There's something unbelievably cool about owning a sleeper. Part of it is the thrill of the ride, the other part is smoking the guy next to you, after he underestimated what you were driving. Car enthusiasts will always appreciate the beauty of the win, when an unsuspecting person suddenly becomes aware of your sneaky-speed.
Another perk is the obvious fact that it really doesn't cost much to do up one of these bad-boys. They're fast, easy to modify, and very unassuming. Sleepers are the perfect cars to own and enjoy, without having to deal with the baggage that comes along with owning a flashy, expensive car. It's easy to just get in these and go - no worries about big bills, expensive damage or repairs, and best of all - the police aren't exactly looking for an older mediocre-looking car to take down. Sleepers are the perfect way to fall under the radar while having lots of fun!
20 Mercury Marauder
There’s nothing more deceiving than a muscle-sedan! This car looks like a basic drive, until you find out there are 302 horses under the hood, along with dual overhead cams and a powerful V8 that can really roar. The appeal is easy to see, and the results are undeniable.
19 Ford Taurus Sho
This car is a large sedan that is associated with luxury cruising – well, as luxurious as domestics can be! Unlike the standard model, the Taurus SHO can impress at 60 miles per hour in roughly 5 seconds. It’s a peppy, powerful sedan when compared to other cars within this price-point.
18 Buick Grand National
The Grand National is a beast. Full-on beast mode in this muscle car is really, really impressive. It’s a turbo-charged monster full of raw-power, turning this car into a serious street competitor. Buick’s are traditionally associated with the elderly – but this model stands out among the rest!
17 Shelby GLHS
This Shelby is an amazing sleeper in every way. It looks like a very basic, generic economy car, but its turbocharged I4 engine hits top speeds that actually exceed its odometer. There’s so much power in one of these little lightweight cars, and it’s just dying to be let out. Nobody would expect to be smoked by this car, but they sure will be!
16 Chevy SS
At first glance, the Chevy SS appears to be an average family economy car. It’s so bland and unsuspecting, that many have mistaken it for a Malibu. How little they know, there’s a 415 hp, V8 engine with a killer suspension system, controlled by a 6speed manual. This car wants to go, and there are no objections from us!
15 Plymouth Duster
This car looks fun, for sure! But most would not have guessed that there’s a 5.6L V8 powered beast that lies within this ride. It’s cheaper to buy than a Charger, and packs way more punch. Most would not suspect this to overtake them, but it will leave many other cars in the dust, with relative ease and minimal investment required on mods.
14 Volvo V70R
As soon as you use the word “Volvo”, most of us tune out. This is just not a car we’d normally associate with speed or power. The Volvo badge doesn’t carry a tone of street-cred or cool factor, which is precisely why it’s the perfect sleeper. With 296 hp and 295 lb per ft of torque, this baby clocks 60 mph in less than 6 seconds!
13 Dodge Magnum SR T8
This is another wagon you’d never look twice at – but you really, really should. This peppy wagon packs 425 hp in a 6.1L Hemi V8 Engine. Enough said. 0-100 kmph in less than 5 seconds is enough to make it brag-worthy. This sleeper will creep up on you, then leave you with your jaw dropped.
12 Mazdaspeed 6
This is as incognito as power gets. A Mazda is not our usual go-to when talking about speed. This sleeper comes turbocharged and packing 274 hp which is incredible considering the 2.3L, 4-cylinder engine under the hood. This modest-Mazda impresses with its incredible braking system as well. It’s a shockingly slick ride.
11 Saab 9-5 Aero
When is the last time you saw a Saab on the road? Well, snatch one up if you happen to find one for sale. This compact European rarity has 230 hp, is turbocharged, and has pretty stellar sport suspension. This sleeper is actually a Police car in Sweden – looks like they have already caught on to its capabilities.
10 Crown Victoria
One of our all-time favourite sleepers is the good ‘ol Crown Victoria. Yes, the cop-mobile is used by police for a darn- good reason – it keeps pace! Originally released in 1992, it boasts 250 hp, a V8 engine, and a whole lot of torque. This car not only responds, it also takes a beating and comes out on top!
9 Pontiac GTO
Yes! We’ll take 2! Not only is the Pontiac GTO super cool and fun to drive, but they also pack 400 hp in a 6L engine. Yes, that’s right – 400 hp. Not only is it the perfect sleeper, it’s also the perfect addition to any garage, and anyone who knows its full potential, will treasure this prize.
8 Buick Park Avenue
Grandpa’s Buick, complete with a bench seat in your choice of velvet red or blue colours happens to also be a supercharged V8 powerhouse. Anyone pulling up next to this car would assume there was an elderly driver behind the wheel – don’t be fooled, regardless of who’s driving it, the car can really go! Mods are easy and affordable, and pack a lot of punch too.
7 Jaguar XJR
The Jaguar XJR is a fun ride, but again, not one that you’d assume would leave anyone in the dust on the road or the track. Tisk, tisk. Never underestimate this 420 hp luxury car. It will not only spin circles around you, but it will also leave you wanting more. It’s a fun ride, and a very capable one, despite looking like it was designed for a cruise-day.
6 Buick Roadmaster Estate
Another Grand-daddy ride designed by Buick and respected by anyone who knows what’s under the hood! This has all the unassuming aesthetic features, or lack thereof. Under the hood is a different story. This car has a Corvette engine and is loaded with 300 horsepower. This classic costs very little, but gives you a whole lot.
5 Nissan Altima
An Altima? Yes, exactly. Nobody would assume this car would accomplish much in full acceleration mode, but au contraire. With a 3.5L V6 and 270 hp to play with, there’s lots of room for show-stopping fun. It looks bland and boring, but you’ll start paying attention to this sleeper if you pull up next to it.
4 GMC Syclone
This tiny little truck is actually a high-performance version of the Sonoma, and comes with a turbo V6 engine. You wouldn’t think much of it – until you take it on! This sleeper will show you a thing or two and leave you wanting more. There are 445 horses pushing this little truck!
3 Toyota Avalon
We’d assume someone buying a Toyota Avalon likely has a family at home, and is looking for an economical ride. That’s one market for this car, but there happens to be another. This ride is so easy and affordable to modify, if you really want to. But this 3.5 L V6 holds its own, reaching 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds!
2 Ford Fusion Sport
Ford Fusion – sounds like a basic, affordable ride, and it is. It also happens to be a peppy little thing! The price is mid-range, but the horse is an impressive 325, so it’s a worthy investment. Nobody would assume the basic design of this Ford would impress on a drag strip, but it does carry that capability, making it a very unsuspecting sleeper.
1 Volkswagen Phaeton
Volkswagen is typically associated with reliability and trendy, young drivers. The Phaeton is an exception to the rule. This beauty is a very impressive ride, boasting a W12 engine that packs major punch with its 335 horsepower capability. It’s a 6L that has mature status, but a kid-worthy rush can be had when you put the pedal the metal on this sleeper.
Sources: MotorOne, Driver, MotorAuthority, Bloomberg