If you want to get into rally, you probably think you want a Subaru, and there's good reason for that. The company has a long rally history with multiple WRC titles, and it cranks out tons of all-wheel drive cars that can be easily turned into competitive machines. But here's the thing—you actually want a Ford Fiesta.
Our pals at put together a video detailing the best cars for rally beginners, and instructor Wyatt Knox makes a compelling case for the Fiesta. Knox isn't totally anti-Subaru, but after listening to his arguments, we get why he recommends the Fiesta for first-timers.
For starters, used Fiestas—non-ST models, specifically—are shockingly cheap right now. Hit the classifieds, and you'll find manual-transmission Fiesta hatchbacks for well under $10,000. We even spotted near us for under $3000.
You'll want a Fiesta hatch, specifically. Our resident rally co-driver, Brian Silvestro, tells me that almost no one rallies the Fiesta sedan, which can make finding a roll-cage for that model nearly impossible.
Once you've got the car sourced, Knox says you'll enjoy easy maintenance and huge parts availability. A stock naturally aspirated Fiesta might not be the fastest thing in the world, but you can build one into something genuinely competitive.
The Subaru Impreza, says Knox, is a tricky bet. The first-generation Impreza from the 1990s was an ideal choice, but now, decent rust-free examples are becoming hard to find. That means you'll have to go for a second-generation Impreza—more expensive, heavier, and harder to work on. Still, the mix-and-match nature of Subaru parts means you can make one into a genuinely fast car, and for that reason, you'll probably want one when you graduate from your Fiesta.
Knox also addresses everyone's favorite rear-wheel drive rally car, the E30-generation BMW 3-Series. These are great cars, but parts are expensive, maintenance is tricky, and as the E30 becomes recognized as a classic, prices are shooting way up. If you must have a rear-wheel drive rally car, Knox thinks you should take a look at the Volvo 240. They're not that popular in US rallying yet, but they're much cheaper than E30s, and you can still have a ton of fun with them. Plus, Volvo safety shouldn't be overlooked.
But really, you want a Fiesta. And if you need us, we'll be scouring Craigslist for the foreseeable future.