Would You Rather: Great Cars, Terrible Roads

What's better? A wonderful car on an awful road, or a pathetic car on a fantastic road?

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Christian Martin

It's a short drive from my home in East Tennessee to Atlanta Motorsports Park just outside of Dawsonville, Georgia. The fastest route by Google Maps ignores the interstate entirely, relying instead on a series of twisted two lanes that tumble through the Appalachian hills. The roads are gorgeous, spectacular things made doubly so this time of year, the country exploding with fresh green leaves, dogwood, and redbud blossoms. It's the kind of drive that's made for something low slung and athletic. Pick a car from your Rolodex of dreams and it would be right at home there. Instead, I did the drive in a 2019 Nissan Rogue. Twice.

Technically it was a Rogue Sport. I guess they were all out of Drudge nameplates at the factory. There's a 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood that manages a meager 141 horsepower, and it's bolted to that locust of transmissions, a CVT. The less said about the car, the better. It is sufficient to say that it is no Miata. And yet, on those roads, the Rogue's ocean of sins were forgiven, the little Nissan healed by the holy power of good asphalt.

And it's gone the other way. A 458 Italia in stop and go traffic. A GT-R in gridlock. The frustration of so much potential, wasted. It begs the question:

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