Back to Blog

7 Best Sports Cars Under 30K You’ll Love to Drive

Susan J

featured image

When it comes to sports cars, the number of digits on the price tag isn’t necessarily reflective of how much you’ll enjoy driving the car. Sure, a $285,000 2018 McLaren 720S would turn some heads in your neighborhood and give you some serious power on the road. But there’s no need to break the bank for a sports car you’ll love.

In this post, we’ll take a look at seven of our favorite sports cars (new and used) that you can own for $30,000 or less. The cars that top the list are an ideal combination of affordability and performance, proving that you can’t always judge a car by its price tag!

1. 2018 Ford Mustang – MSRP $25,680

How could we make a list of affordable sports cars and leave out the iconic Mustang? This American muscle car is arguably the most recognizable sports cars on the market today. The Mustang’s quick acceleration, nimble handling, and signature engine rumble have excited generations of drivers. The 2018 model starts at just over $25,000, with a  more-than-respectable 310 hp V6 engine. Considering that the engine’s on the larger side, a combined fuel economy of 25 mpg is an achievement. You’ll enjoy some extra benefits by purchasing the 2018 model year. Ford introduced never-before-offered safety features with this model, including automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. The Mustang is an ideal combination of safety, affordability, and enjoyment.

2. 2012 Chevy Corvette Z06 – From $28,000

If you’re looking to score a 2018 version of Chevy’s flagship sports car, you’ll be writing a check for close to $60,000. But if you’re willing to drop back a few model years, you can save some serious cash. Kelley Blue Book projects that you can buy a used 2012 in good condition for around $28,000. The Z06 packs a lot of muscle into the 436 hp, 6.2 liter V8 engine. This two-seat rocket will take you from 0 to 60 in a sprightly 3.8 seconds. The 2012 model year also launched a much-needed interior update that you’ll appreciate, and you’ll be able to take advantage of those upgrades at a bargain price. At only 19 mpg, you’ll need to factor in the cost of fuel with this one.

3. 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI – MSRP $26,415

A cult classic, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is a hatchback that will fulfill your need for speed! There are plenty of reasons that the Golf has a shelf-full of Car and Driver’s 10 Best Car awards. The 220 hp turbocharged Golf keeps its cool in tight corners thanks to the famously agile steering and nimble chassis. With plenty of room for you and your stuff, this hatchback is an ideal blend of fun and function. The 2018 GTI S trimline starts at $26,415, giving you a lot of bang for your buck. And with a combined fuel economy rating of 28 mpg, you won’t be spending any extra at the pump to keep this car going.

4. 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata – From $15,936

What the MX-5 Miata lacks in size, it makes up in might. While the starting price of the 2018 model is an affordable $25,295, the 2015 Miata is a bargain with plenty of life left for kicks on the highway. Kelley Blue Book projects that a 2015 model in good condition should cost you $15,936 — close to ten grand in savings. The 2015 is equipped with a peppy 158 hp engine, which is plenty of power for this roadster. With a combined fuel economy rating of 25 mpg, you’ll have gas money left over for long Sunday afternoon drives! There’s a reason the Miata has so many loyal fans.

5. 2017 Civic Sport Hatchback – MSRP $21,750

The newly redesigned Honda Civic has been getting high marks ever since production started in 2016. Things got even more interesting in 2017 when Honda released the newly-minted Civic Sport Hatchback. While the Civic SI is where most minds go when they think about a fun car to drive, the Sport gives you nearly as much for about $2000 less. Honda hadn’t produced a hatch version of the Civic since 2005, so diehards had to wait quite a while for this one.

Named one of Car and Driver’s 10 Best Cars For 2018, this car, with a 180 hp turbocharged four-cylinder, provides plenty of driving excitement for the price. Starting at $21,750, this car doesn’t stop the savings at the time of purchase. With a combined driving EPA fuel efficiency rating of 33 mpg, this Civic Sport Hatchback is the lightest sipper on our list. Driving enthusiasts will appreciate the sleek look and styling that makes this Civic unique.

6. 2013 Nissan 370Z – From $20,063

A classic in the sports car universe, a 2018 Nissan 370Z just barely slides under the $30k bar at $29,990 for the base model. By the time you add all the dealer’s fees, you’ll run a little over budget. If you buy a 2013 model, Kelley Blue Book expects you pay about $20,063. That’s about two-thirds of the cost of one right off the showroom floor. New or used, you’ll get a beefy 3.7 liter V6 engine that delivers 332 hp. The downside is a somewhat-less-impressive combined fuel efficiency rating of 22 mpg. But chances are high you won’t be thinking about pinching pennies as you enjoy the ride.

7. 2018 Subaru WRX – MSRP $26,995

The Subaru WRX is the perfect blend of practicality and performance. It’s a four-door sedan that packs plenty of power under the hood. The 268 hp base model engine is turbo charged to provide lots of pep for quick acceleration. A tight suspension and solid handling combine to make this car fun to drive, staying true to its rally roots. With a 23 mpg combined driving fuel economy, you’ll need to factor the cost of gas into your budget. But when bad weather hits, you should be able to tackle snowy roads with no problem.  

Enjoy the Ride Without the Guilt

With plenty of horsepower to spare, tight handling, responsive braking, and a price tag under $30K, any one of these sports cars has what it takes to keep a demanding driver smiling. For those of us who aren’t comfortable with a car payment that looks more like a house payment, these budget-friendly sports cars provide a great way to enjoy the ride without the guilt.

Once you’ve settled on a new car, don’t stop there. Protect your car’s clear coat and paint from UV damage, debris particles, and moisture with a car cover specially designed to fit your car’s exact make, model, and year. Whether you park your car in a garage or outdoors, a cover made from environment-specific materials will help ensure you enjoy your new (or new-to-you) sports car for years to come.

Tags: , , ,

Share this post