A sports car is one of those default answers that many people say they would get if things broke their way and they got some money. The problem with sports cars is that they tend to be expensive and impractical. Of course, not every sports car is a Bugatti, but even the more real-world sportscars are usually tiny and hard to live with. To further prove the point, Consumer Reports made a list of the used sports cars under $25,000 that they actually recommend you should buy, and there were only five options.
Consumer Reports is ify on sports cars
It is not surprising that Consumer Reports didn’t have too many sports cars under $25k to recommend. For one, there aren’t that many of them, period. For two, Consumer Reports favors reliability, comfort, and efficiency over fun and flash. That is, in part, what makes their reviews be seen in such high regard. There are technically six cars on this list, but in true Miata fashion, two different models are represented. The Miata is so nice; they had to say it twice.
What is the best year for a Mazda Miata?
As I mentioned, the Mazda Miata made two appearances on this list, and rightfully so. It should probably be on every list of best sportscars twice. Although the Miata has been around for a long time, the MX-5 is one of the most beloved models by drivers and Consumer Reports. The price range for the 2012 MX-5 is roughly between $10k-$15k, and the 2016 models might stretch up around $18k.
Both the third- and fourth-generation Miatas share a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but depending on which configuration you go for, the horsepower output can change a little. However, horsepower really isn’t all that important in a Miata; it’s not really what they do. The reason these cars are so beloved is that, in the right hands, they are truly fast little racecars that shed bravado and ego and simply operate to the best of the driver’s ability. If you are fast, they are fast. The Miata is simple and cheap, and because it isn’t super powerful, it is a super approachable sportscar for people wanting to learn to race or simply learn to drive a manual transmission.
Is the 2013 Scion FR-S a reliable car?
The Scion FR-S feels a little forgotten about. You don’t see too many on the roads these days, but apparently, we should be. CR gave them a 4 / 5 for reliability. Unlike the Miata, the Scion has a decent bit of Horsepower but doesn’t really know what to do with it. The 2013FR-S has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder from Subaru, making 200 hp. It can do 0-60 mph in the low 7-seconds range, which isn’t all that, but it does get nearly 30 mpg. CR has it valued anywhere between $12k-$14k.
The 2013 Subaru BRZ was made for this list
This was Subaru’s first rear-wheel-drive car, and like the Scion FR-S (which are basically the same), both were developed using the help of Toyota. The Subaru has the same 2.0-liter flat-four paired with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Similar to the Miata, these cars are simple, hard, and agile. The firm suspension and short wheelbase make the ride hard and uncomfortable, but the corners flat and fast. For some reason, the Subaru version tends to cost a little more than the Scions, with a range of $13k-$15k.
The 2015 Audi A5 is affordable now
The A5 isn’t quite the same as the others—these cars are bigger, fancier, and slower. The Audi A5 started life at a higher position. The Mazda and Toyota offerings were not considered luxury cars by any means, but the Audi is living in the sports and luxury worlds. The A5 of this era offered a turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers ample power, but they are a tad heavier than the others.
While it may not be quite as mean on the track, the A5 beats out the others in comfort and style all day long. These Audis tend to run somewhere in the $15k-$23k range.
The 2016 BMW 2 series is an affordable sports car
Who would have thought so many Germans would make it to the cheap-sport car party? Well, Consumer Reports had nearly nothing bad to say about these budget BMWs. Reliability, comfort, fuel efficiency, and nearly everything else across the board got stellar ratings from CR. The 2 Series cars have a few engine options the choose from. The base verison comes with a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and tops off with a 365-hp turbocharged six-cylinder. It’s a powerful, reliable, and affordable car from a high-end German manufacturer; I didn’t know that existed. All of that makes the BMW the highest priced out of the group with a price range of $16k-$25k.
Take your pick of the sports car liter
All of these cars have certain strengths and weaknesses. Although a few are pretty similar, the sportscar world is like any other segment; to be satisfied with your choice, you should try to understand exactly what you want the car to do.