Let's Get Dirty

Scientists can't classify it as an element, but soil is one of the few substances on this planet we simply cannot live without. Foliage and food sources spring from it, our modern world is built atop of it, and arguably, it provides the basis for one of the most entertaining forms of motorsport ever created: rallying.

No, it doesn't have the multi-million dollar presence of NASCAR (at least not here in the U.S.), but the idea of flogging a production-based vehicle over roads and trails is quickly gaining popularity with audiences across the world. Who can blame them? The sight of an all-wheel-drive monster sliding through a dirt turn deep in a forest is exciting, even to those who have never heard of a "killer B."

If the expansion of rally racing has you itching to play in the dirt with something other than the rusted Tonka toys of your childhood, listen up. Remarkably, no fewer than three automakers presently offer street legal models priced under the $40,000 mark that can be slid through a special stage or used as a daily driver.

Which production vehicle strikes the balance between road and rally car? Read on to find out.

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