If you’re a “car guy,” a sports car might just be the car of your dreams. When you’re on a tight budget, though, this dream car doesn’t have to stay in your dreams. While a Ferrari or a Porsche may be out of reach, there are plenty of reliable, cheap sports cars on the market that are sure to impress your friends without breaking the bank.
When looking for a cheap sports car, you might not know where to start. After all, the words “cheap” and “sports car” usually don’t go together. Sports cars are typically luxury cars designed with the wealthy in mind. Luckily for you, we have a whole list of the best cheap sports cars you can buy in 2022. Although cheap sports cars are not as cheap as they once were, they can still be an affordable way to get your sports car fixed and make your rad ride fantasies a reality.
The Best Cheap Sports Cars You Can Buy in 2022
2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata
If you like Mazda’s classic two-door, lightweight, rear-wheel-drive designs, you’ll appreciate the 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata. This model delivers on Mazda’s philosophy that harkens to the ancient concept of singularity between a rider and horse. With a 2.0-liter I-4 powertrain, 6-speed manual (6-speed auto) transmission, RWD horsepower of 181, and torque of 151 lb-ft, the MX-5 Miata packs a punch in a compact package. For about $27,650 as a starting price, Mazda packs a lot of value into an affordable sports car.
With manual transmission and a lightweight body, this car captures the feeling that Mazda strives to create in its cars. With refined driving dynamics, this car does not feel cheap, period. Its mechanics can handle driving at the speed limit on public roads. Its design is also easy on the eyes, which makes it the perfect choice for someone who wants sports car eye candy on the roads and in their driveway without shelling out their life savings.
Unfortunately, the MX-5 is so small that it may be an impractical choice for someone who doesn’t have other vehicles to tackle daily trips or hauling items. As a sports car for the sheer hobby of it, though, this may be less of a deterrent. Also, the MX-5’s horsepower and torque are easily outshined by crossovers that are in the same size range.
2022 Honda Civic Si
If you love the Honda Civic but want a sportier ride, look no further than the Honda Civic Si. This compact liftback is rolling out onto the market between the new base Civic and the 11th generation Type R that is slated to hit the market later in the year.
Benefits of the 2022 Civic Si include a smooth short-throw manual transmission. This kind of transmission offers a level of precision that makes it ideal for high-revving and sports-style driving. Honda incorporated fixed-rate dampers and rev-matching from the Civic Type R. Additionally, the Civic Si has been tuned for lower-end torque. This makes it surprisingly practical for driving.
Unfortunately, the Civic Si only operates at a single level of 11. With the tight suspension, this car is not comfortable to drive or ride on rough roads on a regular basis. It’s also not an ideal sports car for the winter, so if you live in an area with four seasons and rough roads, this might not be the best car for you. Still, with a starting price under $30,000, it’s a great cheap sports car for those who want a sporty ride on a minimal budget.
2022 Chevrolet Camaro 1LT
For about $30,000, you should be able to snag a high-quality sports car with smooth handling, optimal output, and a manual transmission for an enjoyable driving experience. While this might seem like a high price tag, it still pales in comparison to some of the newer luxury sports cars at high-end price points.
If you’re into autocross events for competition or fun, the Chevy Camaro is the car for you. Because it’s lightly powered and agile, this car will let you have a great time without climbing a steep learning curve or scaring yourself senseless in the process. This model does have its drawbacks, including limited visibility, a compact cabin, and a large trunk that gets impeded by the narrow trunk opening.
Still, it is a solid sports car option for those who would rather spend less than $40,000 for the V8 engine model and under $30,0000 for the V6 model. The price point and lightweight feel make this car an attractive option for autocross event participants on a shoestring budget.
2022 Hyundai Veloster N
As the only version of the second-generation Veloster remaining on the market in the United States, the 2022 Hyundai Veloster is a rare breed of cheap sports car. As a three-door compact performance hatchback coupe, this car is oddly stylish, quick, and agile. If you’re looking for a sports car with a unique sound, this one is right up the alley. Some have described the sound as “maniacal”–in a good way, of course.
If you’re not attached to a manual transmission, you’ll love the “wet” dual-clutch automatic transmission. For those who like to modify their ride’s performance, the customizable “N” performance mode is a perfect match.
While some see the Veloster N as a strange-looking car, others like its unconventional aesthetic. The three-door body style isn’t very practical. This might be why it’s the last Veloster standing on the American car market. In terms of ride quality, the Veloster N comes off as stiff and uncomfortable to some drivers.
2022 Subaru WRX
For those who have a larger family or need a bigger vehicle for daily use, the WRX gives a sporty feel with practical size. This all-wheel-drive sedan branched off from Subaru’s Imprezas in the 1990s. At this point in time, the brand has developed into a model in its own right. The WRX gets a brand new introduction from Subaru in 2022.
On the plus side, Subaru’s high quality AWD system makes the WRD suitable for all kinds of weather and terrain. It won’t lose its grip in slippery conditions. Additionally, the steering has a sturdy feel while the manual transmission offers a smooth ride. This is a no-frills, no-fuss sports car designed for sporty driving.
The main drawbacks to the WRX include a bumpy ride at times. The power upgrade is lackluster compared to the previous generation. Also, the fuel economy is not ideal and with rising gas prices, that may make it a more expensive choice than similarly sized sports vehicles. If looks are your priority, the WRX leaves something to be desired.
The WRX has also earned a reputation for being involved in dirty work, so it’s probably not the best sports car for someone with a reputation of their own to protect. Still, for a price point below $30,000, it gets the job done.
2022 Ford Mustang Ecoboost
If you’ve been into cars for a minute, you’ll have heard all about the Ford Mustang–it’s a classic model that has been around since the mid-1960s. Its popularity has withstood the test of time for good reason. As the longest-produced Ford nameplate, the Mustang has a great look, fantastic sound, and feels luxurious.
Like the base model, the Mustang EcoBoost offers a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. Selling for under $30,000, the Mustang Ecoboost underscores the V8 GT model by about $10,000, which is no small difference for those with a tight bank account.
Benefits of the Mustang EcoBoost include a light, agile driving experience. Some drivers find that this model has superior weight distribution to its GT counterpart. With a four-pot engine, the Mustang Ecoboost manages to pull with a surprisingly decent amount of torque. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, you can add in high-performance and handling packages. What’s more, those in the market for this particular model can get this car with a six-speed manual transmission for an even better driving experience.
The main drawbacks are that the EcoBoost isn’t as enjoyable to drive for some when compared to the 5.0 version. Also, the sound is different than the 5.0-liter V8. This might make you feel the price difference every time you drive it.
2022 Subaru BRZ
If you’re looking through Wikipedia, you may get confused when looking through The BRZ’s page. Don’t worry, though–you’re not seeing double. The BRZ is Subaru’s compact sports coupe. Since it is a copy of the Toyota GR86, some have dubbed these models the “Toyobaru.”
With an upgraded engine, the new generation has more power than former models. It also offers improved mid-range torque. The Subaru BRZ handles as well as some of the more expensive sports car models. If you enjoy driving for the sheer fun of it, this car will remind you why you love it. The manual transmission is an added bonus for those who prefer this kind of transmission.
In terms of drawbacks, the lack of a turbocharger is a big con for some drivers. Both Toyota and Subaru refuse to add it, which can bring it down a peg in the eyes of sports car drivers. Also, the BRZ is not much of a family car. It can hold several spare tires in the cargo area but it doesn’t have the space needed to fit young race car enthusiasts in the back. Still, with a starting price that skims just under $28,000, the value of the BRZ can’t be beaten.