September 29, 2023

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Best Sports Cars Under $50,000 In 2023

Let’s be honest, we all want a fun and good-looking sports car to cruise around in. If you love cars, the thrill of driving bugs you on a daily basis. So, at some point, it is normal for most car of us to hop on the market for a fun sports car. Sadly, not all of us have the insane amounts of money needed to buy the top sports car in the world; however, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Contrary to popular belief, sports cars don’t need to cost insane amounts of money. There are options out there that are more attainable by the average car guy/gal– even when brand new.

We would even argue that the cheaper and more attainable sports cars are more fun to own and drive than the expensive ones. In this price range, the “numbers” war isn’t as important; therefore, automakers pay more attention to the thrill and fun of driving rather than 0-60 times. Also, when buying a more affordable fun machine you will be able to actually drive it and enjoy it. Racking up miles doesn’t cost a fortune in resale value and servicing as it does with exotics. So, since there are plenty of benefits to going for a budget sports car, here are our 10 favorite choices for under $50,000.

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10 2023 The Mazda MX5

A driving 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Mazda USA

Front and side view of a 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata 

Of course, an MX5 would be on a list like this. Mazda MX5s work for everything! Let’s be honest here, with a starting price of $28,050, the MX5 is one of the best bang-for-your-buck sports cars out there. It offers the thrill of open-top driving in a nimble and agile two-seater for the price of a well-specked hatchback.

If you end up buying the MX5 you will be getting a 2.0-liter 181 horsepower four-cylinder engine that is certainly enough to move the little MX5 around in a fun pace. Sure, this isn’t a car to take to the drag strip, but it certainly is a car to take for mountain road cruises on a Sunday morning. Plus, when dreary Monday rolls back around, the MX5 will serve you well as a daily driver and work commuter thanks to its economy and reliability. This is one of the best sports cars on the current market.

9 2023 The Ford Mustang

A driving Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack 2
Ford Media

Front and side view of a Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack 2

As you may be aware, the Mustang comes in a wide variety of different trim levels and some of them can surpass $50,000. However, there are plenty of models out there that will cost you far less than that. With a starting price of just $27,000, there is no wonder why the streets of America are filled with these vehicles. It is a fun and good-looking sports car that is also spacious and cheap.

Ford has done a great job of keeping the spirit of the original Mustang alive with the current model. For under $50,000, you can have both the 2.3 liter EcoBoost that pumps out 310 horsepower or the 5.0 liter V-8 with 450 horsepower. The choice here is yours. If you have some spare cash, we suggest going for the big V-8 as it suits the Mustang better.

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8 2023 The Chevrolet Camaro

2023 Chevrolet Camaro driving in garage

2023 Chevrolet Camaro speeding through a garage.

The Chevy Camaro has long been a rival to the Mustang. Now on its way out, the current model can be had for even less money than the Ford at just $26,100. At base price, you get a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder that pumps out an average of 250 horsepower which is a bit low when compared to the base engine of the Mustang.

However, if you spend a bit more money, you can choose from a variety of other different engines including a 6.2 V-8 that pumps out 455 horsepower. If you exceed that $50,000 budget, you can even have a 6.2-liter Supercharged V-8. However, the engines available within the price limit we’ve set should offer plenty of fun.

7 2023 Dodge Challenger

A Gray Dodge Challenger Scat Pack R/T

A side-view shot of a Dodge Challenger Scat Pack R/T in a parking lot

Completing the holy trinity of American Muscle is the Dodge Challenger. The Challenger is one of the most legendary vehicles ever made and in top spec, the current model is also one of the fastest vehicles on Earth. However, in that trim level, our budget isn’t met. So, what do we get for under $50,000? Well, the base model will set you back $31,100 and for that, you get the widely used 3.6 liter V-6 that pumps out 292 horsepower.

If you need more power, you can opt for a model that features the 392 Hemi V-8 with 485 horsepower and one of the most amazing exhaust notes on the market. Just like the Camaro and Mustang, the Challenger will offer plenty of interior space and a lot of speed. Choosing between the three is really down to personal preference.

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6 2023 Honda Civic Type R



Yes, the Civic Type R is a completely different animal than our three previous models; however, our main goal is to offer a variety of options for all tastes. The Type R starts at $43,295 and for that, you get a 315 horsepower Turbocharged V-TEC Honda engine.

Obviously, this is a smaller car; therefore, 310 horsepower is plenty enough. The Type R is the perfect choice if you’re someone who wants a sports car that will serve you well both for daily use and for fun over the weekends. The amazing handling abilities and interior space of the Honda make it one of the best choices in this price range.

5 2023 VW Golf R

Lapiz Blue Mk8 Golf R parked on bridge
Drive Time Productions LLC

A stationary shot of a Lapiz Blue Metallic Volkswagen Golf R parked on a bridge.  

Just like the MX5, the Golf belongs in pretty much every budget-oriented sports car list. It is a vehicle that revolutionized the industry with its amazing performance, quality, and attainable price tag. When buying a Golf R you will be paying a base price of $44,740 and for the money, you get VW’s competent AWD system and 315 horsepower on tap.

The standard transmission is a fun six-speed manual while the incredibly quick DSG seven-speed automatic is offered as an option. The Golf R is competent both as a daily commuter, a family vehicle, and a weekend toy. The AWD system means it can be used all year round even in the colder areas of the world and its powerful engine will put to shame most sports cars on the road.

RELATED: The VW Golf As We Know It Is Dead, With The 8th Generation Marking The End Of An Era

4 2023 VW Golf GTI


Front view of green 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI parked. 

If you are set on a VW, you don’t need to pay the higher price tag of a Golf R. You can spend less money and go for the GTI which is the OG hot-hatchback. The GTI offers 241 horsepower and no AWD. However, it will set you back far less money as its starting price is $30,530.

For that amount of money, you get a widely popular sports car that once again can tackle anything from the school run to a full-blown track day and everything in between. The GTI is the perfect daily driver for the car-lover looking for an affordable and premium vehicle to have fun in. This is one of the most famous cars in the world and that is for good reason.

3 2023 Mini Cooper S

MINI Cooper S

An action shot of the MINI Cooper S

The Mini Cooper is one of the most revolutionary vehicles ever made. Its initial design penned by Sir Alec Issigonis changed the world’s perspective on what is possible with small cars back in the 60s. The transversely mounted engine provided interior space that was unheard of for a car of that size during that era. Nowadays, the Mini has grown larger, but its spirit lives on.

Just like the old one, its sporty routes remain alive and keep on putting a smile on our faces decades later. Today, a Cooper S will set you back $29,100 and for that price, you get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that pumps out 189 horsepower. Granted, this is lower than most vehicles on the list, but that doesn’t mean the Cooper S isn’t fun. In fact, it is one of the best vehicles to drive due to its incredible handling characteristics.

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2 2023 Toyota Corolla GR

A front 3/4 action shot of a gray GR Corolla driving on the road

A 2023 GR Corolla driving on the road against a blurry background giving the impression of speed. 

The Corolla GR took the world by storm as the U.S. finally received a fast and fun Toyota Hatchback. The design and performance of this vehicle are amazing – especially if you consider its $35,900 starting price. When buying the GR Corolla, you get a 1.6-liter three-cylinder that manages to produce 300 horsepower. This is an incredible power figure relative to the size of the engine.

Keep in mind that just like the Golf R, the GR Corolla offers AWD; therefore, it will work well in the cold winters of the north. Furthermore, when buying the Corolla, you will have Toyota’s support system and reputation which is certainly a benefit. However, since the little three-cylinder engine will undergo a lot of stress to produce the numbers it does, we wouldn’t expect the Corolla GR to have the reliability Toyota is known for.

1 2023 Toyota GR86

Red 2023 Toyota GR86

Red 2023 Toyota GR86 front three-quarter view 

The GR86 is the successor of the widely popular GT86 which captured the hearts of gearheads thanks to its tail-happy handling characteristics. One of the main criticisms; however, was the fact that it was a bit down on power. With the new model though, Toyota and Subaru listened to the complaints of their customers and produced a very similar vehicle that now offers more healthy power figures.

The GR86 features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder boxer engine with 228 horsepower which makes it much more fun to drive than the previous model. This little fun-packed sports car will set you back $28,400 starting MSRP, which is an incredibly good deal for what you get. The market doesn’t offer many small and affordable rear-wheel-drive sports cars, and this is one of the few.