There’s nothing like a car that can embarrass you in a race on its way to the grocery

Is there a performance car that doubles as a family car, and vice versa? It’s a tricky question to ask given that it’s usually one or the other. A performance car doesn’t make for a good family car. On the flip side, family cars aren’t exactly brimming with performance capabilities. Thinking along those lines has become a popular narrative over the years, but it’s also the wrong narrative.

There are performance cars that make for good family cars, and you might be surprised that there are certain family-centric models that can flash a mean streak every so often. These eight models fit the bill of a different sort of hybrid vehicle that not a lot of people pay much attention to. No, they’re not hybrids in the traditional sense that we know about in the business. They’re hybrids by personality. They can fit the bill of a car enthusiast’s dream performance car and they can double as vehicles that you can use to buy groceries and take your kids to soccer practice.

Honda Civic Type R

2017 Honda Civic Type R High Resolution Exterior
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On the surface, the Honda Civic Type-R is the kind of car you’d want to drive on an open road. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that produces 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Its front-wheel-drive layout means it’s also a riot to drive, making it one of the most enjoyable hot hatchbacks in the market today.

But the Civic Type R is more than just a pocket rocket; it’s also one of the most practical hatchbacks in market, thanks in large part to a cargo area that reaches 25.7 cubic feet with all the seats up and a cavernous 46.2 cubic feet with the 60/40 split-folding rear seats lying flat on their faces.

The Civic Type R also comes with large cup holders, features you don’t necessarily expect from a hot hatch that can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds flat and hit a top speed of 170 mph.

No, the Honda Civic Type R isn’t for the weak-of-heart. Its super-aggressive looks will surely turn off some people who prefer a more toned down ride for their everyday goings-about. But just because the Civic Type R looks like it’s about to punch you in the face, that doesn’t mean it can’t carry your groceries for you while doing it.

Honda Civic Type R specifications
Engine: 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder engine
Horsepower: 306 horsepower
Torque: 295 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: six-speed manual transmission
0 to 60 mph time: 5 seconds
Top speed: 170 mph

Read our full review on the 2019 Honda Civic Type R.

Buick Regal TourX

8 Enthusiast Friendly Family Cars High Resolution Exterior
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Why is the Buick Regal TourX on this list? It’s a crossover that’s priced relatively cheap at below $30,000.

It also boasts impressive fuel economy and has a smoother ride than you’d expect. It’s also pretty to look at, which is what you can expect from a Buick these days.

All these things hold true for the Regal TourX, but as impressive as the crossover is, it doesn’t inspire the kind of thrill and excitement you’d expect from an “enthusiast” vehicle. Or does it? Consider this: the Regal TourX also boasts a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 250 horsepower. That engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which sends all that power to all four of the Regal TourX’s wheels. Of course, you’re going to have to pay more than the base price to get a feel of the Regal TourX’s potential, but still, at just under $40,000, you can get the crossover in a trim option that’s brimming with performance potential. That’s more than what other crossovers of its ilk can say.

Buick Regal TourX specifications
Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine
Horsepower: 250 horsepower
Torque: 295 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: eight-speed automatic transmission
0 to 60 mph time: 6.3 seconds
Top speed: 130 mph

Read our full review on the 2019 Buick Regal TourX

Audi A5 Sportback

2017 Audi A5 Sportback High Resolution Interior Exterior
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The Audi A5 Sportback has the makings of an ideal car for enthusiasts. Between the sexy lines, the attractive fascia, and the muscular profile, the A5 Sportback exudes confidence.

It helps, too, that the A5 Sportback comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.

It’s not powerful enough to move mountains, sure, but with the help of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and Audi’s world-famous Quattro all-wheel drive, the A5 Sportback’s ability to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just five seconds makes it faster to 60 mph than rivals like the Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti, Buick Regal GS, and BMW 430i Gran Coupe.

The Audi A5 Sportback is the ideal combination of looks and brawn, wrapped in a package of fuel efficiency — its 34-mpg figure is one of the highest in its class — and interior comfort for the driver and all the passengers. Imagine an Audi that carries the sweeping lines of the A5 Coupe, the interior tech of the Audi A6, and the cargo space of the Audi A4 sedan. That’s what you get with the Audi A5 Sportback.

Audi A5 Sportback specifications
Engine: 2.0-liter turbo turbocharged four-cylinder engine
Horsepower: 252 horsepower
Torque: 273 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch manual transmission
0 to 60 mph time: 5 seconds (estimate)
Top speed: 97 mph

Read our full review on the 2019 Audi A5 Sportback.

Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator Exterior
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When you look at the Jeep Gladiator, do you see an off-road marauder or do you see a family-friendly utility vehicle? The common answer is the former because the Gladiator is built for the outdoors.

The Gladiator is one of the most adept pickup trucks in its segment, combining the workhorse attitude of a top-of-the-line truck with the go-anywhere capability that Jeep is famous for.

A 3.6-liter V-6 engine comes as standard across the Gladiator’s entire range. The engine is capable of producing 285 horsepower and 256 pound-feet of torque, and when combined with a six-speed manual transmission and four-wheel-drive capability, the Gladiator is a very capable pickup relative to its rivals in the segment. It doesn’t hurt that you can throw in a few performance add-ons to make your Gladiator a relentless piece of machinery. The Trailer Tow and Max Tow packages are also particularly intriguing options.

Having said that, there is a soft side to the Gladiator that — dare I say — is tailor-made for a family. The pickup’s interior is surprisingly spacious; it’s able to comfortably sit five people and still have plenty of headroom and legroom to spare. It also comes with a highly functional dashboard and controls setup. Technology isn’t an issue, either. The Gladiator boasts the Uconnect infotainment system with a 5-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker audio system, two USB ports, and Bluetooth, among other goodies to keep your family entertained during those trips to the outdoors.

Jeep Gladiator specifications
Engine: 3.6-liter turbo V-6 engine
Horsepower: 285 horsepower
Torque: 256 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: six-speed manual transmission
0 to 60 mph time: 8.1 seconds
Top speed: 97 mph

Read our full review on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator.

Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe Exterior
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It has the aggressive AMG GT front end

If there is a poster car for this list, it has to be the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door. AMG’s four-door saloon personifies what an enthusiast car is all about. It’s powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged inline-six-cylinder engine that produces 362 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque.

That much power allows the AMG GT 4-Door to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 186 mph.

If that isn’t powerful enough, you can opt for the top-tier AMG GT 63 4-Door, which is powered by a 4.0-liter bi-turbo V-8 engine that produces 577 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Those figures help the performance saloon sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds to go with a top speed of 193 mph.

Still not content? Well, the AMG GT 63 S 4-Door just might be the one for you. It comes with the same bi-turbo V-8 unit as the 63 version, but power’s been tuned further up to 630 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Guess what? You’re looking at an acceleration time to 60 mph of just 3.2 seconds in this setup with the top speed raised even higher to 196 mph. These numbers paint a picture of a full-blown performance car with serious performance chops. But the AMG GT 4-Door is more than just that. It’s also home to one of the most well-appointed cabins you’ll see in its segment. Space isn’t an issue in this model, too, as the four-door can comfortably seat up to four adults. There’s also enough technology in the cabin to make you feel comfortable and at ease on the road. That’s especially true if you have children with you for the ride. They can hook up to the on-board WiFi hotspot and not bother you for the rest of your trip.

Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door specifications
Engine: 3.0-liter turbo inline-six engine
Horsepower: 362 horsepower
Torque: 367 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: eight-speed automatic transmission
0 to 60 mph time: 4.9 seconds
Top speed: 193 mph

Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe

Volvo V90

2017 Volvo V90 High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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I’ll never get tired of the Volvo V90. I think it’s one of the best battle wagons out there. It doesn’t take a backseat to anyone when it comes to luxurious accommodations and high-tech features. It’s loaded to the brim in those two departments. The seats are incredibly comfortable and the materials are top-quality through and through. You can even get to choose from a variety of top-shelf options, including walnut, dark flame birch, carbon fiber, and grained leather. It doesn’t have the biggest cargo area in its class, but with a 19.8-cubic-feet of cargo space, the V90 still has enough space for a weekend family road trip.

Speaking of road trips, the V90 can get you where you need to go in a jiffy, thanks to a choice of two engine options that aren’t lacking in power and performance.

The standard engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder T5 engine that produces 246 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Opt for the more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder T6 engine and you’re looking at an output of 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The T5 setup allows the V90 to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds while T6 can do it in 6.1 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph in either version of the wagon.

Volvo V90 specifications
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
Horsepower: 316 horsepower
Torque: 295 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: eight-speed automatic transmission
0 to 60 mph time: 6.1 seconds
Top speed: 155 mph

Read our full review on the 2019 Volvo V90.

Lincoln Aviator

8 Enthusiast Friendly Family Cars
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There once was a time when Lincoln was considered an automotive after-thought, left behind by more progressive luxury car brands that offered more for their customers. Lincoln can’t erase that past, but it’s certainly doing its best making up for lost time. The reborn Aviator SUV doesn’t fall under the classification of a traditional vehicle for enthusiasts, but there’s more to it, too, than meets the eye. Make no mistake: the Aviator is a powerful SUV that comes with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine that produces anywhere from 400 to 494 horsepower and 470 to 630 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission comes standard, as you’re looking at a rear-wheel-drive layout.

You can, however, score the full all-wheel-drive experience by availing of it as an option.

As impressive as those numbers are, the new Aviator’s real calling card is its interior.

Simply put, it’s one of the best interiors you’ll see in the business today. The dashboard layout is clean and sophisticated. The materials Lincoln used are top-shelf grade. There’s also enough space to comfortably seat as many as seven people, emphasis on comfortably. Despite its luxurious digs, the Aviator is a functional family hauler, too. It comes with 18.3 cubic feet of cargo volume, which is enough for most big-sized families. It can also tow up to 6,700 pounds, an impressive figure for what’s supposedly a luxury SUV. Best of all, the Aviator’s price tag starts at just north of $50,000, making it one of the more affordable SUVs in its class.

Lincoln Aviator specifications
Engine: 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine
Horsepower: 400 horsepower
Torque: 470 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: ten-speed automatic transmission
0 to 60 mph time: 5.0 seconds (estimate)
Top Speed: 160 mph (estimate)

Read our full review on the 2020 Lincoln Aviator

Kia Stinger

2018 Kia Stinger Exterior
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0-to-60 could be as fast as five seconds flat

Kia has a lot in common with Lincoln in the sense that you wouldn’t consider it a brand for car enthusiasts. But give credit to the Korean automaker. It has done a great job changing that narrative. The Kia Stinger is proof of that. Nothing about the Stinger is ordinary. In a way, it’s the ideal car for enthusiasts, mixing strong engine performance with engaging driving dynamics and a well-detailed interior with plenty of space and user-friendly features for the family.

Sitting at the heart of the Stinger is a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine that produces 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque.

It’s still a bit jarring seeing a Kia with that much power under its hood, but that’s what makes the Stinger the kind of car that performance enthusiasts swoon. The Stinger’s ability to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds is just as impressive. It’s 0.1 seconds faster than the BMW 440i Gran Coupe and a full second quicker than the A5 Sportback. The Stinger, though, is more than just its performance and driving characteristics; it also seats five people, comes with standard leather seats, and offers plenty of headroom and legroom for passengers of different sizes. It also comes with a trunk that offers 23.3 cubic feet of cargo space and as much as 40.9 cubic feet of space when the rear seats are folded. That’s more room than the A5 Sportback and the Stinger’s distant cousin, the Genesis G70.

Kia Stinger specifications
Engine: 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine
Horsepower: 365 horsepower
Torque: 367 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: eight-speed automatic transmission
0 to 60 mph time: 4.7 seconds
Top speed: 167 mph

Read our full review on the 2019 Kia Stinger.

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