15 Fast and Affordable Cars You Can Buy Right Now

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Updated April 25th, 2022

Are you in the market for a car that meets your need for speed on a budget? 

Unfortunately, speed often comes with a pretty hefty price tag for fast cars. Many drivers looking for a sports car are willing to shell out big bucks to cruise around town in style. 

Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of fast cars that won’t break the bank. Here are 15 fast and affordable vehicles you can buy right now. 

1. 2003 -2009 Nissan 350Z

Nissan 350Z fast and affordable car

Type: Two door, two seater 

Median price: $9,000 – $14,000 

EPA combined fuel economy: 20 mpg  

Awards: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 5 star safety rating 

The Nissan 350Z, or Nismo, is a legendary sports car that flawlessly combines speed with affordability. Available in coupe and convertible styles, the Nissan 350Z sprang onto the scene in 2002 and had a run of 6 years. Drivers will love the V6 engine under the hood that powers either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. 

Pros: 

  • Superb handling and breaking: Drivers enjoy the mechanical grip of the 350Z and report that the car feels well balanced even on the tightest of curves. 
  • Impressive V6 engine: The V6 engine has over 300 hp and torque that takes you from 0-60 mph in 5 seconds. 

Cons:

  • Rear blind spot: Poor rear visibility makes it hard to see surroundings when reversing.
  • Limited cargo space: Whether it’s the coupe or convertible style, both options leave much to be desired for cargo space with only four cubic feet of trunk space.  

2. 2015 Ford Focus ST

Ford focus ST fast and affordable car

The Ford Focus ST is perfect for drivers looking for a hot hatchback that moonlights as a speedster. The 2.0 4 cylinder engine coupled with the 6-speed manual transmission helps it hit a whopping 252 hp. It’s got much more personality than your average hatchback, with a cool exterior featuring a rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, and Ford’s signature grill. 

Type: Four-door, five-seater hatchback 

Median price: $13,000 – $14,000 

EPA combined fuel economy: 26 mpg 

Awards: US News #10 in 2015 compact cars 

Pros:

  • Stylish interior: The dashboard is fitted with high-quality plastics, extra gauges, and solid controls for drivers to enjoy. 
  • Comfortable cabin: The hatchback-style gives extra headroom to riders, and the standard seats are comfortable and adjustable. 

Cons:

  • Lacks automatic transmission option: Drivers who want an automatic option are out of luck with the Ford Focus ST. 
  • Recaro seats are uncomfortable for some drivers: Recaro seats have a higher position and awkward tilt, making it difficult for some drivers to reach all three pedals.  

3. 2013 Mazdaspeed 3

Mazdaspeed 3 fast and affordable car

With the newer, sleeker Mazda styles hitting the market, many forget that Mazda added some cars with serious speed to their arsenal in the past. The 2013 Mazdaspeed 3 was a hatchback that any thrillseeker would love. It boasted a 263 horsepower 2.3 liters DOHC inline four-cylinder engine. Going from 0-60 in 5.8 seconds, this is a fun sports car for even the most thrifty of spenders. 

  • Type: Four-door, five-seater hatchback 
  • Median price: $13,000 – $15,000 
  • EPA combined fuel economy: 21 mpg  
  • Awards: Mazda 3 earned the Top Safety Pick Award from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

Pros:

  • Ample interior space: Both front and rear passengers will enjoy plenty of legroom and cargo space for long trips.
  • Packed with tech features: Comes with remote keyless entry, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, 10 speaker Bose sound system, dynamic stability control, and optional blind-spot monitoring. 

Cons:

  • Lacks all-wheel drive option: Although the Mazda 3 is a hatchback, there is no AWD option.  
  • Fuel economy is low: With a combined mpg of 21, many feel that the fuel economy could be better for a car of its size. 

4. 2007 Audi S6

audi s6 fast and affordable car

Although the Audi S6 may look like your average sedan, many surprises lie under the hood. With a top speed of 155 mph and a 0 – 60 mph time of 5.7 seconds, this is the perfect sports car for people who want a high-performance sedan for a good deal . The Audi A6 also brings much to the table in terms of safety. Anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, a tire pressure monitor, front-seat side airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags are all standard, giving you plenty of features to qualify for safety discounts. 

Type: Four-door, five-seater sedan

Median price: $10,000 

EPA combined fuel economy: 16 mpg  

Awards: 2007 Top Safety Pick IIHS 

Pros:

  • Standard all-wheel drive: The standard all-wheel-drive makes this performance car a perfect choice for drivers in areas with inclement weather 
  • Impressive interior: The interior has leather seats along with leather, aluminum, and birch wood accents throughout the cabin. 

Cons:

  • No manual options: Drivers who prefer manual transmission will be disappointed with the lack of a six-speed manual option
  • Sport suspension makes for a stiff ride: Some drivers complained of stiff handling when driving around town. 

5. 2003 Infiniti G35 Coupe

infiniti g35 coupe fast and affordable car

Type: Two-door, four-seater coupe

Median price: $6,000 – 7,000 

EPA combined fuel economy: 20 mpg 

Awards: Motor Trend 2003 Car of the Year 

Available in both five-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmission, this is a fun car with a sporty look. While it is a two-door coupe, it can comfortably fit up to four passengers and has an impressive trunk of 8 cubic feet. 

Pros: 

  • Powerful V6 Engine: The V-6 engine gives off beautiful trucklike sounds and revs.
  • Roomy Cabin: The cabin is quite roomy and offers ample legroom to smaller passengers in the backseat. 

Cons:

  • Excellent handling of twisty roads: Drivers who love taking their car for a spin on back roads will enjoy the fantastic handling even on the twistiest roads. 
  • The plastic dashboard can seem cheap: The plastic knobs on the dashboard can make this luxurious car appear cheap. 

6. 2002 Dodge Neon SRT-4

dodge neon srt-4 fast and affordable car

This small sports sedan gives everyone who sits inside a pleasant surprise. The Dodge Neon SRT-4 speeds from 0-60 in a mere 5.6 seconds, not to mention its impressive top speed of 153 mph. Available only in a five-speed manual transmission, it features 215 hp and 245 lb-ft of torque to get things moving. 

Type: Four-door, five-passenger sports sedan

Median price: $6,000 – $7,000 

EPA combined fuel economy: 22 mpg 

Awards: Sport Compact Car of the Year 2003 

Pros:

  • Comfortable front seats: The driver and front passenger seats are comfortable and provide excellent lateral support. 
  • Great handling: The Neon has exceptional handling around curves and tight corners. 

Cons:

  • High rear wing causes driver blind spots: The high rear is meant to enhance the sporty look of this car, but drivers say it can cause blind spots when reversing and changing lanes. 
  • Lacks automatic rear windows: Manual rear windows are a hassle to open and close for passengers.  

7. 2005 Ford Mustang GT

ford mustang gt fast and affordable car

You can’t get more “All American” classics than the Ford Mustang GT. The design of this car has aged well due to its classic looks. Powered by its 4.6-liter V8 engine with 300 horsepower, the 2005 Mustang GT can go from 0-60 in 5 seconds flat. 

Type: Two-door, four-seater coupe

Median price: $5,000 – $7,000

EPA combined fuel economy: 24 mpg  

Awards: 2005 Best of The Year Award – MotorWeek 

Pros:

  • Ergonomic cabin: Improved ergonomics from older models with more legroom for driver and front passenger. 
  • Solid V8 engine: GT’s V8 engine is powerful and torquay. 

Cons:

  • Tight squeeze for rear passengers: Rear passengers have limited legroom and headroom due to the coupe shape.
  • Lacks curtain airbags: There is no curtain airbag option. 

8. 2002 BMW 540i E39

bmw 540i e39 fast and affordable car

The BMW 540i E39 is one of the most respected cars in the used market. With a price tag hovering around $6,000 for the six-speed manual trim level, it’s one of the fastest and most affordable German cars. This vehicle is an absolute powerhouse, topping out at nearly 300 horsepower from its 4.4-liter V8 engine.

Type: Four-door, five-seater sedan 

Median price: $6,000

EPA combined fuel economy: 16 mpg  

Awards: Good Safety Rating from IIHS 

Pros:

  • Stylish exterior: The exterior is clean and stylish, perfect for mature drivers who want speed without sacrificing style. 
  • Luxurious cabin: The cabin is luxurious and comfortable for both front and rear passengers.

Cons:

  • Cup holders: Drivers report finicky cup holders that aren’t strong. 
  • Low fuel economy for a sedan: The 16 mpg for a sedan is lacking for some, making this car a gas guzzler. 

9. 2010 Nissan 370Z 

nissan 370z fast and affordable car

Type: Two-door, two-passenger coupe

Median price: $20,000 

EPA combined fuel economy: 21 mpg

Awards: 2010 Best Resale Value Award – Kelly Blue Book 

If you’re on the hunt for an affordable rear-wheel drive coupe with a bit of kick, the Nissan 370Z is your car. While the exterior is quite similar to the older 350Z, the specs under the hood couldn’t be more different. The 3.7 liter turbocharged V6 lets this car hit a top speed of 155 mph, potentially going even faster.

Pros:

  • Adjustable bottom cushion: Drivers can adjust the front and rear of the bottom seat cushion separately for optimal comfort levels. 
  • Comfortable six-speed shifter: Drivers report a shift level that is easy to maneuver and enjoy the vibration it gives. 

Cons:

  • Blind spots: The car’s design contributes to blind spots when turning left and reversing. 
  • Road noise leaks into the cabin: Road noise leaks into the cabin when driving at high speeds. 

10. 2006 Porsche Cayman S 

porsche cayman s fast and affordable car

Porsche’s answer to an entry-level car, the 2006 Porsche Cayman S, is in its own category. This two-door coupe is characterized by rear-wheel drive, a 3.4-liter engine, 295 hp, and 250 lb-ft torque with a six-speed manual transmission. In short, it’s a dream come true for drivers looking for a fast car with a cheaper price tag. 

Type: Two-door, two-passenger coupe 

Median price: $15,000 

EPA combined fuel economy: 24 mpg 

Awards: 2006 World Performance Car of the Year 

Pros:

  • Generous cargo capacity: The front and rear cargo spaces give this small speedster plenty of room to pack whatever you need.
  • Smooth six-speed transmission: Drivers report a smooth six-speed transmission with effortless shifting. 

Cons: 

  • Expensive repairs: As with most performance cars, expect to pay a pretty penny for Porsche repairs.
  • Unimpressive audio/climate controls: The dashboard and controls are difficult to decipher. 

11. 2004 Pontiac GTO

pontiac gto fast and affordable car

Based on the original muscle car, the 2004 Pontiac GTO sports a 5.7L V8 engine, putting out an impressive 350hp. Complete with a unique dual-exhaust system and 6-speed manual gearbox, this modern take on an old classic is tuned for comfort, making it a perfect option for any car buyer.  

  • Type: Two-door, four-seater coupe
  • Median price: $7,000 – $8,000
  • EPA combined fuel economy: 19 mpg
  • Awards: J.D. Power Performance Award 2004

Pros: 

  • Powerful V8 engine: It goes from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds. 
  • Fully independent suspension: The car can take on tight  corners with smooth handling. 

Cons:

  • Forgettable styling: The interior is primarily plastic, so it does not provide the stylish look some may want. 
  • Numerous standard features: Although the 2004 Pontiac has many standard features, the quality could seem disappointing compared to the price. 

12. 2001 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG

mercedes benz e55 amg fast and affordable car

This Mercedes-Benz E55 is packed with more power than your average sedan. With a monster 5.4L V8 engine under the hood, it can reach 60mph in just 4.5 seconds. This is paired with a comfortable interior that could easily carry a whole family.

Type: Four-door, 5-seater sedan

Median Price: $4,000-$5,000

EPA combined fuel economy: 18 mpg

Awards: Good – IHS Frontal Offset Crash Test

Pros:

  • Lots of standard and optional safety equipment: Side airbags are available in all 4-doors, anti lock brakes with brake assist, traction control, and stability control.  
  • Available all-wheel drive: Navigate slippery conditions with ease with all wheel drive. 

Cons:

  • No manual transmissions are available: This car only has a touch shift auto transmission. 
  • Lacks sporty exterior: The exterior looks more sedan than sporty.

13. 2004 BMW 330ci Convertible

BMW 330ci convertible fast and affordable car

For a convertible that performs as well as it looks, then the BMW 330ci is for you. With a superb 3.0L engine and a rewarding drive, you can mix pleasure and comfort in this drop-top 3-series. 

Type: Two-door, 4-seater coupe

Median Price: $5,000

EPA combined fuel economy: 20 mpg

Pros:

  • Luxurious interior: Comes with all the latest mod cons with dials and major controls positioned to deliver a sporty feel. 
  • Spacious interior: More legroom than your average coupe, which means you can comfortably carry 3-4 people.

Cons:

  • Limited trunk capacity: The small trunk makes it difficult to transport large items.  
  • Fuel economy: Some may find the fuel economy too low for commuting to work or longer distances. 

14. 2004 Chevrolet Corvette C5

chevrolet corvette c5 fast and affordable car

Considered to be one of the most reliable Corvettes built, the C5 offers a lot of power and performance at a great value. Created as part of a commemorative edition, the Corvette C5 has been refined and improved to give the best quality interior with optimal comfort. This is a fun yet reliable sports car in both 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

Type: Two-door, four-seater coupe

Median price: $9,000

EPA combined fuel economy: 19 mpg

Awards: Won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in their class

Pros:

  • Fun color options: This vehicle’s sleek, sporty exterior comes in a variety of colors.  
  • Trunk capacity: The coupe has a large trunk that can hold 24.8 cubic feet of cargo.  

Cons:

  • Limited rear visibility: The rear window only has a narrow slot creating blind spots. 
  • Road noise: The Corvette is not a quiet car, and some have reported that the road and engine noise tend to leak into the cabin.  

15. 2000 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 SS

chevrolet camaro z28 ss fast and affordable car

The Camaro Z28 SS stands above the rest when it comes to performance abilities. Equipped with a 5.7L V8 and rear-wheel drive, the Camaro is lightning fast but can hold the road superbly. With its decent gas mileage and affordable price, this car is the perfect daily driver.

Type: 2-door, four-seater hatchback coupe

Median price: $7,500

EPA combined fuel economy: 18 mpg

Awards: 2000 JD Power Performance Award

Pros:

  • Good handling: They can hold well in tight corners, and the steering is precise and practical. 
  •  Reliable: This car requires little maintenance and has a reputation for lasting through the miles without needing to replace many parts. 

Cons:

  • Rear seat space: Taller passengers may find the rear seats cramped and uncomfortable. 
  • Too light: Many drivers feel that the lightweight Camaros are hard to maneuver and struggle to gain traction in snow or ice.  

Don’t forget to check the insurance price as you shop for affordable, fast cars. While the type of vehicle you drive affects your insurance premium, other factors like your age, driving history, and credit score also play a role in calculating your rates.

When hunting for car insurance, remember that Compare.com will help you see dozens of rates in just a few minutes. 

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