These 5 Cheap Fast Cars Give You More Horsepower for Less, Says U.S. News

After record-high prices due to supply chain shortages, lower car prices might be coming in 2023. New car sales are slowing, but prices remain relatively high. That said, some options won’t break the bank if you’re looking for a performance car. U.S. News compiled a list of cheap fast cars that will give you plenty of thrills behind the wheel. Here are a handful of the best models. 

2022 Toyota Camry TRD

The 2022 Toyota Camry TRD, a V6 car
2022 Toyota Camry TRD | Toyota

Toyota has a well-earned reputation for reliable, safe vehicles, especially with its top-selling midsize car, the Camry. This sedan is a cheap fast car when you opt for the performance-focused TRD, the top trim in the Camry lineup.

Starting at $32,360, the Camry TRD gets 301 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque from its 3.5-liter V6 engine. To complement the power boost over the base engine, the TRD has a sport-tuned suspension that reviewers call surprisingly responsive and engaging to drive. Inside, the cabin welcomes riders with simulated leather upholstery and red seat belts for a sporty feel. 

That all comes with Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of driver assists. The Camry earned Top Safety Pick+ honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), making it a good combination of performance, safety, and utility. U.S. News reviewers note it won’t satisfy speed enthusiasts as much as others on this list, but its handling and speed make it a great choice among family sedans.

2022 Subaru WRX

If you’re looking for a cheap fast car with all-wheel drive, consider the 2022 Subaru WRX, starting at $29,105. With black plastic cladding and scoops on the exterior, it’s a bit more aggressive style-wise than the Camry.

All Subaru WRX trims pack a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 271 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Subaru tuned the suspension for exciting driving and even off-roading. U.S. News reviewers call the standard six-speed manual transmission an engaging way to interact with the WRX. An automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) is also available. 

Like the Camry, the Subaru WRX is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, making it a safe choice for drivers and passengers.

2022 Ford Mustang EcoBoost

The Ford Mustang EcoBoost is a solid Dodge Challenger alternative under $30,000.
Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible | Ford

The iconic pony car offers plenty of power at a low price, starting at $27,205. This cheap fast car packs a powerful base engine: a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder harnessing 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. That’s the second-most powerful engine on this list.

U.S. News reviewers say though it doesn’t make the same sound as its V8 counterparts, the 2022 Ford Mustang EcoBoost delivers impressive performance and power. A limited-slip rear differential and line lock features are standard. 

Though it’s a sports coupe, the front seats provide plenty of space in a well-appointed interior. Also, expect plenty of tech features, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot and remote monitoring and control via smartphone, if you want some bells and whistles with your speed.

2023 Hyundai Elantra N

What if TrueCar’s top compact car of 2023 got a big boost in power? That’s what Hyundai is doing with its N models, and U.S. News says that formula works well with the Elantra. Reviewers say the Elantra N, starting at $33,000, is “engaging, brutally quick, and can hold its own on a track.”

The Hyundai Elantra N has the smallest engine on this list (2.0 liters), but the turbocharged four-cylinder makes 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque. That’s a big jump from the base engine, producing 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. Hyundai provides upgrades to handle the jump in power, including bigger brakes, upgraded rear suspension and adaptive dampers, and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. 

Plus, it boasts Hyundai’s industry-leading warranties and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, so there’s plenty to like beyond its cheap-fast-car status.

2022 Dodge Challenger R/T

Related

These 5 Fast V6 Cars Are Some of the Quickest Cars Under $60,000

The second sports coupe on this list boasts the most powerful engine. For as little as $39,385, the 2022 Dodge Challenger R/T’s 5.7-liter Hemi V8 produces 375 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. Those big numbers are needed, given the Challenger’s weight. U.S. News reviewers note the V8 provides enough power for most drivers and sounds fantastic on the throttle. Performance steering, brakes, suspension, and exhaust system enhance the experience.

Beyond the V8’s satisfying sound and potency, the Challenger R/T gives you a lot for a cheap fast car. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, and a six-speaker audio system are standard. Additionally, you can add several upgrades, such as built-in navigation, a better sound system, and a larger touchscreen. 

Which cheap fast cars are the best?

The Dodge Challenger R/T is the way to go if you want pure speed and power. It has the most horses and gives you that appealing V8 sound. But the other models are excellent cheap fast cars in their own right. 

The Ford Mustang EcoBoost gives you a feel similar to the Challenger R/T while coming in at the lowest starting price on the list and offering much better fuel economy.

If you’re looking for a sedan, the Subaru WRX, Toyota Camry, and Hyundai Elantra N offer much to recommend them. The WRX’s standard AWD will appeal to off-road enthusiasts. The Camry provides safety, practicality, and reliability with a powerful V6. And the Elantra N might be the best-handling cheap fast car on the list while giving you the best warranty and outstanding safety scores.