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Cheap sports cars are few and far between in 2023. The new market has virtually nothing below $30,000, and models like the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 have some reliability problems. These 5 used sports cars, though, are cheap and low-maintenance enough to have fun all summer long.

2018 Mazda Miata

2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata
2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata | Mazda

It’s hard to find any sports car less low-maintenance than the Mazda Miata. Its simple, non-turbocharged four-cylinder engine can take a beating without skipping a beat. Basic oil changes and filter maintenance will see this car well into six figures without much issue. The 2018 version, specifically, gets 181 horsepower rather than the 160 ponies in the previous generation. 

You can find 2018 Miata models for just about $22,000. Sure, it’s not the cheapest car on this list. But it’s less than a new Toyota Corolla and packs in about four times as much fun.

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI

MK7 GTI hot hatchback
2016 Volkswagen GTI | Volkswagen

Priced between $15,000 and $18,000, the MK7 GTI is one of the best cheap sports cars for the money right now. That price will get you a model with less than 60,000 miles, Clark Plaid seats, Apple CarPlay, and that punchy EA888 2.0-liter turbo under the hood.

Near-infinite tunability means it’s an excellent platform for those who like to tinker. And even if you don’t, the torquey turbo and slick-shifting DSG transmission make this generation GTI one of the best of all time. Plus, four seats, a good cargo area, and quality cabin make it one of the most comfortable modern sports cars at any price.

2016 BMW 228i

BMW 228i is a cheap sports car that doesn't need much maintenance
2016 BMW 228i | BMW

The 2016 BMW 228i might be the dark horse on this list. In the current market, a used BMW 228i Coupe costs between $18,000 and $22,000 if you’re willing to settle for something with 50,000 to 70,000 miles.

The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine cranks out 240 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, which provides plenty of punch for the 2 Series’ compact frame. The trunk is good for 13.8 cubic feet of cargo space so it’s not a bad road tripper, either.

Finally, there are both six-speed manual and eight-speed auto models out there. Of course, the stick is a more engaging option, but the ZF eight-speed gearbox is responsive enough to be plenty of fun. And unlike the six-cylinder M235i, the four-cylinder turbo is among BMW’s most reliable engines with just basic maintenance needs.

2002 Chevy Corvette

Lace up those New Balances and bust out the lawn chairs, it’s Corvette season.

All terrible memes aside, the C5 Corvette is a great sports car. It’s a cheap sports car at less than $18,000, and the trunk measures nearly 25 cubic feet. That’s a massive amount of space for a road trip, all in a two-door sports car that will stand the test of time.

The base C5 Corvette features a 5.7-liter V8 that throws down 350 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque, so it’s got a good amount of grunt for those back road blasts.

2011 Ford Mustang V6

Sure, we’d all love a Mustang GT, but a 10-year-old sports car for $28,000 isn’t exactly cheap. If you’re willing to settle for a V6, however, that price comes down significantly. These days, KBB says a 2012-2014 V6 Mustang goes for less than $15,000. For that scratch, you’re getting a 3.7-liter V6, rear-wheel drive, manual transmission sports car that can easily crest six-figure mileage.
Plus, 305 horsepower and 31 highway mpg make it both fun and functional for weekend road tripping.

What are your favorite cheap sports cars?

Of course, these are just five of the cheap sports cars you can buy in 2023. But which models are your favorites? And are there any models you’d add to the list?

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