These not-so-pricey sports cars are lots of fun.
Who says fun-to-drive cars have to cost a lot?
Sports cars can be for all kinds of drivers who have all kinds of budgets. Canyon-carving Corvettes, manually-shifting Miatas, and even family-friendly, four-door VW GTIs are available for CarMax average prices that are more affordable than you’d think.
We used CarMax price data to find our best affordable sports cars with average prices under $25,000 from January 1 through June 30, 2018.1 Be aware that certain model years and upper trim configurations may bring the prices of some of these vehicles over the average price.
Here’s our list of 10 budget-friendly, refreshingly-sporty used sports cars of 2018. It’s full of cars for drivers who want “getting there” to be lots of fun!
Average CarMax price (from 1/1/18 to 6/30/18): under $15,0001
The Nissan 350Z is a smaller, two-seat car that’s aggressive looking and built for serious fun. Small as they are, they come with a powerful 3.5L six-cylinder engine that makes more than 300hp. In a car that weighs less than 3,400 pounds, this engine gives the car plenty of get-up-and-go.
One of our sales consultants tells us this Z car has a true sporty-car feel. “My customers appreciate the kind of pep-in-your-step feel this car has,” she says.
A 2008 Nissan 350Z Touring comes with heated leather front seats, Bluetooth® compatibility, and a great BOSE® sound system. Grab one if you can find one!
Average CarMax price (from 1/1/18 to 6/30/18): under $24,0001
Yes, the Corvette! If you don’t need the absolute newest ‘Vette, CarMax has Corvette models in stock at average prices that can be affordable to fans of this iconic two-seat sports car. Check out a model like the 2008 Chevrolet Corvette for a list of classic sports car options like a 6.2L, 430-hp V8, a removable targa top, and a manual transmission.
One of our Corvette purchasers says many of the 2005-2013 Corvettes are really attractive to budget-minded sports car fans. He says that’s because they’ve typically been driven lightly and stored in a garage.
“These cars tend to be ‘dream cars’ that get taken out for drives on weekends,” he says.
Average CarMax price (from 1/1/18 to 6/30/18): under $22,0001
Small two-seat German roadster with great design lines? Check. Front engine and rear-wheel drive? Check. The Z4 checks lots of boxes for sports car fans, and a model like the 2011 BMW Z4 is a great example of a sporty car that gives you lots of fun for less money than you’d think. It comes with a smooth 3.0L six-cylinder engine and a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. It’s got a retractable convertible hardtop, and a heated steering wheel to help keep you toasty on your cool-weather drives.
Average CarMax price (from 1/1/18 to 6/30/18): under $11,0001
For great sports car fun at an affordable price, check out the Mitsubishi Eclipse. The most recent Eclipses are from 2011, and some are available with competitive prices.
A 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS Sport has a peppy four-cylinder engine, heated leather front seats that are extra comfy for longer road trips, a sunroof, and a Rockford Fosgate® stereo system for cranking your favorite road trip tunes.
Average CarMax price (from 1/1/18 to 6/30/18): under $20,5001
Developed jointly by Subaru and Toyota (see its twin, the Toyota 86), the BRZ is a brash little two-seater that sounds great, thanks to its flat-four engine. Since it’s a 2+2, there’s space for smaller passengers in the back seat. A 2013 Subaru BRZ Limited comes with a price that’s easier on your wallet than lots of other, newer sports cars, and is just as much fun.
This particular model looks quick while standing still. It gives you a 200-hp engine, a manual six-speed transmission, and a cool-looking interior that’s wrapped in leather and contrasting stitchwork.
Average CarMax price (from 1/1/18 to 6/30/18): under $21,5001
This car replaced the Nissan 350Z around 2009, and it’s still in production today. It’s a very different car underneath, with a lot of light-but-strong aluminum in its body structure to keep weight down.
It’s definitely sporty. And, a car like the 2013 Nissan 370Z carries an average CarMax price tag that’s less than you might think. It might have just two seats, but it’s got plenty of other goodies, like a 332-hp six-cylinder engine and 18-inch aluminum wheels.
Average CarMax price (from 1/1/18 to 6/30/18): under $18,0001
If you’re a purist, you can check out some models from just a few years back, like the 2011 Mazda Miata Touring. This car gives you a manual convertible top you can lower yourself in seconds at a stoplight. A smooth-shifting six-speed transmission. Sharp-looking alloy wheels. Air conditioning. It’s a more-robust version of the 1960s sports car that sports-car nuts always wanted.
Average CarMax price (from 1/1/18 to 6/30/18): under $19,0001
The GTI has been giving VW performance fans their fun fix for more than 30 years. For example, a two-door model like the 2013 Volkswagen GTI 2.0T comes with a six-speed stick and a barky, torquey turbo motor that’s good for 200 hp. Judicious application of throttle returns an estimated 21 mpg in the city and up to 31 mpg on the highway.2
This sporty, hot-hatch VW has leather seats for up to five passengers and holds 15 cubic feet of cargo in back, so it can be a fun road-trip car for the whole family.
Average CarMax price (from 1/1/18 to 6/30/18): under $20,0001
OK, some will argue the Camaro is more of a muscle car. We get that the purists say a sports car only seats two. But why can’t more than two passengers have fun?
The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro LS seats four, and it treats all occupants to bold acceleration from a high-performance, 323-hp V6. There’s a smooth-shifting automatic transmission between the two front seats for the driver, and tall, chrome-y, alloy wheels on all four corners, and an overall very-swoopy exterior for pedestrians to gawk over.
Average CarMax price (from 1/1/18 to 6/30/18): under $19,0001
It’s been synonymous with driving fun for more than 50 years, and today’s Ford Mustang belongs on anyone’s list of sporty cars. Look back a few years and you’ll find some used Mustangs that are a great value.
One of our sales consultants tells us the Mustang is a great sports car for a couple of reasons. One is its affordability — it lets fans get into higher-performing cars without necessarily paying the higher price. Another reason is there’s lots of potential for upgrading a Mustang when you own it.
“As you grow with the car, you can customize it to your taste,” our sales consultant says.
If you’re seeking a sporty car with lots of V8 power, look at a model like the 2010 Ford Mustang GT — with a leather interior, available automatic or manual transmission, and Bluetooth compatibility, it’s a lot of sporty car for a manageable average price. We’ll take ours in red, please.
Sure, there are plenty of cheap sports cars out there. Just know that at CarMax, you can find sports cars that give you an exhilarating ride and meet our strict quality standards — without the eye-popping cost. Certain vehicles may have unrepaired safety recalls. Click here to look up a specific vehicle.
If you’re ready to start your hunt for an inexpensive sports car, we can help! Start looking here. We’ve got plenty of other resources for your sporty-car research, too. Check out some of these articles:
- Best Ranked Modern Muscle Cars
- Best Convertible Cars
- Is the Mazda Miata the Best Sports Car Ever?
- 9 Best Sports Cars for 2018
- 14 Great Cars for Every Budget
- Think Your Dream Car’s Out of Reach? You’ve Got Options
- 9 Reasons the Ford GT350 is a Future Classic
>1Unless otherwise noted, average prices based on total make and model inventory, including all trims available for each model, listed for sale on CarMax lots from January 1, 2018 through June 30, 2018. Actual prices vary based on model year, selected features, and trim packages. Prices do not include taxes, title, tag, or any applicable fees.
2Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates when vehicles sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov for details.
Unless otherwise noted, information relating to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.