Let’s face it, every driver has probably dreamt of owning a sports car at least once in his or her life. These type of vehicles – which are designed with handling and acceleration in mind – represent just how thrilling the mundane task of driving can sometimes be when you’re packing a punch under the hood. Besides, what’s more picturesque than traveling down the highway on a summer night with the top down?
But the common perception is that sports cars are reserved for the elite, the vehicle of choice for those who need a fun, weekend cruiser to supplement their soccer mom SUV. And when a new, base-model Corvette, the most notable American sports car in automotive history, retails for $55,900, it’s easy to see why many think that having one of these street machines is out of the realm of possibility.
Owning a sleek, sporty ride doesn’t have to break the bank, though. The following, affordable sports cars, which we limit to two-seaters (sorry Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger fans), all retail for less than $35,000 – the average price of a new sedan or crossover.
Since 2000, the Mazda Motor Company has been using “zoom zoom” as its tagline, two simple words used to describe the inherent thrill of driving. And there’s no doubt that the MX-5 Miata lives up to this iconic phrase. What this little roadster lacks in leg room, it makes up for with precise handling and maneuverability.
Its four cylinder engine – rated at 181-hp – may not seem like much by today’s standards. But since this car weighs less than 2,400 lbs, the 2.0 liter is enough to propel it from 0-60 in under six seconds – a time that’s on par with most classic V8-powered pieces of American muscle.
And with a starting price tag of $25,730, it’s easy to see why many auto enthusiasts, and daily commuters, alike, have made the Miata one of the best-selling sports cars of all-time.
Technically, it may be considered a hatchback to the automotive purist because its liftgate opens, vertically, via a pair of hydraulic supports. But the Nissan 370Z isn’t your grandmother’s grocery-getting hatchback. In fact, with its 3.7-liter V6 that produces 332-hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, this convertible is anything but warm and fuzzy.
Billed as the sports car of choice for those who are too tall for a Miata, yet still want an affordable driving experience, the 350Z definitely lives up to its name as being a descenden of Datsun/Nissan’ famed Z-series lineup.
The base MSRP of $30,090 may seem a little steep compared to the Miata. But consider that the 2019 Honda Passport, a stereotypical vehicle of the suburbs, retails for nearly the same price.
Although Honda may have discontinued the CR-Z three model years ago because of poor sales, this “sport hybrid coupe” (it was only offered as a two-seater in the North American market) offers the best of both worlds: a gasoline-electric powertrain capable of getting an EPA estimated 38 mpg with the power to run a quarter-mile at a respectable 16.5 seconds. So, with this 1-2 punch, what’s not to like?
Sure, it may not have the power as other competitors in its class, but the CR-Z is an eco-friendly sports car that you can feel good about driving. And they’re even better with the dealer installed supercharger, which is rated at 197-hp.
While you can’t go to your local Honda dealer to buy one brand new, you can easily find a 2016 model – the last year these cars were made – for less than $20,000.
If you recently purchased a sports car and need an inspection, mechanical work, or a paint touch-up, give Andy’s Auto Service a call at 412-478-9304 to schedule an appointment.