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Reid All About It: Five Great Starter Sports Cars

By Andy Reid | May 26, 2020

Sports cars are wonderful vehicles. They embrace speed, excitement, and are purpose built for high-performance driving.

Of course, sports cars also have a down side. They tend to have just two seats, have limited cargo space, skip lots of amenities, and can be pricey. So family friendly, they're not. But in my opinion, the sheer driving pleasure sports cars offer more than makes up for their less-than-practical nature.

Fortunately, the used market is loaded with affordable, reliable sports cars which can be had for less money than a typical family sedan. But before you go shopping for your dream machine, there are a couple of things to consider. The first is whether you'll comfortably fit, as sports cars tend to be small. For instance, entering a Lotus Elise is a lot closer to putting on a pair of pants than it is jumping into a F-150.

The second is what kind of service costs are associated with a given car. Because with some enthusiast vehicles, the purchase price is only the cost of entry. Unsurprisingly, a Porsche costs more to run than a Mazda, and you want to be tackling twisty roads, not sweating over repair bills. So make sure you can afford any upkeep your ride will need.

Finally, after making the first two decisions, I'd recommend you acknowledge one extremely important thing - a car like this is an emotional purchase. It's not just a vehicle to get you from point A to point B, so buy a sports car you love.

Since there are plenty of excellent options on the used market, this list is a good mix of both small and large displacement models. Some might be faster than others, but each is a proper sports car.


Mazda MX5 Miata

The Mazda MX5 Miata is a great first sports car

Generally, the Mazda Miata tends to be the best small bore sports car choice — especially for a first time buyer.

These cars offer more fun-per-dollar than practically anything else on the market. What they lack is the panache of say, a Porsche, or the blistering speed of say a Z06 Corvette. That being said, being behind the wheel of a Miata on a twisty road is one of the most entertaining seats in the world.

Shop Mazda MX5 Miata Used Inventory

FIAT 124 Spider

The FIAT 124 Spider is a great first sports car

Of course, no list of sports cars would be complete without a representative from Italy. And the FIAT 124 is not only stunning to look at, but a wonderful driver’s car.

Basically, it’s an Italian Miata, as Mazda provides the underlying chassis. But the engine is a revvy little 1.4-liter turbocharged unit, and the bodywork is pure Italian design. This FIAT is listed at $15,989, and looks to be a great entry point into the world of Italian sports cars.

Shop FIAT 124 Spider Used Inventory

Subaru BRZ

The Subaru BRZ Spider is a great first sports car

So maybe you’ve just started a family, but still want a true sports car to drive. Well, the best answer just might be the Subaru BRZ.

When introduced, the BRZ was hailed as a whole new generation of sports car. It offers exciting styling, respectable straight-line performance, and loads of fun in corners. Its four-cylinder boxer engine has 200 horsepower on tap, and while the back seats are tiny, they’re big enough to take the little tykes to school.

The BRZ, and its cousin the Toyota 86, have proven reliable since their introduction, so service costs should be minimal.

Shop Subaru BRZ Used Inventory

Porsche Boxster

The Porsche Boxster is a great first sports car

When the Boxster was released in 2007, it was an absolute sensation. Magazines called it the best handling and most-fun-to-drive Porsche in years, and having owned one Boxster and driven many more, I’d agree.

The Boxster is a true 150-mph machine offering race-car handling, a minimal but still upscale interior, and wonderful retro-modern styling. Simply put, there’s never been a used Porsche that offers as much bang for the buck as the Boxster. As I mentioned above, service costs are a bit higher than other cars on this list, but those added costs get you into the Porsche community, which includes one of the finest car clubs in the world.

Shop Porsche Boxster Used Inventory

Chevrolet Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette is a great first sports car

Since its introduction in 1953, the Corvette has been known as America’s sports car. Each generation has improved tremendously, and from the fifth generation on, they are true weapons-grade performance cars. In addition, the Corvette is likely to have significantly lower service costs than the Porsche, while offering a higher level of performance.

Right now, the fifth generation Z06 cars is possibly the best high-performance sports car deal on the planet. Even as a die-hard Porsche fan, I think this is a a phenomenal deal.

Shop Chevrolet Corvette Used Inventory

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