The diminutive Z3 is a bargain when you compare it to other sports cars on the market. You get the German engineering of BMW complete with the styling of a more expensive car. But the Z3 had shortcomings as well. The engine and drivetrain had a lot of reliability issues.
Perhaps the Z3’s biggest mistake was that it also had a flimsy interior. Owners often complain about the build quality later in the car’s life. If you were willing to put some elbow grease into it, the Z3 was not a bad deal. The Z3 still had a lot going for it and for the price you couldn’t go wrong, but it could have been better.
The Fiat brand is renowned for its vehicle quality. The Fiat 500 was a fun car that came onto the scene during a slew of high gas prices. The standard 500 is not what you’d call a performance car, but about as fun and cheap as you can get. The most prominent shortcoming is the clutch.
The 500 is known to have a faulty clutch plate, which can be costly to repair. Aside from that problem, there was also a lot of interior road noise, which tends to get annoying when commuting or on a long drive. Fiat is never going to be a purist race car, but for the price, the Abarth isn’t horrible.
Lotus managed to create a timeless style that just kept looking great with the Elise. But the Elise had a problem with keeping transmissions. Servicing on it can be astronomical, and not everyone is equipped to work on a Lotus.
Fortunately, there are plenty of support groups and fan clubs. The Elise has quite a loyal following around most of the world. Still, if you want one of the best handling sports cars of the last decade you should check out the Elise. Just be ready to pay a price when it comes time to get work done.
In the last couple of decades, the Mustang GT has had its fair share of problems. That begins with the V8 engine developing a ping. This ping is derived from a problem with the timing chain, and it can be pricey to fix. If you can live with a little extra noise, then the Mustang GT is a fun car to beat up.
Very few affordable sports cars can rival the sheer power a Mustang GT brings to the table. But for a lot of folks that reliability issue comes into play. A lot of us don’t want to deal with the headache that comes from having to replace a timing chain. The Mustang brand in general has recently experienced a resurgence with the advent of the Mach-E.
The BRZ was a departure for Subaru. It has the bones of a Toyota, which, for the most part, is a good thing. The BRZ had a couple of shortcomings though. Its styling is almost identical to its Toyota counterpart. So if you wanted something unique, you aren’t going to get it with this.
Secondly, the BRZ is AWD instead of RWD, so there’s that to consider as well. You also don’t get a lot of the Toyota prestige. Either way, the BRZ is a big departure from Subaru’s last attempt at a sports car. The mainstream styling and stellar warranty are two positives if you can look past the few negatives this car has.
Porsche has been on an upswing for the last couple of decades. Their SUV models are selling like crazy, but the sports car market has remained stagnant. The Cayman is perhaps one of the most beautiful and underrated models to hit the market. With that being said, the Cayman has experienced some of the worst depreciation.
Therefore the Cayman has been fairly neglected compared to other models. The main problem with the Cayman was the dated styling. You’d almost mistake it for a 2003 model. Aside from that, the powerplant was one of the best that Porsche has used to date.
Honda has never necessarily been known as a performance car company. One of its most notable models of the last 30 years has been the Civic SI, a cheap-to-own and fun-to-drive performance version of the Civic. The SI Hatchback was a limited production model and you’ve probably seen one. Although the car had some shortcomings such as a cramped interior, its drivability more the made up for it.
The SI also had limited choices in terms of colors. A lot of consumers were disappointed during this period because Honda didn’t offer the SI in a coupe version. But if you wanted a fun hatchback, the SI was it.
The 911 is another car that has grown long in the tooth. The 911 has the classic styling that made Porsche famous. But that design has also become stale. Consumers are tired of the same old styling that Porsche has been offering. While the company innovates in the SUV segment, its sports cars have stayed the same.
That’s not to say the 911 doesn’t offer blistering performance, because you’ll have a blast driving this thing. Drawbacks tend to eat at enthusiasm. If you get too caught up in the drawbacks of the 911, you might be better off going for another sports car.
The Integra is one of the greatest compact sports cars ever made. The positives of the Type R far outweigh the negatives, but there were a few annoying aspects nonetheless. For starters, there was only a two-door model. That was fine for most, but a four-door would have been a serious BMW 3-Series fighter.
Then you had that loud yellow paint job, and the paint choices were few and far between. There have been talks of Acura reviving the Integra line. We’d have to say the next-generation model would be a serious contender in the sports car world. You can’t go wrong with the proven Honda performance of a V-Tech engine.
Honda has a knack for creating interesting vehicles. While most of the lineup is reliable and pretty mainstream, the S2000 was different. Honda wanted to create a halo car, and with the S2000 it did just that. Taking a look at the outside of the S2000 will lead you into believing that it’s something else. The S2000 had a couple of drawbacks though, first of which was the interior.
Honda went the cheap route and most of the S2000 was recycled. Aside from this, the performance was more than adequate for what it could do. The sportscar had the admirable performance of other Honda models. Think the Type R or something in that ballpark, and you’ll be satisfied with the S2000.
The Dodge Neon was one of the most popular economy cars of the late 1990s. But as time went on, the car was lauded for its performance. The SRT-4 was notable for its bright paint scheme and spunky motor. The SRT-4 was popular with the tuner community because of its low price tag and exceptional performance. However, Dodge went a little cheap on a lot of the aspects of the SRT-4.
The trunk was barebones and the backseat was also fairly basic. The SRT-4 could have been perfect had it featured a more detailed interior. Chrysler was known for skimping when it came to quality. But still, for the price, you got an adequate amount of performance that got you where you needed to go.
The M3 is one of the most lauded sports coupes in the world. If you’ve ever driven one then you’ll know why it has such a stellar rep. The sheer design of the thing is top-notch with top-of-the-line materials that match. But, there were a few corners BMW decided to cut. The E46 was notable for having a bigger engine and interior. For the price tag, the car was very close to the stock BMW 3-Series.
This didn’t sit very well with the general public. However, the 3-Series has managed to keep a solid foothold in the used car market. The M3 has a costly resale value and that hasn’t deteriorated over the years. If you want an exciting sports car, the E46 is well worth it.
The Hyundai Scoupe wasn’t such a bad sports car. Early versions of the coupe were affordable and stylish, which helped bolster Hyundai with consumer opinion. While many other sports cars that have come and gone were also affordable, the Scoupe was far more affordable and offered a good amount of standard features.
Unfortunately, Hyundai could have done a lot more with the Scoupe and the model faded into oblivion. Used sports cars tend to be fun projects for anyone who likes to go fast. The Scoupe can be had for a very inexpensive price although these models are becoming very hard to come by. If you want a Scoupe you might have to look far and wide.
The Genesis was from a new generation of sports cars. Hyundai was trying to step out of just being an affordable car maker and create something more. The standard 2.0T was an exciting engine in a lot of ways. But the Genesis would have been a lot better if Hyundai included the V8 powerplant sold in its sedan.
The V8 was perhaps one of the most notable engines of the last decade and it would have given Hyundai a real chance. Although there have been several popular incarnations of the Genesis since then. The 2.0T was one of the resounding successes for the brand. We just wish Hyundai would have offered the V8 option in the Genesis Coupe.
When Honda introduced the Type R to the American market, there was a lot of excitement. The SI was already a popular model, but the Type R took it a step further. The Type R nameplate is familiar to the foreign market but most of America hasn’t seen it. The Type R would have been great as a sports coupe. We can’t understand why Honda decided to go with a hatchback design.
Honda Civic SI via Motor JunkieThe car is not only bulkier than the outgoing Civic but also too extreme. Sometimes automakers have gone too far when it comes to design. The Type R is one such instance where the automaker went too far to try and please. The Type R is a great car but a coupe version would have been a lot better.
The Kia Stinger GT was a new concept for Kia when it hit the market. The sedan is more of a sports car than anything else on the market. But we have to wonder why Kia didn’t go for a two-door model. Hyundai has experienced mixed results in creating a comparable sports car.
The Veloster is a unique-looking addition to the lineup and it has managed to attract some fans. Kia however has maintained a more relaxed approach. The Stinger GT is a good attempt at creating a sports car. The one-of-a-kind exterior dimensions and a powerful V6 engine are enough to create a standout sports car. But a two-door model would have been a great addition as well.
The Mazda Miata was one of the first lightweight roadsters on the market. Mazda was going for something fun and lightweight. There have been quite a few Mazda Miata models over the last few decades. The overall design of the Miata is iconic for being lightweight and nimble.
Mazda hasn’t swayed far from this formula in a few decades, but there also hasn’t been a lot of innovation. The Miata could have been much more with a few enhancements. Mazda has stuck to the same formula for a good reason. However, with a little bit of design and innovation, the Miata could have been a more landmark sports car.
The early 2000s were a time famous for compact sports cars. The “Fast and the Furious” franchise introduced a new generation to modifications. The Lancer Evolution came from the factory ready to race. The car could handle just about anything you could throw at it. But Mitsubishi skimped on a lot of options. The Lancer was well-designed from the gate yet if the interior had been a little more upscale, it would have been even better.
The Lancer is a car that could attract any number of potential enthusiasts. The basic design of the car was timeless. Most sports car enthusiasts have lauded the Lancer for its easy-to-work-on platform and quick-tuning engine.
Subaru has a long history of success in the rally car business. The WRX is a well-known car popular for over two decades. Sadly, Subaru tends to cut a lot of corners when it comes to the WRX. The car is often notable for its cheaply put together interior and dated materials that take away from its design. For the most part, Subaru has been notable for keeping the WRX in a dated design.
We have to wonder what the future will hold for the WRX. The next generation of the car could be great. If Subaru decides to add another level of design to the WRX, the car could be a stellar choice for the consumer who wants some fun.
Mazda has created quite a few notable compact sports cars in the last 30 years. The RX-8 came onto the scene a long time after the RX-7 had been discontinued. The RX-8 had a notable design that featured suicide rear doors. The overall design of the car wasn’t something that you’d usually see in a sports car. We liked everything that the RX-8 had to offer and it amounted to a pretty unique ride.
But Mazda skimped when it came to engine design and the RX-8 is notorious for blowing its powerplant early on. Rebuilding the engine is quite costly because the Rotary design is different than most common motors. Without that unfortunate truth, it would have obviously been a better sports car.
Perhaps one of the least well-known cars on this list is the M2. Released during the economic depression, this was a way for BMW to release an entry-level car. The M2 had a lot going for it, from its compact size to its fun design. But BMW left out several crucial features that many luxury car buyers have come to expect. The M2 was missing many interior functions.
With a few more features to boast, it would have done a lot better in terms of sales. There was also a convertible version of the M2, which also boasted a good amount of performance and functionality. Overall, the M2 is a car that can still provide you with a good amount of enjoyment.