Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
These Are the Best Used Sports Cars You Can Buy
Sports cars, by their very nature, are not practical. Most cars are selected for their utility, functionality, or comfort, but a sports car is not a logical purchase. They are for those who view their car not as an appliance, but as a tool for afternoons of fun driving.
Even so, that passion for the drive has to reckon with practicality. Given a car loses some of its value the moment it leaves the dealer lot, a smarter move with a sports car is to buy a used model.
Here are 11 of the best sports cars, according to our rankings. These rankings are based on each model’s U.S. News overall score and performance score. Of course, quality in a used car is only as good as its previous owner and the way they maintained and cared for the vehicle, so check a models’ vehicle history report carefully and try to have the car inspected by a trusted mechanic.
Bear in mind that our rankings change as new information becomes available, so the scores you see here may not match those elsewhere on our site.
Keep reading to see the best used sports cars you can buy in 2021.
More on the 2017 Porsche Boxster
Next:2020 Dodge Challenger
2020 Dodge Challenger
Overall New Score: 8.2/10 U.S. News Performance Score: 8.0/10
The Dodge Challenger was aging in 2020, but it still delivers strong performance and a comfortable ride. It’s available with a range of rowdy powertrains, including V8s with up to 797 horsepower. It’s also available with all-wheel drive, making it ideal for people in snowy climes. At the same time, the Challenger is a large car that offers fantastic comfort and a spacious interior.
The 2020 Challenger comes in several trims, but the car is relatively well-equipped in its more basic forms. Standard equipment includes a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, cloth upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, Bluetooth and 18-inch wheels. Higher trims add a larger screen and features such as navigation, an upgraded stereo, heated seats and larger wheels.
More on the 2020 Dodge Challenger
Next:2018 Fiat 124 Spider
2018 Fiat 124 Spider
Overall New Score: 8.2/10 U.S. News Performance Score: 8.7/10
The answer is always Miata, that is unless the answer is Fiat 124 Spider. The Italian brand worked with Mazda to create the car, which shares much of its DNA with the venerable Miata. The open-top Fiat comes with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine making up to 164 horsepower in the Abarth trim. A six-speed manual and rear-wheel drive come standard, though a six-speed automatic is available. Though it wears a Fiat badge, the 124 Spider is every bit as agile and engaging as its Mazda counterpart.
Fiat offered three configurations for the car, though the entry-level Classica trim is very basic by today’s standards. A 3-inch display, four speakers, cloth upholstery and a manual soft top are standard. Higher trims get upgrades that include leather upholstery, and the Abarth trim adds Bilstein suspension and an upgraded exhaust.
More on the 2018 FIAT 124 Spider
Next:2018 Chevrolet Camaro
2018 Chevrolet Camaro
Overall New Score: 8.2/10 U.S. News Performance Score: 8.8/10
The Camaro conversation today centers around the car’s discontinuation, but in 2018, buyers praised the Chevy’s engaging handling and powerful engines. It’s available with up to 650 horsepower from a supercharged V8, and Chevy offers both manual and automatic transmission options. GM’s chassis tuning wizards worked wonders with the Camaro, and it is easily one of the better-handling vehicles in its class.
The base 1LS trim gets a reasonable list of standard features, including a 7-inch touch screen, AppleCarPlay, Android Auto, push-button start and cloth upholstery. Though its cabin is relatively comfortable, the car feels cramped and dark, and outward visibility is a challenge.
More on the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro
Next:2018 Lexus LC
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
2018 Lexus LC
Overall New Score: 8.2/10 U.S. News Performance Score: 9.6/10
Lexus is much better known for its sedate, reliable luxury cars than rowdy performance models, but the LC has both an artful interior and a thundering V8. It delivers up to 471 horsepower, which reaches the rear wheels and exits the exhaust with a roar. Acceleration is fierce, and the LC’s handling prowess matches its aggressive styling.
Lexus worked wonders with the LC’s interior. It’s gorgeously designed and comfortable for two people, but the backseat is cramped. The infotainment system remains subpar, lacking features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though Lexus has made tech improvements in more recent model years.
More on the 2018 Lexus LC
Next:2017 Subaru BRZ
Subaru of America, Inc.
2017 Subaru BRZ
Overall New Score: 8.3/10 U.S. News Performance Score: 9.2/10
The Subaru BRZ recently got an overhaul that included more power and better tech, but the earlier iterations are still worth a look. They offer up to 205 horsepower, which reaches the rear wheels through an enthusiast-friendly six-speed manual transmission.
The BRZ’s interior is focused and trim, which means minimal rear-seat space and a not-so-large trunk. The car picked up a new driver information display and a revamped interior design for 2017, which included more attractive styling and slightly better materials.
More on the 2017 Subaru BRZ
Next:2017 Porsche Boxster
Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
2017 Porsche Boxster
Overall New Score: 8.3/10 U.S. News Performance Score: 9.8/10
The Porsche Boxster delivers open-top driving enjoyment and almost scalpel-like handling. The base model comes with 300 horsepower, but top configurations offer 350 ponies. That output reaches the rear wheels through your choice of a manual or an automatic transmission. The car feels muscular and eager in all its configurations, and the handling is world-beating.
With just two seats and a focused, sporty personality, the Boxster isn’t the best vehicle for family hauling. That said, it offers comfortable buckets and top-notch materials that live up to the Porsche name. A 7-inch touch screen comes standard, along with Bluetooth, USB ports and remote keyless entry.
More on the 2017 Porsche Boxster
Next:2017 Porsche Cayman
Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
2017 Porsche Cayman
Overall New Score: 8.3/10 U.S. News Performance Score: 10/10
The Porsche Cayman is essentially a hardtop version of the Boxster, delivering the same 300 or 350 horsepower. Its handling is even sharper, and the feel of Porsche’s manual gearbox is hard to beat.
Porsche gave the Cayman a full redesign for 2017, which included a new touch-screen infotainment system and improved materials. It has just two seats, but they’re supremely comfortable and spacious, even for taller adults.
More on the 2017 Porsche Cayman
Next:2018 Chevrolet Corvette
2018 Chevrolet Corvette
Overall New Score: 8.4/10 U.S. News Performance Score: 9.9/10
The eighth-generation Corvette–now a mid-engine car–is a huge story these days, but the previous-generation models with a more traditional front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout are still plenty quick. The car has up to 650 horsepower in 2018, but the base model’s 455 is nothing to sneeze at. A manual transmission is also available, making Chevy’s iconic sports car an engaging driver’s vehicle.
The Corvette’s interior quality isn’t quite as nice as the car’s European rivals. Still, there are several comfort and convenience upgrades, including leather and an 8-inch touch screen. All models also get either a removable roof or convertible top, making the Corvette a great warm-weather cruiser.
More on the 2018 Chevrolet Corvette
Next:2020 Ford Mustang
2020 Ford Mustang
Overall New Score: 8.6/10 U.S. News Performance Score: 9.2/10
The long-running Ford Mustang picked up a couple of compelling new variants in 2020, including the 760-horsepower Shelby GT500 and an EcoBoost High Performance package for four-cylinder versions of the car. No matter how it’s set up, however, the Mustang is quick, and the base car still has 310 horsepower.
Though the entry-level model lacks a modern infotainment system, the Premium trim adds an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Ford’s Sync infotainment system is one of the best on the market, with intuitive menus and navigation that’s easy to use while driving.
More on the 2020 Ford Mustang
Next:2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Mazda North American Operations
2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Overall New Score: 8.7/10 U.S. News Performance Score: 9.2/10
Fiat’s “Italian Miata” made the list, so it’s not surprising to see the original here as well. The Miata gets 155 horsepower from its four-cylinder engine, and the manual transmission offers a connected, fun driving feel that can’t be matched in most new cars today.
Two seats are all you get, but they’re comfortable buckets with decent room. Mazda equips a 7-inch touch screen and six speakers, but there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. More expensive trims add leather and heated seats, and the RF model has a retractable hardtop.
More on the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Next:2019 Acura NSX
American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
2019 Acura NSX
Overall New Score: 8.8/10 U.S. News Performance Score: 9.3/10
The iconic NSX returned in 2017 as a hybrid with all-wheel drive, and its 573-horsepower drivetrain offers ferocious acceleration. Power reaching all four wheels means the car feels planted and surefooted at nearly all times, and it helps get that massive power output to the ground quickly and reliably.
Acura doesn’t offer much in the way of options, but the NSX’s two seats are plenty comfortable. Don’t count on much storage space, and plan on spending time learning the NSX’s somewhat confusing infotainment system. At the same time, there are some cheap-ish cabin materials, but those are small complaints with so much power on tap.
More on the 2019 Acura NSX
Next:2021 Porsche 911
Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
2021 Porsche 911
Overall New Score: 8.8/10 U.S. News Performance Score: 9.6/10
Porsche offers a whole universe of 911 variants, and all of them make wonderful and powerful sports cars. The base model gets 379 horsepower, while the top configurations have up to 640 ponies. A manual transmission is available, but Porsche’s dual-clutch transmission is easily one of the best on the market.
The 911 has a back seat in some variants, but it’s not one most people would be thrilled to use. The space is otherwise handsomely built and packed with nice materials. Porsche’s tech is easy to use, and features such as Apple CarPlay make the space much more usable on a daily basis.
More on the 2021 Porsche 911
Next:2019 Mercedes-Benz GT
2019 Mercedes-Benz GT
Overall New Score: 9.1/10 U.S. News Performance Score: 9.3/10
The Mercedes-AMG GT is one of the most striking cars on this list, at least visually. It’s also quite impactful from a functionality standpoint, as it gets up to 630 horsepower and can be equipped with all-wheel drive. Acceleration is quick, and the car’s handling is every bit as responsive as its sporty look suggests.
The interior is a bit cramped, but the seats are comfortable. Rear visibility is hampered by the high trunk lid and low seating position. A responsive 8.4-inch infotainment screen comes standard, and Mercedes packed the interior with features like heated power seats, synthetic leather upholstery and navigation.
More on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GT
Next:More Shopping Tools From U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report
More Shopping Tools From U.S. News & World Report
Did any of these hot used sports cars get you excited to start shopping? When you’re ready, check out our comparison tool to find the vehicle that fits your needs.
The U.S. News Best Price Program connects shoppers who want to buy or lease a new car with local dealers. It offers significant savings with pre-negotiated prices, home delivery and online sales options.
Next:13 Best Used Sports Cars in 2023
U.S. News and World Report
13 Best Used Sports Cars in 2023
- 2020 Dodge Challenger – Overall Score: 8.2/10 | Performance Score: 8.0/10
- 2018 Fiat 124 Spider- Overall Score: 8.2/10 | Performance Score: 8.7/10
- 2018 Chevrolet Camaro- Overall Score: 8.2/10 | Performance Score: 8.8/10
- 2018 Lexus LC – Overall Score: 8.2/10 | Performance Score: 9.6/10
- 2017 Subaru BRZ – Overall Score: 8.3/10 | Performance Score: 9.6/10
- 2017 Porsche Boxster – Overall Score: 8.3/10 | Performance Score: 9.8/10
- 2017 Porsche Cayman – Overall Score: 8.3/10 | Performance Score: 10/10
- 2018 Chevrolet Corvette – Overall Score: 8.4/10 | Performance Score: 9.9/10
- 2020 Ford Mustang – Overall Score: 8.6/10 | Performance Score: 9.2/10
- 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata – Overall Score: 8.7/10 | Performance Score: 9.2/10
- 2019 Acura NSX – Overall Score: 8.8/10 | Performance Score: 9.3/10
- 2021 Porsche 911 – Overall Score: 8.8/10 | Performance Score: 9.6/10
- 2019 Mercedes-Benz GT – Overall Score: 9.1/10 | Performance Score: 9.3/10