Quick acceleration on a budget.
Sports cars are known for being fun to zip around in, with an extra wow factor that just can't be defined. From the growl of the engine to the rush of acceleration, we all know that when you're looking for a sports car, the driving experience is everything.
In today's market of modern sports cars, there are plenty of options that give you an adrenaline-pumping ride on a budget. Whether you're looking for a speedy daily driver or a second summer cruiser, there are many models out there that give you speed without being too hard on your wallet.
To help you on your search, we've compiled a list of the fastest used cars under $30,000 for 2021 shoppers, based on CarMax vehicle and sales data from February 1, 2021, through July 31, 2021.1 Be aware that upper trim configurations and select model years may bring the prices of some of these vehicles over $30,000.
The Volkswagen GTI is a roomy hatchback with athletic handling and swift acceleration. Base 2017–2019 models have a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission that covers zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds (according to the manufacturer when new). The 2017–2019 GTI's standard performance features also include an adjustable suspension that lets you dial up a sportier or comfort-focused ride. With seating for five passengers and 22.8 cu ft of cargo space behind the rear seats, the 2017–2019 GTI also works for daily driving. Folding the rear seat reveals 52.7 cubes (2017–2019 models) to carry golf clubs or snowboards, too.
All 2017–2019 Volkswagen GTI S trims include these standard features:
18-inch alloy wheels
6.5-inch touchscreen display
Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ smartphone integration
If you want a fun ride and classic muscle car handling, the Chevrolet Camaro is a an exciting choice. Available as a two-door coupe or a convertible, base 2017–2019 Camaros have a turbocharged 275-hp 2.0L four-cylinder and a six-speed manual transmission that can go zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds (according to the manufacturer when new). Featuring precise steering and a supple ride with good dampening, the Camaro is also great for commuting. 2017–2019 base trims also have a leather-wrapped steering wheel and adjustable driving modes.
Other standard features in the 2017–2019 Camaro include:
18-inch alloy wheels
LED running lights
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities
The Subaru WRX is an all-wheel drive sports sedan with a rally car spirit and a need for speed. 2017–2019 models use a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine with 268 ponies that can fly from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds (according to the manufacturer when new). The all-wheel drive system also provides enhanced traction in slick conditions, while the six-speed manual transmission lets you engage with each rev. A continuously variable transmission with paddle shifters is also available for 2017–2019 WRX models. When it's not tearing up the circuit or rally course, the WRX is a fun, fast car for nights on the town or cruising with your friends. 2017–2019 models feature 35.4 inches of rear-seat legroom and 12 cu-ft of cargo space for belongings.
Well-equipped at the base level, 2017–2019 Subaru WRX models include these standard features:
Flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel
60/40-split folding rear seats
The Ford Mustang is an iconic muscle car featuring a wide range of powertrain options, trim levels, and body styles. Base 2018–2019 Mustang EcoBoost® models use a turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder engine that generates 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. With the six-speed manual transmission, the Ecoboost engine can race to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds (according to the manufacturer when new). Manual transmission models also include a launch control system (2018–2019 models) to ensure quick acceleration from a standstill.
Featuring an independent rear suspension, the 2017–2019 Mustang EcoBoost is a comfortable option for around-town driving or cruising the open road.
All 2017–2019 Mustang base trims come equipped with these standard features:
Four-way manually adjustable driver seat
Two-way manually adjustable passenger seat
4.2-inch infotainment system with two smart-charging USB ports
Six-speaker audio system
The Nissan 370Z pairs race-car performance with sharp steering that loves to hug turns. 2018–2019 non-NISMO® models feature a base 332-hp 3.7L V6 with 270 lb-ft of torque that achieves a zero-to-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds (according to the manufacturer when new). Featuring rear-wheel drive, a standard six-speed manual transmission, and a low driving position for the most control, you'll also love the 2017–2019 370Z's pure driving experience. Available in coupe and convertible body styles, the 370Z is a stylish two-seater sports car with a classic fastback design.
Standard features on the base 2017–2019 370Z include:
18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
Eight-way adjustable driver seat
Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity
From head-turning curb appeal and potent powertrains to blistering fast acceleration, you have no shortage of options when it comes to finding a fast used car on a budget. Whether you're wanting to add some excitement to your daily commute or enjoy race-worthy performance as you prowl around town, this list will quench your thirst for speed.
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