Like everything else in the modern automotive realm, the term 'sports car' seems to have a pretty subjective definition. Ask 10 different people what a real sports car is and you'd probably get 10 different interpretations.

Still, it's hard to argue that the three cars featured here are anything but. Each shares a common trait or two: rear-wheel drive, sharp handling, a favorable power-to-weight ratio and a fixed-roof cockpit equipped with two seats.

Every now and then, we manage to slip the manacles to the daily production grind and hit the road for a bit of actual driving. And these three cars presented an ideal opportunity. The trip covered two days, more than 800 miles, 6,500 vertical feet, and every road and weather condition imaginable-from long, blustery desert blasts to towering switchbacks with zero emergency runoff, to gleaming, snow-dusted mountain passes. It revealed three vehicles that have their own distinct personalities, even though they've all been assembled for a similar purpose.

Proving that these cars even possess a modicum of functionality, we packed our tents, sleeping bags and a change of clothes with the photo gear and actually went camping at the end of the first day (really). And to avoid angering the various enthusiast camps with their pet definitions of a sports car, we won't call them that any more. We'll just call them canyon carvers.

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