You don’t have to break the bank when buying a performance car. Cheap fast cars come in many forms. Convertibles, hatchbacks, sedans and coupes can provide plenty of excitement without a premium price tag. Autotrader has created a list of the best used cars with a budget of $15,000. Here’s a closer look at the top choices.
2013 BMW 3 Series
The 2013 BMW 3 Series has four engine options. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder makes 180 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque in the 320i. Upgrading to the 328i upgrades to a 2.0-liter Turbo 4 that makes 240 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. Or upgrade to the 3.0-liter Turbo 6, which delivers 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque on the 335i. Finally, the 3.0-liter Turbo 6-Hybrid puts out 335 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque in the ActiveHybrid 3. All are likely to fall below the $15,000 budget cap.
However, this used car offers more than power. The 2013 model year was the second model following a major redesign that saw a more powerful and efficient engine. Its power and efficiency are combined with excellent handling, braking and steering. This inexpensive fast car also offers a luxurious interior with standard features such as a premium sound system and supple leatherette.
2014 Chevrolet Camaro
Of the eight trims in the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro lineup, only the top ZL1 and Z/28 are likely outside the $15,000 price point for cheap and fast cars. An excellent choice as a performance vehicle. The standard 3.6-liter V6 in 1LS, 2LS, 1LT and 2LT trims makes an impressive 323 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque. However, at just 20 mpg combined, this muscle car isn’t as fuel efficient as the BMW 3 Series.
Expect standard features like cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and a six-speaker sound system starting at 1LS. Bump up to the SS for an impressive 426 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque from the 6.2-liter V8 engine.
Other performance upgrades include a limited-slip differential, sport-tuned suspension and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Not bad for a cheap fast car with plenty of aftermarket upgrades.
2014 Ford Focus ST
Your ideal cheap and fast car might not be a luxury sedan like the BMW 3 Series or a pony car like the Camaro. You’re in luck: The 2014 Ford Focus ST performs well in hatchback utility.
The Focus ST has a 2.0-liter Turbo 4 that makes 252 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. It balances that power with an excellent fuel economy of 26 mpg. The front-wheel drive Focus ST offers aggressive handling and responsive steering. As for power, the 2.0-liter engine places the Focus ST between the 3-Series and the Camaro, but there’s plenty of room in the hatchback for five adults and luggage.
All Focus ST models come with a host of performance-focused features, including performance brakes, an electronically controlled limited-slip front differential and performance suspension upgrades. Upgrade to the ST2 or ST3 package for premium seats, a large infotainment touchscreen and navigation system.
Legroom in the rear of the car is similar to that of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, so taller passengers may find it cramped. While it doesn’t have as much power as the Camaro, the Focus ST offers exciting dynamics and room for passengers and cargo.
2014 Ford Mustang
Another cheap and fast car from the Blue Oval, the 2014 Ford Mustang Sports Coupe doesn’t go bust. The standard model has his 3.7-liter V6 engine producing 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. The premium trim takes the same powertrain and upgrades a number of features such as leather upholstery and an 8-speaker sound system. However, the V8-equipped GT and GT Premium may be out of the $15,000 price range, as is the Camaro’s top trim.
Autotrader points out that the Camaro is more of a sports car than the Mustang, but the Mustang is a faster and cheaper performance car.It hits 60 mph and is over 200 pounds lighter. According to GoodCarBadCar, Ford said he sold more than 82,000 Mustangs in 2014, so you can find many Mustangs on the used performance car market.
2013 Mazda Mazdaspeed3
Like the Focus ST, the 2013 Mazdaspeed 3 offers a powerful engine in a five-passenger hatchback. Its 2.3-liter Turbo 4 produces 263 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque in the front drivetrain. It can reach 60 mph a few tenths of a second faster than the Focus ST and offers a limited-slip differential.
Additionally, a 10-speaker Bose surround sound system, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and leather- and fabric-trimmed upholstery give the Mazdaspeed 3 a comfortable cabin. Rear seat riders also have more leg, shoulder and hip room than the Focus ST. But the Mazdaspeed3 offers less cargo space, with all seats folded he 17.0 cubic feet, compared to the Focus ST’s 23.8. But overall, the Mazda is a cheap, fast car that packs a lot of zooms and zooms.
What is the fastest budget sports car?
The 2014 Chevy Camaro has the most horsepower and torque of the base model. But if acceleration is a priority in a used performance car, the 2014 Ford His Mustang goes from 0 mph to 60 mph a little quicker.
Other top choices on Autotrader’s list don’t match the power and speed of the Camaro or Mustang, but boast other advantages. For example, the 2013 BMW 3 Series offers luxury on a budget, the Focus ST offers ample cargo space, and the Mazdaspeed 3 offers a brisk hatchback with a roomy interior.