The 10 Best (And 5 Worst) Cars in the Fast and Furious Franchise, According to Car Writers
Of course Paul Walker's neon-green Mitsubishi Eclipse makes it in the top 10, but the top two may surprise you
The Fast & Furious series is filled with dozens of drool-worthy cars, ranging from DIY home-built street racers to million-dollar exotics to jet-powered Dodge Chargers. That being said, just because a car is cool doesn’t make it something you’d actually want to drive.
With the latest installment right on the horizon — and following word that F9 will be the first in a trilogy of features that will wind down the Fast & Furious legend — it’s time to revisit the various garages, car parks and drag strips haunted by Toretto and his family of street racers. The goal? To figure out which of the autos from the nine-and-counting installments in the FATF saga are worth taking home with us after Universal calls lights-out.
This wasn’t something I could do alone, so I asked some of my fellow car writers which were their favorites from the franchise. The answers were in some cases surprising, and in others unanimous. One thing’s for sure, there are no bad cars to be found on this list.
You’ll have to keep scrolling for those.
1997 Mazda RX-7 Veilside
Driven by Han Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang) in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
By far the most popular choice among the auto writers I sampled for this piece was the Veilside RX-7 that was prominently featured in Tokyo Drift, the third installment. This was the hero car for one of the franchise’s most enduring additions — Han Seoul-Oh, played by real-life gearhead Sung Kang — and after beguiling audiences with its forbidden-fruit body kit it met its on-screen demise in one of the more tragic fates in the FATF universe.
Kristen Lee (The Drive): One of the coolest modified FDs ever — it was barely recognizable as an RX-7 and in a good way. The black-on-orange color scheme was awesome, too.
Sami Haj-Assaad (Driving.ca, Nuvo Magazine): Paired with a character that is easy to love, the RX-7 and its driver ooze style when they’re on screen. When it comes to the Fast movies, I immediately think of this car over Dom’s Charger, or Brian’s Supra and Skyline. This RX-7 outlines the setting, the car fashion of the time and the style of driving that the third movie revolves around.
Victoria Scott (Jalopnik, The Drive): Han’s Veilside RX-7 is just such a deep cut for tuner culture. When that movie came out, that RX-7 kit hadn’t gotten very popular here yet, I don’t think. It’s modified in a unique and stunning way by a company everyone respects.
2000 Honda S2000
Driven by Suki (Devon Aoki) in 2 Fast 2 Furious
The next selection tied Han’s ride in terms of popularity, and for good reason. Suki’s hot pink Honda S2000 stole every 2 Fast 2 Furious scene it was in, from the opening racing sequence to the later hangs at the canal-side garage. Fun fact: Suki was given the exact same car driven by villain Johnny Tran (Rick Yune) in the original, which transitioned from black to pink in a neat bit of Hollywood cost-saving in the props department.
Jodi Lai (Autotrader): I was absolutely thrilled that Devon Aoki was out there representing our Asian female community as Suki with her hot pink Honda S2000. I must admit, the whole time I was thinking, “Why did it have to be pink?” I obviously love the S2000 and it’s still one of my favorite cars from the franchise, but hated the fact that it was pink.
Victoria Scott: Suki’s car is badass because it’s feminine with a very pastel and pink color scheme without being a punchline (it actually ends up being one of the only cars to finish the first race in the movie). The S2000 is one of my favorite cars of all time, and the art on the side is absolutely killer, too.
Kristen Lee: It was over-the-top pink and perfect for her because the S2000 has always been an all-out kind of car, which is the way she drove it in the movie.
1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Driven by Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
The Fast & Furious series has always been particularly good at meshing two very different worlds: the cult of American muscle and the late-’90s/early 2000s tuner car phenomenon. For me, one of the most interesting cars from the Detroit side of this equation was the ’71 Monte Carlo featured in the incredibly destructive street-race-through-a-construction-zone sequence that opens Tokyo Drift.
The Monte Carlo is an overlooked full-size coupe from the tail end of the golden age of big-block V8 horsepower, and with its ratty primer hood and rocker panels it perfectly played the part of what high school student Sean Boswell might have been able to scrounge together on a limited budget. The trio of stunt cars used in the movie each featured 500-plus-cubic-inch engines pumping out between 560 and 700 horsepower. Keen eyes will also notice that the car shares its license plate with another heavy Chevy used in Fast & Furious, which immediately followed Tokyo Drift (the Chevelle SS driven by Vin Diesel’s character). I’ve always wanted one of these first-gen Montes, but I think the window might be closing on finding an affordable survivor.
The Flip Car
Driven by Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and Vegh (Clara Paget) in Fast & Furious 6
The bad guys took things to the next level in Fast & Furious 6, and given their backgrounds as ex-special forces soldiers it made sense they would rock purpose-built vehicles as part of their unstoppable automotive army. This included an exoskeleton-equipped machine with a wedge-shaped cow-catcher that could drive up and under unsuspecting victims to send them hurtling through the air.
Piloted by character Owen Shaw, the Flip Car was a complete custom build from Fast & Furious car wrangler Dennis McCarthy, making use of a tube frame and a 480 horsepower LS V8 engine sourced from General Motors.
Bradley Iger (The Drive, Motor 1): Although the franchise had shifted away from its focus from street racing and car culture toward a more traditional action movie framework by the time the sixth installment debuted, there’s no question that as the budgets got bigger, the builds got better (initially, anyway). To me, the Flip Car represents the pinnacle of that — an exceptionally creative and functional build that looks like the lovechild of a Formula car and the V8 Interceptor from The Road Warrior.
1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse
Driven by Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) in The Fast and the Furious
I’ve had a soft spot for the second-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse ever since it arrived on the scene in the mid-‘90s. To my teenage sensibilities, it was perfect: all-wheel drive, a turbocharged engine, and a slippery, super-cool shape. This was before I learned all about the casual build quality at the joint Chrysler-Mitsubishi Diamond Star Motors plants that built the Eclipse (and its sister car, the Eagle Talon), or had ever heard of the dreaded 4G63 crankwalk, of course.
There are actually a few different Eclipses scattered throughout the original Fast & Furious film, including a convertible riding on hydraulics that gets a few seconds of screen time along the sidelines of the first big street race. Still, it was Brian Earl Spilner (Paul Walker) spinning out at triple-digit speeds in a parking lot while the cameras lovingly circled his Eclipse’s bright Kawasaki green body panels that got me hooked. I’d drive one every day, stickers and all.
Land Rover Defender
Driven by Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) in The Fate of the Furious
When The Rock came onboard it was clear that the Fast & Furious car casting department would have to branch out to find vehicles that were large enough for Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs character to comfortably drive. This led to a series of over-the-top trucks given to Hobbs (Navistar MXTs, Gurkha LAPVs, a bizarre tracked Ram pickup) in a bid to emphasize the fact that, guys, he’s really big.
One of the less ridiculous entries in this endless parade of hyper-macho machines was the Land Rover Defender he pilots in the eighth film during the scene where Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto has his shocking heel-turn and ends up wrecking The Rock. It’s a much more real-world ride from the Hobbs stable, and one that features Land Rover’s timeless sport-utility shape.
Jodi Lai: While the FATF franchise normally features cars that are fast, they’re rarely truly furious. Hobbs drove a handful of mean-looking truck-like vehicles throughout the series that looked like they belong in Mad Max instead, but I loved the retro Land Rover Defender he drove in F8 while everyone else was in Dodge Challengers.
W Motors Lykan HyperSport
Driven by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) in Furious 7
By the time Furious 7 rolled around it was no longer good enough to simply drive hot street metal. The big guns were brought out in the form of the Lykan HyperSport, a supercar built by UAE-based W Motors. Priced at $3.4 million, the car featured diamond-encrusted headlights, a twin-turbo 780 horsepower six-cylinder engine, and a top speed of nearly 250 mph.
Sami Haj-Assaad: I’m not sure if I love this car, or just what it represents. By Furious 7, it became clear that the franchise was reaching new audiences, and including a car designed and made by Dubai’s W Motors helps to open things up to filmgoers and car enthusiasts from the Middle East. The HyperSport is a wild car that those fans can go nuts over.
1999 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning
Driven by Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) in The Fast and the Furious
I’ve always had a soft spot for pickups, and that’s doubly true for the supercharged SVT Lightning that appeared as a 1999 model in the Ford F-150 portfolio. (The name has recently been revived for the electric F-150.) Featuring nearly 400 horsepower from a 5.4-liter V8, it was the kind of truck that could easily surprise a sleeping Mustang driver in the next lane while still towing your car to the track on the weekends.
The Lighting’s brash persona made it the perfect parts-fetcher for The Racer’s Edge, the fictional speed shop owned by two-time felon Harry in the first FATF movie. It was also Brian’s ride in several different scenes, carting big boxes of NOS gear and other assorted goodies to Toretto’s own shop, flanked by a phalanx of imports. In the real world, the SVT Lightning is a supercharger pulley swap away from embarrassing most of the muscle cars of its era.
1971 Jensen Interceptor
Driven by Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) in Fast & Furious 6
British style with American muscle under the hood made the Jensen Interceptor the perfect choice for Fast & Furious 6 which was set largely in London, England. The Interceptor (and the all-wheel drive model it would later spawn) was one of the more obscure performance cars from the early ‘70s, but one that provides the reliability of a Detroit-built motor that most classic Brit drivetrains can’t match. Look closely and you’ll see that this is actually a U.S. export model (the left-hand drive setup is a dead giveaway), which is a little weird for London.
Bradley Iger: Further evidence of Fast & Furious 6 being the zenith of car builds for the franchise is Letty’s unlikely whip of choice here. Despite the fact that they came from the factory packing big block Mopar horsepower, Jensen Interceptors have been criminally overlooked by enthusiasts. I was stoked to see this English muscle car get the screen time it deserves, and the modifications done to the car for the film were surprisingly tasteful.
1970 Dodge Charger R/T
Driven by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) in multiple films
Could I really leave this one out? There are so many permutations of Toretto’s 1970 Dodge Charger used throughout the franchise, with each reflecting the customization trends popular at the time the individual movies were released (or the sheer absurdity of the plot requirements, as with the parachute-equipped, off-road Charger from Furious 7 or its turbine-powered, 1968 “Ice Charger” sibling seen in The Fate of the Furious).
I’m going with the original, however, the Charger built by Dom’s dad as seen in the original that had “so much torque the frame twisted coming off the line.” Capable of a nine-second blast down the quarter mile, that supercharger sticking up through the hood might have been fake (and the ‘70 model-year parts on a ‘68 model-year body were a hoodwink, too), but the attitude and pure sinister look of the second-generation Charger are hard to beat.
The 5 Worst Cars of the Fast and Furious Franchise
In a series that was so focused on tuner car culture for so long, there’s bound to be more than a few vehicles seen on screen that haven’t aged well — or maybe had no business being there in the first place. Which Fast & Furious cars get the gas face from our crew of auto writers?
2017 Subaru BRZ
Driven by Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood) in The Fate of the Furious
A forgettable ride driven by a character that’s probably also slipped your mind (Scott Eastwood playing Little Nobody).
Sami Haj-Assaad: Is it star-car-worthy? I say no, especially in this movie where the characters are tasked to bring in Dom during his bad-guy phase. Some of the cars in this sequence are well-chosen to stop a crazy Dom and his 5,000-horsepower Plymouth GTX in New York City, but the lightweight, low-power BRZ seems lost in these scenes. While action sequences in the Fast universe are rarely realistic, this really made me laugh; it’s like sending a toddler to subdue Andre the Giant.
2005 Volkswagen Touran
Driven by Twinkie (Shad “Bow Wow” Moss) in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Bow Wow’s Hulk van was all about stylin’ and profilin’ instead of burning rubber, which made it a definite outlier in a movie packed with drift cars.
Jodi Lai: I think Bow Wow’s character had the worst Fast & Furious car. I love vans, but the Hulk monstrosity was just so ugly. I think they could have done a better job trying to make a van look cool instead of just tacky. And the fists busting out of it really creeped me out.
W Motors Lykan HyperSport
Driven by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) in Furious 7
Wait a minute — did the Lykan manage to make it onto both of our Fast & Furious lists? Yes. Yes it did.
Kristen Lee: To me, this represented the Fast franchise going truly off the rails (not that it hadn’t already before). The cars that used to show up were these beautifully modified ones that spoke to an entire culture of tuners. The Lykan’s appeal was that it was expensive. Like, cool?
1999 Nissan Maxima
Driven by Vince (Matt Schulze) in The Fast and the Furious
Everyone in Toretto’s original crew each rocked a car intended to reflect their specific personalities. I guess that means Vince was a suburban dad at heart?
Bradley Iger: Without question, this is the worst star car in the entire Fast & Furious canon. Aside from the fact that it was an aesthetic nightmare and totally incongruous with the style of the character that drove it, this Maxima gave credence to the misguided notion that anything can be a performance car if you just put stickers and an obnoxious muffler on it. Sorry, Vince — you are the buster.
2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GTS
Driven by Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) in 2 Fast 2 Furious
Remember how the second-generation Eclipse was the paragon of ‘90s cool? The follow-up, not so much.
Victoria Scott: The worst car is definitely Roman Pearce’s purple Eclipse in 2F2F. I know that Mitsubishi probably paid money for that product placement but the kit and paint scheme is ugly as sin. That gen of Eclipse was vastly less capable than the 4G63-powered previous generations, and the idea that anyone would choose that Eclipse over an Evo (as Roman did, calling dibs on the convertible) is the funniest (unintentional) joke in the whole franchise.
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