This week’s viewer-submitted challenge was to find an interesting or cool version of an otherwise boring car. The budget was $50,000, and almost all the contestants played exceedingly to type.

The only exception was contributor Jonathon Ramsey, who decided to use his European sabbatical as chance to buy a brand-new GR Yaris off a Spanish dealer lot. Would bearing the hot hatch crown in Europe and zero miles on the odo would be enough to sway the jury? Maybe in a just world.

Senior editor Joey Capparella started with a second-gen Subaru Forester XT, then spent 50% of the purchase price on modifications to make it cool. His stiffest competition didn’t come from colleagues but the fact that Subaru made the even more interesting and cool Forester STI.

Deputy testing director K.C. Colwell sourced a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII. Perhaps better than the WRX STI of the time but just as harsh, we revisited Car and Driver’s long-term test of the car back in the day. Apparently drivers over 40 tended to avoid it. With four of our five presenters over 40, there was a good chance voters would avoid it, too.

Road & Track senior editor John Pearley Huffman outdid himself with a 1981 Ford Thunderbird Silver Heritage Edition. We’re still speechless, so it’s best you just watch him make the most questionable arguments since The Chewbacca Defense.

Lastly, cars director Tony Quiroga went back to the past and to Germany via Italy with an all-wheel-drive Golf Rallye. The most expensive car in the episode was basically VW’s version of a Lancia Delta Integrale without any of the Integrale’s success, begging the question: is that actually cool?

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