Owning a sports car is a dream for great many of us, but only few actually manage to fulfill it. Reasons are numerous with their high cost and impracticability topping the list. Former of the two reasons is especially important if you’re considering buying a new sports car. While used ones can be acquired for much less (even major luxury and exotic brands), new sports cars often require cash splashing. Still, if you deem $30,000 an affordable price limit for a sports car, then you’re in luck. There are currently more than a few models available for that kind of money, even though sports cars market has seen better and more colorful days. We’ll give you 10 of these we deemed most worthy in terms of both performance and aesthetics. After all, you do want to match the fashionable and handsome with performance, and these 10 have both in abundance.
Sleek Cars, Sexy Cars, And Most Importantly: Seriously Affordable Cars
Price: $31,440 (Just over 30k but close enough!)
The Toyota 86 is a nameplate US fans aren’t exactly familiar with. At least not yet. That’s because Japanese sports car has been marketed under the Scion badge, as the Scion FRS. Similar clone of this two-door coupe can be found under Subaru badge. There, it’s called the Subaru BRZ. Considering all this, most of you actually know what Toyota 86 is. What’s better, the 86 is switching badges as of August 2016, and will stay under Toyota’s roof from now on. It will be powered by 2.0L Boxer 4-cylinder sparking 205 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque. That’s 5 hp and 5 lb-ft of torque more than what current FRS and BRZ offer. Prices are yet to be disclosed for this sleek car, but they will likely fall in the range between $25,000 and $30,000. The Scion FRS is currently available for $27,200 in its base form, while Subaru BRZ starts from $25,395.
Dodge Challenger SXT
The fastest Dodge Challenger one can afford for sub $30k total is actually the entry-level SXT. This doesn’t mean the car is slow or not sporty enough. The Challenger SXT’s 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine packs more than healthy 305 horses and 268 lb-ft of torque. It goes for $26,995 these days, and there’s even SXT Plus package for $29,995, but don’t expect better performance with it.
Successor of the famous World Rally Championship winner car Impreza is currently available for $26,695, while Premium upgrade moves the sticker up to $28,995. Performance remains the same, however, as WRX’s 2.0L turbo Boxer 4-cylinder raises a hefty 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. You also get Subaru‘s mandatory all-wheel drive with it, so there are less fears of skidding off the road that way. It might not be one of the prominent sports cars by a long shot, but WRX is one hell of a performer for sure.
Fiat 500 Abarth
One can hardly imagine it as one of the most fashionable sports cars, but the Fiat 500 is an iconic and sleek car in its own way. Fiat 500 Abarth, on the other hand, packs enough power to earn consideration, at least. It might be the slowest among these ten sports cars, but it’s also the lightest and quite fun. At $22,575, it’s also the most affordable, and it still generates up to 160 hp and 183 lb-ft of torque depending on transmission. That’s good enough from 1.4L-small turbo inline-four.
Chevrolet Camaro LT
You can buy both 1LT and 2LT trim packages of the new Chevrolet Camaro for under $30k. Former costs $25,700, while latter takes $29,800 to buy. That only works for coupes, though, as convertibles all soar above the $30k limit. Wasting time on Camaro’s performance is unnecessary. Chevy’s iconic pony offers 3.6L V6 mill with 335 horsepower and 284 feet-pounds of torque. Although in its basic form, Camaro is still one of the best affordable sports cars around.
Ford Focus ST
Well, since you can’t exactly buy the RS for $30,000 (it costs at least $35,900), there’s the ST version to drown the sorrows. Ford Focus ST starts from $24,425 and it somewhat downgrades great fuel efficiency of the regular lineup. On the other hand, it ups the ante in performance department. 2.0L EcoBoost 4-cylinder delivers 252 horses and 270 lb-ft of torque. It’s still 100 horses short of RS’ impeccable performance figure, but most people should be content with what it has to offer. Especially considering the low amount of money involved.
Volkswagen Golf GTI
The Volkswagen Golf is another nameplate people rarely perceive as a sports car. The Range-topping Golf GTI introduced back in 2014 , however, offers sports car worthy figures when it comes to performance. 2.0L turbo four makes as much as 220 horses and 258 lb-ft of torque with performance package or 210 horsepower without one. It starts from $24,995 (three-door version), but performance package models cost at least $$26,490. 4-door versions are slightly more expensive, but they all squeeze in within the $30k margin.
Ford Mustang V6 and EcoBoost Fastback
For two years already, Ford offers its famous pony car’s entry level tier with two different engine choices. There’s the good old 3.7L normally aspirated V6, and the new 2.3L turbo four. Former of the two generates 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, while latter EcoBoost mill develops even stronger 310 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. Ford Mustang has always been one of the most sought after sports cars, and new generation is no different. It’s as affordable as always (for a performer) in its initial trim with V6 models starting from $24,645, and four bangers warranting stickers of at least $1,000 more.
There’s hardly a better brand new sports car you can find for less than $30,000. Nissan 370Z actually barely squeezes on this list thanks to its starting sticker of $29,990, but it still makes it. Modern Fairlady is fitted with 3.7L naturally aspirated V6 engine which is good enough for 332 horses and 270 feet-pounds of torque. It’s not as fast as NISMO, but at least it fits the budget.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
Is there a better way to conclude this list than with arguably the most popular affordable sleek car of all time? I don’t think so. Mazda MX-5’s stickers start from $26,395, and they don’t usually surpass the $30k mark by too much. 2.0L Skyaktiv 4-cylinder engine yields no more than 155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque, but it’s still pacey and agile enough for the average driver. Sports cars usually offer more power, but not everything’s is in those figures. Miata has an amalgam of performance, handling, fun, practicality, and again fun which simply can’t be found in other affordable cars. That’s pretty much the reason behind its success and iconic status in the world of sports cars.