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5 Best Sports Cars of 2015 Under $30K

Best Sports Cars 2015 Edition!

Updated October 6, 2018

Whether you’re a 20-year-old looking for an inexpensive hot rod to call your own or a 50-year-old trying to hang onto your youth, there is little that is more rewarding than an inexpensive sports car. The number of low-cost, high-fun sports cars is steadily on the rise, thanks to advanced engine electronics and efficient forced induction.

With the mass entry of low-price sports car and sports coupes, we decided to make our way through them and choose the best of the best. The resulting list is what we think are the five best sports cars available in 2015 that you can buy new for less than $30,000.

Hyundai Genesis 3.8

Best Sports Cars 2015 - Genesis Coupe

A Hyundai may seem an odd choice for a sports car, but the Genesis Coupe is certainly no slouch in this department. Gone is the turbocharged four-cylinder from earlier models, and now you can only get it with the 3.8-liter V-6. This V-6 pushes a mighty fine 348 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic and out to the rear wheels. With the manual transmission, the Genesis Coupe can hit 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds.

In terms of handling vs. comfort, you have two options for less than $30k. The standard Genesis 3.8 gives you a balance of performance and comfort at an easy-to-afford $26,750. The 3.8 R-Spec, on the other hand, delivers precision handling thanks to its stiffer chassis, but it also increases road noise, decreases comfort, and the price shoots up to $29,500.

In terms of looks, it may be a little “blah,” but as a sports car, it is well worth the money.

Ford Mustang EcoBoost

Best Sports Cars 2015 -  Ford Mustang with EcoBoost

A four-banger Ford Mustang may sound blasphemous, but it is a new era and turbochargers are the replacement for displacement that so many claimed never existed. This new 2.3-liter four-cylinder resting beneath the hood of the midrange 2015 Mustang puts a healthy 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of twist through a six-speed manual or auto transmission on its way to the rear wheels.

With the auto transmission, the Mustang EcoBoost can crest 60 mph in just under six seconds. What’s more, this four-pot gets up to 32 mpg.

What makes the 2015 Mustang more of a sports car in than a muscle car in this new generation is its all-new independent rear suspension. This replaces the archaic live-axle system that the Mustang had for so many years. Not that the old mustang was a pig in the corners, but it couldn’t hold a candle to the 2015 Stang.

Pricing rings in at $25,300 for the base model, while the best version you can get for under $30,000 is the Premium trim with the manual transmission at $29,300.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Best Sports Cars 2015 - 2016 Mazda MX5 Miata

No sports car list is ever complete without the addition of the Mazda Miata. Sure, the latest rendition (the 2016 model) has fewer ponies than the outgoing model at 155 horsepower, its 148 pound-feet of torque is a slight increase. What makes it even better is the fact that the 2016 Miata is about 220 pounds lighter than last year’s model too, giving it the opportunity to be just as quick, if not quicker than the 2015 model.

On top of being quicker, the lighter body and chassis also make the new Miata nimbler than the previous model, which makes it a hoot to whip around tight bends. Its perfect 50/50 weight distribution doesn’t hurt things either.

Topping off the list of awesomeness for the 2016 Miata is its $25,735 base MSRP and striking new design.

Scion FR-S/Subaru BR-Z

Best Sports Cars 2015 - Scion FR-S

As much as it pains me to admit it, the Toyobaru twins do offer a lot of bang for the buck in terms of being sports cars. Sure, the 2.0-liter boxer engine leaves a good bit to be desired with its 200 horsepower and just 151 pound-feet of torque, but it is still plenty to get the BRZ and FR-S to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds with the manual transmission. If you opt for the auto transmission, prepare for a significantly slower acceleration time.

Where the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ really earn their stripes is their fun-to-drive value, partly due to skinny tires that allow the back end to get loose more easily, and their low MSRP. The Scion FR-S bases from $25,670 and the Subaru BRZ starts from $25,695.

Nissan 370Z Coupe

Best Sports Cars 2015 - 2016 Nissan 370Z Coupe

The Nissan Z-Car is a long-standing cardholder in the best-sports-car category, and the 2016 model is no exception. Under its hood is a 3.7-liter V-6 that puts down 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. This powerful six-cylinder mates to a six-speed manual transmission that tosses the power to the rear wheels. This amounts out to a fairly quick 5.3-second sprint to 60 mph.

The 370Z’s front-midship engine helps keep the weight well balanced for precise handling. Of course, its tight suspension and sticky rubber certainly help too.

The downside to the 370Z is that its MSRP is only slightly under our budget, as it checks in at $29,990. For that money, however, you are getting a legitimate sports car that can run with the best of them.

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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