Ask an enthusiast what a good weekend or hobby car would be for under $10,000, and often you will get the answer in the form of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. These small cars are endlessly customizable and are inexpensive. But, the Miata is not the only answer. In fact, there are a lot of used sports cars that can fit the bill.
The list of cars below is by no means comprehensive, but it does point out a few choice examples of sports cars that have a bit of a cult following. The values are based on the Good condition rating from the Kelley Blue Book used car valuation tool. Specifically, the price was from the top end of the private party value, the nation’s capitol zip code of 20037 was used for reference, as was 100,000 miles of usage. All of the cars are from the 1990s or newer, and no convertible trim levels were used.
1999 Mitsubishi 3000 GT
The Mitsubishi 3000 GT came in three trims, the base, the SL, and the VR4. The model was also available as a drop-top Spyder model. These cars were the halo performance car from Mitsubishi at the time. The engine SL models had extra comfort and safety features such as a sunroof, antilock braking, leather seats, and cruise control. This model was equipped with a dual overhead cam 6-cylinder and either a 5-speed manual or automatic transmission. Horsepower was rated at 222. The KBB valuation tool rings in at $4,849 for the private party value.
1999 Lexus SC 300
The Lexus SC 300 had a face that bore a striking similarity to the Toyota Supra from the same time frame. However, the Lexus had a 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder that pumped out 225 hp. Plus, Lexus is a luxury brand. So, many comfort and safety features were standard. The KBB valuation tool rings in at $5,598 at the private party value.
2008 Ford Mustang
The Ford Mustang is legendary. The nameplate has also been around for decades. So, it is easy to find one in any price range. For the purposes of this article, the 2008 model was chosen for its modernity and safety features. The Mustang was available in Deluxe coupe, Premium coupe, GT Deluxe coupe, GT Premium coupe, and a top-of-the-line package called the Shelby GT 500. The KBB valuation tool rings the middle of the road GT Deluxe coupe at $9,990, just under the $10,000 budget. But, that get the purchaser a 4.6-liter V8 with 300 hp.
1997 Porsche Boxster
The first generation of the Porsche Boxster was introduced to the world as the entry-level Porsche. So, it did not have a lot of the glitz and glam that its bigger brother, the 911 model had. However, it was still a fun little car to drive around. It came with a 2.5-liter flat 6-cylinder engine with an output of 201 hp. The KBB valuation places these models at a private party value of $7,183.
2008 Audi TT
RELATED: The Miata and Del Sol Rivalry
The Audi TT is a little hatchback that came with two engine choices. The model chosen for this comparison had the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that rated at 200 hp. The transmission choice was a 6-speed automated unit. The KBB value for this model came in at $7,577.
2010 Mitsubishi Eclipse
Diamond Star Motors produced a trio popular sports cars for multiple manufacturers. They are the Mitsubishi Eclipse, Plymouth Laser, and Eagle Talon. By 2010 the Eclipse was the only one that remained. The middle of the road Mitsubishi GS coupe private party value comes in at $6,176. For that price, the car had a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder powerplant that pushed 162 hp.
2015 Scion TC
Toyota took the chassis of the Corolla and tried to make a sports car out of it. The reviews are mixed if they accomplished it in the form of the Scion TC. Regardless, it was at least,… sporty. It came with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that could pump out 179 horsepower that was controlled through either a manual or automatic transmission. The KBB private party value comes in at $9,205.
Many more cars could have made this list of used sports cars under $10,000. However, these few stand out as good options for a weekend or hobby car. Additionally, the list proves that there are a lot more offerings available than just a Mazda Miata. Although, admittedly, it is hard to deny that the Miata is an excellent offering as well.