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Vehicle Comparison Highlights:

  • The Nissan GT-R is a supercar bargain
  • Chevy’s new Corvette is hard to get a hold of
  • Which bargain sports car is right for you?

It’s the Montagues and the Capulets today. The Chevrolet and the Nissan are categorically opposed as cars. However, the 2022 Chevrolet Corvette also shares a striking number of similarities to the 2009 Nissan GT-R. For many, one of these will be someone’s first serious performance car. Now, it’s time to weigh the pros and cons of each, and see how America’s best stacks up against a gently used GT-R.

2022 Chevrolet Corvette2009 Nissan GT-R
Price Range$62,195-$74,145$57,000-$80,000
Engine Options6.1L pushrod V83.8L twin-turbo V6
Horsepower495 hp480 hp
Torque470 lb-ft434 lb-ft
Transmission8-speed dual-clutch automatic6-speed dual-clutch automatic
MPG Rating (City/HWY/Comb) 16/26/1915/21/18
IIHS Safety RatingN/AN/A
NHTSA Safety RatingN/AN/A

2009 Nissan GT-R

A silver Nissan GT-R shot from the high 3/4 angle at an auto show
The Nissan GT-R | Rene Johnston via Getty Images
  • Pros: Bona-fide supercar at a bargain price, Japanese reliability, absurd speed and grip
  • Cons: No warranty, no lease, prices are on the rise, dated interior

It’s hard to understate the impact the 2009 Nissan GT-R had on the performance car industry twelve years ago. Famously, it’s the car that just about broke Jeremy Clarkson’s neck, and has since become a staple at both the track and the drag strip. Much like its Nissan Skyline siblings, aftermarket support is rampant and these cars are often modified. Unfortunately, that also makes clean one hard to find. Just a few years ago, they were everywhere for about $50,000. Now, pricing has come up a good bit.

Despite that, the GT-R is absolutely a $60,000 driving experience. The older dual-clutch unit has its quirks, including some lurchiness, but these cars have proved to be incredibly reliable despite this, in addition to world-beating performance that holds up to this day. Plus, AWD grip means you can be sure that your GT-R won’t end up in a snowbank should you drive it daily (and through the winter). Availability is also much better than that of the 2022 Chevrolet Corvette, which has faced some production challenges.

2022 Chevrolet Corvette

A white Chevrolet Corvette, the latest bargain sports car from Chevrolet, shot in profile on a race track
The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray | Chevrolet
  • Pros: Supercar experience, snappy modern DCT, America distilled into sheetmetal
  • Cons: Availiblity is scarce, markups are the enemy, not as special as the GT-R

That said, you can’t beat the new-car smell of the ‘Vette. The GT-R, despite its performance chops, is starting to show its age on the inside. The Corvette has modern features like Android Auto, Carplay, and adaptive cruise. Despite the mid-engine layout, the Corvette should be just as friendly to use every day as the GT-R. Warranties are a huge boon in the bargain sports car world, and you’ll have a much better time maintaining a car in-warranty than one without.

But what about the drive? There’s something to be said for the all-out grip of the Nissan GT-R, but even in-period the GT-R isn’t the “Playstation on wheels” we’ve all been told it was. The Corvette on the other hand, delivers a supercar driving experience the likes of which we haven’t seen from GM. In short, make a test drive appointment before you buy. These two cars are closer than you think.

Which bargain sports car is right for you?

A silver Nissan GT-R shot from under a tree at an auto show
The GT-R in the limelight | Anusak Laowilas via Getty Images

As for which bargain sports car is best? Year-over-year, your cost of ownership will likely be almost as close as these two cars are on the race track. Parts are plentiful for both cars, even though you may have a harder time paying sticker price for the ‘Vette. However, should you find one, we feel the Chevrolet Corvette is a safer place to put your money, especially on a lease. Finances win out over the heart this time, but it’s only a small handful of times the GT-R has been beat.


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