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35 Affordable Turbos Drivers Overlook Far Too Often

Cameron EittreimJune 25, 2020

Driving is an exhilarating process if you own the right vehicle. Many naturally aspirated vehicles over the years can help you achieve that feeling. But what if you want more? That’s where turbos come in.

A turbo can greatly enhance acceleration and speed, which means you’ll get more fun out of the entire process. In many cases, you don’t have to break the bank to drive a turbo-powered car. We looked at some of the best deals you can get for a bargain turbo to achieve high speed this summer. Like some car models with misleading horsepower ratings, these turbos and their price tags may surprise you as well. Enjoy the list.

Audi
Photo Credit: Audi

35: 2020 Audi A3

Believe it or not, Audi is one of the luxury manufacturers that still offer an affordable turbo option. The A3 has been on the market for decades now and the form that it takes is notable for an intriguing design. Aside from the design aspects, the A3 also delivers blistering performance. Audi is a company that has put a lot of effort into the design and implementation of the car’s design. Turbocharged A3s are ready for the track with several standard options. The design evolution of the A3 has changed a lot over the past decade, but the car is still fun to drive with plenty of options.

Audi A3
Photo Credit: Audi

While it isn’t a full-size sedan, the A3 still offers a decent amount of luxury for the price. The compact design is much more well-appointed than the Lexus IS, which is the closest competitor in this price range. The 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque is rolling through a front-wheel-drive design. You may think that the A3 lacks in performance, but that would be a mistaken observation because the A3 is a blisteringly fast sports car. Audi will continue to improve the design as time goes on and the overall price for the A3 is still reasonable. Although the A3 is a bit dated, the design is still plenty of fun to drive, and for the price, you can’t beat authentic German performance.

Kia Stinger
Photo Credit: Kia

34: 2020 Kia Stinger

It was not too long ago that Kia was considered a “bargain brand” in the automotive market. But the brand has managed to elevate itself tremendously in the last decade. While the Optima has gotten better and better with age, the Stinger is the pride of the Kia sedan lineup. You might wonder why Kia is entering the sport sedan race while the Stinger is more of a halo car to help bolster the brand’s reputation with young buyers. Kia hasn’t had a sports car in the lineup prior and this was a great way to introduce a car to a new set of buyers. The Stinger never fails to deliver a serious surprise around every turn.

2021 Kia Stinger - Kia Motors
Photo Credit: Kia

Aside from the obvious exterior styling which is gorgeous, the Stinger also boasts a revised cockpit that is designed to swaddle the driver in comfort. If you’ve never been behind the wheel of a new Kia model, you’re in for a treat. The Stinger manages to incorporate upscale luxury with a comfortable driving position. The performance of the Stinger is just one of the strong suits and it gives the car an attitude that Kia hasn’t had before. The turbocharged engine is a great powerplant coupled with the beautiful exterior styling to make an excellent car. The Stinger is still a new concept for Kia, and the fact that it differentiates from the Optima is a great thing for buyers who want a unique car with loads of personality.

Cadillac CT4
Photo Credit: Cadillac

33: 2020 Cadillac CT4

Performance-minded enthusiasts generally forget that Cadillac has a horse in the race as well. The luxury carmaker has long abandoned the old days of the tried-and-true V8. Today’s Cadillac cars are modern vehicles powered by fuel-efficient four-cylinder and V6 engines. A turbocharged engine has long been touted for being a replacement for displacement. The way new engines are designed gives the car a lot more get up and go than you’d expect. The new generation of GM branded turbocharged engines are also a lot more reliable than before. Needless to say, the CT4 has come a long way in the evolution of design.

Cadillac CT4
Photo Credit: Cadillac

Driving a CT4 you are greeted by the revised interior and more luxurious features. GM has been working to differentiate the car from its competition by making a more compelling package. Cadillac buyers are a lot younger than they used to be and as such the car had to be revised to suit the needs of new buyers. Design-wise, the CT4 is a massive improvement over the previous Cadillac compact sedans in both performance and design. Cadillac is leveraging turbo buyers with this exceptionally-designed compact performance sedan. The CTS was a groundbreaking car for Cadillac and the CT4 has carried on the tradition to a greater degree with an authentic and unique design.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Photo Credit: Mercedes Benz

32: Mercedes-Benz A-Class

When you traditionally think about performance offerings, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is not the first thing that comes to mind. But the company has evolved a lot in the last couple of decades and the new model is designed to provide performance and comfort. The A-Class is taking the place of the former Mercedes compact sedans that were uncomfortable and expensive to maintain. Not to say that the A-Class is any less reliable, but it does offer a comprehensive warranty and maintenance package. In addition to that, the turbocharged four-cylinder engine gives a large performance for the price. Mercedes has been innovating in the compact sedan segment for a while now, and the A-Class is a great example of what the company can do right with a little bit of inspiration.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Photo Credit: Mercedes Benz

If you want to experience a baby AMG, this is the car for you. On top of that, the A-Class also has a much more refined interior. Mercedes has a lot of competition these days and thus the A-Class had to evolve with the times. Part of this evolution was using higher-quality interior pieces and more stitching to give the car an upscale look. In the end, you had a compact performance sedan that offers a lot of gets up and goes for the price. The A-Class is a definite improvement over the previous models and the price is stellar. This is no S-Class but with a unique design and loads of luxury features, you can’t go wrong. Turbo cars are a dime a dozen these days, but the A-Class manages to stand out from the crowd in a good way.

Mini Cooper Clubman
Photo Credit: Mini

31: Mini Cooper Clubman

Few cars have managed to captivate an audience like the Mini Cooper did when it first hit the market in 2001. The car had the unique looks and retro design that made it stand out from the crowd. It had a competition with the likes of the New Beetle and the PT Cruiser. These days, the Mini is far less of an icon than it once was and many people have forgotten that they still make these cars. Nevertheless, for the size, you can’t go wrong with the performance. The Mini-Cooper Clubman offers a larger interior than outgoing models and the barn doors are a nice touch. But what makes the Clubman an excellent car? The turbocharged engine. This Mini has some get up and go that you won’t find anywhere else.

Mini Cooper Clubman
Photo Credit: Mini Cooper

Then drivers have the interior appointments as the Clubman is a lot more comfortable than you might think. Mini has always had a touch of luxury, and that is one thing that made it a unique option as opposed to other cars in this class. You could say it’s a luxury car and a compact all at the same, making it a great choice for someone who wants a fun driving experience with cargo capacity. The Clubman has always been the redheaded stepchild of the Mini Cooper lineup but the car has a great deal of appeal to potential buyers. If performance is on your mind, then this is the compact for you.

Volkswagen GTI
Photo Credit: Volkswagen

30: Volkswagen GTI

Some would argue that it is long in the tooth, some would argue that it’s a trendsetter. Everyone universally agrees that the GTI is the quintessential hot hatch for anyone who desires performance. Volkswagen has made a lot of changes to the product line over the years but the GTI has remained the one consistent thing. Few cars can provide the same kind of excitement for the price, and you have to admit that nothing else looks like it on the road. The GTI has the German handling and driving capabilities that you’d expect out of a much more expensive car. On top of this, the interior is well-appointed with plenty of luxury features that make it worth putting into consideration.

Volkswagen GTI
Photo Credit: Volkswagen

Road manners are the main thing that makes the GTI a compelling buy. A lot of the technology has been borrowed from the Porsche roots in Volkswagen. We’re not saying that this GTI is a Porsche, but it does handle quite well. Generally, cars in this price range are quite cheap and underpowered but the GTI handles business. On top of that, the cost of ownership on the GTI is generally affordable which means that the resale value will hold. Whether you are trying to go to the track or you just want a fun drive to work, the GTI is one of the most underrated turbos on the road.

Fiat 124 Spider
Photo Credit: Fiat

29: Fiat 124 Spider

Yes, you’ve read this passage correctly, the Miata has a viable competitor here in the Fiat 124 Spider. The Fiat brand has been around for decades and has just recently come back to American shores. What makes Fiat unique is the fact that the cars are lightweight and designed for road driving. The designers of this roadster knew that you were going to be taking it out on the highway for a weekend cruise. Likewise, convertibles are a lot more well-appointed than they used to be. One of the things about the Miata originally was how bare it came equipped. That’s no longer the case and the Fiat 124 Spider comes with a plethora of luxury features standard.

Fiat 124
Photo Credit: Fiat

A six-speed manual is standard equipment, notably a dying aspect of the automotive industry. The fact that you can get a stick shift is fun enough but coupled with the turbocharged engine, the Fiat 124 is an even better value. Fiat has been innovating in the sports car market for decades and the 124 Spider is an honest roadster that’s fun to drive and stylish to look at. Few cars present the intrinsic value that the 124 Spider can provide. If driving up winding roads with the top down sounds appealing to you then the Fiat 124 Spider is worth a look.

Ford Fusion SE
Photo Credit: Ford

28: Ford Fusion SE

Turbocharged sedans have become quite popular in the past decade and the Ford Fusion was one of the first. Having a turbocharger isn’t the only thing that makes the Ford Fusion a notable exception. This is the last year that you can get the Ford Fusion because after this Ford is exiting the passenger car market. That means that the Fusion is likely the last turbocharged Ford sedan you’ll be able to get your hands on for the foreseeable future. What made the Fusion unique was the groundbreaking design and the noteworthy performance of the model.

Ford Fusion SE
Photo Credit: Ford

The Fusion was one of the few success stories for a domestic automaker and managed to give Ford a leg up on Honda and Toyota. But time hasn’t been kind to the Fusion and the rise in crossover vehicles has made sales diminish. Nevertheless, if you want to get your hands on a turbo-powered car, now is the time to do it. The comfortable design of the car and the stellar performance make it an appealing choice for car shoppers who want something more. Sure, it’s not a Porsche, but the Fusion does offer a stellar amount of performance for the discount price that you can get it for.

Honda Accord
Photo Credit: Honda

27: Honda Accord

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Honda has offered a turbocharged Accord for many years. This is one of the lesser-known models in the lineup. The Accord has managed to maintain a solid footing in the domestic passenger car market. Performance features are inspired by other cars that share the VTEC engine setup. From a general value perspective, the Honda Accord is a little more expensive than you might want to spend. But for that value, you get a well-appointed sedan that has a lot of resale value and reliability to offer. Honda has been in the game for a long time and the Accord with the turbocharged engine is worth a look.

Honda Accord
Photo Credit: Honda

 

The current model is largely a carryover but the redesign is on the horizon. What does that mean for you? Value. The Accord is going to be an affordable entry as the new models begin to roll into showrooms. If you don’t mind getting a car that is last year’s model, then you can have a stellar deal that offers a great deal of performance. Honda has always placed the Accord at the top of the brand echelon and with good reason. You can’t get a deal like this with a lot of the competition, while the Accord manages to provide solid value.

Honda Civic
Photo Credit: Honda

26: Honda Civic LX Hatchback

Few cars have been as instrumental as the Honda Civic in the automotive industry. The Civic has been one of the best-selling compacts cars of all-time. In addition to that, the Civic has managed to captivate the world with unique features and an affordable price tag. It was also the birther of the first hot hatch, the Civic Si. With all of those advancements, the current model has undergone a lot of transformation over the years. The Civic has managed to garner quite the reputation in a long time that it has been on the market.

Photo Credit: Honda

The turbocharged powerplant has been improved quite a bit over the past decade. Numerous performance enhancements give the Civic a tremendous amount of power out of the gate. In addition to the improved performance, there is also a good deal of interior enhancements, all of which add to the value of the car. There is no denying that the Honda Civic is one of the more underrated turbo-powered cars on the market right now and boasts a lot of features and performance for the stellar price tag.

Swift GTI
via: Car Throttle

25: Suzuki Swift GTI

The Suzuki Swift is one of the most iconic turbos you probably don’t know about. That’s because the buzzing hatchback shares its body with the Geo Metro. The Geo was the more popular of the two thanks to the General Motors nameplate. But the Swift had an option that the Geo didn’t, the GTI trim. The Swift GTI was fast, especially for having such a small motor.

Photo Credit: Motor Hub

The prices on these turbos are relatively affordable and parts are dirt cheap. You can import a lot of cool accessories such as body kits and different effects. If you want something lightweight and fun to drive you can’t go wrong with the Swift GTI.

Plymouth Laser
Photo Credit: Bring a Trailer

24: Plymouth Laser

Plymouth isn’t the first name that comes to mind for performance nowadays. But there was a time before the brand became obscure that they were releasing some fun turbos. The Laser is the often-overlooked corporate cousin of the Mitsubishi Eclipse. Long before “The Fast & The Furious” movie franchise took off, the Laser was a better-known variant of the Eclipse.

Photo Credit: Chrysler

What the Plymouth Laser offered was a lightweight driving experience coupled with a factory turbocharged engine. The option AWD setup gave the Plymouth some serious road grip, which was a major selling point for a car in this price range. The Plymouth Laser is probably one of the best deals that you can get in a used sports car.

Subaru SVX
via: Automobile Mag

23: Subaru SVX

Subaru has been selling turbos long before the WRX hit the streets. The SVX is an obscure sports car sold during the 1990s. The car had some definite design issues and a high price tag which drove many buyers away. However, the SVX has been experiencing a resurgence in the used car market. Many new generation buyers are intrigued by the factory turbo and how well the car drives.

Subaru SVX
Photo Credit: Subaru

The design of the car still looks somewhat good with smooth sloping lines. If you can put up with an interesting design, the SVX is a steal. There’s already a dedicated community of enthusiasts for the SVX. This offers new owners a well-rounded information hub to learn about maintenance issues and parts replacement for turbos like these.

Alfa Romeo GTV
Photo Credit: Motor 1

22: Alfa Romeo GTV

Alfa Romeo has just recently come back into the United States, but there was a time when the company sold a complete lineup. The GTV was a fun hatchback that incorporated the precision Italian handling you’d expect from an Alfa. The GTV has a bit of an unorthodox design that sets it apart. A lot of the Alfa Romeo models from this period were designed with this aesthetic.

Photo Credit: Motor Hub

While Alfa Romeos aren’t the most reliable cars on the road, the driving experience is well worth the headache. The GTV is one of many notable turbos on the market. With the design aspect of the GTV and the pleasant driving experience, this is a hot hatch with Italian flare.

Dodge Stealth
Photo Credit: Motor Hub

21: Dodge Stealth

Contrary to popular belief, Dodge had some solid cars during the ’90s. The Dodge Stealth was one of the many cars that were sold in a partnership with Mitsubishi. The Stealth was everything great about the 3000GT for far less money. The first thing that you’ll notice about the Stealth is the fact that the interior is a lot more luxurious than the Mitsubishi.

Dodge Steakth
Photo Credit: Motor Hub

The Stealth also has a tight backseat, which isn’t useful for too much. Still, for the price, you can’t go wrong with the turbocharged R/T version. This is a twin-turbo sports car with the same amount of power as a Toyota Supra. But unlike the Supra you are going to spend thousands less and still get a great driving experience. One of the best underrated turbos of the ’90s.

Mini Cooper
Photo Credit: Mini

20: Mini Cooper

The Mini Cooper was extremely popular when it hit the market in 2001 to much fanfare. As the years went on, however, time has not been kind to the mini. Consumers are more interested in other vehicles such as crossovers, which means the Mini is an endangered species. The Mini Cooper is, however, one of the most affordable turbos that you can buy new.

Mini Cooper
Photo Credit: Mini

Mini Coopers are notorious for having reliability issues, so keep that in mind when you’re purchasing one. The higher the mileage, the more you’re going to have to spend on maintenance. But if you can find a well-maintained used Mini Cooper, you’ll have a blast with these little turbos.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
Photo Credit: Honda

19: Honda Civic EX-T

Honda has sold various performance cars over the years, but only recently has the brand ventured back into turbos. The Civic EX-T is more refined than your average SI and suitable for almost any type of driving. The big, comfortable interior offers seating for five, and yes, you can fit adults in the backseat. The Honda also has a lot of technological enhancements such as a Bluetooth connected infotainment center and blindspot monitoring.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
Photo Credit: Honda

Honda has elevated the Civic from its humble beginnings. The Civic EX-T is a stellar deal if you want a fun-yet-economical vehicle. Honda has been the innovator behind hot hatches for decades, and the EX-T is no exception.

Porsche 944
Photo Credit: Porsche

18: Porsche 944

Perhaps the most interesting Porsche of the period, the 944 is often overlooked. The 944 had one of the most unique shapes to be utilized on a Porsche. Then you had its brand-new V8 engine, which added to the performance. The turbocharged inline four-cylinder was what the buying public wanted though. It was the first four-banger inside of a Porsche and performed admirably.

Porsche 944
Photo Credit: Porsche

The 944 is probably one of the most sought after Porsche turbos on the market, mainly due to the unique design. The overall dimensions of the car coupled with a powerful engine make it a treat for drivers. If you’ve ever wondered what a 944 would drive like, now you can find out for a low price. The turbocharged variant is by far one of the most fun Porsches on the road today.

Saab 9-3x
Photo Credit: Saab

17: Saab 9-3x

The Saab brand was once upon a time an esteemed luxury brand. And with good reason, as the Swedish company is known for positive innovations in automobiles. But as time went on, Saab became complacent with designs and the brand faltered in the face of new competition from its German rivals. The Saab 9-3x was long one of the most underrated luxury turbos on the road.

Saab 9-3x
Photo Credit: Saab

Indeed, owning a Saab can still be considered a badge of honor to this day. But the 9-3x is also one of the most affordable turbos that you can get. From a design standpoint, you can’t go wrong for the price or the features.

Saab 9-5
Photo Credit: Saab

16: Saab 9-5 Aero

Another great turbocharged car that died too soon was the Saab 9-5 Aero. If you’ve ever had the privilege of driving one, you’ll know what we’re talking about. The sheer design of the car was a marvel of Swedish ingenuity. Not to mention the fact that the car was a blast to drive with precision-built design and implementation. The final generation of the 9-5 was sort of a final hurrah for Saab.

Saab 9-5
Photo Credit: Saab USA

The brand folded in the U.S. shortly after the recession and sadly the 9-5 didn’t get to experience a resurgence. But if you’re looking at inexpensive Swedish turbos, the 9-5 does the job. The sheer beauty of the car still stands to this day, and you can’t go wrong with its luxury appointments and sturdy design.

Saab 9-2x
Photo Credit: Saab

15: Saab 9-2x

Perhaps the only Saab that was a Subaru, the 9-2x was a solid compact sedan. With the turbo-powered option, you’re getting a Subaru WRX with a premium design. Since the car has an AWD platform, you can take it just about anywhere from the Swiss alps to your favorite off-road trail. Subaru had a lot of influence on the design of this car, and the platform is based on the popular “bug-eye” models.

Saab 9-2X
Photo Credit: Auto Evolution

There’s no denying that the final years in the states were a tough one for Saab and its turbos. But the 9-2x is a bright spot in an otherwise dim decade for the brand. You can still find these 9-2x models on the market for a fair price with a ton of standard features.

Nissan 300ZX
Photo Credit: Motor Hub

14: Nissan 300zx Turbo

Although the Toyota Supra and Mazda RX-7 seem to get all the recognition as ’90s sports cars, there were a few other notable options as well. The Nissan 300ZX Turbo was an equally powerful model that still had a lot going for it. The design was attractive and the interior was luxurious when compared to previous models. The 300ZX is an affordable twin-turbo with a stellar record for reliability.

Nissan 300ZX
Photo Credit: 300ZX

Not only are these turbos blazingly fast to drive, but they’re also cheap to fix. The 300ZX has a lot of positive attributes and the main one is its factory twin-turbo. The stellar design of the sports coupe makes it great even to this day. With the demand for these turbos going up, the 300ZX is only going to increase in value.

Nissan NX
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

13: Nissan NX Turbo

The ’80s were a period full of turbo-powered vehicles. As emissions laws became stricter and the V8 was phased out, turbocharging a four-cylinder became a viable option. Nissan was at the forefront of turbocharged vehicles with quite a few interesting options. Of course, the 300ZX comes to mind, but there was another option before that.

Photo Credit: Nissan

The NX Turbo was a compact two-door that had all the makings of a stellar sports car. The affordable price tag was in line with Nissan’s philosophy around this period. The NX was boxy, to say the least, but the drivetrain was topnotch. To this day the NX still holds a good deal of value with consumers.

Dodge Shadow CSX
Photo Credit: My Classic Garage

12: Shelby CSX-VNT

Do you remember the Dodge Shadow? Probably not. But there was one variant of the cheap economy car that is still highly sought after. The Shelby CSX-VNT was one of the many cars that were built during a partnership with Carroll Shelby. The interesting little commuter car was far more than your average vehicle in a lot of ways. The first thing that made the CSX unique was the interesting bodywork.

Shelby CSX-VNT
Photo Credit: Mecum

From a distance, you wouldn’t even know that this was a Dodge Shadow. With an impressive 174HP, CSX was far ahead of its time in terms of power. The alloy rims and the ground effects gave the car an attractive stance, one that still looks good to this day. The CSX is quickly becoming more of a collector’s car as the market for these cheap turbos heats up.

Dodge Spirit R/T
Photo Credit: Car Domain

11: Dodge Spirit R/T

Another interesting turbo-powered Mopar was the Dodge Spirit R/T. The Chrysler K-Cars reinvigorated the American automotive market, and the R/T was a special edition. Long before the sport sedans we see today, the Dodge Spirit R/T was a stylish and fun package. Available in a red or white paint job with matching alloy wheels, the Spirit R/T still looks good to this day.

Dodge Spirit R/T
Photo Credit: Dodge Spirit R/T

The turbocharged V6 gave the lightweight Spirit a whole lot of power at the wheels, which in turn created a hefty performance sedan. Chrysler ran the Spirit until it was replaced by the larger Intrepid. Drivers looking for cheap turbocharged power can’t go wrong with the Spirit. The comfortable interior included six-passenger seating with a bench seat, a first for a sedan of this size. The Spirit R/T is truly a unique turbo-powered car.

Dodge Caravan Turbo
Photo Credit: Chrysler

10: Dodge Caravan Turbo

Yes, you read the title correctly. There was indeed a Dodge Caravan Turbo that was released during the ’80s and ’90s. The car is proof positive that Chrysler was innovating even at a time when budget restraints were fierce. Very few of these Caravan Turbos are still on the road today, as their reliability was iffy at best. It would appear that the biggest problem for the Caravan Turbo was transmission failure. But aside from that, the Dodge Caravan Turbo is perhaps one of the coolest minivans ever created.

Dodge Caravan Turbo
Photo Credit: Chrysler

The sheer amount of power you can get out of this Chrysler turbo is astounding for the price. The resale value on these cars is so low that you can potentially find a decent one for under $1000. Which in today’s world of high-priced automobiles is a pretty good deal, and something many should consider for a fun project. The Dodge Caravan Turbo will remain a staple of the fun turbos of yesteryear.

Shelby Lancer
Photo Credit: Bring A Trailer

9: Shelby Lancer

Mitsubishi was originally known more in America for selling imported economy cars through Chrysler dealerships than for its vehicles. But there was a compact car that caught Carroll Shelby’s attention, and that was the Lancer. Chrysler had been importing this model for some time and the team at Shelby decided to make it into a performance version.

Shelby Lancer
Photo Credit: Car Domain

The Shelby Lancer is remembered for its bright red paint job and silky smooth ground effects. The look of the car was more than just skin deep though. The 2.2L Turbo II drivetrain was good for 175hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. Combined with the lowered suspension and an affordable price tag, this Lancer was a steal. This car was faster than a comparable CSX off the line, which was Shelby’s other project around the time.

Chrysler Conquest
Photo Credit: Bing

8: Chrysler Conquest

A car that you don’t see too often on the road anymore is the Chrysler Conquest. The Conquest was part of the partnership that Chrysler had with Mitsubishi. For lack of a better term, the Conquest was an amazing sports car. Not only because of its affordable price tag but also because of its performance. The car was cheap to maintain and easy to fix.

Chrysler Conquest
Photo Credit: Bring a Trailer

With the Chrysler version, the company added luxury features. The Conquest was never going to become a major hit for the company. But as far as Mitsubishi was concerned, this was a great way to get into the market. The Conquest had a lot going for it in terms of the twin-turbo design and functionality. This car was one of the first real competitors to the Toyota Supra.

Neon SRT-4
via: Top Speed

7: Neon SRT-4

Perhaps one of the most unique cars to come out of the last decade, the Neon SRT-4 was a radical departure from the standard economy car. The most capable turbo-powered car in this price range, the SRT-4 was a real treat. For its stripped-down price, the car was lacking a lot of features such as power windows in the rear.

Neon SRT-4
via: Modified Car Trader

But aside from that, the Neon SRT-4 is perhaps one of the best turbos created in the last few decades. At the price point, the Neon SRT-4 is a steal no matter which way you look at it. The car has a lot of features and power that more expensive models don’t come close to. The SRT-4 is one of the most underrated and iconic turbos to hit the road.

Mustang SVO
Photo Credit: Car Domain

6: Ford Mustang SVO

The Ford Mustang is most commonly associated with a powerful V8 engine. However, during the ’80s, there was another unique option. Ford was experimenting with various turbo-powered options during this period and the Mustang was at the forefront. With the lightweight design of the Mustang, there was no reason why the company wouldn’t try a smaller engine. GM did it with the Camaro “Iron Duke,” but Ford wanted to do it differently.

Mustang SVO
Photo Credit: Car Domain

The blue oval wanted a car that was both exciting to drive and gas efficient. The Mustang fit the bill with the lightweight rear-wheel-drive platform that was carried on into the 1990s. While the SVO had some reliability problems, the car was for the most part a great choice. There was a good deal of factory options that made the car a great choice for fans of turbos.

Datsun 280ZX Turbo
Photo Credit: Car Domain

5: Datsun 280ZX Turbo

There’s no denying the significance that the 280ZX has in the sports car market. The 280ZX had gotten quite bulky by this point in time. That was a drawback for many aspects of the car, but Nissan innovated with the addition of the turbo. The turbo-powered 280ZX is still an affordable option if you can find one in good condition.

Datsun 280ZX
Photo Credit: Mecum

The car was simplistic to work on and it had a great deal of factory performance options. Most drivers were pleased with the factory setup that the 280ZX came with. But there are also tons of aftermarket upgrades you can purchase for the legendary Z. This is why this body style is one of the most popular options in terms of turbos on the road.

Volvo V70
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

4: Volvo V70 Turbo “The Brick”

There are many different affordable options drivers can get in terms of turbos. There is one, however, that’s even more unique than the rest, and that’s the V70. Known in the enthusiast community as “The Brick”, the V70 has a lot of good options for tuners looking for cheap thrills. To start things off, the wagon has seven-passenger seating, which is almost unheard of in most circles.

Volvo V70
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

Then you also have a luxurious interior, which Volvo is famous for. Volvo cars are among the safest vehicles on the road. Getting one with a turbo is a real thrill, especially if you love how Swedish cars drive. Volvo has produced quite a few stellar turbo s. The V70 is one of the more iconic models and the wagon has quite a loyal following.

PT Cruiser
Photo Credit: Chrysler

3: PT Cruiser Turbo

The PT Cruiser was one of the most popular cars for the new millennium. The retro-themed style was part of a plan by Chrysler to reinvigorate the Plymouth brand name. Of course, this never happened and the PT Cruiser ended up being sold as a Chrysler model. The PT Cruiser Turbo was a fun little car. The setup was almost identical to that of the Neon SRT-4.

Pt Cruiser
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

In typical Chrysler fashion, a good deal of the parts on the PT Cruiser were borrowed from other models. The PT Cruiser broke a lot of barriers for Chrysler in the new decade. There have been many cars that have come and gone after the PT Cruiser such as the Chevy HHR. The PT managed to carve a niche out for itself in an already crowded marketplace.

VW Beetle
Photo Credit: VW

2: Volkswagen New Beetle Turbo

The Volkswagen New Beetle was one of the most influential new cars in the last couple of decades. But as the years waned on there were quite a few other “halo” cars that stole the spotlight. Fortunately, there is a bright spot in the history of the New Beetle, and that was the Turbo version. The Turbo offered a powerful German driving experience with the same motor that you’d find in a Jetta or a Passat.

VW Beetle
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

The Beetle had a short wheelbase the drive was much more intuitive. Although the Turbo version had a lot of reliability issues overall, the car was a blast to drive. That made it a great choice for anyone who wanted a turbo-powered tuner on a budget. The turbo version was also released in a convertible.

Volvo C70
Photo Credit: CDN

1: Volvo C70 T5 Turbo

Another interesting car that has been under the radar for the last decade is the Volvo C70. This rather sedate looking convertible was one of the best selling cars in the Volvo lineup. But aside from a calming demeanor, there was a performance version of the car as well. The C70 T5 was a turbocharged variant of the already excellent wagon. The interior of the C70 was only one of the radically different features.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

The turbocharged engine is at the heart of every special-edition Volvo. The Volvo lineup has not often been associated with performance. But when you merge Swedish engineering with a turbocharger, you get a pleasant combination. Volvo has long been associated with an upscale driving experience, and the C70 is true to that.

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