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Cheap but sporty cars
10 Affordable Sports Cars
Photo Credit: Toyota
When it comes to sports cars, most of us think we have to pay an arm and a leg to enjoy the thrill of driving one. Of course, when you’re hanging out on the racetrack with your friends or just attending your local car meet, you’ll see Porsches, BMW’s, and maybe even a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. We all hope to own one of these incredible machines in the future, but what about sports cars that are affordable right now?
Lucky for those not looking to break the bank, most mass-market automotive manufacturers offer an affordable sports car in their lineup, or a sportier derivative of an affordable model. In the following list, we have compiled 10 Affordable Sports Cars for those drivers interested in a dynamic drive.
Photo Credit: Subaru
2018 Subaru WRX
Subaru is one of the fastest growing automakers in the world and for good reason. Reliable, capable, and downright cool, Subaru models have tapped the consumer market in a unique way. Among its offerings is the 2018 Subaru WRX, appealing most to enthusiasts on a budget. Roll up in one of these sport sedans, and you’re bound to make your friends jealous. With seating for five, permanent all-wheel drive, a manual transmission, and aggressive styling, the WRX is well deserving of its enthusiast acclaim.
Powered by a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder, the WRX makes 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. With a 0-60 mph sprint of just 5.0 seconds, the WRX is quicker than most of the cars on this list but comes in at an affordable starting price of $26,995. Handling is the WRX’s forte, but it also charms with standard features like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic climate control, and a 6.2-inch infotainment system.
Photo Credit: Mazda
2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata
One of the most legendary roadsters in history, the Mazda MX-5 Miata keeps getting better and better with each generation. The 2018 model is sleek, upscale, and fun. Muscle cars are more imposing, but the Miata can run circles around them on a tight, technical road.
Both the traditional fabric soft-top convertible and the folding power top models utilize a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, rear-wheel drive, and either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Weighing in just under 2,300 pounds the Miata makes up for its small power (just 155 horses) with lightweight agility. Simply put, there’s nothing cooler than a two-door sports car, and at $26,395, there aren’t many new sports cars cheaper than this one.
Photo Credit: Toyota
2018 Toyota 86
The 2018 Toyota 86 originally hit the U.S. market as the Scion FR-S, along with its re-badged sibling, the Subaru BRZ. The goal for Toyota and Subaru when producing this sports car was to offer an exhilarating drive at a thoroughly affordable price (staring MSRP of $26,255,) and boy did they succeeded.
Power comes from a 2.0 liter flat-four turbo engine that produces 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque. The engine is coupled to a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission and goes from zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds with a top speed of 134 mph. While it may be a little rough riding for a daily driver, and it lacks the power of some other cars on this list, the 2018 Toyota 86 will always reward enthusiastic driving with balanced performance.
Photo Credit: Volkswagen
2018 Volkswagen GTI
After Volkswagen effectively created the hot hatch segment with its MkI Golf GTI in the 1970s, competitors have all tried (unsuccessfully) to unseat the GTI as king of five-door models. Despite some very good rivals, the 2018 VW Golf GTI remains one of our favorite affordable sports cars and is a seriously cool option. More spacious than the Ford Fiesta ST, more powerful, and more mature, the GTI is a car without caveat.
Under the hood, there is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivering 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel is the only drivetrain, but you can choose from either a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic. Zero to 60 mph takes a scant 6.0 seconds (yes, a four-cylinder hot hatch is quicker than a V6 muscle car,) and top speed is limited to 130 mph. Starting at just $26,415, the GTI comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, LED taillights, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Photo Credit: Ford
2018 Ford Fiesta ST
If you don’t need a massive car cabin the 2018 Ford Fiesta ST (and its smaller price tag) may be the perfect fit. Nimble handling, sharp angles, and a turbocharged performance make hot hatchbacks ideal everyday sports cars. Pile your friends into a Fiesta ST, find a twisty road, and show them why small is cool. More affordable than every other car on this list, the Fiesta ST starts at a mere $21,195 and is a no brainer for those who want fun on a budget.
Powered by a 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, the Fiesta ST sends 197 horsepower and 202 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed manual gearbox to its front wheels. Along with its spunky driving dynamics, the Fiesta ST comes with Ford’s Sync 3, 6.5-inch infotainment system (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto,) push-button ignition, and automatic climate control.
Photo Credit: General Motors
2018 Chevrolet Camaro
When it comes to high performance on a budget, you can’t go wrong with a muscle car. Choosing which muscle car, however, isn’t as easy a decision. Most buyers settle on either the Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro for their balance of style, handling, and straight-line performance. The 2018 Chevrolet Camaro offers a turbocharged four-cylinder engine to lower its starting price tag to $26,900, but Chevy also offers a V6 for not much more coin ($28,395) that gets you closer to the V8 performance experience.
V6-powered models deliver 335 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque (more power, but less torque than the Ecoboost Mustang,) for a 0-60 time of about 5.1 seconds. Standard equipment highlights include 18-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, Sirius XM, Bluetooth, and a backup camera. What it lacks for in technology, the Chevrolet Camaro more than makes up for in aggressive driving.
Photo Credit: Ford
2018 Ford Mustang
If the Chevrolet Camaro isn’t your preferred flavor of American muscle, consider the 2018 Ford Mustang. The original pony car kicks harder than ever these days, offers more advanced technology, and has refined bodywork for 2018. What’s not to love?
Everyone wants the V8-powered Mustang GT, but to keep the price tag within reach, Ford offers the Mustang in turbocharged four-cylinder form. Yes, that’s half the cylinders, but it still makes a mighty 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. Capable of a 0-60 mph sprint in less than 5.0 seconds, the “base” Mustang is plenty entertaining in a straight line and even more so on a curvy road. Add to that a sexy fastback silhouette, LED headlights and taillights, push-button ignition, and plenty of other standard goodies, and the Mustang’s $25,585 price tag seems very reasonable.
Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
2018 Dodge Challenger
The 2018 Dodge Challenger seems to be only muscle car that hasn’t been hit with a four-cylinder engine option. It’s also left out of the Mustang versus Camaro conversation all too often. If you’re looking for track day performance, we can understand why the heavy Challenger won’t fit the bill, but for everyday comfort and speed, Dodge has the right recipe for an affordable sports car.
Entry-level Challenger SXT models begin at $26,995, and use a 3.5-liter V6 good for 305 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 mph takes 6.2 seconds, making it slower than its similarly priced rivals but still plenty fast. The Challenger also packs a 7.0-inch UConnect infotainment system, dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, all as standard features.
Photo Credit: ZR1 Registry
2018 Fiat 124 Sp >
Italy checks into the affordable sports car conversation with some help from Japan. Built in collaboration with Mazda, the 2018 FIAT 124 Spider is a more comfortable and powerful take on the fourth generation Miata MX-5. Though the Spider is assembled on the same line as the Miata, it rides on a unique suspension, is longer, and uses a completely different engine/transmission combo.
Under the hood is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 mph acceleration is quicker than the Miata, at 6.3 seconds, and top speed is limited to 136 mph. Priced from $24,995 for entry-level, manual-equipped models, the Fiat 124 Spider is style and speed without the surcharge.
Photo Credit: Honda
2018 Honda Civic Si
Think of the Honda Civic as bowls of porridge in the classic Goldilocks fable. If the standard Civic is fresh but lacking in grunt, and the Civic Type R is powerful but overly harsh, then the 2018 Civic Si is the perfect middle ground. Power comes from a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine good for 205 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is the only available gearbox, but there’s simply no better way to enjoy a sports car.
Added to the cool design of the standard Civic is the Si’s rear wing, trapezoidal exhaust port, and unique 19-inch wheels. It may not be the fastest car in its class, but it’s also painless to maintain, will hold its resale value better than most performance cars, and starts at a reasonable $24,100.
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