6 Legit Sports Cars for Less Than $26K

Technology is a wonderful thing. There was once a time when the words "budget" and "sports car" simply didn’t go together. But now, thanks to ultra-efficient engines and a host of sporty chassis from a number of manufacturers, going quick on a budget has never been easier. Better yet, all of the vehicles you'll see bellow will keep your insurance premiums from reaching mortgage-like levels that were once associated with sports cars in years past.

  1. Scion FR-S. This vehicle marks Toyota's return to the budget sports car arena with a rear-wheel drive sports coupe that pays homage to the company's 1980's cult-classic, the AE86 Corolla. While sold with a Scion badge in the U.S., Toyota teamed with fellow Japanese car maker Subaru (who also makes a version of the car) to create the best all-round sports car for the price. For less than $25,000, buyers are rewarded with a torque-y, Subaru-developed flat-four engine, standard Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, and an impressive 25 city/34 highway mpg.
  2. Volkswagen GTI. The little-hatchback-that-could makes the list despite lacking the sultry lines of a coupe, and with less-than-impressive horsepower figures from its 2-litre, turbocharged motor. However, what you do get with the GTI is a car that is just as easy to live with on a daily basis as it is to flog down your favorite roads. The GTI also manages to do all of this at a level of refinement you won't find in any other vehicle on the list.
  3. Ford Mustang. While the V8-powered Mustang GT (and its more powerful siblings) can easily smash the $35,000 mark, Ford found a way to bring power to the masses with its 305-horspower Mustang V-6. The Mustang gallops to 60 mph, needing just tick longer than 5.5 seconds to hit the mark. The car also wows occupants with its retro-modern gauge cluster and interior design.
  4. Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T. Hyundai adds its own special ingredient to the mix with its Genesis Coupe 2.0T. The "T" in 2.0T stands for turbo. This helps the 2-litre inline-four crank out an impressive 274 horsepower, and 275 lb-ft of torque. In addition, the car needs just 5.7 seconds to skate to 60 mph. Thanks to the car's capable chassis and spot-on suspension tuning, the car is more than just a straight-line performer. To top it off, the 2.0T comes with a ton of standard features, including a standard stereo system equipped with Bluetooth, satellite radio, and iPod and USB auxiliary jacks for those who appreciate great music as much as they do performance.
  5. Mazda MX-5 Miata. When it comes to a no-frills, budget sports car, the Miata is not just old school, it's from the school they tore down to build the old school. Mazda continues to keep its tried-and-true method of a building a simple, two-seat roadster. In fact, the basic principle remains just as pure as when it was first introduced. Weighing in at a scant 2,400 pounds, the car rewards drivers with pure, unadulterated driving pleasure that has the handling benchmark for small cars for more than 20 years.
  6. Chevrolet Camaro. While at a considerable size and weight disadvantage to others in the group, the Camaro makes up for it by being the hands-down most powerful of the group. The Camaro's 3.6 liter V6 creates a whopping 323 horsepower, good enough to shuttle the car to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. The car also comes standard with dual-outlet, stainless steel exhaust, a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission, Bluetooth, MP3 player, and satellite radio.

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