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While the Mazda MX-5 Miata has been a beloved convertible roadster for many sports car enthusiasts, it’s not the only affordable option out there. If you’re looking for something different, here are four alternatives for under $30,000.

Mazda’s MX-5 Miata is a legendary roadster

The 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a popular sports car known for its fun and engaging driving experience. It has a 2.0L gas engine and a six-speed manual transmission, making it an excellent choice for enthusiasts who enjoy the thrill of shifting gears. The car’s rear-wheel-drive system also adds to the driving experience, providing sharp handling and precise steering. According to Edmunds, the MX-5 Miata boasts an EPA-estimated 26/34 mpg city/highway and 29 mpg combined rating. It also comes with safety features such as rear cross-traffic alert and a pre-collision safety system.

However, the car’s compact size means there’s little room for passengers or cargo. The cabin can also get loud at highway speeds, even with the top up. Still, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is a popular choice for those seeking an affordable convertible roadster, starting at $28,050. However, what are the alternatives under $30,000?

1. 2023 Chevrolet Camaro

The 2023 Chevrolet Camaro is popular for those seeking a sports car with impressive performance. It is priced competitively, starting at $26,100, and comes equipped with a 2.0-liter base engine producing 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The EPA rating for the Camaro stands at 19/28 mpg city/highway, with a combined rating of 22 mpg.

The Camaro has nimble handling around turns and quick acceleration from V6 and V8 engine options. However, the car has some drawbacks, such as limited visibility due to its design, especially in the rear. Additionally, the tiny back seat is essentially useless, making it difficult for passengers to ride comfortably. Still, that’s the case for many sports cars and roadsters.

2. 2023 Ford Mustang

A Royal Crimson 2018 Ford Mustang Convertible coupe model driving on a twisting country road
Ford Mustang Convertible | The Ford Motor Company

The Ford Mustang is a popular muscle car that offers a great combination of style and performance. Starting at $27,770, it provides a relatively affordable option for those looking for a roadster. Its base engine size is a 2.3-liter four-cylinder that produces 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque with a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive. The Mustang’s EPA-rated fuel economy is 21/29 mpg city/highway and 24 mpg combined for the coupe and 20/27 mpg city/highway and 23 mpg combined for the convertible.

It has a strong power output, which is available from both the four-cylinder and V8 engines. The Mustang also offers a civilized ride and low noise levels. However, the Mustang’s back seat is impractical, and the performance package ride quality can be harsh.

3. 2023 Subaru BRZ

Starting at $28,595, the 2023 Subaru BRZ is a strong contender in the sports car market. It offers an EPA-estimated fuel efficiency of 20/27 mpg city/highway and a combined rating of 22 mpg. The BRZ has a 2.4-liter flat-four engine, delivering 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque.

Its precise handling and steering make for a thrilling driving experience, and the driver-friendly control layout adds to the overall appeal. However, the back seats are cramped, and storage space is tight. The BRZ also suffers from elevated noise levels on the highway, which may not be ideal for long drives.

4. 2023 Toyota GR86

Toyota states that the GR86 is a well-rounded sports car with a starting price of $28,400. Its base 2.4L engine produces 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, providing sound power output for its size. The GR86 features rear-wheel drive, and its fuel efficiency ratings are EPA-rated at 20/27 mpg city/highway and 22 mpg combined.

Inside, the driver-friendly interior features supportive seats and an intuitive control layout. However, the back seats are pretty cramped and are more suited for storage than seating passengers.

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