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The Top 5: Best Cheap Sports Cars for Teenagers



Buying your first car can be an exhilarating experience, but it can also be a bit frustrating. Young driving enthusiasts often have a great deal of difficulty finding cars that are both affordable and fun to drive. On top of your budget and the car's cool-factor, its practicality and reliability have to be considered. For example, you can buy a Porsche 944 for less than ten grand, but insuring and keeping the car running will more often than not push the cost of ownership out of range for the average student.

I've prepared the following list based on these factors, with priority given to performance and affordability. Based on what someone might earn from a summer job during school, I'm working with a budget of roughly $5,000. I originally compiled this list when I was shopping for my first car with a similar budget.

5. Toyota Celica

7th Generation Toyota Celica

7th Generation Toyota Celica

7th Generation Toyota Celica

7th Generation Toyota Celica

Toyota started building the first Celica in 1970, but the cars that will appeal to the young prospective buyer are models of the sixth (1993-1999) and seventh (1999-2006) generations. These are the newest Celicas, so they are the most common in the used car market and will have fewer miles on them.

Between these two, the 7th generation is much better looking and obviously newer. The one you'll want is the GT-S, which has a wing! More importantly, it has Toyota's 2ZZ-GE engine. Yamaha contributed to the engine design, which means that this 1.8 L inline 4 behaves much like a sports bike engine—it revs to 8,000 rpm and pushes out 180 hp in this application. This is the same engine that Lotus used in the Series 2 Elise, albeit with different software that manages to drag an extra 10 horses out of the engine.

You can expect to spend anywhere from $4,000 to $13,000 on a Toyota Celica, depending on year, miles, and condition. Clearly, the 7th generation GT-S is the best, but unfortunately "best" also means "more expensive." Even if you can't find a GT-S in your price range, a regular Celica will provide lots of fun in an economical and practical package.

The Verdict: In addition to the fantastic engine, the Celica has all the practicality of a hatchback. It is also front-wheel drive. Although this is less fun than an RWD sports car, your parents (if you're still in high school) and insurance agent will probably appreciate it! Another thing to keep in mind is the legendary reliability of Toyota cars. You can count on this lasting well past 100k miles without anything more than oil, brake pads, and tires. If something does go wrong, the parts for this car are cheap.

4. Mitsubishi Eclipse

4th Gen. Eclipses

4th Gen. Eclipses

3rd Gen. Eclipse

3rd Gen. Eclipse

Rear end

Rear end



The first Mitsubishi Eclipse was sold in 1990, but, like the Celica, the most appealing Eclipse models will be the second through fourth generations (1995-2012). Obvious benefits of these later generations are that they will be newer and carry fewer miles, but another factor to consider is the major styling upgrades that separated the later generations from the first.

The second generation Eclipse (1995-1999) came with a number of different engines, both naturally aspirated and turbocharged. The RS and GS models came with a 140 hp Chrysler engine, and the GS Spyder came with a slightly larger (2.4 L instead of 2.0 L) Mitsubishi engine. These trim levels, in addition to the GS-T (with a 210 hp 2.0 L Mitsubishi powerplant) came with FWD. The higher-end GSX is powered by the same engine as the GS-T but features an AWD drivetrain that provides better grip under acceleration. All second-generation Eclipses came with either a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual for drivers who prefer to use both feet. Mitsubishi used smaller turbos in the second generation compared to the first in order to reduce turbo lag, so the boost from the turbo will come more quickly. Convertible versions of the GS and GS-T were also built. Expect to spend anywhere from $3,500-$10,00 depending on the trim (it'll be more for the turbo), mileage, and condition.

In 2000, Mitsubishi rolled out the third generation Eclipse. This generation featured more angular styling than the previous generation and did not include any trim levels with a turbocharger or AWD. The suspension was altered to provide a more comfortable ride, and they changed up the engine options. RS/GS Eclipses came with a 2.4 L motor that made 150 hp. The GT came with a 200 hp 3 L V6 while the GTS model carried an improved version of the same V6 that pushed out 210hp. Mitsubishi also made convertible versions of the GS, GT, and GTS trims. You can pick up a third-generation Eclipse for anywhere from $4,500-$10,00. Again, pricing will depend on mileage, condition, and the used car market in your area.

The fourth generation Eclipse marked a return to more rounded styling similar to the second generation, but it also shared styling components with other Mitsubishi vehicles of that period. You can choose between a 162 hp 2.4 L I4 or a 3.8 L V6 packing 263 horses under the hood. All of these will be front-wheel drive, and there are convertibles available as well. Though you can find an old model from a private seller for less, a fourth-generation usually goes for around $9000, so it'll be out of the price range for most young people.

The Verdict: The Mitsubishi Eclipse is a great Japanese sports car with a variety of solid engines, and a number of different body styles to suit different tastes. You can get a coupe or convertible, FWD or AWD. The Eclipse isn't a hardcore "driver's car" like some of the cars that follow in this list, but it'll be a hoot to drive and is not completely impractical.

3. Acura Integra

Third-generation Acura Integra

Third-generation Acura Integra

Third-generation Integra

Third-generation Integra

Modified third-generation Integra

Modified third-generation Integra

From 1990-1993, Acura sold the second-generation Integra, perhaps the most popular among enthusiasts. You'll want to find one with the 1.8 L engine producing 130 hp or the top level GS-R Integra which was first introduced in 1992. Featuring Honda's VTEC (Variable valve Timing and lift Electronic Control), the GS-R's engine produced160 hp and proved to be a favorite for tuners and enthusiast drivers alike.

The third-generation Integra featured a major update in styling—you either love it or hate it. The base engine was upgraded to a 142 hp 1.8 L I4, while the GS-R engine got an upgrade to 170 hp and kept the VTEC. In 1997, the Integra Type-R came to the United States with its upgraded version of the GS-R's engine making 195 hp and revving safely up to 8400 rpm—much higher than any other streetcar of the time. It'll be tough to find one, but if you do, go for it! The limited quantity available of the Type-R (750 imported to North America in 1997) is the main reason the Integra isn't higher on the list. It's often considered to be one of the best-handling FWD cars in the world—even compared to modern designs. Expect to pay anywhere from 3-9k—there is a wide range of conditions and levels of modification, so you should be able to find what you're looking for, given time. Obviously, the GS-R and Type-R models will be more expensive and much harder to find (especially unmodified), but if you find the right car, you could end up a very happy buyer!

The Verdict: The Acura Integra is one of the best-handling FWD cars from the 1990s, and it was supplied with solid engines throughout the entire history of the car. As a hatchback, it's somewhat practical but will still be an Autocross champ.

Acura Integra Second Through Third Generation Comparison

Used cars are continuously depreciating. To see a rough estimate of current prices, check a source such as Kelley's Blue Book.

GenerationYears MadeBody StyleHorsepowerApproximate Price



3-door liftback, sedan

130-158 hp


Second GS-R


2-door sedan

160 hp




coupe, sedan

142 hp


Third GS-R


coupe, sedan

170 hp


Third Type-R



195 hp

These are very difficult to find; prices will vary

In 1984, Toyota brought out the surprising MR-2, which was very different from the practical and uninteresting family sedans that made the manufacturer successful. The first generation (1984-1989) was extremely lightweight and featured, like all generations to follow, an MR (mid-engine rear-wheel drive) layout more commonly found on supercars such as the Ferrari F355 and Lamborghini Countach. The combination of lightweight chassis and perfect front-rear weight distribution via the mid-engine layout resulted in a car that handled like a champ and didn't need a huge engine to provide sufficient performance. The 1.6 L inline-4 only produced 112 hp but could hit 60 mph in just over eight seconds.

In 1988, Toyota introduced a supercharged model which made 145 hp and could accelerate the lightweight sports car to 60 mph in six-and-a-half to seven seconds.

The styling of the first generation is very angular and geometric—you either hate it or love it. The price range for this generation should be around $1,000-$7,000 although certain examples with extremely low mileage may have higher prices as collector cars (especially the supercharged model).

The second-generation MR-2 (1989-1999) had very different styling and has been called a "poor man's Ferrari" due to some aesthetic similarities between the Toyota and Ferrari's 355/348. The US received two engine options: a 130 hp 2.0 L naturally aspirated I4 and a 200 hp turbocharged 2.0 L I4. For 1992-3, Toyota changed the suspension geometry to reduce "snap-oversteer" which made the car safer to drive quickly and on the limit. If you've got experience driving sports cars and are looking for a car with a real edge to it, try to find one from the few years before this change. If you just want to be able to corner quickly and not make a fool of yourself, definitely look for a later version with the more forgiving handling. This is, for most, the best of the MR-2 generations to buy because it is newer, more powerful, and better-looking than the first generation, but less expensive than third-generation models. You'll probably be looking at 5-12k for pricing, although there is always room for variation with individual cars. The turbos are going to be harder to find unmolested and will be more expensive, but if you can find the right car, it's going to be much faster and more fun to drive than the still spectacular NA version.

The third-generation MR-2 (1999-2007) was called the MR-2 Spyder, or MR-S in some markets. It was only sold as a true convertible and had only one engine option—a 1.8 L inline-4 with 138 hp. While the engine was less powerful than that of the previous generation (especially the turbo), the car's lightness allowed it to perform equally well as cars with more power. A third-generation MR-2 is going to run you about 8-18k.

The Verdict: The MR-2 is a surprisingly fuel-efficient sports car with a mid-engined layout and rear wheel drive performance. With a huge aftermarket following, it won't be difficult to find parts and modifications to spec the car up to wherever you want it. It's going to be hard to find a better-handling car at this price point!

2. Toyota MR-2

Second generation MR-2

Second generation MR-2

Yet another second generation MR-2

Yet another second generation MR-2

The Mazda Miata earned its spot on top of this list for one reason: It is the best "driver's car" of the bunch—the one that dominates Autocross events nationwide and single-handedly resurrected the old-fashioned British Roadster concept. The Miata is anything but practical, and, for those living in northern climates, it won't be particularly great to drive in the snow, but the handling and rear-wheel drive brilliance all summer long will more than make up for it. In fact, many Miatas in northern areas such as "Minnesnowta" and Wisconsin have been summer-only cars since they were first purchased. Therefore, you'll be able to find a purist driver's car with relatively few miles on it (considering the age) on a reasonable budget.

The first generation Miata was first sold in 1989 with a 1.6 L I4 that made 115 hp. For the 1994 model year, Mazda upgraded the Miata's engine to a 1.8 L making 131 hp. Like the MR-2, the Miata makes do with less horsepower because it is very lightweight with good weight balance and rear-wheel drive. A limited slip differential was offered as an optional extra with manual transmission cars (an automatic transmission was offered, but proved unpopular). There wasn't much in the way of luxury, especially in the first few years of production. Air conditioning, stereo, power steering, and alloy wheels were all absent from the base model in 1989 in order to lower the entry price, although features such as these became standard later on. A first generation (1989-1998) Miata will run you $1,500-$8,000, with price varying based on age, mileage, and condition.

The second-generation Miata (1999-2005) phased out the pop-up headlights and got a little bit bigger, yet more aerodynamic. The 1.8 L engine was upgraded to run at 140 hp, and ABS was added as an option. In 2001, Mazda refreshed the second-generation Miata and upgraded the structural stiffness of the chassis while adding a six-speed manual gearbox to the top line model. For the 2004 and 2005 model years, a MazdaSpeed Miata was also available in limited quantities. This Miata featured a turbocharged version of the 1.8 L that made 180 hp and could reach 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. Mazda upgraded the suspension and fitted wider rubber to the lightweight alloy wheels. A MazdaSpeed Miata will cost $10,000-$15,000, while a normal one will cost $2,500-$12,000 based on condition and mileage.

The Verdict: The Mazda Miata provides the handling capability of much more expensive sports cars in an affordable package. While it isn't practical and won't carry more than one passenger, this is the best performing sports car in its price range. If you need something practical, this isn't the car for you. But if you are looking for a car that you can use as a daily driver and also take to the Autocross course and have success, you'll want to take a serious look at a Miata!

1. Mazda Miata

First-generation Mazda Miata

First-generation Mazda Miata

Second-generation Mazda Miata with a 430 hp LS3 V8 from a Corvette swapped into the engine bay

Second-generation Mazda Miata with a 430 hp LS3 V8 from a Corvette swapped into the engine bay

Honorable Mention

Volkswagen GTI: The ultimate hot hatchback, this sporty version of the Golf barely missed the top five. The main thing holding it back is the higher maintenance cost of German vehicles. With solid turbocharged I4 and V6 engines, the GTI is truly a fantastic combination of hatchback practicality and light-your-hair-on-fire performance.

Subaru WRX: The WRX was a bit pricy for this list, but it makes it to the honorable mention list due to the great performance and rally heritage offered by the '90s Subaru sports sedan/wagon. With a turbocharged flat-4 and Subaru's legendary AWD system, the WRX will be quick on any surface and is relatively easy to modify for more power.

BMW E30: The E30 generation 3-series are fantastic cars, and favorites among BMW enthusiasts. The biggest problem other than maintenance cost is the difficulty of finding an affordable example that hasn't been completely worn out. E30 BMWs either have over 150,000 miles or are going to cost more than the budget of an average high school/college student.

Honorable Mention Car Photos

Modified VW GTI

Modified VW GTI

Subaru WRX

Subaru WRX



This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


noah purcell on July 26, 2020:

here's my list of what I would have got besides my g35

1 Mazda speed 3

2 350z

3 Acura rsx

4 chevy cobalt ss supercharged/turbocharged

5 ford fiesta st

6 Lexus gs

7 Lexus sc 300 / sc 400

8 Acura TL

9 mustang (1999 -2004)

10 ford crown victoria police interceptor

11 dodge neon srt 4

12 any Volvo (s60 r,v70r,850r,240,xc90 etc)

13 scion tc

14 Hyundai genesis coupe

15 Subaru Forester (2003 - 2007)

honorable mentions

VW Jetta gli

VW gti

BMW 528i

BMW 335i (2011 +)

honda civic si

Subaru Wrx


mercedes c class (2001 - 2007 )

audi a4 (2005 - 2008)

z28 camaro

Sheree Colleen on May 11, 2020:

Top 5 best cheap sports cars for teenagers ...???

I would NEVER allow my teenager drive a sports car unless they were paying for their own insurance, period! Best cars for teenagers are retired police cars!

Leonard Persin on October 11, 2019:

Integra will get stolen. MR2 and Miata is dangerous for new/average non-enthusiast driver due to it's snappyness. The Celica has a great engine but it isn't a sports car, and doesn't handle anywhere near a Civic or Integra. Eclipse is just straight up undesirable and not the most reliable thing. 90s Imports that are good "driver's cars" simply cost too much now. You can get a 350z that is high mileage for under $8k now, that's a no brainer. If you don't mind looking like a girl, you can get the most overlooked gem, the MR-S.. sure it's slow, but a 2zz can fix that, and it handles like a Lotus elise with suspension mods. 240sx and 300zx should be at the top of the list, but before long even a beat to hell one will be over $5k, right now you can occasionally find a decent stock one for $4.5k.

Leonard Persin on October 11, 2019:

MR2 and MX5 are great sports cars, but they are dangerous as all hell for new drivers or immature drivers. Both will completely 180 on you if you aren't an adept driver and have delayed or overly-aggressive input. The short wheelbase of the MX5 and especially the mid-engine MR2. These are pre-nanny cars that also don't have abs 9/10 times. Like stated, both are good cars and easy to work on. As for the others on the list... they aren't even sports cars. The Celica and Integra have excellent engines, but the platform ruins it with FWD. The Integra not as bad since it and the Civics actually were engineered to handle quite well, but the Celica does not. The Eclipse, I'm not going to even go there. They aren't the most reliable, they don't handle well, and they aren't sought after unless they are the uber-rare GSX. Also, in 2019, finding a clean/non-rusted out MR2 or MX5 is gonna cost you almost as much as the other RWD 90s imports like the 240sx, 300zx, ect. We have come to a point in time where you can almost get a high mileage 350z that is rough around the edges for $5k, and that would be a no brainer. I recently sold my 90s japanese imports because I could get more than I could buy another one with now. If you wreck it good luck getting another that isn't beat to hell to swap your parts over. The MR-S(3rd gen mr2) is the hidden gem, but I suspect it won't drop much lower in price before it starts to increase. It's a poor mans lotus with no power(but that is easilly remedied with the celica 2zz swap.) As much as i harp about e36 quirks and reliability issues, at least they can be had for nothing and are abundant, I'd actually choose one of those, even though years ago I never would have. they handle just as good as any 90s rwd jap import, even the sedan.

Luke on April 12, 2019:

Why the hell are all of the Cars on this list a bunch of underpowered, girly a** Imports that everyone has probably forgotten about by 2019? What about Early C4 Corvette or 4th Gen F Body and where are the Foxbody Stangs?

BWj on February 03, 2019:

I have been searching for a first car and have definitely looked through the Acura integra, Subaru wrx, bmw e30, Supra, and many other cars that would try to fit my taste. I prefered a sporty feeling car that can go a little fast, but still be reliable and an all rounded car with more horses than it looks. I like cars that have two doors and are coupes, if there is one that is. And I’ve admired the rally cars that of which I have looked at most, the Subaru wrx. I’ve also looked at the Mitsubishi Lancer which I admired the same as the Subaru wrx. I wanted an oldish car with still young qualities, and not be too old that the parts are hard to find. But I don’t want to look like I have an old grandma car that the looks make it horrific, I know everyone(online)especially my own dad said, “get the Honda Civic, it’s a car that can go for miles and is so dirt cheap and hard headed when it crashes into anything.” But I don’t want to get a Honda Civic. It’s certainly IS reliable and hard to break, I can agree on that, but the Honda Civic does get you from a to b, but in my opinion, I’m not really feeling the Honda Civic, I don’t hate it, it just doesn’t feel right for me and my taste of driving. I am dreaming of a reliable car that could make fun to it, have the looks, easy to get parts, get just a little aggressive, with two door coupe with a 4 cylinder engine that could still make air flow go in that thing. I love and adore cars that are like the Acura integra, Subaru wrx, bmw e30, and even the older mustangs I completely dream of. I just want a car that doesn’t count as a sports car, just a coupe. And one fun coupe that’s wild, controlled, and yet hangs on there and lives on.

Lm on May 08, 2017:

Good selection, but as a kid one of the things you have to keep in mind is how easy it isto work on that car, cause there's really no point in autoxing a car if your not gonna learn and work on it yourself. Both the wrx and mr2 are a pain to work on without a lift and other stuff. Old civics ir ford escorts in manual are still a blast to drive. Practically every junkyard has at least a 1/2 dozen if them to pull parts from. Learning on a fwd car in auto and rallyx may make more sense for the young person learning to drive as one won't become frustrated with oversteer and spins.

AWD on December 27, 2015:

An AWD hatchback or wagon suits me best. I think it offers the best capability with the best size, price, and gas mileage. I think an AWD rugged looking Prius should be a thought in the future.

Spencer jensen on June 18, 2015:

Got a mk4 gti and a na miata love them both!!!!

C Williams on December 09, 2014:

My personal votes are as follows... (Not counting those already on the list!)

5. Pontiac Fiero

4. Honda Civic CRX/Del Sol

3. Ford Mustang (1979-2005)

2. Chevrolet Camaro/Pontiac Firebird (1990s)

1. Volkswagen Golf GTI/Volkswagen New Beetle Turbo

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on May 27, 2014:

I'm a huge fan of RX8s and FC RX7s which are both fairly cheap, but I left rotaries off the list because the maintenance/repair costs are prohibitive for people on a tight budget. I couldn't justify putting something on the list that requires an engine rebuild every 60-70k miles in most cases

Jay on May 20, 2014:

What about the Mazda RX-8? you can find one within this price the 7-10 price range

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on February 07, 2014:

When I was test driving, I wasn't hugely impressed by the 4th gen, but loved the 5th. Unfortunately they priced themselves out of the list. Not a bad car by any stretch, but between the pricing of the 5th gen and my impression of the 4th, I left it off the list. Thanks for reading and commenting!

4th gen honda prelude on February 07, 2014:

4th gen honda prelude si or vtec

power + handling+ drifter

integra + accord parts


nough said

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on January 02, 2014:

I'm a bmwcca member myself, our family has had a couple E36s. Agree that they're fantastic cars! Early E36s had a few issues with the rear subframe etc. so anticipated maintenance costs put it a bit out of contention when compared to cars that can be bought good-to-go for the price of a semi-project or 180k mile bimmer.

DobieRescue on January 01, 2014:

I've owned 3 bmw's and I can honestly say they're my favorite! The BMWCCA is the largest car club and has $10-$25 races every month! Plus you don't need a bmw to join or race. A great car that is getting cheaper is the e36 M3. My friend and I bought both of ours for under $5000. They need work but they drive great and the s50 engine can really take a beating. Right now as a 19 year old college student I'm paying roughly $150 for decent coverage on my m3, without coverage I believe it was $80ish.

My first car was the e90 and I loved people's faces when a bmw sedan blew past them in the corners! Parts aren't expensive if you shop around. I actually bought a completely new m5 suspension for $300, bushings prepressed and all aluminum. Labor is what gets you if you decide to pay for it. however, bmw's are really user friendly if you have the patients!

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on December 30, 2013:

It's an ok car, but too ordinary. It's got a solid motor, but otherwise it's based on a regular commuter car. I was going for more purpose-built stuff here, hence the GTi as an honorable mention. Plus, wayyy to many ricers!

Pete on December 27, 2013:

The fact that the Civic Si isn't on this list ruins the entire thing. Cmon!

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on December 23, 2013:

a turbo or S2 is definitely on my list of cars to own! Hopefully as a race car.. Growing up my dad had an '83 and '89 Turbo so I've always loved them.

Bob on December 23, 2013:

I've always loved the 944 and bought my first a couple years ago. It's a great car, dirt cheap and parts are easy to get.

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on December 14, 2013:

Not much at all, if you're attached to your parent's policy like I am. I was quoted the same for a VW GTi and a Miata, I pay about $500 a year. Basically, all of these cars are cheap enough that insurance doesn't really care what they are- sports cars, sedans, etc. They'll total it pretty easily. If you try to get your own policy and are under 25, you're going to pay through the roof regardless of what you drive.

Tamara Wilhite from Fort Worth, Texas on December 14, 2013:

How much does insurance cost for sports cars like these?

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on December 14, 2013:

I technically don't have a honda on the list there... I know plenty of people who autocross in high school and college. Buick carries strong retiree connotations to most young car buyers. Having grown up in the fast and furious environment, cars like these are fairly popular. The buick really isn't a legitimate comparison because it is in a different class entirely. It may have its benefits, but it's like comparing a 911 turbo with a BMW M5. When I went to buy my first car, I wasn't particularly concerned about safety, ride comfort, or practicality. While this isn't everyone's experience, it definitely is representative of a decent sized chunk of the youth enthusiast market

ricekiller on December 13, 2013:

this is a list about cheap fast cars for a teenager, no 16-17 year old is going to a track with their honda anyway, its about whos faster from the stop light or a roll on hwy.

Safety - Buick

interior comfort-Buick

insurance- Buick

interior space-Buick


cost to mod- Buick

ride comfort-Buick

handling on a track- Honda.......

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on December 11, 2013:

Until you show that buick a corner or two.. My bias is towards autoX/backroad ready cars. Handling>power. I personally have more fun pulling lateral G's in my Miata than launching my friend's C6 Corvette. It's simply a matter of personal preference, but there's nothing inherently "shitty" or "slow" about the cars on this list.

ricekiller on December 11, 2013:

BAHAHA slow shitty cars that are going to be rode hard and put up wet.

integra gs-r? eclipse spyder? Si's and type R's LOL my bone stock 4 door, leather heated seats with power everything buick, that I paid $2,000 for walks on those cars all day. 97-00 regal gs kids, that's what you want.

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on November 13, 2013:

How's the RX7 treating you? I ended up buying a Miata over a 2nd gen RX7 because I figured maintenance would be pretty expensive on a rotary.

MR2 Owner on November 13, 2013:

My first car was the second generation MR2. The car was fine at first, but very expensive to repair and almost impossible to find replacement parts for. Half a year later I got an RX-7 FC3S to drive while I'm trying to repair my MR2.

Avinesh Prahladi from Chandigarh on September 20, 2013:

I would love to own Subaru WRX, but unfortunately it is not yet launched in our country, but keeping my fingers crossed and will surely own it as and when it is launched.

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on September 01, 2013:

thanks for the feedback, all! I left the jags off the list primarily due to maintenance costs, although they do offer a favorably classiness to cost ratio!! Not a muscle car fan so the 'stang didn't make the cut. Just a matter of personal taste! The prelude would have been a good inclusion, I test drove a couple of them a few months after writing this article and loved it. Hard to find an unmolested and clean one for under 6-8k, at least in Minnesota. Left the 240sx off for that reason, the only ones I've been able to find are full-on drift cars now. Went with somewhat newer cars than the corolla/datsun, but those would be fun to drive as well!

Finn Holmquist on August 31, 2013:

There should be a 240sx hatch on there. Lots of space while still being a fun 2 door, they are hard to find unmolested though. Oh or a ke70 corolla or datsun 510.

RasTa on March 13, 2013:

There should be a Honda Prelude on this

Ruminta Sari from Sleman on January 31, 2013:

Eclipse is my favorite car from the list, but it's difficult to get that car in my country. Not that I can afford it now, lol.

DommaLeigh on January 29, 2013:

If you mean that than look into the auction of the classic cars being sold off in NY from Sandy. I heard they had all kinds of cars, all kind of makes and models. All being sold off at auction because of water damage for really reasonable prices. I think there was an article on yahoo about it.

Romel Tarroza from Philippines on January 29, 2013:

Those are really great cars.. I'm hoping that someday I will be able to buy one...

DommaLeigh on January 27, 2013:

I have never seen an inexpensive mustang around me but we have a mustang club in the area that will buy them up for parts or for a restoration project.

fordforevet on January 26, 2013:

I think that the foxbody mustang should be on there.

DommaLeigh on January 25, 2013:

Yeah I love my car :) No matter how bad of a day you are having just going out and sitting in it seems to make things better. I am the third owner of the car and it has less than 70,000 miles on her. She has always been a cruise car and a garage baby.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on January 23, 2013:

@ DommaLeigh, Ooooh, Jaguar! I wouldn't kick one of those out of my driveway! Some of the 90's cars are pretty nice.

DommaLeigh on January 22, 2013:

I'm glad to see the Celica hit your five top. I have a few friends that like to pimp their rides out with the tinted windows and the under body light kits. My best friend even bought the dragon appliques for both the side and interior on his car. Though I like your list I still prefer my convertible 1990 limited sport edition V12 Jaguar. It handles like a dream and always turns heads at the car cruises. You can grab the V6's up as low at 4 to 5K.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on January 21, 2013:

I love the selection! I have driven both the Miata and the Eclipse (loved them both for different reasons), and I am currently a frequent passenger in a very peppy MR2 (turbo). I have never owned a Celica, but that is one of my dream cars.

Good article!

iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on January 21, 2013:

Very interesting profiles of sports cars. It's not a surprise that Miata comes first -- I think a lot of teenagers and young adults would want to drive alone and by themselves, plus it looks like a good old-school sportscar. Eclipse is also a good choice. Thanks for posting. Up, useful, interesting, shared (and also a following from me)

Mike Robbers from London on January 19, 2013:

Interesting post! Thumbs up! Cheers!

newusedcarssacram from Sacramento, CA, U.S.A on January 17, 2013:

You have shared information about some of the best sports cars in low costing. My personal favorite among them is Mazda Miata.

invitationinuk from newyork on October 01, 2012:

I love Subaru WRX,It's a powerful car.

BHPH from NC, USA on September 25, 2012:

@Pkittock: Oh yeah, labor is definitely just as costly as the parts. Unless you want to spend as time under your car as you do in the driver's seat, I think you're right in opting for the Miata. Both the E30 and Miata made my recent list of the cheapest RWD cars: https://bhph.hubpages.com/hub/The-Top-5-Cheap-RWD-... Lemme know what you guys think!

kyletx78640 from Kyle, Texas on September 25, 2012:

I like the E30, great car and fun to drive!! I'm too big for the mazda!

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on September 24, 2012:

Agreed on the payoff if you can swing an E30! I don't know how to do anything beyond oil changes and swapping summer/winter tires myself, so I can't imagine getting an E30 at the moment. The labor gets you just as much as the parts!

BHPH from NC, USA on September 24, 2012:

Great hub! I bought an E30 BMW (an '86 325e, to be exact) about six months ago. These are great cars, but you're right that finding an example that isn't completely worn out is really tough. It took me weeks and weeks to find one, and I've still spent many weekends fixing this, that, or the other. Still, if you can stomach the maintenance required, it's hard to find a better, cheaper, non-Miata RWD drive car that looks classy and turns on rails. But yes, given their issues, I think you're right to make these cars an Honorable Mention.

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on September 03, 2012:

@hardlymoving Not a bad car, given a few years it'll probably be on the list, but they're a bit higher in price than what I was aiming for here.

@jdodge1216 thanks!

Jessica from Lawton, Oklahoma on September 01, 2012:

Very good article!

hardlymoving from Memphis, TN on September 01, 2012:

What about the Dodge Neon SRT 4?

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 19, 2012:

@YellowTaxis This list is geared towards reasonable options for someone to buy.. at least in the US with grey-marketed R32-34 skylines, they aren't cheap at all! Definitely a great car, but out of budget for this list.

@Felicia Carillo Thanks for reading and commenting! Celicas are great!

Felicia Vasquez from New Mexico on August 17, 2012:

I always wanted a celica!

YellowTaxis from walsall on August 17, 2012:

I think a nissan skyline would be worth a shout out, every boys dream car.

lauramaryscott from Boise, Idaho on August 16, 2012:

Pkittlock, you are correct. Normally cars depreciate the minute you drive them off the lot. Because the gasoline prices were so high, the demand for economical cars was also high and that caused the value of my Echo to appreciate. I made a good decision when I purchased the car and I'm stickin with it.

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 16, 2012:

@Lauramaryscott thank you very much! Interesting that your car Appreciated.. Generally the only cars to do that are limited run supercars like the Lamborghini Reventon or the Pagani Zonda!

@afriqnet thanks for reading! I'm sure you'll enjoy the heck out of that sports car when you get one!

@Kieran Gracie Yes, it's quite the fantastic combination of Japanese reliability and the classic British sports car concept a la TR4. I love those original Minis as well though, you're quite lucky to have been able to hill climb and rally one of those! Looking at an original next to the modern Mini makes you realize how big even the "small" cars have gotten

lauramaryscott from Boise, Idaho on August 16, 2012:

Pkittlock, congratulations on your Hub of the Day. I enjoyed reading your article but in my previous comment I failed to congratulate you. You are a good writer.

Kieran Gracie on August 16, 2012:

What a pity the Miata was not available when I was young! That would have been my perfect choice for a 2-seater. I had to 'make do' with Mini Cooper S's s which I raced, hill-climbed and rallied. But they were a bunch of fun too.

Joe Njenga from Nairobi Kenya on August 15, 2012:

I love sports cars and I hope I will own one someday. I enjoyed reading your interesting Hub. Cheers

lauramaryscott from Boise, Idaho on August 15, 2012:

Your article was interesting. I purchased my absolutely red Toyota Echo in 2000 and I still enjoy it and 42 mpg isn't all bad. However, if you are a tall person, it isn't for you and it is too light for strong winds. However, in 2000, it was a new look and faculty members and college students thought it was a sports car. In 2000, it caught the eye of many and when asking me about my car, they assumed it cost a lot more than it did. In 2002 or thereabouts, I was in the dealership getting it serviced when Mike asked me if I wanted to sell it. Because of the high gas prices at the time, my car was actually worth more than what I paid for it. Enjoyed your article. Cars are fun.

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 15, 2012:

@Prasetio thanks for reading and commenting! It is much appreciated

@smithzhito.net They are definitely good cars and fun to drive.. But maintenance costs, especially if anything goes wrong with the AWD system is VERY expensive!

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on August 15, 2012:

Very informative hub. My favorite car is Mitsubishi Eclipse. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!


Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 14, 2012:

@bridalletter Thanks for reading! looking at a G35/37 for the Infinity? I've heard good things about those as well!

@bankscottage Yes they certainly are! The Z3 and Miata are very different cars- the Z3 is more of a cruising roadster with a powerful engine whereas the Miata is more of a focused sports car with less power but a tighter chassis and suspension. Love the R32 as well! that is with the VR6 motor, right?

Mark Shulkosky from Pennsylvania on August 14, 2012:

Informative and useful Hub. I've been thinking about a summer sports car for Maine (Miata or Z3). I see a ton of Miatas driving around Acadia National Park and they look like a lot of fun.

I had a neighbor that had an R32, a VW GTI on steroids.

Brenda Kyle from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA on August 14, 2012:

What a fun hub. I love all those cars, less the miata. After family time as you know, the desire to have a 2 seater becomes a much stronger desire. I have my eye on an Infinity 2 door. Very Sweet Hub!

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 14, 2012:

@naturalremcan Thanks for reading and commenting. I left the muscles cars off due to personal preference for lightweight handling-focused cars.

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 14, 2012:

@jpcmc Then I'd recommend the VW GTi or a Ford Focus SVT! The best thing about hot hatches is that they are two cars in one. A practical hatchback when you need that, and a sports car when you are looking for a spirited drive! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 14, 2012:

@paulw35 Those older GTi's are particularly fun! Back when they were lighter than the newer ones without all the safety and luxury equipment. Top gear raced every generation GTi against each other and I believe it was the mkii or mkiii that won!

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 14, 2012:

@belleboy Thanks for reading and commenting with the feedback! It's very cool to see my work recognized.

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 14, 2012:

@JP993 Agreed on the MR2 Turbo and 1.8T GTi. I wish we had cozzie focuses and such over here in the states.

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 14, 2012:

@e-five Thanks for reading! which GTi did you have? Well done on the rally!

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 14, 2012:

@Craig Hartranft The focus could have made it as an honorable mention, but I'm really not a muscle car fan so I didn't have many American choices. Thanks for reading!

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 14, 2012:

@John Sarkis The Miata certainly is very small.. It all comes down to what you prioritize! Good thing they make a bunch of good hot hatches like the GTi too. Thanks very much for reading and commenting!

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 14, 2012:

@Jeff Gamble keeping the GTi off the list was very very tricky.. I seriously considered expanding the list to 6 cars! thanks for reading, and I appreciate the feedback!

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 14, 2012:

@mts1098 thank you very much. this is no list for a jeep! Classic off-roader/wwii vehicle though

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 14, 2012:

@petersavage the Skylines are fantastic cars! I'm not sure what the used market is like in Europe or Japan, but we only ever got the R35 GTR here so there isn't much available used! Thanks for reading

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 14, 2012:

@newusedcarssacram thanks for reading! I left the Mustang off because I personally favor lightweight handling cars as opposed to muscle cars, but they certainly can be found on budget!

naturalremcan from Canada on August 14, 2012:

Nice hub.....I would have included a mid 1990s chevy camaro or ford mustang

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on August 14, 2012:

I used to dream having asports car. But I'd rather have a family car now I have a baby.

paulw35 from UK on August 14, 2012:

The VW GTI 1.6 was my first proper sports car. Had it in 1981 great to drive...great fun...very fond memories!

belleboy on August 14, 2012:

Fantastic list of sports cars that are fun and budget-friendly Phil. My personal favorite is the Toyota Celica- practical, attractive, and the price is right.

BTW congrats on having this hub chosen as Hub of the Day-what an honor! You deserve it.

JP993 from England on August 14, 2012:

Toyota Mr2 Turbo's are absolute rockets. The golf gti 1.8t has serious tuning potential. I do love a hot hatch. I am Ford Fan. Over here in the UK we have Cosworth.

John C Thomas from Chicago, Illinois, USA on August 14, 2012:

I owned a GTI for 3 years, and it was my favorite car I've owned in 34 years of driving. I finished 2nd in a road rally in it.

Craig Hartranft from Southeastern Pennsylvania on August 14, 2012:

Alas ... not a single American auto manufacturer in the lot. Have to go with the Mazda Miata.

John Sarkis from Winter Haven, FL on August 14, 2012:

Great article! I never could get use to the "Miata," because, it's just so small. Nice choice of inexpensive sport cars.

Voted up - congrats on winning Hubpages' HOTD Award!


Jeff Gamble from Denton, Texas on August 14, 2012:

Great picks! The GTI would be a good replacement for the Celica on the list, but I'm a VW fan - remember the DeLorean-like shape of the first generation MR-2? Classic.

petersavage from Australia on August 14, 2012:

@mts1098 A jeep isn't a sports car! Get out of town. :)

mts1098 on August 14, 2012:

congrats the nomination...I am not mad that you left out the Jeep :)

petersavage from Australia on August 14, 2012:

Excellent Hub. I am a big Skyline GT-R fan myself.

newusedcarssacram from Sacramento, CA, U.S.A on August 12, 2012:

Nice hub with wonderful list of sports car. I also want to add up one name in this list because I just love this sport car....and that car is Ford Mustang..

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on August 11, 2012:


Thanks for reading and passing this along! I was very excited to get that email notifying me of the nomination, it feels good to see the time and hard work pay off!


Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on August 11, 2012:

My brothers would love your hub! I am forwarding this to them :)

Congrats on your Hubnuggets nomination. To read and vote this way please https://hubpages.com/literature/August-2012-Olympi... Participate okay? Have fun with sporty cars and the Hubnuggets!

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on June 29, 2012:

Thanks for reading and commenting, Alex. I left the FR-S/BRZ (and all new cars) off of the list for cost reasons- this list is aiming for a budget of up to 7-10 grand. If/when I make a list of best inexpensive sports cars, it'll definitely be on there!

By the way.. what is your opinion on the GTS?

Alex on June 28, 2012:

i've had my gts for a while now, but i think you should add the new Scion FR-S to your list its pretty much a slighty stronger RWD celica remake, under the scion brand in the U.S., getting mine once the damn dealers near me have it in stock!

Pkittock (author) from Minnesota on June 26, 2012:

@Johan thanks for reading and commenting! glad you liked it

Johan Smulders from East London, South Africa on June 26, 2012:

Some great research even for the more mature citizens. Thanks

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