Sedans & Coupes

Best Used Sports Cars For Around $20,000

If you’re looking to spice up your everyday rides or want a weekend getaway vehicle, you’ll probably want a sports car. And to spend around $20,000 or less, we recommend shopping for used cars from the 2017 model year. Here are a few of the best-rated options. 

2017 Fiat 124 Spider

A red 2017 Fiat 124 spider with the top down on the highway.
2017 Fiat 124 Spider | Car and Driver

The Fiat 124 Spider was one of the most popular cars in 2017. The 124 Spider earned acclaim for merely being fun to drive. The 2017 124 Spider came with a 160-hp 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. As U.S. News highlights, you can look for the 124 Spider’s Abarth trim for the same turbo-four, but it’s tuned for 164-hp. Some models will have the standard six-speed manual transmission, while others will have a six-speed automatic. 

While the 124 Spider is enjoyable to drive, it’s not the most practical option. This sports car only seats two. Plus, many reviewers have said that the 124 Spider isn’t the most comfortable for tall passengers. 

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata 

Mazda MX-5 Roadster compact sports car on display at Brussels Expo
The Mazda MX-5 Miata | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

The MX-5 Miata is the 124 Spider’s corporate sibling. The Miata is also renowned for its agility and lively engine. A bonus is that the Miata can be significantly cheaper than the Spider, even as a used car option.

For 2017, the Miata came with a 155-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Depending on your preference, you can shop for versions with either the six-speed manual or the six-speed automatic. This two-seater is relatively comfortable and is available with active safety features such as blind-spot monitoring. One downside to consider is that the Miata can be quite noisy. 

2017 Toyota 86

A grey 2017 Toyota 86 parked on a side street.
2017 Toyota 86 | Cheat Sheet

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The 2017 Toyota 86 is one of the best used sports cars for the money. Like the models above, the 86 appeals to different enthusiasts by offering a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. But what may draw you toward the 86 is that it provides a bit more power. All 86 models come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It makes 205-hp with the manual transmission; 200-hp with the automatic. 

Critics like Consumer Reports were impressed with the 86 for its fun nature and its braking and fuel economy. Although, the 86 is pretty bare-bones, so the 124 Spider or Miata may appeal to you for more in-car tech. You may want the 86, though, for more cabin space since it can technically seat up to four people.

2017 Ford Mustang 

The Ford Mustang on display at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show
The 2017 Ford Mustang | Gerlach Delissen – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

The Ford Mustang is a car people love to hate. Still, it’s hard to have a sports car list without mentioning it. To score one of the best deals on this classic, the 2017 Mustang is worth a look.

The iconic Mustang offers various powertrains, which is a huge bonus if you value extra power. Base 2017 models will have a 300-hp 3.7-liter V6 engine. No matter which engine you choose, all are available with a six-manual or six-speed automatic. 

2017 Volkswagen GTI

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI
2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI | Volkswagen

Even though it’s not a traditional sports car, the Volkswagen GTI is a compelling option that offers satisfying, athletic performance. You’ll also appreciate the GTI for its practical interior that is available with lots of tech. This Volkswagen is a hatchback that can carry five; its seats are remarkably comfortable too.

The 2017 GTI has a turbo-four that produces 210-hp on the lower trims, while the upper-level versions will have 10 more horses. As U.S. News highlights, GTI models with the six-speed manual are better for fuel economy. Even so, the automatic doesn’t compromise the GTI’s overall performance.