sedan.

You could choose from a 5-speed or 6-speed manual as well as a 5-speed automatic. Inside, standard features include a Momo steering wheel and Recaro seats. Brembo brakes were standard, and the MR version added a small weight reduction and Bilstein dampers.

This is the type of car that either the people who know, know – and the people who don’t doesn’t. But for the people that do know you’ll probably see a lot of thumbs-ups and praises coming your way.

Toyota Chaser

Out of all the cars on this list, the Toyota Chaser is perhaps the best car to combine comfort, performance, and reliability.

Nowadays the Chaser is often seen as one of the most badass drift and tuner cars with its turbocharged 1JZ engine. But that wasn’t always the case. Toyota manufactured the Chaser to be comfortable, semi-luxurious performance sedan. It wasn’t until aftermarket tuner shops got their hands on it that the Chaser got associated with exhaust flames and tire smoke.

Toyota Chaser X80

There are really no downsides with the Chaser. It got a lot of space, it’s reliable, and it looks badass. It also has a turbocharged 1JZ engine that can get tuned to almost any figure you want. The only real downside is perhaps the price as these, especially the ones with the 1JZ-GTE engine have gotten quite expensive lately.

If the price is no issue, the Chaser is likely one of the best JDM daily drivers.

E. Lindgren

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