Ford Mustang EcoBoost Alternatives Under $35,000: Budget Fun

The Ford Mustang is a staple in affordable, fun sports cars with a few engines and transmissions to consider. Better yet, for those considering Ford’s pony car as a daily driver, the latest S550 generation has evolved into more of a grand tourer than a traditional muscle car. However, the pony car isn’t alone; the Volkswagen Golf GTI and other cars are solid Ford Mustang EcoBoost alternatives for under $35,000. It’s just a matter of what kind of car you prefer!

  • Subaru BRZ- starts at $29,615
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI- starts at $30,975
  • Dodge Challenger SXT- starts at $32,140
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata- starts at $28,715
  • Chevrolet Camaro 3LT- starts at $33,995

Are the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota GR86 the same?

The 2023 Subaru BRZ is one of a few solid Ford Mustang EcoBoost alternatives.
2023 Subaru BRZ | Subaru

The 2023 Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 are sibling sports cars but not exactly the same. The Toyota GR86 boasts sharper handling characteristics than the BRZ, although they otherwise share much of the same architecture. Still, both taut and enthusiastic driver’s cars start at under $35,000, making them solid alternatives for the Ford Mustang EcoBoost. Furthermore, although the Subaru’s 228-horsepower flat four-cylinder engine isn’t as powerful as any Mustang offering, it’s more than enough for the little BRZ. 

Is the Volkswagen Golf GTI a Ford Mustang EcoBoost alternative under $35,000?

While the Volkswagen Golf GTI goes without the all-wheel drive (AWD) option of its more track-ready sibling, the Golf R, it’s still a solid Mustang alternative. The Golf GTI channels its hot hatch pedigree to offer a sharp-handling platform with nearly 20.0 cubic feet of cargo volume compared to the Mustang coupe’s paltry 13.5 cubic feet. Also, the Golf GTI offers a five-door hatchback application, which will seat five with much more comfort than the Mustang and its tight back seat.  

Is the Dodge Challenger SXT worth it?

The 2022 Dodge Challenger SXT is a natural competitor for the Ford Mustang EcoBoost and its $28,865 starting point. The Challenger SXT, with its Pentastar V6, starts at $32,140 and offers a more spacious trunk and larger rear seats. Furthermore, the SXT and GT offer optional AWD for those muscle car fans who live in challenging climates. However, the SXT is heavier, less powerful, and more expensive than the Mustang EcoBoost. 

The Dodge Challenger SXT, like the Volkswagen Golf GTI, is one of the natural alternatives for a Ford Mustang EcoBoost.
Dodge Challenger SXT | Stellantis

Is the Mazda MX-5 Miata really a Ford Mustang EcoBoost alternative?

I know, I know: the 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata is far from the grand tourer-esque Ford Mustang. However, the Miata does offer a convertible top, an enthusiastic four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive (RWD). Of course, potential owners can opt for a six-speed automatic transmission. Also, with a starting price of $28,715, it’s comparable to the Ford Mustang EcoBoost’s starting point.

What is the Chevrolet Camaro 3LT package?

The 2023 Chevrolet Camaro starts at $27,695. However, for $33,695, potential owners can grab the keys to a 3LT package. The Camaro 3LT incorporates premium features like a heads-up display, heated mirrors, and a Bose sound system with nine speakers. Also, unlike the Ford Mustang EcoBoost, the Camaro offers an optional 335-horsepower V6 in addition to the turbocharged four-cylinder engine. 

Which Ford Mustang alternative should you pick?

While the Dodge Challenger or Chevrolet Camaro might seem like an obvious Ford Mustang EcoBoost alternative, the Subaru BRZ has much to offer. First, the little sports car provides a proper manual transmission and a back-to-fundamentals driving experience. Furthermore, the BRZ and Toyota GR86 boast Top Safety Pick+ ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

However, the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Volkswagen Golf GTI provide joyful alternatives to the timeless pony car. Scroll down to the following article to read more about fun sports cars and hot hatchbacks!


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