The 6 Most Affordable Sports Cars

The 6 Most Affordable Sports Cars

Most of us have, at some point, dreamt about owning a sports car. There is an undeniable allure to the idea of driving fast down country roads, the windows open and music blasting from the stereo. It’s a scene that could be ripped from any 1950s movie.

But few realize how attainable the prospect of owning a sports car actually is. Trust me, you don’t have to spend a fortune.

Sports cars are uniquely affected by the forces of depreciation. It’s not uncommon for a model to lose over half of its value in the first three years of ownership. There are a few reasons behind that phenomenon.

First, they’re impractical. After all, sports cars prioritize speed and aesthetics over day-to-day driving. If you want a car you can fit your entire family in, get an SUV.

They also suffer from a high cost of ownership. Repairs tend to be costly due to the unique nature of the parts inside. They also often suffer from poor gas mileage. These two factors alone deter would-be buyers.

But if you are prepared to accept these shortcomings, you can get behind the wheel of your dream car. Here are some of the best cheap sports cars on the used market.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport

Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport

Vintage Miata are tempting on many levels. First, the price. With many retailing below the $10,000 sweet spot, these are some of the cheapest coupe-style sports cars you can find.

The Miata also benefits from exceptional fuel economy. Depending on the model year, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect to get 23 mpg while coursing through the city, and 30 mpg on the highway. You can thank it’s relatively small 2L four-cylinder engine for this.

However, you can still expect reasonably decent acceleration speeds, in no small part due to its small frame. With room for just two passengers, the Miata MX-5 engine doesn’t have to work quite as hard to hit the 60 mph mark.

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Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport

Vintage Miata are tempting on many levels. First, the price. With many retailing below the $10,000 sweet spot, these are some of the cheapest coupe-style sports cars you can find.

The Miata also benefits from exceptional fuel economy. Depending on the model year, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect to get 23 mpg while coursing through the city, and 30 mpg on the highway. You can thank it’s relatively small 2L four-cylinder engine for this.

However, you can still expect reasonably decent acceleration speeds, in no small part due to its small frame. With room for just two passengers, the Miata MX-5 engine doesn’t have to work quite as hard to hit the 60 mph mark.

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Chevrolet Camaro 1LT

Chevrolet Camaro 1LT

Who doesn’t want a muscle car? And if you are prepared to accept a relatively high number of miles on the odometer, the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro is an enticing yet affordable proposition, with prices floating around the $18,000 mark.

And, unlike the Miata, you can still get a bargain when searching for recent vintages. This opens the door to a decent selection of modern conveniences, like the  rear parking assistance and remote ignition found on the 2014 edition.

Under the hood, there’s a beefy 3.6L V6 engine, which delivers remarkably nimble acceleration speeds. Fuel consumption is solid, but can’t compete with a gas-sipping hybrid. You can expect 17MPG in the city and 28MPG on the highway.

But practical this is not. The Camaro is technically a four-seater. In practice, the rear row is remarkably cramped, with minimal leg and head room. You wouldn’t want to get stuck back there.

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Chevrolet Camaro 1LT

Who doesn’t want a muscle car? And if you are prepared to accept a relatively high number of miles on the odometer, the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro is an enticing yet affordable proposition, with prices floating around the $18,000 mark.

And, unlike the Miata, you can still get a bargain when searching for recent vintages. This opens the door to a decent selection of modern conveniences, like the  rear parking assistance and remote ignition found on the 2014 edition.

Under the hood, there’s a beefy 3.6L V6 engine, which delivers remarkably nimble acceleration speeds. Fuel consumption is solid, but can’t compete with a gas-sipping hybrid. You can expect 17MPG in the city and 28MPG on the highway.

But practical this is not. The Camaro is technically a four-seater. In practice, the rear row is remarkably cramped, with minimal leg and head room. You wouldn’t want to get stuck back there.

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The Ford Mustang V6

The Ford Mustang V6

Sticking with pony cars, we move to the venerable Ford Mustang.

In many respects, the Mustang shares a lot in common with the Chevrolet Camaro, from its breakneck performance, to its utterly impractical rear seating row. It comes with a 3.7L V6 engine, which delivers 305HP and 280 lbs of torque.

As you’re looking for a bargain, the odds are high you will end up with an older model. One compelling choice here is the 2012 V6 edition, which can be found for as little as $12,000. 

These are fairly stingy when it comes to modern conveniences — unless you’re willing to include a CD player in that category. But you can easily overlook this when you take into account the low asking price, the respectable fuel efficiency, and, well… It just looks plain cool.

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The Ford Mustang V6

Sticking with pony cars, we move to the venerable Ford Mustang.

In many respects, the Mustang shares a lot in common with the Chevrolet Camaro, from its breakneck performance, to its utterly impractical rear seating row. It comes with a 3.7L V6 engine, which delivers 305HP and 280 lbs of torque.

As you’re looking for a bargain, the odds are high you will end up with an older model. One compelling choice here is the 2012 V6 edition, which can be found for as little as $12,000. 

These are fairly stingy when it comes to modern conveniences — unless you’re willing to include a CD player in that category. But you can easily overlook this when you take into account the low asking price, the respectable fuel efficiency, and, well… It just looks plain cool.

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Subaru BRZ Limited

Subaru BRZ Limited

You don’t typically associate Subaru with sports cars. It makes normal, sensible vehicles. The BRZ is a bit of an outlier. But we’re not complaining.

The BRZ ticks off pretty much everything you want from a sports car, starting with the looks. Subaru has crafted this vehicle with a sleek and aerodynamic aesthetic. Think contoured curves, rounded edges, and gentle gradients.

And it’s not just a pretty face either. Subaru saw fit to give the BRZ a fairly capable 2L four-cylinder engine, which it mounted to an all wheel drive drivetrain, allowing the car to handle tight corners with ease.

Discerning customers will appreciate the finer touches this vehicle has to offer, from the self adjusting headlights, to the leather heated seats. And with used 2014 models priced within the vicinity of $19,000, it’s hard to say no.

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Subaru BRZ Limited

You don’t typically associate Subaru with sports cars. It makes normal, sensible vehicles. The BRZ is a bit of an outlier. But we’re not complaining.

The BRZ ticks off pretty much everything you want from a sports car, starting with the looks. Subaru has crafted this vehicle with a sleek and aerodynamic aesthetic. Think contoured curves, rounded edges, and gentle gradients.

And it’s not just a pretty face either. Subaru saw fit to give the BRZ a fairly capable 2L four-cylinder engine, which it mounted to an all wheel drive drivetrain, allowing the car to handle tight corners with ease.

Discerning customers will appreciate the finer touches this vehicle has to offer, from the self adjusting headlights, to the leather heated seats. And with used 2014 models priced within the vicinity of $19,000, it’s hard to say no.

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Nissan 350Z Grand touring

Nissan 350Z Grand touring

Nissan stopped selling the 350Z in 2008. What a shame. A car with this much personality deserves better.

First, let’s talk about aesthetics. This humble two seater has one of the most intriguing designs you are likely to encounter in the mainstream sports car space.

Whereas Ford and Chevrolet looked to the past when designing the Mustang and Camaro, Nissan’s head was firmly in the future, as evidenced by the concave bubble covering the coupe’s cabin.

And then we get to the all-important performance factor. The 2008 edition two-seater packs a 3.5L V6 engine, producing 306 horsepower and 268 lbs of torque. Acceleration, therefore, is exceptional, and you can easily hit 60MPH in just 5.6 seconds. Handling is similarly good, thanks to its rear-wheel drivetrain and sturdy braking system.

Remarkably, the 350Z has retained much of its value in the years since its release, bucking the trend for sports cars. It’s originally had an MSRP of $37,740. You can buy the last model year used for around $18,000. That’s hardly surprising considering it’s the last of its kind.

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Nissan 350Z Grand touring

Nissan stopped selling the 350Z in 2008. What a shame. A car with this much personality deserves better.

First, let’s talk about aesthetics. This humble two seater has one of the most intriguing designs you are likely to encounter in the mainstream sports car space.

Whereas Ford and Chevrolet looked to the past when designing the Mustang and Camaro, Nissan’s head was firmly in the future, as evidenced by the concave bubble covering the coupe’s cabin.

And then we get to the all-important performance factor. The 2008 edition two-seater packs a 3.5L V6 engine, producing 306 horsepower and 268 lbs of torque. Acceleration, therefore, is exceptional, and you can easily hit 60MPH in just 5.6 seconds. Handling is similarly good, thanks to its rear-wheel drivetrain and sturdy braking system.

Remarkably, the 350Z has retained much of its value in the years since its release, bucking the trend for sports cars. It’s originally had an MSRP of $37,740. You can buy the last model year used for around $18,000. That’s hardly surprising considering it’s the last of its kind.

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BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series

Okay, not every sports car is impractical. Just look at the BMW 328i. At first glance, it looks a bit like a standard executive sedan.

Except the most souped-up versions carry a V6 engine under the hood, with a displacement between 3L and 3.5L, depending on the model. Also present is a rear-wheel drivetrain, which sports cars typically use to improve handling when tackling corners at brisk velocities. Suffice it to say, this car is fast.

True to form, even the most basic models of the BMW 3-Series  BMW are filled with luxury touches, from heated leatherette seats, to multi-zone air conditioning. And with prices below $10,000, and recent-year models around the $18,000 mark, these rank among the most affordable four-door sports cars we’ve found.

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BMW 3 Series

Okay, not every sports car is impractical. Just look at the BMW 328i. At first glance, it looks a bit like a standard executive sedan.

Except the most souped-up versions carry a V6 engine under the hood, with a displacement between 3L and 3.5L, depending on the model. Also present is a rear-wheel drivetrain, which sports cars typically use to improve handling when tackling corners at brisk velocities. Suffice it to say, this car is fast.

True to form, even the most basic models of the BMW 3-Series  BMW are filled with luxury touches, from heated leatherette seats, to multi-zone air conditioning. And with prices below $10,000, and recent-year models around the $18,000 mark, these rank among the most affordable four-door sports cars we’ve found.

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Buying your next sports car has never been easier

Your next car will be fast. Buying it should be too.

Shift makes the whole process easy. You can browse our entire inventory from the comfort of your home, and even pay online too, meaning there are no dealerships to visit. We handle all the boring paperwork, saving you a trip to the DMV. And all our cars are inspected before sale, and covered with a seven-day returns policy.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team