Used Cars: 10 Fun Cars That Won’t Break the Bank

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piggy-bankThe flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, the trees are budding, and spring is in the air. What better time to think about purchasing a fun and sporty used car at a great price by taking advantage of a used car website like Here is a list of some fun and sporty spring time used cars that will make you feel like a kid again just as soon as you get behind the wheel. Some are really cheap and some are less inexpensive but none are over $30k; the selection is enormous and the savings are impossible to pass up.

2008 Volkswagen GTI

Volkswagen Golf GTI Edition 30Reliability, fun, and fuel efficiency all rolled into one — that describes the 2008 Volkswagen GTI. Available as a 3-door hatchback, with a six-speed manual transmission and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, this little piece of German engineering is very fun to drive. The engine produces 200-hp and 207 lb.-ft. of torque and also comes with a six-speed DSG automatic transmission (complete with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters). The interior is comfortably spacious with firm sport seating and a competitive feel that is best suited for the driving enthusiast. The used car market is flooded with these cars that can be had for around $8k.

2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata

2008 Mazda Miata GTWhile the Miata is not known for mind numbing acceleration, it is a favorite among sports car enthusiasts. The small overall proportions of the car combined with sport tuned suspension make for a responsive ride and agile driving maneuverability. As a roadster, a spacious interior is obviously not a strong suit either, but on a warm day with the top down there is something to be said for the emotional driving experience of this small car. The therapeutic benefits of driving the Miata on a sunny two-lane blacktop curving through the Georgia countryside far outweigh the fact that it makes me look like Donkey Kong riding a football. Expect to spend between $6k and $8k for a reliable used Miata.

1991-1994 Acura NSX

1991-1994 AcuraBuying a used Acura NSX from this era makes sense on a number of levels.  First, it remains relatively exotic because not very many were sold in the U.S. Second, there were not many changes during the first production run so you can get everything from an earlier model that you get from an NSX that is ten years newer. Third is performance. It is equipped with a 3.0-liter V6 engine that manages 270-hp, a rapid acceleration rate, and exhilarating handling. The NSX was perhaps a little ahead of its time with lightweight aluminum body panels and mid-mounted engine but the possibilities for modification on this car are endless. The average price for an NSX in “good” condition is $30k.

2002- 2006 BMW M3

2006 BMW M3When it comes to driving performance there are few equals to the BMW M-Sport line. A high-performance tuning and suspension setup combined with the lowered gross vehicle weight of a coupe or convertible makes this BMW an instant hit in my book. The lighter weight and a more powerful engine, combined with two transmission options that are engineered explicitly for competitive driving, will make your daily commute or weekend getaway driving experience seem like something special. Powered by a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine that produces 333-hp and 262 lb.-ft. of torque the M3 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in only 4.9-seconds. The unique M-Sport paint scheme and aerodynamic enhancement kit give this car a sleek and sporty appearance that makes it look fast even when sitting perfectly still. You can locate a gently used 2002 to 2006 BMW M3 Coupe for around $6k.

2001-2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06Warning: This used car is not for the meek, mild, or timid in nature. It is factory equipped with a 405-hp 5.7-liter V8 engine and six-speed manual transmission; this car can really “tote the mail.” What is even more amazing about these cars s their innate ability to change so dramatically from one driving mode to the other. When the adaptive steering and suspension is placed in sport mode the ride becomes responsive and handling is nimble; when comfort mode is selected the riding quality returns and the car becomes a comfortable daily driver. These cars can be had at a bargain price of only $10k.

2004-2006 Dodge Ram SRT-10

2006 Dodge Ram SRT-10If sport trucks are your thing then this entry is right for you. You can have all of the performance of a muscle car combined with all of the cargo capacity of a pickup truck. Now, if you are looking for a used pickup that gets decent fuel mileage, then look in another direction. If you are looking for a sport truck that comes equipped with a massive 8.3-liter V10 engine that pumps out an astounding 500-hp and 525 lb.-ft. of torque, working in conjunction with a sport tuned suspension, then this truck is for you. You can begin having fun in a used 2004 to 2006 Dodge Ram SRT-10 pickup for around $11k.

1999-2002 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG

2002 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMGIf you want to have some serious family-style fun for around $6k, then this could be the used car for you. Whether you are searching for the ultimate “street-sleeper” or you just need a ton of available horsepower at you every command, this used car can meet the need. Equipped with a 5.4-liter V8 engine that delivers 355-hp to the rear-wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission, these E55 cars will dust most muscle cars at the stop light and they have the capacity to accelerate through almost any testy driving maneuver.

1989-1994 Porsche 911

1994 Porsche 911These cars still have a ton of curb appeal for the dollar. They are available in a number of engine and body configurations from the mild to the wild; naturally, turbocharged models will cost you a few dollars more. These cars are fun in the spring and summer, particularly if you reside in a comfortable climate and you seek to garner the attention of the opposite sex. Powered by a rear engine with a manual gearbox, these cars are a blast to drive on the open road, they are reasonably fuel efficient, and can be had for around $10k.

1994-1998 Toyota Supra Turbo

1998 Toyota Supra TurboThis is the car for which Toyota buffs will scratch you eyes out. The price is a little higher (at around $25k) but the interest in this car is only going to increase in the next few years. These Supra models were powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that produced 320-hp and 315 lb.-ft. of torque from the factory, with 0 to 60 mph times in the low 5-second range. Driving enthusiasts soon discovered that with just a little tweaking tremendous amounts of added engine performance could be derived from the potent six-cylinder making it even more popular with collectors.

1993-2002 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

2002 Chevrolet Camaro Z28For around $6k you can purchase a used 1993 to 2002 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 that will provide countless hours of fun for the money. Equipped with a 5.7-liter LS1 V8 engine and four-speed automatic transmission and rear wheel-drive, the Camaro is easily modified to attain an astronomical amount of engine performance. The sport tuned suspension of the Z28 package combined with the optional manual gearbox and LS1 engine provides ample opportunity for celebration, as well. A 0 to 60 mph time in the neighborhood of 4.9-seconds can be expected from these potent and fun to drive cars.

Whether you are looking for a sport truck, sport sedan, or sport coupe, there is a used car here to fit your needs as well as your budget. Take advantage of internet new and used car websites to find thousands of listings for each of these used car and used truck models.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.

1 comment

  1. By far and away the best pick from the list has to be the Chevy Corvette. to get such a good looking car for 10K is great value. For looks and performance, this car has to top the list.

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