Published on January 5th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez1
3 Driver’s Cars for Under RM 10,000
Spirited driving is an acquired taste. Not everyone enjoys carving up mountains or bombing down empty roads in the early morning; this has resulted in car manufacturers reducing their emphasis on “fun” cars and focusing on more mainstream qualities, like refinement and comfort and quality. If you’re restricted to new cars, the only cars that are fun and competent out of the box are north of RM 90,000- firmly out of budget for most.
But that need not be the case. Cars can be built and developed to provide an enjoyable driving experience- though this is a risky thing to do with your daily driver as you may damage it in the process. Add to this the need for a good starting platform, and the choice of car becomes a very important question. Availability of parts as well as potential are equally large factors wen considering a car to choose. Here are 3 solid choices to pick from.
Protons may have been a little hit and miss in terms of quality over the years, but older Protons were solid little hatchbacks. They’re light as well, weighing in at around 1000 kilograms or under- making them ideal for throwing into corners along a twisty road. Being based on a Mitsubishi platform, there are numerous engine options to choose from. Bear in mind that JPJ now has a “under 2000cc” ruling for Proton engine swaps, so the largest legal engine option would be a 1.8-litre 4G93 variant of some sort. They are also very responsive to suspension tuning and setup, going from extremely stable to extremely tail happy in a matter of alignment changes and damper adjustment.
5th Generation Honda Civic
Hondas are well known for over-engineering their cars from a handling perspective. These cars are usually not far off what Honda took their racetracks, and they are a weapon of choice for those attacking the track and those attacking mountain roads alike. These are especially potent when you consider that it’s possible to put a high-strung VTEC motor into the engine bay, instantly transforming a leisurely family car into a flame-spitting monster of a machine. Hatchback variants are difficult to come by, but the sedan models can be had for under RM 10,000, and they share similar running gear.
4th Generation Toyota Corolla
This is one of the few rear-wheel drive options available to those looking for a car to build on a budget. Most other Japanese manufacturers at this time had gone to front-wheel drive for their mass market models, making the KE70 the last Japanese mass-produced rear wheel drive car. In stock form they don’t offer very much in the way of entertainment. But being rear wheel drive, it has massive potential when it comes to modification and driving pleasure. The entire KE70 running gear can be swapped for the newer AE86 running gear, quite nearly doubling the power output with a 4A-GE engine and a limited slip differential at the rear for proper drifting. Being so old, they are bound to come with rust- so buyer beware. Their compact size and light weight combined with decent power make for an excellent driver’s car- and parts are plentiful, having been one of the best selling cars worldwide at the time.