The pure joy of driving a fun car is arguably one of the greatest feelings a proud car owner could feel. Wanting to feel the thrill of a sports car shouldn't have to break the bank, though. Luckily, this list is going to cover 10 excitement-packed sports cars that make you feel like a million bucks, but don't cost anywhere near that much. Without having to worry about your wallet, you'll be able to focus more on these thrill-filled rides and setting out on the open road. The sooner we get started, the sooner you can look into getting one!
With being an American staple since the '60s, it's easy to see how this car made the list. The 2019 base mustang comes with a 2.3 liter EcoBoost engine, which is turbocharged, pushing out approximately 310 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque. That's quite a punch from a four-cylinder, to say the least. With independent rear suspension and a limited slip differential, paired with a 6-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission, there's plenty of fun to be had in this affordable adrenaline machine.
This base model starts off at roughly $26,000 and they go up from there. A lot of older mustangs can be found still at dealerships or online from third-party sites for relatively cheap, as well. With plenty of options to customize, this car is sure to give you bang for your buck.
This mythical machine hasn't been in production for over a decade, but can still be found all over the US for typically $10,000-30,000 depending on the mileage and overall condition. These cars are well-known for being nimble at roughly 2,800 lbs, as well as the v-tech that kicks in around 6,000 rpm. This two-seater convertible has 2 generations, the AP1 from 1999-2003 which came with a 2.0 liter engine and a 9,000 rpm redline. The AP2 from 2004-2009 sported a 2.2 liter engine and the redline was adjusted to around 8,000 rpm. This car produces approximately 240 horsepower, and comes with a 6-speed manual transmission.
The Toyota 86 is a partnership between Subaru and Toyota. This car is from 2012 and up until recently, has been known as either Subaru BRZ or the Scion FR-S. The 86 in the model name is paying homage to the Toyota AE/GT86, which was a famous sports car and hatchback in, you guessed it, 1986.
This rear-wheel-drive 4 seater is unique for its low center of gravity, paired with the boxer engine that Subaru is known for. This car sports a 2.o liter engine, producing 200 horsepower and 150 lbs-ft of torque, and is paired with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. The premier model, the GT, is just over $28,000 and is plenty of car for the relatively affordable price tag.
Another vehicle that has made the list with plenty of heritage and high praise is the Mazda Miata. The newest version of the Miata, the MX-5 is a two-seater, rear-wheel drive sports car that has seen consistent improvements since its inception nearly 30 years ago. The standard model comes in the standard cloth convertible top for around $25,000, or for $7,000 more the RF version with a hard-top retractable roof can be purchased.
The Miata has seen a slight horsepower improvement from the 155 to 181 horsepower. That doesn’t sound like much, but matched with a curb weight of just over 2,300 pounds, it’s easy to see why this car is so zippy and fun to drive. This machine is powered by a 2.0 liter engine and paired with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
Just like the Mustang, this pony car has been around for quite some time. Although, production has taken a few breaks along the way. As the Camaro was reintroduced to the public just over a decade ago, it’s only continued to be enjoyed by enthusiasts, and has had its fair share of upgrades, both inside and out.
The base model comes with a 2.o liter, 4 cylinder engine that powers this bulky frame with 275 horsepower and can be purchased for right around $25,000. Also, once again like the Mustang, there are plenty of these older models to be found at local dealerships, auctions and plenty of third-party websites. The reason they’ve been around so long is clear: they’re just fun to drive!
Another popular Honda that’s made a name for itself is the Honda Civic Si. The Si stands for Sport Injected, and has represented those words quite well, as this car has been a go-to for younger generations for the last 3 decades. Honda is well-known for their reliability, and surprising amounts of power from smaller machines. This car is no exception, considering the Si comes with 1.5 liter turbo-charged, 4 cylinder engine, that puts out just over 205 horsepower. With a starting price of $24,000, it’s easy to see why the Civic Si pushes all the right buttons. Other key features are its 6-speed manual only gearbox and the ability to get close to 40 MPGs!
The Ford Fiesta ST just makes sense. For many people on a budget, finding a great car for their money is a necessity. When adding power and fun to the equation, getting your hands on the new Fiesta ST seems like a no-brainer. With a 1.6 liter direct-injected, turbocharged ecoboost engine that pushes just over 200 horsepower, this car speaks for itself. This eco-friendly performer has some nice upgrades from its base model, with the bigger engine, key body features, and Recaro race-inspired seats. The fact that this car is just over $21,000 is plenty of reason to hit the road and save some money in the process.
The third and final pony car has made its way on this list of affordable adrenaline-suppliers. With a name like Challenger, it’s no wonder this car has the aggressive stance that keeps the rest of the competition on their toes. This classic muscle car can be purchased starting at close to $28,000 and is worth every penny.
The base model comes with a 3.6 liter pentastar engine that’s capable of 305 horsepower. The unique thing about the Challenger is that you have the choice of either a rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive car. No other pony car gives that option. Regardless of how many wheels the power is going to, it’s sure to keep a grin on anyone’s face.
Nothing says speed and touring quite like the Z. This historic car has been tearing up the streets for 50 years and for good reason: Nissan has found a winning formula for a fast and fun sports car: a short rear end, long front end, and a powerful engine. This car has seen many transformations, from its day in the fairlady/240z class, to the 300 zx in the ’80s and ’90s, the revamp into the 350 Z and now the 370 Z.
It seems that with each upgrade, this car has just gotten better and better. Now sporting a 3.7 liter v6, it’s pushing 332 horsepower, and starting just under $30,000. With sight and sounds unlike any other car in its class, when the Z drives by, it’s unmistakable and sure to leave an impression.
This car has roots of royalty that tie back to the world of rally car racing. Whether it’s going full-blast down a back-country trail or carving the curves on roads, this is the car to do it in. The WRX is known for its exceptional handling and nimbleness, and comes with a turbocharged 2.5 liter boxer engine. There is no engine quite like the opposing-piston flat, boxer-style engine. The exhaust notes on this car make it unmistakable, as one is not far away from you. For just over $31,000 this car comes fully-loaded in the premium edition with 310 horsepower, and ready to handle whatever you can throw at it. When the roads wind down, this car can also be enjoyed as a nice cruising, family car.