The rising prices of new and used cars lately have made it hard for some car buyers to find the right car for their needs. Most car shoppers are looking for a good deal, and if you happen to be an enthusiast that’s into Japanese sports cars, then it can be tough nowadays. However, all is not lost. There are still some popular Japanese cars that can still be bought for less than $10,000. Here are 10 of the fastest examples.
No, we’re not suggesting to peruse the classifieds for an Acura Integra Type R. There’s no way you’ll even find one of those for less than $25,000 nowadays. Fortunately, you can still find a non-Type R Integra for around $3,000 to $5,000, depending on its condition. The lower-trim Integras came with a 140-hp, 1.8-liter engine, while the upper-trim Integra GSR came with a 170-hp engine. Both of those platforms are great for either modifying or just having fun while driving it daily.
Honda Del Sol
Honda Del Sols are getting a little harder to find, but you can still find them for less than $10,000 when you do. The Del Sol was based on the 92 to 95 Honda Civic and was in production until 1997. The Del Sol was initially offered with the same 1.5- and 1.6-liter SOHC engines as its Civic sedan counterpart, but was eventually offered with a more robust 160-hp, 1.6-liter DOHC engine. According to Zero to Sixty, the more potent Del Sol VTEC model was able to get from 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds and down the quarter-mile in 15.4 seconds. Those are respectable times for a car that costs less than $10,000 in the used market.
The first-generation Toyota MR2
The first-generation Toyota MR2 was in production from 1984 to 1989. It featured a lightweight, wedge-like design, a responsive engine, and a 50/50 distribution for agile handling. Considering the age of the car, it could be tough to find a clean one. But hold out, and you’ll enjoy the featherweight thrills that this plucky little two-seater has to offer. This holds especially true if you can find a supercharged MR2. According to Car and Driver’s testing, that model was able to get from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and down the quarter-mile in just 15 seconds. Not bad for a car with just 145 hp.
Sure, rotary engines can be tough to maintain and they aren’t very efficient. But nothing beats the sound and feel of revving one up to the stratosphere to get to wherever you’re going quickly. The first two generations of the Mazda RX-7 came with naturally aspirated versions of the rotary engine and can still be found for under $10,000. However, don’t go looking for a third-gen RX-7, you could be in for some sticker shock.
The earlier versions of the Mazda RX-7 were still pretty quick though, as the naturally aspirated versions could get to 60 mph in around 8 seconds, with the turbocharged models going the same distance in the 6-second range.
Produced from 2003 to 2009, the Nissan 350Z is a crowd favorite among Japanese car enthusiasts. Heralded for its potent V6 engine, sharp handling characteristics, and rear-wheel drivetrain, the 350Z is a great option if you’re looking to spend less than $10,000.
Yes, finding a Mitsubishi Eclipse in any shape or form is rare nowadays. But if you can find a second-generation Eclipse, then you’ll be very happy. Not because it’s a fun tuner car that can be upgraded easily, but also because you’ll likely spend a lot less than $10,000 on one. Possibly even less than $5,000.
Out of all of the cars on this list, a Mazda Miata should be the easiest to find. The automaker has sold millions of copies since the car debuted in 1990, so there are plenty of used ones to go around. And while it might only have about 100 hp to start with, the Miata can be modified and engine swapped to your liking. Possibly for less than a total of $10,000 as well.
There are plenty of older Toyota Celicas to be found, however, you’ll want to find a seventh-generation example, if possible. According to The Things, the last iteration of the Celica GT-S was powered by a 2ZZ engine that produced 180 hp and revved to 8,000 rpm. If that doesn’t like fun, we don’t know what does.
The Mazdaspeed3 was based on the Mazda3 at the time but featured a potent turbocharged 2.3-liter engine that pushed out 256 hp. What’s even better is that it also had a six-speed manual transmission, which made it fun to drive. But what’s even better than that is that you can currently find them for sale for under $10,000. Now that’s a deal.
Honda Civic Si
While you might not be able to find one of the newer Honda Civic Si models for under $10,000, you can still find the 2002 to 2005 models for that cheap. Those hatchback versions featured a European build quality, a 160-hp engine, and agile handling.
If you want something newer, then you can even find a 2006 to 2011 model for under $10k. That version had a higher-revving, 200-hp K20 engine that’s revered by many as one of the best engines the automaker has ever created.