For many people, living the American Dream means owning a house and car one day. Well, just any old car won’t do it for most people. We’ve all daydreamed about striking it rich one day and splurging on the rarest exotic automobiles, but that type of fantasy only becomes a reality for a tiny fraction of us. Even though your current paycheck might not be able to support your ideal lifestyle, you can still afford a sleek and sexy sports car without putting a major hurting on your wallet. Here are 5 reasonably-priced cars that offer both great looks and performance for the average employed civilian.
1) 2012 Hyundai Genesis
Hyundai has been known to produce reliable cars at a relatively low price point for many years now. Their tradition of quality and affordability continues with the athletic Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Available in either a 2.0-liter V4 or 3.8-liter V6, you can choose your own adventure. The prior is a turbocharged engine putting out a very adequate 210 bhp, while the latter is probably the more desirable configuration for a sports car at a solid 305 bhp. The Genesis dashes from 0-60 in 6.9 and 5.9 seconds, respectively, and both are pretty good sprint times. Average fuel economy is at about 20 mpg, which is not bad for a car with this type of capability.
Looks-wise, the Genesis gets things just right with its seductive lines and curves. Inside, things are just as impressive. Excellent styling combined with quality materials and well-placed controls makes the car feel just right. Driving the Genesis is pure pleasure because the vehicle handles well and is very responsive. It not only looks like a winner but feels like one too. Light, compact, and aggressive, the Genesis has the makes of a great sports car. Starting at just $27,000 for the 3.8 model, it’s a great buy no matter how you look at it.
2) 2012 Nissan 370Z
The Fairlady Z is a classic model of sports car in the Nissan line, and it exists today in the form of the elegant and edgy 370Z. The Z is a dedicated sports cars with all the trimmings. It is equipped by default with Nissan’s updated version of the popular VQ V6 pushing an impressive 332 bhp and 270 lb-ft of torque. With that kind of generator, the speedy Z zips from 0-60 in a breezy 5.1 seconds. Even so, the Z manages to get you 21 miles for every gallon making it fairly fuel-efficient for its class.
Designed with performance in mind, the 370Z lives up to its lineage and famous name. Handling and control are both excellent, and manoeuvrability is also top notch. Even with the sport-tuned suspension, the ride is surprisingly smooth. If you want a car that looks as good as it drives, look no further than the Nissan 370Z. Starting at about $32,000, this baby is living proof that you don’t have to blow a fortune to own an excellent sports car.
3) 2012 Nissan Murano
For those who are looking for something a bit different, the Nissan Murano is just that. This sporty crossover offers the benefits of both a sedan and SUV all in one. Powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that offers a healthy 260 bhp, the Murano is built to get from point A to point B in a jiffy. With a 20 mpg fuel economy, you won’t have to spend too much refilling at the gas station either.
Aesthetically, the Murano is one of the nicest looking crossovers out there. The car is edgy and functional, and it drives excellently. The ride is comfortable, and there is plenty of room for multiple passengers. If you prefer your sports car to be larger and more practical than your kid’s Power Wheels, the $30,000 Nissan Murano is just about the perfect choice.
4) 2012 Subaru WRX STI
The STI is a rally legend and one of the most desirable sports cars on the market. This street king rules the road with its turbocharged 2.5-liter boxer V4 that allows for a mighty 305 bhp and 290 lb-ft of torque. The STI can sprint like an Olympian from 0-60 in a lightning-fast 4.5 seconds. Fuel economy is decent with an average rating of 19 mpg.
The STI is a very aggressive and masculine-looking car that screams, «I’m fast.» It also handles like a dream with its impeccable manoeuvrability and responsiveness. Stomping on the accelerator gives you the feeling of taking off in a jet plane, so there’s not doubt the STI is quick. With a price tag of $35,000, the STI is about the best sports car around for the money.
5) 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata
This little speed demon is probably the sleekest of the bunch. The Miata is a car with a great fan following, and it’s obvious why that is. The car is simply a thrill to drive. With its 2.4-liter V4 engine, the Miata is packed with the power of 167 horses. While that might not seem like much, this ultra-light roadster takes off like a rocket when you hit the gas. In fact, it gets a respectable 6.9 seconds during a 0-60. With 24 miles to the gallon, the Miata is a very efficient machine.
Curvaceous and compact, the Miata is an attractive sports car. It is quite comfortable despite its small size, but don’t expect a lot of cargo room. Driving the Miata is a very enjoyable experience because it just handles so well. It is one of the most nimble cars you can buy for around $24,000.