Every car enthusiast wants to have a fun yet fast ride. Some of them can go out and buy a supercar without thinking, while others take the time to carefully budget and plan out which car to buy. Do they want a sleek car with a big engine? Do they want a manual gearbox or paddle shifters? Or do they want something they can just have fun in with their friends, or even impress a date?
After their research is done, they go out and buy the car that fits their needs. Affordability is a crucial factor. Many enthusiasts are on a budget and want something that can be bought at a reasonable price, while still being powerful, attractive and fun to drive. These cars fit all of those criteria, and they’re available at under $10,000 to boot!
10MAZDA MX-5 MIATA (THIRD GENERATION)
The Mazda Mx-5 is widely known as the best affordable sports car in the world. It has rear-wheel drive, a smooth manual gearbox, and an enthusiastic engine that loves to chatter. Most owners will talk about how well their Miata stays balanced in corners. Others will say the backend can get a bit lively, but all of them will say that the gearbox is the best that has ever been made.
Luckily, Mazda made plenty of MX-5 models. An enthusiast on a budget has no reason to overlook the third generation MX-5 Miata.
9TOYOTA CELICA (SEVENTH GENERATION)
Most enthusiasts have probably never thought of the last generation Celica as an affordable sports car. Toyota killed off this generation in 2006, for reasons unbeknownst to fans. It has the styling of a sporty car with an engine and transmission made by the world’s most reliable manufacturer at the time.
It only has a four-cylinder in it, which offers close to 180 horsepower, but there are people out there who love it for what it is. A front-wheel-drive two-door car with sleek styling at an affordable price. Sure, it isn’t the most exciting car, but the aftermarket support has plenty to offer to make it so.
8PONTIAC SOLSTICE/SATURN SKY
Pontiac/Saturn built the Solstice/Sky between 2006-2010, when the manufacturer met its demise. They were built for the enthusiast at heart and loved by a faithful crowd. They were built to compete with the like of cars such as the Miata. This means it was built for the driver to have fun in.
Going through corners, having a peppy engine, and having fun is everything an enthusiast wants. If you’re a gearhead looking for something that talks the talk, walks the walk and was under-appreciated and overlooked, this is the car for you.
The Honda S2000 was just as popular as the Mazda MX-5 between enthusiasts and journalists alike. Here is a two-seater car with the reliability of its manufacturer to give the enthusiast a thrill that should never fade.
Nearly 237 horsepower in a vehicle that weighs less than 3,000 pounds is perfect. The S2000’s styling is just as timeless as anything. Purchasing a decent S2000 won’t break the bank and you certainly won’t regret it.
Nissan has created its fair share of sporty cars, from the 240Z all the way up to the new 370Z. A great example of the sportiness from Nissan has to be the widely-known 350Z, immortalized by The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift.
There is a truth to the 350Z. Its back end can become very lively, given that the 3.5L V6 provides between 280-310 horsepower to the rear wheels. Journalists and enthusiasts admire what the 350Z means and love what it can do.
5PORSCHE BOXSTER (FIRST GENERATION)
Can’t afford a 911 but always wanted a Porsche? The Porsche Boxster is the best way to own a 911 without paying the steep price. It boasts a flat-six engine producing anywhere from 200-280 horsepower ,depending on model and year.
Fans appreciated what Porsche did for the working man, and now the value has fallen drastically for the Boxster. All Porsches are both comfortable and sporty. It depends on the driver. For the sake of sportiness, the Porsche Boxster is everything a sports car is, just better.
4BMW 1 SERIES
Want a German sports car that is not a Porsche? Look no further than the BMW 1 Series as the answer. Under the hood is either a four-cylinder engine or the famous 3.0L inline 6 that BMW is widely known for making.
Gearheads fell in love with the 1 Series BMW when it debuted, and it still rings true to this day. A great buy for sports car enthusiasts on a budget. Just make sure to properly maintain it if you do make the purchase, though.
3TOYOTA MR2 (THIRD GENERATION)
The beloved MR2 was killed off after its third generation in 2007. Still holding the mid-engine design backed by either an automatic or manual transmission sending power to the rear wheels, the MR2 is one of the definitions of an affordable sports car.
Bearing a four-cylinder with merely 140 horsepower, with the curb weight barely over a ton, it is not necessarily going to be fast from the get-go. However, there are still plenty of parts in the aftermarket world to help the enthusiast make it more powerful.
2FORD MUSTANG (FIFTH GENERATION)
On the market for an American pony car? Look no further than the Ford Mustang. The fifth-generation Mustang pays homage to the first generation of Mustangs. Honestly, it is quite nostalgic.
With either a V6 boasting as low as 210 horsepower to the big American 4.6L V8 pushing 300 horses to the rear wheels, It doesn’t seem like much, but there is a huge aftermarket world for American cars like the fifth generation Ford Mustang.
1CHRYSLER CROSSFIRE SRT-6
Not many would place the Crossfire SRT-6 on a list like this, but give this some thought. A supercharged V6 and transmission given to Chrysler by Mercedes-Benz AMG division. This refined engine produces 330 horsepower. It’s one of the most powerful machines on this list.
Sadly, the Crossfire SRT-6 does not come with a manual transmission, but that is just fine. The Crossfire SRT-6 was made to be like a GT car, but it also is technically a sports car. The SRT-6 does not have the mass appeal some of these vehicles offer, but since SRT and AMG worked together on this machine, it is only fitting to add it to this list.