With the definition of a sports car now including everything from convertibles and coupes to more practical sedans and hatchbacks, there are more vehicles to choose from than ever. Even if you’re on a budget, you can satisfy your speed fix with an exciting vehicle that’ll provide thrills at every corner. Here are 10 affordable sports cars under $40,000.
2019 Honda Civic Type R – $37,230
When it first arrived, the Honda Civic Type R shook the performance world and immediately became the benchmark among hot hatches. Even today, it’s still under $40,000 (if you can find a dealer to sell at MSRP), and its level of performance makes it a bona fide giant killer. If you can get over its anime-inspired looks complete with a massive wing on the back, you’ll be happy.
2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI – $28,490
The Volkswagen Golf GTI helped create the hot hatch segment, and it remains one of the most well-rounded performance cars available. Fully equipped, the 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI checks in under $40,000, but our pick is the midlevel SE. That way you’re just over $30,000.
2020 Subaru WRX – $28,395
All-wheel drive usually means a premium when it comes to performance cars, but the 2020 Subaru WRX bucks that trend. Starting at $28,395, the Subaru WRX is one of the most affordable sports cars you can buy with all-wheel drive standard, and it comes with punchy 268-hp 2.0-liter turbo flat-four.
2020 Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ – $27,940 (Toyota 86); $29,745 (Subaru BRZ)
We’re bending the rules by counting these twins as one. With their high-revving engines, slick manual transmissions, playful chassis, and rear-drive configurations, the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ emphasize driver enjoyment over numbers. They’re both super affordable sports cars, too. Even in their most expensive form or when (blasphemously) equipped with the optional six-speed automatic transmission, you won’t pay over $35,000, making them solid bargains for the performance you get.
2020 Ford Mustang – $27,765
A longtime favorite, the Ford Mustang gives you muscle car looks and sports car performance without breaking the bank. A base EcoBoost Fastback starts under $30,000, and if you’re careful with how you option it, you can get all the go-fast goodies and it’ll still be one of the most affordable sports cars you can buy.
2020 Fiat 124 Spider – $26,935
The Miata’s Italian cousin gives you a different flavor for your two-seat affordable sports car. With its turbocharged engine and an available snarky exhaust, the Fiat 124 Spider has more aural drama. Its suspension calibration also gives it a more planted feel and less body motion, which further distinguishes it from the Miata.
2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI – $26,890
Think of the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI as a Golf GTI with a trunk, as it has the same powertrain and suspension setup. Even fully loaded in Autobahn guise, the Jetta GLI is one of the most affordable sports cars you can buy, especially if you need a practical one. Additionally, the GLI Autobahn is packed with many creature comforts such as heated and ventilated front seats to keep you comfortable during your commute or spirited drives on your favorite roads.
2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata – $26,650
Quite possibly the quintessential affordable roadster, the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata has been providing thrills for more than 30 years, making it an enthusiast darling. The base Sport trim of the soft top starts at $26,650, making it a solid bargain by sports car standards. Even if you go for the RF with its retractable hard top, the Miata still tops out under $40,000, making it one of the most affordable sports cars available.
2019 Chevrolet Camaro – $26,495
You don’t need to get a V-8 in order for your Chevrolet Camaro to be fun. A nicely equipped Turbo or V-6 Camaro 1LE with the standard six-speed manual are some of the best bargains among sports cars when carefully configured. Both the Camaro Turbo 1LE and V6 1LE are on the lighter end of the spectrum, ideal for drivers prioritizing handling over outright performance or brute force.
2020 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec and N – $24,070; $28,320 ($30,420 with Performance Package)
The second-generation Hyundai Veloster gave the quirky three-door hatch truly sporting credentials with its new independent suspension in all four corners and two spice levels: hot and hotter. If you’re after an all-around performer, the Veloster R-Spec gives you everyday usability and exciting road manners for under $25,000. Want more? Opt for the Veloster N with the Performance package, a scrappy little beast that costs around $30,000 and gives you track-ready capability.