10 Cheap Sports Cars That Are Fun To Drive In The City

10 Cheap Sports Cars That Are Fun To Drive In The City

Sports cars always boast speed, power, and style. Offering an exhilarating driving experience, they make any journey more enjoyable. However, as with any good thing in life, these marvels of engineering come with a hefty price tag. This is one major reason why cheap sports cars have always been a popular option for car enthusiasts, providing the same performance and excitement without breaking the bank.


As the title suggests, this article will explore ten of the best sports cars under $10,000 that are the most fun to drive. Before we dive into the list, it’s important to highlight the criteria used for selecting these cars. Factors such as affordability, performance, reliability, style, and availability have all been considered. For example, all the cars on this list are around the $10,000 price point and only cars readily available in the American car market are considered.

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10 Honda S2000: A Fun And Affordable Japanese Roadster

The Honda S2000 is famous for its high-revving engine and agile handling. The two-seat sports car offers any driver a thrilling experience behind the wheel.

A standout feature is the six-speed manual transmission, enabling precise and satisfying shifting. The S2000’s handling is equally remarkable, with a lightweight design and accurate steering. But the rear-wheel-drive with the limited-slip differential probably are the biggest contributing factors to its fun and engaging driving experience.

The S2000 was in production from 1999 to 2009, and it remains a popular choice even today thanks to its timeless design. While all model years are fun to drive, the later years (2004-2009) are generally recognized for providing the most thrilling city driving experience due to their improved suspension, larger wheels, and revised gearing.

9 Nissan 350Z: Power And Performance On A Budget

What makes the Nissan 350Z such a great bargain is its reliability. According to J.D. Power, the sports car scores 82/100 in quality and reliability, which is above average for its category. The car is a great pick for those that hate dealing with frequent repairs.

As for the rest, the 350Z packs an aggressive, angular design that turns heads on the road. With a responsive and agile ride, the car also offers a sport-tuned suspension and rear-while drive. In short, the driver is bound to feel connected to the road while enjoying the 350Z’s sporty characteristics. In terms of availability and affordability, the 2003-2008 model years are perhaps the best choice. These models are best for a good old-fashioned drive around town.

8 Mazda RX-8: A Unique Sports Car With A Rotary Engine

A 2004 Metropolitan Gray Mazda RX-8
Mazda

The Mazda RX-8 is the most outstanding of the bunch. This is all thanks to the rotary engine, which Mazda has gained much recognition for. Driving the car is a blast, to put it simply.

Another selling point is the RX-8’s handling, which is agile and responsive. Revving this sports car down any winding road is pure joy, thanks to impressive features such as a well-balanced chassis, rear-wheel drive, and sport-tuned suspension.

In terms of style, the Mazda RX-8 boasts a four-door design with rear “suicide” doors. This gives it that distinctive look among its class. The car was produced between 2003 and 2012, and the models that are usually considered most desirable are the later ones, being equipped with larger brakes, stiffer suspension, and unique exterior styling.

7 BMW Z3: Affordable German Engineering And Style

A 1996 Silver BMW Z3 parked in a garage
BMW

For fans of German engineering, the BMW Z3 is an easy choice. It’s probably the best fit for the textbook definition of a fun and affordable sports car. First introduced in 1996, the Z3 quickly gained fame due to its sleek design and even better driving dynamics.

Affordability is the biggest draw here, especially when compared to other German sports cars. The Z3 is easily found for a fraction of its original price, making it the best bang for your buck offering a stylish and sporty ride. While it may not have the same level of performance and features as the more high-end BMWs, it still delivers plenty of power for an exciting drive around the city.

The Z3 also scores high in terms of reliability. Despite being an older car, it is renowned for being durable with low maintenance. It’s better to do some due diligence though, as with any other used vehicle before purchasing.

6 Mazda MX-5 Miata: An Exciting Classic That’s Fun To Drive

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has been popular for decades. The classic roadster is best known for being an affordable sports car that is also easy to modify and personalize.

Introduced way back in 1989, the car is still in production now in its fourth generation. The first and second generations (NA and NB, respectively) are most commonly available for a bargain. The first generation is the lightest and most nimble, which makes this car as fast as any. Combined with an engaging driving appeal, the MX-5 Miata is probably the easiest pick for a cheap sports car.

The most impressive feature of the MX-5 Miata is probably its incredible handling. The car has a 50/50 weight distribution. Combined with its rear-wheel drive and limited-slip differential, it makes for an amazingly balanced and responsive ride.

5 Toyota MR2 Spyder: Lightweight And Sporty Convertible

The Toyota MR2 Spyder was produced between 1999 and 2007. The two-seater convertible is best known for its balanced chassis and excellent handling.

The MR2 Spyder is a lightweight car weighing slightly over 2,000 pounds. This means this Toyota goes 0 to 60 mph in just over 7 seconds. The car’s impressive engineering offers a blast for anyone that’s looking to turn through tight corners for fun. Its suspension is firm but not overly harsh, while the steering is precise and communicative.

Not to mention, the MR2 Spyder is a Toyota. So it’s easy and cheap when it comes to maintenance, making it an excellent choice for those who prioritize driving pleasure over other comforts. The best model years are probably between 2001 and 2005, featuring more engine power and a revised suspension that makes handling even better.

RELATED: 2000-2005 Toyota MR2 Spyder: Costs, Facts, Figures

4 Pontiac Solstice: Sleek Design And Surprising Performance For Less

A 2008 yellow Pontiac Solstice parked in a lot
Pontiac

The Pontiac Solstice is a two-seater convertible boasting a classic sporty design with a long hood, short deck, and sleek proportions. General Motors produced this beauty from 2006 to 2010, and models upwards of 2008 are usually the most recommended due to several updates and improvements.

The lightweight chassis and responsive handling make the Solstice an absolute beast to drive. Inside, the Solstice offers a driver-focused cockpit with a simple yet functional design. Although the materials aren’t for everyone, the car has a solid and reliable overall build.

The most standout feature of the Solstice is its balanced and nimble handling. Thanks to a rear-wheel drive layout and well-tuned suspension, this car is a joy to drive on twisty roads, making for a fun driving experience.

3 Mitsubishi Eclipse: An Affordable Sports Coupe With A Distinctive Style

A 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse parked on the side of the road
Mitsubishi

Despite its impressive performance and sporty outlook, the Mitsubishi Eclipse is often available for a relatively lower price as compared to its counterparts.

The Eclipse has remained in production throughout a range of different models and trims, but all share the same focus on performance and handling. Driving down twisty back roads or winding mountain passes is truly magical, all due to a low center of gravity, sport-tuned suspension, and responsive steering. The most popular engine option for the Eclipse is the 3.0-liter V6, which is the go-to choice for anyone looking for a sporty ride with impressive acceleration and top speed.

2 Acura Integra Type R: The Iconic And Track-Inspired Sport Compact Legend

The Acura Integra Type R needs no introduction. This legendary sports car is highly coveted among enthusiasts, as it left a lasting impression on the automotive industry. It is still considered one of the best sports cars ever produced.

The high-performance vehicle was introduced in 1995, and production lasted until 2001. During this time, the Integra Type R gained prominence for its incredible driving dynamics and engineering.

With a double-wishbone suspension and stiff chassis, the car’s handling is supremely agile. The car offers a driving experience to remember. Models between 1997 and 2001 are the most sought-after due to updates that improved performance, but finding a well-maintained Type R is a challenge.

1 Fiat 124 Spider: Italian Style At A Reasonable Price

With Italian styling and heritage, the Fiat 124 Spider is an all-time classic. The two-seater compact sports car was introduced way back in the ‘60s and later revived once more in 2016. The 124 Spider is based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata, featuring the same platform but with a unique engine and design. The car boasts a retro Italian look, along with excellent handling and balance on the road.

RELATED: 10 Cheap European Sports Cars That Turn Heads Everywhere They Go

The steering is precise and responsive, the suspension is fine-tuned for a sporty ride, and the turbocharged engine makes for an entertaining drive, to say the least. In terms of model year, the 2017-2019 years are generally considered the most reliable and cost-effective, as they are readily available in the market.

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